I firmly believe that everyone needs at least one day-saving recipe in their arsenal—the kind of meal that can make a bad day good and a good day better. For me, it’s any variation of macaroni and cheese. I keep the boxed stuff on hand for those really bad days, but homemade is almost as easy and requires just enough kitchen work to provide some kitchen therapy when needed.
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10 ingredients. 45 minutes. Quick, easy, and fresh weeknight recipes.
My current favorite is this skillet Buffalo Chicken Mac and Cheese. It checks all the right boxes: creamy, cheesy, crunchy, spicy, tangy. And it’s so easy.
- Bake frozen chicken tenders (I told you, easy!) until they’re crunchy, cut them into bite-size pieces, and toss them with a simple buffalo sauce: just Frank’s RedHot, melted butter, and some ranch seasoning stirred together.
- Cook macaroni in a measured amount of liquid (a mixture of milk and water) and don’t drain it; the starchy, creamy liquid that remains once the pasta’s tender will become the sauce. Stir in shredded cheese (cheddar for sharp flavor and American to ensure the sauce stays creamy and emulsified), plus more hot sauce and ranch seasoning.
- Top the mac with the chicken, broil it to get the top bits extra-crispy, and then garnish it all with (even more!) hot sauce, sliced scallions, and crumbled blue cheese.
Buffalo Chicken Mac and CheeseA perfect mash-up of two favorite comfort foods.
If buffalo chicken isn’t your jam, might I suggest this version, inspired by spinach-artichoke dip? Or this one, which tastes like your favorite cheeseburger with all the fixings. Whichever you choose, any of these dolled-up macaronis are just the thing to brighten your day and get you through that midweek slump.