My favorite meals involve pasta. I could happily eat pasta every night, but that doesn’t exactly fit in with my resolution to lose weight. But I also know that if I try to completely eliminate my favorite food from my diet, I’ll fail miserably. Instead, I’m only making pasta maybe once a week and I watch how big of a portion I take.
This Buffalo Chicken Pasta recipe has been a favorite in my family for the last seven years. I can remember making it for my oldest two back when they were toddlers and they’d literally lick their plates clean. Back when it was cute for them to lick their plates clean, as opposed to now when they’d yell at whoever was licking their plate “TABLE MANNERS!”
What I like about this Buffalo Chicken pasta recipe is that it can be adapted depending on your tastes. This easy dinner recipe feeds my family of 5, leaving leftovers.
- 1 pound penne
- 1 1/2 t salt
- 1 1/2 t pepper
- 1 1/2 t garlic powder
- 1 1/2 paprika(see note below)
- 1 pound chicken, diced
- 2 T oil (or just 1 if you aren’t using celery)
- 1 cup chopped celery(optional)
- 2 T Frank’s hot sauce(plus extra if you wish, see note below)
- 1 c mayo(can go low- or non-fat if you want)
- 1/2 c ranch(use the good stuff here since it gives most of the flavor)
- 3/4 c milk
- 1 cup shredded mozzarella or 1/2 cup blue cheese (optional, see note below)
- Paprika gives a nice, medium spice. If you prefer milder, add an extra 1 1/2 garlic powder instead. I’ve also made this with Cajun seasoning instead of paprika, which I think gives it more kick.
- I’m the only one who actually eats the celery in this dish, so I usually don’t bother with it. It does add a little crunch and texture, but it’s not necessary.
- You can add an additional tablespoon of Frank’s to the sauce if you like a lot of spice. Leave this out if you like it milder.
- This pasta is amazing without any cheese on top at all, which is how I made it recently, figuring I was cutting at least some calories by not adding it. Use mozzarella if you want gooey and blue cheese if you want that chicken wing flavor.
- While pasta is cooking according to package directions, season chicken with the spices. I use a Ziploc bag to shake it all up and coat the chicken.
- Heat 1 T oil over med-high heat and cook chicken (about 5 minutes or so, until completely cooked through)
- Add 2 T Frank’s hot sauce and cook for one minute.
- If you are adding celery to your dish: remove chicken from skillet, heat the other tablespoon of oil, add celery and cook for about 2 minutes. Then return chicken to the skillet.
- Combine mayo, ranch, and milk and mix in a small bowl. It will be lumpy. This is where you can also add another tablespoon of Frank’s if you’d like your pasta spicier.
- Add the sauce to the skillet with the chicken and celery. Cook a few minutes, until heated.
- Pour sauce over prepared pasta and stir to combine.
- Top with mozzarella or blue cheese crumbles if desired.
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