Sunday, May 22, 2011

Marinated Chicken & Steak Kabobs with Buffalo Chicken Mac

Whenever my friends and I have a party, birthday, or tailgate to cook for, we always cook burgers and hot dogs. Mainly because they are really easy to make, and pretty much everyone likes them, and if you don't, I'm pretty sure you're not an American. Anyway, we were trying to think of something different to make for Sam's birthday dinner, and we decided on chicken & steak kabobs that we would marinate then string them on to skewers with red, orange, yellow, and green peppers & red onions. They were so yummy, and we had enough to feed a freakin' army (so definitely half this recipe for a smaller party, we had 8 people, but we could've fed 12). With our kabobs, Sam requested my Cajun Bacon Mac (which is her favorite & she always wants that, so no surprise there), but I was determined to make something new & different. Another favorite of Sam's is my Buffalo Chicken Dip, so I decided I would make Buffalo Chicken Mac as a side. I loved this mac n' cheese. The cheese sauce was made with this Buffalo Wing Cheese that I found at Fresh Market, as well as cheddar cheese, velveeta, and lots of buffalo sauce. We mixed the macaroni into the cheese sauce and layered it (almost like lasagna) with the creamy ranch rotisserie chicken layers. It's so cheesy & gooey, while being spicy & creamy, it's just so yummy. I want it again... now. So below is a picture of our entire birthday celebration meal for Sam. We also grilled some corn with cajun seasoning as another side. Enjoy all of this yumminess :)
Making the Kabobs
Marinated Kabobs with Buffalo Chicken Mac & Grilled Cajun Corn

For the Marinade:

½C Soy Sauce
½C Balsamic Vinegar
½C Worcestershire
¼C Brown Sugar 
4T Garlic, Chopped
4T Olive Oil
1t Fresh Rosemary, Chopped
1t Garlic Salt
1T Montreal Steak Seasoning
Salt & Pepper, To Taste  

For the Kabobs:
Wooden Skewers, Soaked in Water for 10-15 minutes
4 Ribeye Steaks, Cubed
4 Boneless, Skinless Chicken Breasts, Cubed
2 Red Peppers, Cut into Squares
2 Orange Peppers, Cut into Squares
2 Yellow Peppers, Cut into Squares
2 Green Peppers, Cut into Squares
4 Red Onions, Cut into Squares

For the Buffalo Chicken Mac:
1lb Pasta
4T Butter
¼C Flour
2t Dry Mustard
2 ½C Half & Half
½C Buffalo Sauce
1 ½C Sharp Cheddar Cheese, Shredded
½lb Velveeta, Cubed
2 ½C + 1C Buffalo Wing Cheese, Shredded
1C + ½C Ranch Dressing
8oz Cream Cheese, Softened
3C Shredded Rotisserie Chicken
1C Panko
Salt & Pepper, To Taste

1. To Marinate the Chicken & Steak: whisk all of the ingredients in a bowl until well combined. Meanwhile, separate the cubed chicken and steak into two different gallon plastic bags and pour half of the marinade over each protein. Place the bags into the refrigerator and marinate over night (preferably longer), and make sure to squeeze the bag and move the chicken and steak around so that it is equally distributed.
2. To make the Kabobs: remove the marinated chicken and steak from the refrigerator and start stringing on the different colored peppers and onion between the pieces of meat, leaving some space at the bottom, for easier turning on the grill. Let the kabobs sit at room temperature for an hour, so that the proteins will achieve better grill marks. Grill the kabobs for 2-3 minutes on each side (or longer depending on how you like your steak cooked, but make sure the chicken feels firm), making sure the peppers & onions are charred nicely. Take the kabobs off the grill and let them rest for 5-10 minutes before eating. 
3. To Make the Buffalo Chicken Mac: preheat the oven to 350 degrees F and spray a 9x13-baking dish with Pam, then set aside. Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil, then add the pasta and cook it according to the directions on the box. Strain the pasta and set aside. 
4. To Make the Creamy Ranch Chicken: in a medium-mixing bowl, mix together the ranch dressing and softened cream cheese, then fold in the shredded rotisserie chicken until completely covered, then set aside.
5. To Make the Buffalo Cheese Sauce: melt 2T of butter in a saucepan over medium high heat, then whisk in the flour and dry mustard. Slowly whisk in the half & half, then whisk in the buffalo sauce, whisking until the mixture becomes thick, about 2 minutes. Next, whisk in 1 ½C sharp cheddar cheese, ½lb Velveeta cubes, and 1 ½C buffalo wing cheese until smooth. Add salt & pepper to taste. Pour the prepared cheese sauce over the cooked pasta, and mix until the pasta is completely covered in the cheese sauce. 
6. To Layer the Mac n' Cheese: pour half of the macaroni into the prepared pan, then layer the creamy ranch chicken on top of the pasta, then top with the remaining macaroni. Finish the dish by topping it with the remaining ½C of Shredded Buffalo Wing Cheese and Panko breadcrumbs. Melt the other 2T of butter and drizzle over the Panko. 
7. Bake the dish for 30 minutes until the cheese is starting to bubble & melt. Serve immediately. 

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