Crockpot Buffalo Chicken Mac ‘n Cheese


While my furry son was busy playing pumpkin bowling in the front lawn the other day when I was at the office, my chicken-lovin‘* son (who is amazingly turning into quite the cook!) kindly prepared a scrumptious dinner for hubby and me to enjoy when we came home.

What a treat!

And ooohhh how I am going to miss this guy when he moves out soon…

Who doesn’t love a yummy macaroni and cheese recipe on a cool Autumn or winter day?  And buffalo chicken… well – I can eat that any which way.  But – mixed with mac ‘n cheese!!  WOWZA!  Holy Swooning Wowza!

This would be such a yummy dish to give to someone (you know when you want to help out when a family member or friend has a baby, a loved one is mourning, a new neighbor moves in across the street, a friend has surgery…) or take to a potluck event, because it is one of those recipes that keeps well and gets even better the next day or two as leftovers when the flavors fully meld.

This is a keeper friends!  Hope you’ll give it a try, because it is another Winner Winner Chicken Dinner!

Crockpot Buffalo Chicken Mac n Cheese*


  • 1 lb. boneless skinless chicken breast
  • 2 cups chicken broth
  • 1/2 cup buffalo wing sauce (Nick made his by combining approximately 60% Franks Red Hot Original Cayene Pepper Sauce,  30% Cholula Hot Sauce, and 10% Sriracha Hot Chili )
  • 1 tsp garlic powder
  • 1/2 tsp onion powder
  • 1/4 tsp celery salt
  • 8 oz pasta (Nick used Penne, but you could use macaroni, shells, or any shape you like)
  • 3 Tbsp butter
  • 2 Tbsp flour
  • 2 1/2 cups milk
  • 2 cups shredded cheddar cheese


Add chicken, broth, buffalo sauce and seasonings to crockpot.  Cover and cook on high for 3-4 hours or low for 6-8 hours.

Shred fully cooked chicken with fork and return to crockpot.  Add UNCOOKED pasta.  Stir to combine.  Cover and cook on high for 30-40 minutes until fully cooked.

Make cheese sauce separately by melting butter in a saucepan over medium-high heat.  Whisk in flour.  Slowly pour in milk while continuing to whisk until smooth.  Bring to a simmer for 4-5 minutes until sauce thickens enough to stick to a spoon.  Remove from heat and stir in cheese until melted and smooth.

Add cheese sauce to crockpot, and stir to combine.  Enjoy!

OPTIONAL:  If you like, top it right before serving with a sprinkle of freshly crumbed bleu cheese to kick it up about 10 notches!!  

Cheers & Hugs,

*Nick found and slightly adapted this recipe from Jennifer @ Slow Cooker Gourmet

*For more yummy Winning Chicken Dinners, just type “Chicken” into the search box at the top right corner of  the blog or click here.

Smoked Gouda Penne ‘n Cheese

smoked gouda penne 'n cheese mac n cheese

With the Fall nip in the air, comfort foods like Mac ‘n Cheese come to mind and come to our table!  This kicked up version is super simple, yet amazingly delicious.

This is not your pantry’s boxed macaroni and cheese!  This is a gourmet version to make for your family without having to be a gourmet chef.

smoked gouda penne 'n cheese close up

I pretty much wing it to taste, but I will do my best to list ingredient measurements that you can work with.

This could be served alone with a salad for a vegetarian/meatless meal or you could serve it alongside your favorite protein.  You can even throw some grilled chicken or shrimp or seafood in for a heartier meal.

smoked gouda penne 'n cheese

We had it Sunday with chicken sausages on the grill and some homemade coleslaw with a fresh vinaigrette dressing.

Don’t like smoked gouda cheese?  For shame!  But…. you can throw any kind of your favorite cheese in – cheddar, muenster, brick – or a combination of all!

Have fun and enjoy!

Smoked Gouda Penne 'n Cheese

Ingredients:smoked gouda penne 'n cheese mac n cheese

  • 1 lb Penne Pasta
  • 1/4 cup butter
  • 1/4 cup flour
  • 2 cups milk (I use Skim)
  • 8 oz. freshly grated smoked Gouda cheese
  • Salt & Pepper to taste


  • Preheat oven to 400 degrees F.
  • Cook pasta in boiling salted water according to package directions until al dente,  Drain in colander and rinse with cold water.  Set aside.
  • In medium saucepan, prepare a rue by melting butter, then stirring in flour.
  • Bring to a simmer, then gradually whisk in milk slowly to thicken the sauce.
  • Remove from heat and stir in grated cheese until melted.
  • Add salt and pepper to taste.
  • Stir all but 1/4 cup cheese sauce into pasta.
  • Pour all into greased baking dish.
  • Top with reserved cheese.
  • Bake for 20 -30 minutes until browned and crispy on top and edges.

Cheers & Cheesy Hugs,


Jack Daniel’s Bacon Mac n Cheese

JD Mac N Cheese Cover

If you are looking for an extra special version of Mac n Cheese to take to a picnic or party or special event – meet Jack Daniel’s Bacon Mac n Cheese.

We were heading to “The Best Book Club Ever” this weekend and were to bring wine and cheese or a cheese dish.

Well – knowing “The Best Book Club Ever” host’s love of all things Jack Daniel’s

JD Mac N Cheese JD

and pretty much everyone’s love of bacon – I couldn’t resist this combo to try out and take.

JD Mac N Cheese Bacon

I found a recipe by Julie Espy of White Lights on Wednesday and tweaked it up Jodi-style, then doubled the recipe since we were feeding a crowd, and put it in the crockpot to keep warm after baking.

JD Mac N Cheese Hot from Oven

I have to say – it was a hit.  What a yummy combination of bourbon soaked smoky bacon that gets candied with brown sugar and cayenne for a kick that stays with ya and creamy cheese and noodles.

JD Mac N Cheese

This should probably not be on your regular weekly dinner menu (though you may want and crave it after experiencing) because it is only low-fat and low-calorie when served at parties….

JD Mac N Cheese Plated

But when partyin’, it goes great with an icy glass of Jack and lime.

If you want a crowd pleaser, make this for your next gathering!

Jack Daniel’s Bacon Mac n Cheese

1 lb thick sliced bacon
½ cup Jack Daniel’s Tennessee Whiskey + 1 Tbsp
1 cup brown sugar
1 teaspoon cayenne pepper
1 pound macaroni pasta
3 tablespoons unsalted butter
⅓ cup all-purpose flour
2 cups milk
1 cup extra sharp cheddar cheese, shredded (do not use pre-shredded cheese in the bag!)
1 cup smoked gouda cheese, shredded
1 lb ball fresh mozzarella cheese, broken into pieces
½ teaspoon paprika
Salt and pepper to taste

Preheat oven to 400 degrees F.

In a small saucepan, bring ½ cup Jack Daniel’s to a boil. (WATCH CAREFULLY – and cover with a lid.  I didn’t put a lid on mine and was making double.  I put it on to boil, turned around, and when I looked back, a flame 2 feet high was rising from the boiling alcohol.  No worries – we all survived – just lost a little Jack in the process.)  Reduce heat to medium, and simmer until reduced to 2 tablespoons. (My flaming alcohol reduced very quickly, but I don’t recommend that method!)  Remove from heat.  (I really think you could make this without even heating the Jack and may just skip next time, so feel free to do that if  you prefer.)

On a plate, combine brown sugar and cayenne. Dip bacon into Jack Daniels and then press each side into brown sugar mixture to coat. Place on a baking sheet (with sides if you don’t want bacon grease and alcohol dripping in your oven).  Bake for 7 minutes, then flip and bake for about 5 more minutes.  Remove the bacon to a plate coated with non-stick cooking spray to cool.  Chop bacon when cool.

Bring water to a boil in a large pot. Add macaroni and cook until al dente. Drain pasta; set aside.

While pasta is cooking, melt butter in a medium sauce pan over medium-high heat. Add flour, and whisk to combine.  Add 1 tablespoon Jack Daniel’s and whisk into roux. Whisk in 1 cup milk until combined. Add remaining milk. Whisk frequently until sauce thickens and begins to bubble. Add cheeses; whisk until cheeses melt and sauce is smooth. Add paprika and salt and pepper to taste. Pour sauce over pasta, and add chopped bacon. Stir until pasta is completely coated in sauce.

Bake for 30-40 minutes uncovered until top begins to brown and cheese sauce is bubbling.


Cheers & Hugs,


“Instants” I Just Don’t Get….


… INSTANT Mashed Potatoes

NEVER bought them.
What is more instant that peeling and boiling and mashing REAL potatoes?  A no brainer, and SOOOOO much better!

… INSTANT Coffee

GAG!  No more words necessary!  Should not even exist.

… INSTANT Iced Tea

Is it really that much easier than putting a tea bag in hot water and cooling?

… INSTANT Macaroni and Cheese


(I do have to admit to buying this “food” in a box in my younger years when the kids were little. And then there is Nick’s first experience with “cooking” boxed mac’n cheese! You’ll have to ask him about that!)

I’m not sure why I bought it????
I don’t think I was ever taught differently.
But – another – SERIOUSLY??  – What is so difficult about whisking together some butter, flour, milk and cheese and mixing it with a box of macaroni?
Pretty instant I think.
And pretty yummy too!  Who can resist the creamy, gooey, cheesey center contrasting with the browned crusty goodness on the edges?!? – Num Num Num!
Made some for Marty this past week.  Macaroni Salad and Mac and Cheese are a couple of his favorite indulgences I don’t make that often.
But when I do – it’s a big hit!

(especially goes over well a day after I serve him “CHICKEN AGAIN?!” – and even more especially with teriyaki sauce! 🙂 )

I know many of us are busy and enjoy INSTANT things, but I’m liking them less and less….

Then again,

I am at

Life In Between.

Do you have any INSTANTS you LOVE or HATE?  Would love to hear about them 🙂

Cheers and Hugs,