Babysitting Win! (Cool Ranch Doritos mac and cheese and Kid approved baked chicken tenders)

As you know I don't have any children of my own, but I borrow my sisters' kids all the time to my testing purposes.  I was set to babysit FOUR little ladies one Saturday evening (am I the best aunt ever or what?) and wanted to make something out of the ordinary and try it out on the three that eat solid food.  I also knew these kids don't eat vegetables unless you hide them, so carbs it was.  I was sick of making Stephen Gurley gravy so  I went on to my favorite Pinterest board, entitled Yummy but Fattening, to see what I could find for a treat.

I found this pin I never really intended to make at home unless I was having a weird dinner party. Mac n Cheese AND Doritos?!  Yes please!  I was going to sub the ground meat for some chicken, but Kate decided she would rather the chicken separate, and her cousin Harper agreed. As a result, I decided to make some super quick baked chicken tenders with it.  I had them in the oven while I was making the mac n cheese. Kate opened the door and looked and said, "I'm probably not going to eat that, just saying."  I remembered my audience and I said, "Well then I'm probably not going to feel like making mug brownies if you don't at least try them."  She smiled and walked away.

And guess what?  She loved the chicken tenders.  So did Harper.  The mac and cheese was not their favorite but I sure enjoyed the heck out of it.  I added the "offensive green stuff" to my plate and it would have been even better if those and garlic and onions were mixed in, like the original recipe.  So make the mac and cheese for adults, and make these chicken tenders for your picky kids,   Full recipe after the montage. 

Cool Ranch Doritos Mac and Cheese
Delicious cheesy goodness!

Cool Ranch Doritos Mac and Cheese
The cast.  I'll give you the chicken fingers recipe down below too.  I'm nice like that!
Cool Ranch Doritos Mac and Cheese
Boiling noodles always takes longer than it should.
Kid approved baked chicken tenders
Assembly line time!  As you can tell, I had one little assistant!
Cool Ranch Doritos Mac and Cheese
Aunt Missy, you forgot the egg!
Kid approved baked chicken tenders
Easy moist and delicious!  And healthier than processed or fried!
Cool Ranch Doritos Mac and Cheese
Glorious butter!  
Cool Ranch Doritos Mac and Cheese
Add flour, buttermilk and seasoning and you have sauce!
Cool Ranch Doritos Mac and Cheese
I cleaned my sister out of all sorts of noodles!
Cool Ranch Doritos Mac and Cheese
Toss the noodles with the sauce and cheese and mix on up.
Cool Ranch Doritos Mac and Cheese
Then comes the fun part.  And I knew I needed some assistance.
Cool Ranch Doritos Mac and Cheese
I called in the cute cousins wearing matching Pj's to sprinkle!
Cool Ranch Doritos Mac and Cheese
They did a pretty good job!
Cool Ranch Doritos Mac and Cheese and baked chicken fingers
The girls enjoyed their meal.
Cool Ranch Doritos Mac and Cheese
And I enjoyed my adult version!

Kid approved baked chicken tenders
I had to do some coaxing for the youngest, but she was operating without a nap.

Cool Ranch Doritos Mac and Cheese (Adapted from The Food in my Beard)

1/2 Pound Mild Cheddar, grated
1 Pound Colby, grated
1 Pound Pasta / Noodles
3/4 Quart Buttermilk
1/4 Cup Butter
1/4 Cup Flour
1 tbsp. onion powder
1 tbsp garlic powder
2 Tablespoons Chopped Chive
2 Tablespoons Chopped Cilantro
2 Teaspoons Paprika
1/2 large bag Cool Ranch Doritos, crushed

Preheat oven to 425. Bring the pasta water to a boil. Meanwhile, add the butter to a skillet, and shortly after, the flour. Mix well to prevent burning or clumping. Cook about 3 minutes while stirring. Whisk in the buttermilk and bring to a simmer. Remove from heat and allow to cool for 5 minutes. Add the cheese, stirring until melted. Meanwhile, drop in your pasta to the boiling water. Strain when the pasta is still a little undercooked. In the pan you are going to bake it in, mix together the pasta, sauce, paprika, chive, and cilantro. Stir well. Top with cool ranch Doritos crumbles  and place in preheated oven to bake for 10 minutes.

Kid approved baked chicken tenders:

1 pound chicken tenders
1/4 cup yellow mustard
flour for dredging
2 eggs beaten
1 cup or more panko breadcrumbs

Preheat oven to 375.  Line a baking sheet with foil and spray with non stick spray.  Coat the tenders in mustard, then dredge in flour, then in egg and then in breadcrumbs to coat. I did two at a time. Bake in preheated oven for 7 minutes, flip them over and cook for an additional 5 minutes.  Serve with your favorite dipping sauce.

Happy Cooking!


Linking this up with Meal Plan Monday #59!

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