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how to snag a date.

19 Oct

This is a food blog, so why am I beginning by offering dating advice? Well. This mac and cheese is guaranteed to get you a date with whomever you make it for-after all, nothing says true love like a creamy, spicy, cheesy casserole.

What You’ll Need:
1 lb of medium size pasta shells (medium is important, the small ones don’t soak up enough of the saucy cheesy goodness)
2 1/2 cups of half and half
3.5 cups medium grated sharp cheddar (don’t get reduced fat, this isn’t the time to count your calories, trust me)
2 cups of medium grated jack cheese or mozzarella 
3 cups of shredded chicken (rotisserie, breasts, left over thighs-whatever you have on hand or is cheapest at the store is fine!)
1 T of flour
12 T or 1.5 sticks of unsalted butter
as much buffalo wing sauce as you desire, i use about 1/3-1/2 of a cup total 
1/3 cup sour cream (okay, here you can actually use the light version if you really care that much. and if you do decide to use light sour cream then congratulations, instead of making a 1,000,000 calorie dish you’re now making a 999,980 calorie dish.) oh, also, if you don’t have sour cream you can use 1/4 a cup of cream cheese instead.
1/2 of a small yellow or white onion, diced
2-4 garlic cloves, minced, depending on your relationship with garlic use more or less. i use 5-its a serious relationship.
1 cup of panko bread crumbs, you can use regular breadcrumbs but, true fact, panko are the breadcrumbs of Mt Olympus.

The Run Down:
preheat the oven to 350, oh and make sure you have some kind of casserole dish or cake pan that will work. There have been times that I’ve sent myself into a deep depression after making the whole recipe only to realize all i have in the house are cookie sheets. (for the record, I found a way-stainless steel bowls anyone?)

Bring a large pot of water to a boil, add a handful of salt (yes, a handful-whenever you’re making pasta).
Add the shells, stir once right away and then every couple minutes give it a stir until its just short of al dente, about 7-8 minutes.

While the pasta is cooking, add 2 T of butter to a saute pan over medium heat. Saute the onions until translucent, add the garlic and chicken, stir to incorporate and let them get to know each other for about a minute or two before adding some buffalo sauce magic. (about 1/4 of a cup…or more if you’re feelin spicy). Let those flavors hang out for a few until thickened slightly and then take the pan off the heat and set to the side.

Your pasta is probably ready to be drained and you can let it sit in the collander for this next part, or you can choose to make the pasta once all of these steps are finished-whichever you prefer.

Melt 1 T of butter in a sauce pan (with talllll sides), once melted add the flour and mix with a whisk or spoon until there are no lumps in the roux mixture (culinary talk for flour+butter). Whisk in the half and half and let thicken slightly, about four minutes before adding about 1/4 of a cup more buffalo sauce. Whisk in 3  cups of the cheddar cheese and all of the jack cheese slowly so that no clumps form. Whisk frequently until all of the cheese has melted–you’ll know when it looks right because you will think, “wow this looks like cheese sauce heaven”. At this point you can add in the sour cream. Pour in the pasta and mix it all up!

Spray you’re baking dish with some non stick spray and pour in half of the mac and cheese. Cover the top of this layer with the chicken and buffalo sauce mixture and then top with the second half of the mac and cheese.
Melt about 2 T of butter in the microwave, once melted combine the butter and the panko and cover the entire top of the dish. Then, if you like to party, add the remaining 1/2 cup cheddar cheese on top.

Bake for 20-40 minutes until golden brown and bubbly. (I bake it as long as I can stand to wait before eating it) and then DEVOUR