January 31, 2011

Mac N Cheese Soup with a side of Buffalo Chicken Fries

It's been a while my foodie friends.  Work is interfering with my personal life and I don't like it one bit.   I've finally found a bit of time to cook up some more goodies to share.  I thought I'd start off the year with a tasty dish that will be sure to warm your tummy and heart during this crazy winter.  We had a beautiful weekend in Dallas with mid-70's. Starting tonight it will drop to the 30's and tomorrow in the teens for the low.  (You didn't realize you'd get a weather update while reading a food blog, did ya?  Well there you have it.)  So whip up a batch of this Mac N Cheese Soup and the Buffalo Chicken "Fries" to warm your soul.  I could eat more than my share of this chicken.  Wow!!   Mmmm Mmmm Good!  Wait, can I say that even though that's Campbell's Soup?  Oh well.  Believe me on this, you won't want anything to do with that canned stuff when you can make something as simple and delicious as this.  


Mac N Cheese Soup
1 c (4 oz) elbow macaroni
2 small shallots
1 carrot, cut into 1-inch pieces
1 stalk celery, cut into 1-inch pieces
1/4 c all-purpose flour
3 3/4 c fat-free low-sodium chicken broth
1 1/4 c 2% milk
6 oz shredded sharp cheddar cheese
1/4 c grated parmesan cheese
1/4 c crumbled blue cheese

Bring medium sauce pan to a boil.  Add the macaroni and cook per the directions on the package.  Drain.

Mince the shallots, carrot and celery in a food processor.  Mist the saucepan with cooking spray.  Add the vegetables and cook over medium-high heat until softened, 4-5 minutes. 

Add the flour and cook, stirring, 2 minutes.  Gradually stir in the broth and bring to a boil; stirring, until thickened, 6-7 minutes.  Whisk in the milk, sharp cheese and parmesan cheese until cheese melts.  Remove from heat.

Stir in the macaroni and season with pepper.  Garnish with blue cheese just before serving.   Serve with a side of Buffalo Chicken "Fries".  (see recipe below)

Buffalo Chicken "Fries"
1/3 c hot sauce (such as Frank's)
1/2 stick unsalted butter, melted
1 tbsp honey
1 lb boneless skinless chicken tenders (cut in half length-wise into strips)
1/3 c all-purpose flour
1/4 c vegetable oil, divided

Whisk the hot sauce, butter and honey in a large bowl.  Set aside.  Preheat oven to 450 degrees.

Toss the chicken strips with flour in a large plastic bag until coated; shake the excess flour off. 

Heat 2 tbsp oil in a large saute pan over medium-high; add half the chicken strips, saute until browned, about 2 minutes per side, then transfer to the hot sauce mixture and toss to coat.  Repeat with remaining oil and chicken strips.   Arrange chicken in a single layer on a baking sheet and bake in preheated oven for 7-9 minutes or until sizzling and browned.