Friday, January 21, 2011

Homemade Buffalo Macaroni and Cheese

About a year ago I was determined to make a classic macaroni and cheese recipe from scratch. I found a recipe online, bought all of the ingredients and set off to make that kind of macaroni and cheese that you crave - you know, the homemade kind? Well, unfortunately, it didn't turn out so good. It was very thick, had an odd texture and not much flavor. My husband was sweet enough to eat some of it, but most of the pot went into the garbage that evening. One year later I was finally brave enough to try again, this time with different ingredients and spices. What started out as a regular macaroni and cheese dish turned into more of a southwest buffalo-flavored meal and with ham and broccoli. It's creamy and extra cheesy with a bit of a kick that makes for a great flavor. It's also less fattening and more nutritious than regular mac and cheese recipes because the base mainly consists of milk instead of heavy cream, and it includes broccoli, which, surprisingly, adds a great flavor to the dish. (Picture courtesy of Real Simple)


  • 8 oz. shell pasta, uncooked

  • 2 cloves garlic, finely minced

  • 3 Tbsp. butter

  • 3 Tbsp. flour

  • 1 cup milk

  • 1 cup sharp cheddar cheese, grated

  • 1/8 tsp. pepper

  • 1/8 tsp. nutmeg

  • 1/2 tsp. garlic salt

  • 1 tsp. cajun seasoning

  • 1/2 cup half-and-half

  • 1 cup chopped broccoli

  • 1 cup diced ham

  • 4-5 Tbsp. Frank's Buffalo sauce

Cook the pasta according to package directions and drain. While the past is cooking, steam the broccoli for 4-5 minutes or until tender-crisp. Set aside. In a medium saucepan, melt the butter and saute the garlic over medium heat until light brown, about 2-3 minutes. Add in the flour and stir until a thick roux (dough-like texture) forms. Slowly add in the milk and stir over medium heat for 4-5 minutes or until it thickens and begins to bubble, and the roux is dissolved. Add in the cheese and stir until melted and thoroughly combined. Stir in the pepper, nutmeg, garlic salt and cajun seasoning. Turn heat to low and add in the cooked pasta, broccoli, ham and half-and-half. Mix together until all ingredients are coated in the cheese sauce. Stir in the hot sauce, one tablespoon at a time, until completely incorporated. Serve warm with extra cheese sprinkled on top.

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