Categories
Main Dish

Spicy, wing-inspired casserole is ‘Buffalo’-key delicious

Buffalo Chicken Casserole
Buffalo chicken casserole combines alfredo sauce and pasta with Buffalo wing sauce and chicken to create a cheesy, spicy dish that comes together quickly for dinner.

I was gone for a few days last week, and while Joey and I were catching up on our respective adventures from when we were apart, I learned that he made homemade Buffalo wings. Without me.

Now, I’ll forgive him his betrayal, because in his defense, I am normally not a huge fan of eating meat off the bone. But chicken wings tend to be a bit of an exception.

I love the spiciness of Buffalo sauce along with some crispy celery or some cool ranch dipping sauce. Wings are just pretty darn great all the way around.

I kept thinking about how I missed out, when I remembered I had a recipe featuring Buffalo sauce that I’ve been meaning to try. I hoped it would be just the trick to finally kick my craving.

The recipe I tried comes from the blog “Back For Seconds.” You can find the original post at https://backforseconds.com/buffalo-chicken-alfredo-bake/2/. I changed up the amounts of several ingredients and used breaded chicken instead of rotisserie in my version.

Buffalo Chicken Casserole
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Buffalo Chicken Casserole

Buffalo chicken casserole combines alfredo sauce and pasta with Buffalo wing sauce and chicken to create a cheesy, spicy dish that comes together quickly for dinner.
Course Main Course
Keyword Alfredo sauce, Buffalo sauce, chicken, easy dinner, mozzarella, penne pasta, quick dinner

Ingredients

  • 16 ounces pasta cooked (I used penne)
  • 1/3 cup buffalo sauce plus more for drizzling
  • 2 cups cooked chicken diced (I used frozen chicken patties)
  • 16 ounces alfredo sauce
  • 12 ounces mozzarella cheese shredded
  • salt and pepper to taste

Instructions

  • While you boil your pasta, preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Prepare a three-quart baking dish by spraying it with cooking spray and set it aside.
  • When draining your pasta, reserve about one-third cup of the cooking liquid.
  • In a bowl, combine the buffalo sauce and chicken and stir to coat evenly.
  • In another bowl, combine the alfredo sauce, pasta and about one-fourth of the cheese. Pour the reserved pasta water into the empty alfredo jar, put on the lid, and shake it to loosen any leftover sauce in the jar. Pour it into the bowl, as well. Add salt and pepper, if desired. Stir to mix it well.
  • Spread half of the pasta mixture into the prepared baking dish. Evenly spread the chicken over that, and then finish off with the other half of the pasta mixture.
  • Top with the remaining cheese.
  • Cover the baking dish with a lid or foil and bake for 30 minutes. Remove the covering and bake for another 10 minutes or until the cheese is lightly browned.
  • Let the casserole sit for about five minutes, drizzle with a little Buffalo sauce, and serve.

I was really happy with how this turned out. It was a bit spicy with lots of good cheesy flavors mixed in. I also was happy with my decision to cut up chicken patties to use in this instead of deboning a rotisserie chicken. It took way less time, and I liked the added flavor of the breading in the casserole.

It’s not quite a complete substitute for Buffalo wings, but it definitely did a good job of featuring the main flavors.

Joey will probably still have to make it up to me by cooking some wings again sometime in the near future, but I think this will hold me over for now.

This piece first appeared in print on June 30, 2022.

Spice Up Your Life is a weekly newspaper column written by Lindsey Young in south central Kansas. If you are interested in sponsoring this column, please contact us through the “Contact Lindsey” link at the top of the page.

Categories
Main Dish Salad Side Dish

Customizable pasta dish is worth every ‘penne’

Greek pasta salad is extremely customizable for all kinds of diets and preferences, with lots of fresh vegetables and a light, flavorful dressing.

I’ve written before that I have some random, mostly mild food allergies that make certain recipes difficult for me.

Specifically, tomatoes cause me trouble, and I have to limit how often I include them in my diet, no matter how much I love them.

Because of that, I’m sympathetic to readers who sometimes email me and ask if I’d be willing to throw something gluten free or dairy free into the paper so they can try a new recipe, too. I definitely sympathize with people who have much more serious food intolerances than I do; it’s tough to keep food interesting.

With that said, the recipe I included this week can easily be made gluten free, dairy free and vegan, if you so desire. You’ll only need to do a few quick swaps or deletions to make it happen, and it’s all ingredients that you can easily find in your local grocery store.

This comes from the blog “Strength and Sunshine” by Rebecca Pytell. You can find the original post at https://strengthandsunshine.com/gluten-free-greek-pasta-salad-vegan/. I changed up the ingredients and proportions a bit and added extra garlic, too.

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Greek Pasta Salad

Greek pasta salad is extremely customizable for all kinds of diets and preferences, with lots of fresh vegetables and a light, flavorful dressing.
Course Salad
Keyword black olives, English cucumber, extra virgin olive oil, garlic, gluten-free, green bell pepper, Kalamata olives, mozzarella, oregano, penne pasta, red bell pepper, red onion, red wine vinegar, vegan, vegetarian

Ingredients

  • 16 ounces penne pasta
  • 1 English cucumber cut into bite-sized pieces
  • 1 green bell pepper chopped
  • 1 red bell pepper chopped
  • 1/2 small red onion thinly sliced
  • 6 ounces black or Kalamata olives halved
  • 16 ounces mozzarella cheese cubed
  • 1/3 cup extra virgin olive oil
  • 2 tablespoons red wine vinegar
  • 2 teaspoons lemon juice
  • 2 teaspoons oregano
  • 4 cloves garlic minced
  • salt and pepper to taste

Instructions

  • Prepare all of the vegetables and cheese and add to a very large serving bowl.
  • While you prepare the veggies, boil the pasta according to package directions. Drain it and run cold water over the pasta.
  • Add the cold, drained pasta to the bowl and stir to combine the ingredients.
  • In a small bowl, whisk the olive oil, vinegar, lemon juice, oregano, garlic and salt and pepper with a fork, and then pour it over top of the pasta mixture.
  • Toss to evenly coat all of the ingredients with the oil mixture, cover, and let the salad marinate for at least 30 minutes in the refrigerator.
  • Serve cold or at room temperature, and store any leftovers in an airtight container in the refrigerator.

If you go to the original recipe author for this, you’ll notice that I left a pint of tomatoes out of my version (for obvious reasons). I also decided to use whole grain pasta in mine, which made me feel like it was a bit healthier, too.

This was a great lunch, and it makes a ton of food. I’ve been eating on this salad all week long for lunch, and it’s been fabulous. It is lightly dressed and has lots of different flavors with all the vegetables.

I also hope it fits the bill for something new for those of you who have some food intolerances. With the weather warming up, a good pasta salad is a great recipe to have on hand, and nobody should have to miss out on a good lunch.

This piece first appeared in print on April 14, 2022.

Spice Up Your Life is a weekly newspaper column written by Lindsey Young in south central Kansas. If you are interested in sponsoring this column, please contact us through the “Contact Lindsey” link at the top of the page.

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