I know, buffalo chicken and “lightened-up” might seem like an oxymoron. THIS though, is insanely delish and you’d have no idea that it’s lightened up. Today was the first day I felt that slight chill in the air, and I looooved it. It makes me so so excited for my favorite food season. Well, season period. So many wonderful flavors and seasonal produce, and also football food. This recipe is absolutely perfect for those Sundays huddled around the T.V., and you don’t have to feel absolutely terrible about eating it. Win win.
I managed to make this lighter than your typical buffalo chicken dish by using chickpea pasta, a little less cheese, low fat milk, and a touch of light cream cheese for creaminess. If you haven’t tried chickpea pasta yet, you MUST. It’s so much higher in protein and lower in carbs than regular pasta, and you’re getting so much more fiber too. I love it!
How gosh darn creamy does this look? I can’t handle it.
I’m absolutely a lover of that bright orange, carb and fat laden buffalo chicken dip, but it’s nice to have a lightened up option when you need it. Especially when it’s in the form of mac and cheese. Definitely one of my weaknesses. A verrrry close second to chips and fries.
This is making me want to “buffalo chicken” all the things. I’m slightly obsessed.
There’s only one tablespoon of butter in the whole recipe, and only six ounces of cheddar! You won’t believe what the tiny bit of cream cheese does to the texture of this sauce.
Bottom line is..make this for your next party or lazy-football-watching-Sunday. Or, for when you just need some buffalo chicken mac and cheese. I know I do.
Lightened-Up Buffalo Chicken Mac and Cheese
- 8 oz. chickpea pasta (I used Banza brand)
- 1 T. butter
- 2 T. flour
- 1 1/2 c. low fat milk (I used 1%)
- 6 oz. sharp cheddar, freshly grated
- 2 oz. light cream cheese, softened to room temperature
- 1/4 c. buffalo sauce (I used Frank's)
- 2 c. cooked shredded chicken
- 1-2 oz. blue cheese, crumbled (optional)
- 2 T. chopped fresh chives for garnish
- Extra buffalo sauce for garnish
Cook pasta according to package directions. Set aside. In a medium pot, melt the butter over medium heat. Add flour, whisking constantly and cook for 1 minute. Slowly add the milk, still whisking constantly. Raise heat to high, bring to a boil and cook for 2-3 minutes until thickened, still whisking (you don't want the bottom to burn!).
Reduce heat to medium-low. Add the cheddar and cream cheese, stirring until completely melted. Add the buffalo sauce and stir. Add the pasta and shredded chicken and stir until everything is coated.
- Portion into bowls and top with fresh chives, extra buffalo sauce, and crumbled blue cheese.
Made this and it turned out amazing. You can’t even tell it’s ~lighter~. For the two cups of cooked chicken, I cheated and picked up 3 fried chicken tenders from the deli section and used a chef’s knife to cut them up into roughly 1/2 inch cubes. Next time I may even add some chopped green chilis.
Spices in My DNA
Thanks so much Kaylee, I’m so happy you enjoyed!! I think it would be delicious with the green chiles 🙂 Thank you so much for making it and for letting me know!