Buffalo Chicken Mac and Cheese and Hello from Florida!

For those of you that don’t know, I moved to Kissimmee Florida at the end of October.   And for those that didn’t know last year was one of the worst years of my life.   I battled my work related injuries, that Doctors told me couldn’t be fixed, constant pain and a bout of depression that came as the result of those injuries and the fact that I could not continue working as a chef at the school I loved so much, in a profession that defined me.

Our move on top of everything else only added to the problems as did losing my mother in June, and then our beloved rescue Bernese Mt. Dog Beau.  It may be wrong to mention the two of them in the same sentence but they both loved me unconditionally, and I have missed them everyday since they’ve been gone from my life.

Now the good news is I feel much better!  My depression is a thing of the past and I’m living in a virtual paradise in Florida!  My back hasn’t felt this good in a very long time, and since I’ve stopped working as a chef my carpal tunnel has eased up considerably.  It’s hard to feel bad when the skies are blue and the sun is shining.  We visit Disney on a regular basis, and have been sunning on the beaches in December, it just doesn’t get any better than that!

Those of you that have read my blog with any regularity, know that its not just about food, but also my adventure on Google+.   For those of you that haven’t tried G+, you really need to.  Don’t believe the stories about it being a ghost town, or too hard to figure out, because if you like people and enjoy engaging with them its the best place to be.  And the food bloggers on G+ are amazing, tempting you with outrageous creations daily….it’s truly the best source for Foodporn anymore!

You can find me on G+ in two places as Chef Dennis Littley and at the G+ Food Bloggers Community.  Now you won’t find any foodporn in my community, because its a place for bloggers to ask questions and share best practices with their peers, helping each other become stronger and better bloggers.  You can also find me on G+ with my two weekly shows  Good Day Google+ which airs every Friday at 1 PM EST, and can be found in reruns on my YouTube Channel  and The Bloggers Guide to Using G+ Effectively  that I co-host with the amazing Dr. Jean Layton where we break down all the different components of Google+ in easy to understand terms with screen shares of the topic, so that you can better understand how Google+ works and begin to enjoy it as much as we do.

And that brings me to todays post.   For those that don’t follow me on Google+, I’d like to say that G+ has been very, very good to me.  I just broke the 400,000 mark for followers on Monday and have made some amazing friends there from around the world.   A few weeks ago a few of those friends Ronnie Bincer, Martin Shervington, David Amerland and Jim Shankle asked me to join them in a project they were working on to show how we can affect search on Google+.  The point of the study was to show Brands that have been resistant to coming onto G+ that they were mistaken if they didn’t think Google+ was important and to show them how it could help their buisness.

We looked over products that would be available on more of a world level than just a national level, since G+ really makes the “World a Small Place After All” and most big companies are world wide these days.  We came up with two Kraft products, Kraft mac and cheese and Cracker Barrel Cheese.

Now you might wonder why a Chef would even think of using Kraft Mac and Cheese, and the answer is simple.  It holds some of my fondest childhood memories of first learning to cook.  I remember both my mother and father helping me as I stood on a chair, mixing in the ingredients.  I also remember how I would tear the cheese powder packet open to lick the inside of the package to get what residue of cheese was left in there after adding it to the macaroni.

I’ll even admit to still eating it on occassion when I’m home alone and much to Lisa’s chagrin, right out of the pot I mix it in….  But when they mentioned those ingredients to me, admittedly I balked thinking it would hurt my credibility..lol, and then the memories came flooding back.  Food will do that to you…..sigh

Kraft Mac and Cheese,

So here my friends is my contribution to the #KraftyCooking campaign on Google+, I hope you enjoy it as much as I did!

Kraft Mac and Cheese

5.0 from 6 reviews
Buffalo Chicken Mac and Cheese
 
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
 
Author:
Recipe type: Main
Cuisine: American
Serves: 2
Ingredients
  • 1 package Kraft mac and cheese (7.25 oz)
  • 1 tablespoon butter
  • 2 tablespoons Philly cream cheese
  • ¼ cup milk
  • 4 ounces of pulled cooked chicken from thigh or breast
  • 1 oz of blue cheese crumbles
  • 1 oz of shredded cheddar cheese
  • 1 tablespoon butter
  • 3 tablespoons hot sauce
  • 1 teaspoon honey
Instructions
Buffalo Chicken
  1. melt 1 tablespoon of butter in a small pan and remove from the stove
  2. add in hot sauce and honey and blend well (do not continue heating)
  3. Pull the chicken meat so its small and thin pieces
  4. Mix the chicken into the buffalo sauce and set aside.
Mac and Cheese
  1. cook noodles in boiling lightly salted water for about 6 minutes under cooking just a bit
  2. drain macaroni and return to cooking pot
  3. add in cream cheese and butter and mix to melt both into the macaroni
  4. add in milk and mix well
  5. add in cheese packet and blend well
Assembly
  1. place half the mac and cheese into your baking dish and carefully add in half of the buffalo chicken and half of the blue cheese crumbles. Do not stir them in, just spread them around evenly.
  2. Add the remainder of the mac and cheese and then top with the remainder of chicken and blue cheese spreading it evenly.
  3. Do not mix the chicken and cheese into the mac, but gently push it down into the noodles.
  4. top with shredded cheddar cheese and bake at 350 for 15 minutes

pinterest-e6d41

Comments

  1. Oh Chef Dennis, I’m so sorry to hear about your terrible year. It seems 2013 wasn’t a very good year for so many of us.

    I am delighted to hear you are enjoying the sunshine way down in Florida. Pennsylvania is having what I would call, a brutal winter this year. I don’t mind saying my bones are killing me. (don’t tell anyone though:)

    It’s difficult to make change. Sometimes our choices are made for us. Enjoy each and every moment of your “sunny” life and who knows, perhaps you will share your delicious knowledge and creativity another way. Happy New Year to You and Yours Chef Dennis…

    P.S. I just had to tell you how yummy your Buffalo Mac & Cheese looks too. The Buffalo Wing is celebrating its Golden Anniversary this year and your recipe is perfect for my anniversary pin board. Thank you so much for sharing…

    • hi Louise
      its so nice to hear from you! It was a bad year but things have turned around pretty good so far, and I know the Florida sunshine will keep improving my quality of life! I’m glad you like my mac n’ cheese, it was pretty low tech compared to some dishes I make, but we had a great time with the study and had a lot of involvement from my blogging community on G+. Wow 50 years of buffalo wings, I had no idea! I missed out on them for so many years…lol

  2. Oh man I love buffalo mac n’ cheese….actually I love buffalo chicken anything! Great job chef :)

  3. Hi Dennis – really enjoyed your contribution to the Ronnie Bincer HOA today – great information.

    I want to send you an email but your contact form is blank – is there another way I should do that? See http://www.askchefdennis.com/about-chef-dennis/contact/

    Thanks – Ken

  4. My first interaction with mac and cheese was when I lived in CA, some thirty years ago. It was such a great food discovery for a 13 year old! Especially with a mother that didn’t cook much.
    So glad the days are sunnier Dennis, both figuratively and literally! Change is inevitable, and I’m glad you feel in great health.

    • hi Paula

      Mac and cheese has special memories for so many of us! I am loving Florida, the weather makes it feel like paradise, especially when I see how cold it is this year up north!
      Thanks for stopping by its was so nice to hear from you!

  5. I was so happy to see your post show up in my reader this morning, Chef Dennis! The blue box mac and cheese brings back such fond memories. I’m pretty sure it was the first “dinner” I was allowed to cook by myself. Of course I love this amped up version. Sorry that you’ve had such a hard year. I have no helpful words, but just know that you have a wonderful, supportive community here. So happy that you and Lisa are enjoying a new season in your lives!

    • Thank you Katrina, it really makes me feel good to know my posts were missed! And thank you for the reminder about our wonderful community, I am so fortunate to have so many wonderful friends.

  6. So sorry to hear that 2013 was such a hard time for you. Sometimes these challenges turn into blessings and I hope 2014 will bring much happiness and healing.

    I’m also in FL now for almost 30 years….Tampa area. The weather sure has me spoiled and I cannot imagine the freezing temps up north right now. Although I sometimes miss the fall colors and rustling leaves, the sunshine here in FL can’t be beat. I always say I must be solar powered because when there’s a few days of rain in a row, I get so sluggish. Sunshine is like happiness to me.

    I hear there is a blogger’s convention in Orlando in July and I’m hoping to attend. Maybe I’ll meet you and some of my other favorite bloggers. Will be a great learning experience for a new blogger like me.

    I saw this Buffalo Chicken Mac and Cheese recipe yesterday and will definitely have to try it. Like you, I’m not usually a package kind of cook, but sometimes you just want a quick, easy dinner. My husband has never been a fan of mac and cheese. I think because that’s all there is to it. But if I throw in some chicken (especially Buffalo Chicken) he’s gonna love it. Some celery and blue cheese on the side and it could be a winner in our home.

    Cheers for a great year ahead!

    • hi Sylvia
      you’re not that far at all from me, and I’m glad to hear that you love the weather! I can’t imagine ever going back to the cold again!
      I hope I do get to see you in Orlando, I will be there for sure, do you know Isabel Laessig, she’s in Tampa as well.

      thanks so much for stopping by and the well wishes!
      Dennis

  7. So glad to hear that life is sunnier for you and Lisa in Florida, Dennis! And I’m jealous about regular visits to Disney. :) Happy New Year!

  8. SO glad to know that you are really happy in FL! I saw your pictures on FB and I have to admit, I am jealous!! We are barely outside these days because the weather is something around -15 up here in Indiana.

    Cheers to a happier and healhier New Year!!

    • Kate, the weather here has been amazing, what a change from Philadelphia! We actually went to the beach before Christmas! Florida has been very good to me.

      Best wishes for a Happy and Healthy year for you and your family!

  9. So nice to see a blog post from you in my email inbox today! I think the work you are doing with Ronnie is cutting edge and where brands need to be looking especially now that FB is closing down reach with their latest algorithm change. Will be anxious to hear the outcome!

    So glad you are feeling better. Wishing 2014 to be a banner year for you and Lisa.

    • hi Toni
      I bet it was a surprise for many, its been so long since I posted, but it was a nice rush getting back into the swing of things! Hope you’re staying warm in Colorado, temps are going back up to 80 this weekend in the Sunshine state!

  10. Dennis, I am so sorry to hear about your lost last year, and about your injury. I know you loved your work so much! I am glad to hear that you feeling better, and who wouldn’t living in the sunshine state!

    Happy, healthy 2014!

  11. Dennis, I’m so glad to hear you’re settled in, exploring your new surroundings, and feeling better! My notion is that “down times” prepare us for (or at least make us anticipate) better times and appreciate them more fully when the tide turns. Enjoy every precious moment! Also, thank you (if I haven’t already told you so) for your encouragement and help re: G+. I’m still kinda hit or miss there yet (dealing with water pipes this week…), but I keep listening to HOA’s, learning multitudes, and having fun in between! Happy New Year and thanks for the fabulous recipe — love the combo of cheeses and your “licking the cheese packet” story. :)

    • hi Kim
      What doesn’t kill us makes us stronger… thats always been my motto, But things are going well, and I do love the Florida Sunshine! I can’t believe I told that story on You Tube as well….there goes my sauve image!

  12. Chef Dennis, I’m glad to hear the FL tide is changing for you. Sounds as though you are busy redefinding yourself. I think my 2 children would have starved it was wasn’t for Kraft Mac and Cheese. Your recipe sounded good doctored up with buffalo chicken, cream cheese, blue cheese and hot sauce, oh yes, honey. Yummy Yummy.

    • hi Julia Ann

      I know what you mean I ate more of that blue box than I care to remember…lol, but it was fun helping with our study and hopefully we can bring more brands to G+

      Cheers
      Dennis

  13. Glad to see you back! What an idyllic life you have now. So happy for you. On the same note, our condolences on the passing of your mother and beloved pet. That was sad to hear. We wish you much success and more good times on this next chapter of your life. Thanks for sharing this delish comfort food recipe Mac and Cheese. And thank you for generously mentoring and sharing your G+ knowledge with us.

  14. My son would love this!

  15. What a blessing to be in retirement. I can relate to the chronic pain, I was hit by a semi truck last July and the pain seems unending.. I’m glad to hear you are doing better and the pain has been eased for you! I keep meaning to make it to a hangout so it might have to be moved to the top of my list for this year! Your so wonderful Dennis and thanks for all you do. The Mac and Cheese looks delicious and once in awhile we indulge too even though it was never allowed at the table when I was growing up have fond memories of enjoying it on occasion at friends houses.

    • hi Serena
      I can’t imagine what you must be going though, I do hope you find some relief. If you need any help with hangouts let me know, I’d be happy to jump on with you and give you a quick tutorial!
      Dennis

  16. So good to see a new Post from you. Glad to hear things are looking better.
    Mac-n-cheese is one of the ultimate comfort foods, isn’t? I could eat that non-stop as well!

  17. This is a fabulous post, Chef Dennis. Really special of you to share your stories and I am thrilled for you that you are loving what Florida offers. I left Ohio 34 years ago without a day’s regret!

    This is a fun recipe. We all grew up on Kraft macaroni and cheese and, every so often, it is too tempting not to enjoy again!

    Thanks so much for all that you do on G+. 400,000…WOW!!! That is something to celebrate and be proud of!!!

  18. Chef, so glad to hear you’ve relocated to the sunny state of Florida. Having lived in the Northeast for over 25 years, we are thinking about heading south after our youngest is off to college. You are missing the big chill, so bravo for your decision. Also happy to hear you’re feeling better, on all fronts. Best wishes for the New Year!

  19. Hi Chef D ! I’m glad that your doing well and loving your new life in sunny Florida :) I Hope 2014 brings you good health and happiness ! Mac and cheese ? I hate macaroni but penne and cheese sounds wonderful lol

    • hi Anne
      thank you for your well wishes, things are definitely looking up since we moved Florida, we’re both hoping for a very happy 2014! As for mac and cheese my favorite noodle for that is cavatappi!

  20. Chef Dennis, It was nice to meet you this year on Google+. Your are so generous towards other bloggers in sharing your experience and giving support and encouragement. Thank you! I knew of your move down south, condolences on the loss of your loved ones and glad you’re in a better place. Reading this post makes me want to move to sunny FLA! Wishing you happiness and good health in 2014.

    • hi Joan
      thank you so much for your comment, I love helping my friends especially with G+, I have so much fun there! Florida has proven to be a good choice, and I’m sure you would love it! It’s been a pleasure getting to know you on G+ and if I can do anything to help you don’t hesitate to ask!
      Dennis

  21. Chef Dennis, glad to hear that you are doing much better. Mac ‘n cheese brings out the child in all of us! I still remember the first time I’ve had it. My nextdoor neighbor introduced me to it. It was one of the only things I was able to make myself as a child. And I can totally relate to that excitement of making your own food all by yourself….feeling all grown up. Some childhood favorites never get old. I haven’t had mac ‘n cheese in ages, but now I am craving some!

  22. As much as I interact with you on G+, I had no idea about your trials and tribulations over the last year. I’m really sorry about your mom and dog. I’m just so sorry. Glad to hear you’re feeling better Dennis.

    • hi Lea Ann

      I hadn’t said much about what was going on to many. But I thought since things were looking up I’d tell a little of what I was going through and about my move. I was very happy to see all the positive response I got over the post, sometimes you just don’t know which way things could go. But like I said, things are much better now, and I’m almost busier with G+ activities than I was when I was working!

  23. Yum!! I love mac and cheese!!

  24. I’m so glad to hear that you are feeling better! I used to live in Orlando and it’s a great place to live!

  25. Hey, Dennis. I know that 2014 will be a great year for you. Glad that 2013 is in the rear view mirror for you. I am so sorry about your mom and your dog. And it is perfectly appropriate to mention them in the same sentence for the reasons you mentioned. Take good care, and enjoy the sweet life in Florida!

  26. Hey, Chef Dennis! You certainly underwent too many life-changing events in a really short time period! But you have plowed through them and can now breathe again in new surroundings that are void of things and places that still will tug at your heartstrings. It is great that you have shared this with others, as it gives strength to those who are currently facing their own unique challenges. You are a terrific person!

    • hi Meloney

      thanks so much I appreciate your support and friendship, and I thought long and hard about divulging so much but it felt like a cleansing for me. Now I’m loving life in Florida with the blue skies and sunshine!

    • Thanks Meloney, it was a hard decision to divulge so much, but I felt so much better after putting down in writing. Now I’m lving life in Florida with the Blue Skies and Sunshine!

  27. Dennis, so glad to hear things are looking up…and in such a warn sunny place. Sometimes we have to go through that dark tunnel to find the bright sunshine. I’m so glad you’re feeling better. I did notice you hadn’t posted in a while, but figured you were so busy. Look forward to more posts, and please take a ride in It;’s a Small World for me!

    • thank you Sandie, it was a rough few months for me and I’m trying to get back in the swing of things. Florida has definitely been a change for the better and next time I’m at the MK I’ll ride its a small world for you!

  28. Hi Chef Dennis,
    Just made your fabulous tiramisu for a Super Bowl Party and decided to take a look at your blog. Welcome to sunny Florida. I have lived in Sanibel for the past 10 years, going up to Connecticut for the summer. Sorry to hear about your past year. Just remember that there is always another dog waiting to be adopted. Our wonderful Lilli came into our lives 4 years ago after being found wandering the streets of Miami as an 11 month old puppy. She is the light of our lives, and makes all who meet her smile.

    • Thank you so much for stopping by Elaine and I’m happy to hear you made my Tiramisu, I hope everyone loves it! I know what you mean about dogs and I’ve never had one affect me as much as our boy did, We still have a perfect little girl Lucy who is now past 12, shes never known a bad day in her life and is such a sweet girl. When she finally leaves us we will probably not get another dog for awhile so we can travel a bit, but I know if the opportunity presented itself we adopt another in a heartbeat!

  29. I’ve been traveling a lot, so have missed this very important post of yours. I’m so sorry for the trying times you had to go through in 2013. But glad you are finally finding solace, peace and great health after moving to Kissimmee! Welcome to Florida!!

  30. Dennis, I’m so glad we got a chance to catch up last week. I’m so glad you’re doing better, both physically and mentally. That makes my heart happy. I also wanted to say I thought it was okay to talk about both losses together. I lost my mom when I was 15 and I know most people don’t understand it but I feel like my horse is my mother figure in my life. She’s the only one who loves me completely unconditionally and wants nothing from me in life. She’s just happy to see me when I show up. I know most people just don’t get that but after reading this I know you do. I’m so happy you’re digging Florida. You look and sound so much happier and it just makes me smile to know that.

    I can’t wait to see you this summer. I’ll be done your way a couple of time this year. In the meantime I’ll be whipping up some of this wicked amazing buffalo chicken mac n cheese. Cripes dude, talk about go big or go home. This is so over the top yummy looking I can barely take it.

  31. That buffalo flavoring takes this mac & cheese over the top, Dennis. Great recipe! PINNED & SHARED

  32. Karen McNamara says:

    Chef Dennis. In scrolling through different food blogs, I I came across yours. We miss you at MSJA . I hope this year will be better for you and know you will always be part of that great school. I love the blog and plan to start making your recipes. My girls will be excited that I found you. They loved Chef Dennis penne pasta.. The best!
    Take care. blessings on you and you family.
    Karen McNamara

    • thank you Karen, and I can’t begin to tell you how much I miss the Mount and my girls. It was the hardest decision I’ve ever had to make, but was one I really had no choice in. Please send my best wishes to your girls and all the others at the Mount and I look forward to hearing from you again
      Dennis

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