Mac ‘n’ cheese

By Pat Mills

Macaroni and cheese is our No. 1 comfort food, No. 1 kids favorite and can be a dinner in its self with add-ins of veggies or meat. Next time you make a pan of mac and cheese try adding cooked ground beef or cubes of cooked chicken. Any way you fix it, they will run to the table to eat it. – Pat

Triple-cheese macaroni

1 package (16 oz) elbow macaroni
2 eggs
1 can (12 oz) evaporated milk
1/4-cup butter, melted
2 tablespoons prepared mustard
1 teaspoon seasoned salt
1 teaspoon pepper
8 ounces process cheese (Velveeta), melted
2 cups (8 oz) shredded mild cheddar cheese, divided
2 cups (8 oz) shredded sharp cheddar cheese, divided

Cook macaroni according to package directions. Meanwhile, in a large bowl, whisk the eggs, milk, butter, mustard, seasoned salt and pepper until combined. Stir into cheese mixture. Pour into greased 3-qt. baking dish. Top with remaining cheese. Bake uncovered, at 350 degrees for 25-30 minutes or until cheese is melted and edges are bubbly. Yield: 6 servings.

Jazzy mac ‘n’ cheese

1 package (7-1/4 ounce) macaroni and cheese dinner mix
1 can (10 oz) diced tomatoes and green chilies, undrained
1/4 cup of butter
1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese
1/2 cup shredded mozzarella cheese

In a saucepan, bring 6 cups water to a boil. Add macaroni; set aside cheese packet. Reduce heat; simmer uncovered, for 6-8 minutes or until pasta is tender. Drain and return to saucepan. Add tomatoes and butter; mix until butter is melted. Add the reserved cheese packet; mix well. Remove from heat; add Parmesan and mozzarella cheese. Yield: 4 cups.
Spicy jac mac ‘n’ cheese
2 cups (8 oz) dry elbow macaroni
2 cups chopped frozen or fresh broccoli
2 cups (8 oz) shredded sharp cheddar cheese
2 cups (8 oz) shredded pepper jack cheese
1 can (12 oz) evaporated milk
1/2-cup grated Parmesan cheese, divided
1/2-teaspoon ground black pepper
2 tablespoons bread crumbs

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Lightly butter 2-1/2-quart casserole dish. Cook macaroni in a large saucepan according to package directions, adding broccoli to boiling pasta water for last 3 minutes of cooking time; drain. Combine cooked pasta, broccoli, cheddar cheese, pepper jack cheese, evaporated milk, 1/4-cup parmesan cheese and black pepper in large bowl. Pour into prepared casserole dish. Combine remaining Parmesan cheese and breadcrumbs; sprinkle over macaroni mixture. Cover tightly with aluminum foil. Bake covered for 20 minutes. Remove foil; bake for additional 10 minutes or until lightly browned.

• Thomas Jefferson brought a macaroni mold home from Paris and served a casserole version at a White House dinner in 1802. But according to food historians, its status as a culinary icon was assured after Kraft foods introduced Kraft dinners in 1937.
• It takes 8 pounds of milk to make one pound of cheese. One ounce (average slice) of cheese equals as much fat and protein as one cup of milk.

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