In my experience, transitions between seasons can be a little awkward, especially when it comes to choosing what to wear or what to eat. There have been both scorching afternoons and chilly evenings lately, as well as both beautifully clear skies and dreary rain clouds. My first day back in front of a class earlier this month found me reevaluating my longstanding aversion to teaching in sleeveless tops as I tried to surreptitiously dab away the sweat beading up on my face, yet several days later I was pulling out a sweatshirt and baking this barbecue chicken mac and cheese for dinner.
While the forecast indicates that we’ve got at least another week or so of balmy temperatures, it has finally cooled off enough that the thought of turning on the oven doesn’t make me immediately recoil. In essence, it’s the perfect time to make this barbecue chicken mac and cheese, which is simultaneously summery (the smoky barbecue flavor and sprinkling of potato chips on top) and autumnal (hello, comforting cheesy goodness!).
The summer-to-fall transition is especially rough for students and teachers—and I imagine for parents as well, but as my only child is of the furry variety, I can’t personally attest to that. I’ve got to wrap things up since I’m somehow already behind on work, but I’ll leave you with this: if you’re feeling a little worse for the wear after the first few weeks of the school year, this barbecue chicken mac and cheese can do wonders for your mood!
What’s the toughest part of this seasonal transition for you?
- 1 pound cavatappi or similar pasta
- 3 tablespoons butter or margarine
- 3 tablespoons flour
- 3 cups milk, preheated in the microwave
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1/4 teaspoon pepper
- 3 cups grated sharp cheddar cheese, divided
- 1/4 cup grated parmesan
- 1/2 cup barbecue sauce, divided
- 2 cups cooked chicken
- 1/2 cup crushed barbecue potato chips
- 1/4 chopped green onions
- Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.
- Bring a pot of salted water to a boil and cook the pasta according to the directions on the package.
- Melt the butter in a large saucepan. Whisk in the flour and stir until smooth. Cook on low heat for about 3 minutes. Add the preheated milk, salt, and pepper, and bring the mixture to a boil. Once it boils, reduce to medium heat and cook, stirring frequently, for 10 minutes. Remove the saucepan from the burner and stir in the cheeses and 1/4 cup barbecue sauce.
- Combine the drained pasta, chicken, and sauce, and transfer to a greased 9x13 baking pan. Sprinkle the crushed potato chips on top and bake for 20-25 minutes, or until the cheese is bubbly.
- Drizzle up to 1/4 cup barbecue sauce on top and sprinkle with chopped green onions.
- Serves 6-8.
- Adapted from 365 Ways to Cook Pasta.
Heather @ Sweet Precision says
Mac and cheese with crushed BBQ chips on top?!?! Swoon. This sounds delicious Mara! I always struggle with what to wear this time of the year. When I walk to work it’s still chilly but my afternoon it’s in the 80’s and I’m so hot! Fall is my favorite season though so I’m not complaining 🙂
Fall is my favorite season too…can’t wait for it to start truly feeling like it!
Maggie Jones says
Get out of my head!!! Just kidding, stay there and cook for me. This looks insane.
Haha, I wish I could! Thanks, Maggie 🙂
Debbie Spivey says
Mara! This looks delicious!
Thanks, Debbie! I hope you get a chance to make it sometime.
Wow, this looks and sounds so tasty!!! I will have to give this a try. My husband loves barbecue potato chips–I’m sure he would enjoy this recipe. My family is truly feeling a little worse for the wear with getting back into the routine of school and crazy sports schedules. We could use some comfort food! 🙂
Let me know how it goes if you try this! I can barely even manage my own schedule, let alone work around other people’s – I hope your family settles into the swing of things soon 🙂
Joanna @ Everyday Made Fresh says
This sounds like the perfect dinner idea! Yum, yum, yum!! Thanks for sharing with us at The Wednesday Showcase!
Thanks so much, Joanna! I’m glad you stopped by 🙂
Stephanie | Worth Whisking says
I always have mixed feelings about the transition from summer to fall. I love comfort food and clothes like sweaters and boots. However, I have Raynaud’s Disease, so the colder weather leaves me susceptible to losing circulation in my fingers and toes. That’s the bummer of it for me. I think I need to move out of Ohio! 🙂
Mac and cheese is my absolute favorite comfort food, and I love this take on it with the BBQ flavor! It sounds looks and sounds delicious! Thanks for the amazing recipe, Mara!
Oh gosh, I hadn’t heard of Raynaud’s before, but I can only imagine that must be awfully uncomfortable. I agree…time to move somewhere warmer! I hope that you get a chance to try this mac and cheese and that you enjoy it as much as we do 🙂
Oh my gosh! What a fabulous twist on old mac n cheese! And leftover chips to eat up, lol! Seriously this looks insanely good.
Thanks! And yes, who doesn’t love having leftover chips? We certainly had no problem polishing them off 😉
Kathy @ Beyond the Chicken Coop says
Fall weather can be so fickle! It’s best to just go with the flow….cause we just can’t do anything about the quick changes in the weather. Love this mac n cheese! Looks so comforting!
Agreed, fall weather is quite unpredictable! I’m trying to enjoy the hot days while they last…soon enough it’ll be winter and I’ll have forgotten what it feels like to be warm. Thanks for stopping by, Kathy!
Dad Whats 4 Dinner says
Yes it is fall, but it will be 90° today here is SW Ohio. I am ready for the cooler weather but not the cold. My kids would love this dish. Have a great weekend and Happy FF!
Oh wow, 90 degrees?! It’s been quite warm in Michigan still but not THAT warm. I hope you’re having a great (and cooler) weekend!
This is such an American recipe. I must share it with some of my friends here. Must admit that I have never heard of putting potato crisps onto hot food.
Haha yes, it’s very much an American dish! I hope you get a chance to try it 🙂
Macaroni and cheese AND potato chips!?!? My son (and husband) must have dreamt about this dish! 🙂
It really is an indulgence 🙂 Let me know how it goes if you try it!
Mmmm! This is comfort in one bowl! Love it! 😀
Precisely! I’m glad this caught your eye 🙂
There’s nothing wrong with BBQ chips and mac and cheese. What a great world we live in!
I’m glad you agree! Thanks for stopping by, Colleen!
Johanne Lamarche says
You had me at BBQ chicken and you create a Mac’N Cheese with it? Insanely good! Thank you for tempting us at FF Mara!
I’m glad you’re on board! Thanks for stopping by and for hosting this week 🙂
Julie is Hostess At Heart says
I love pasta and this recipe is definitely creative and delicious!
Thanks, Julie! I hope you get a chance to try it!
I love the classic mac and cheese, but now, I think I would love this more – so much flavors!
I think there is a time and a place for both the classic version and this version! I’m glad this caught your eye 🙂
Oh, this is one seriously awesome recipe, Mara! I love this time of the year…the transition from Summer to Fall is awesome. I love digging around and pulling out the first sweatshirt of the year. (Of course, in the Spring, I’ll happily shove that thing back in the closet hoping to never see it again. Hah!) And the arrival of comfort food is certainly something to look forward to. I love this combo of summery flavors in Fall comfort food form. Pass me a fork! 🙂
Yup, by the end of winter I’ve pretty much forgotten what it even feels like to be properly warm, but for now, I’m stoked to be pulling out the sweats!
Jeff the Chef (@makeitlikeaman) says
What a fantastic combination of ingredients!
I’m glad you agree! Thanks for stopping by 🙂