Buffalo Chicken Casserole

When I was in college, I did not like buffalo wings.  I tried them a couple times and I hated the way they made my lips sting and sucked all the taste buds out of my mouth (due to the heat).  Why would anyone want to eat something as an appetizer and then eat their meals when they couldn’t taste anything?!

My husband, on the other hand, was a buffalo wing lover pretty much since birth.  Well, that’s how it seems.  We would go out to eat and he would get the buffalo wing appetizer, the buffalo chicken sandwich, buffalo wing ice cream milkshake…  OK, OK, that might be an exaggeration.  It might….

One day, he convinced me to try them again. 
But I’ll burn my lips and I won’t be able to taste my entree!
I whined.
You’ll be fine.  Just use a fork to get the meat off the bone.  He desperately wanted me to try them.  He likes to share.
OK, but if I don’t like it, you’re buying me a chocolate sundae with extra cherries to make my mouth feel better!

I pulled a small piece of the chicken off the bone and hesitantly brought the fork to my lips.  It smelled good…a bit tangy with a whiff of garlic…so I bit down, taking great care to avoid getting the wing sauce on my lips.

Oh. My. God.  Why have you never made me try these before?!
The smug guy just sat there, with a little smirk on his face, and watched as I demolished his plate of wings.

The rest, we shall say, is history.

To begin, I poached a pound of chicken in water seasoned with Herbes de Provence, whole peppercorns, and kosher salt.

While the chicken was poaching, my egg noodles took a hot soak in some water.

Then, I introduced the ranch dressing to the hot sauce.  Everyone got along famously.

When the chicken was nice and cooked, I pulled it from the water and shredded it with two forks.

Then I drained the egg noodles and combined them with the chicken.

I added the hot ranch and a cup of cheese and mixed well.

I deposited said mixture in a square glass baking dish I’d sprayed with Pam and topped with “bread crumbs” (or ground up pretzels, which is all I had) and sprayed them with cooking spray.  Note:  the next time I make this (and there WILL be a next time!), I am going to crush up whole wheat crackers and mix a little melted butter in them.  That way the crust will get nice and golden and there will be more crunch…something that was missing this time.

As I was not going to be home for dinner, I decided to leave my sweetie a little note to help him out.

Our verdict?  YUM!  This is going in the “make again” pile.  It’s great for freezing and would be wonderful for kids.  Just decrease the spice level a bit. Let me know what you think!
Buffalo Chicken Casserole
1 pound chicken
peppercorns, salt, & herbes de Provence for poaching
2 cups egg noodles
1 cup Ranch dressing
1/2 cup hot sauce
1 cup 2% milk sharp cheddar cheese

Topping:
1/2 cup Ritz crackers, crushed (subbed from my original recipe)
1 tbsp butter, melted (subbed from my original recipe)

*Unfortunately, as I did not use the Ritz crackers and the butter, I may have the measurements wrong.  Please use your discretion when making the topping.

Preheat your oven to 400* and set two pans of water to boil…one for your chicken and one for your egg noodles.

In the chicken pot, add your peppercorns, salt, and herbes.  Bring both pans to a boil.  Add your chicken to your chicken pot and cook for about 20 minutes, or until the chicken is no longer pink.  Add your egg noodles to your pasta pot and cook for about 10 minutes, or until the noodles are al dente.

Meanwhile, combine your ranch and hot sauce.  I usually do this by taste without measuring.  Make sure you hold back on your hot sauce if you are not a spice fan.  Keep tasting it to see if the temperature is to your liking.

After the chicken is cooked, shred it apart with two forks.  You could also chop the chicken in a fine dice if you’d like.  Whatever suits your fancy.  Then, combine the chicken with the egg noodles and toss.

Sauce your chicken/pasta mixture well, then add in your cheese and toss to combine.  After everything is mixed, deposit it into your prepared baking dish.

Melt your butter and crush your crackers.  Then let them meet and mingle.  Spread the mixture over the casserole.  Bake at 400* for 30 minutes.

This dish would be great with a crunchy salad (simulating the celery they serve on the side) or with a roasted green vegetable of sorts.

**My bestie, Carolyn, is testing out vegetarianism, so I find myself thinking “What would Carolyn do to make this vegetarian friendly” a lot of the time.  In this recipe, I think you could either leave the chicken out completely and decrease the amount of sauce you used, or you could use cannellini beans you’ve rinsed.

What would you do to change this recipe?

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5 thoughts on “Buffalo Chicken Casserole

    • Well, it’s not exactly good for you, but I am working on a healthier version of it hopefully tomorrow. Some of the changes I am considering are substituting greek yogurt and lemon juice for part of the ranch dressing (I need to mess with proportions) and maybe a different kind of topping. I want something crunchy but healthy at the same time. Maybe wheat bread crumbs? Keep an eye out for an updated post!

  1. Pingback: Main Dishes | One Girl's Taste On Life

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