Mac con queso, Perfect mac and cheese, Ranch mac

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Mac & cheese is the all-American food. Everyone likes it and here are three really different recipes for this wonderful comfort food.
Mac con queso
2 C (8 oz.) elbow macaroni
2 C milk
1 egg
6 tsp. McCormick Perfect Pinch Mexican Seasoning, divided
12 oz. process cheese product, cut into 1/2-inch cubes
2 C (8 oz.) shredded Mexican cheese blend, divided
2 C grape tomatoes, quartered substitutions
2 cans (4-1/2 oz. each) chopped green chilies
2 TBS chopped green onion, green part only
Heat oven to 350 degrees. Cook macaroni in large saucepan as directed on package for al dente pasta. Rinse under cold water; drain well. Mix milk, egg and 5 teaspoons of seasoning in large bowl with wire whisk until blended. Add process cheese product and 1 cup of shredded cheese; mix well. Stir in cooked macaroni, tomatoes and green chilies. Pour into buttered or greased 13×9-inch baking dish.
Bake 15 minutes. Remove from oven. Carefully stir until well blended. Sprinkle with remaining 1 cup shredded cheese, 1 teaspoon seasoning and green onion. Bake 20 minutes longer or until bubbly and lightly browned on top. Let stand 5 minutes before serving.
Serving suggestion: Sprinkle top with crushed tortilla chips before serving.
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Perfect mac and cheese
CHEESE SAUCE:
1⁄4 C unsalted butter
1⁄3 C all-purpose flour
3 C 1% low-fat milk
14 oz. white medium cheddar, grated
2 oz. mozzarella cheese, grated
1 oz. asiago cheese, grated
1⁄2 tsp. salt
1⁄4 tsp. garlic powder
1⁄4-1⁄2 tsp. dried chipotle powder or 1⁄4-1⁄2 tsp. cayenne
PASTA:
12 oz. macaroni
salt for pasta water
2 oz. cheddar cheese, grated
2 oz. Gruyere, grated
1⁄4-1⁄2 tsp. dried chipotle powder or 1⁄4-1⁄2 tsp. cayenne
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Set a large pot of water on high heat.
Meanwhile, begin sauce by making a roux: in a medium saucepan melt butter over medium heat. Whisk in flour. Continue to stir this roux over medium heat for two to three minutes. The roux should be cooked and free of flour flavor but still light in color. Gradually add milk, whisking briskly to maintain a smooth sauce. Cook sauce for about 10 minutes, stirring occasionally to avoid scorching. When sauce thickens, add cheeses, salt and spices to sauce, and stir until all cheese has melted (can be done in microwave).
Somewhere during this sauce-cooking process, your pasta water has started boiling. The original is made with penne noodles. Add a generous amount of salt to water and cook pasta until almost but not quite al dente (two minutes before the package directions indicate). You want barely undercooked pasta so that it can finish in oven later. Halt cooking by draining pasta and rinsing with cold water. Return pasta to pot.
Pour sauce over pasta and stir until completely incorporated. The combination should be fairly saucy, almost soupy. Dish mixture into a buttered 9×13 pan and sprinkle with extra grated cheeses and cayenne. Bake, uncovered, for 30 minutes, until you have beautiful, browned edges. Let dish sit for 5 to 10 minutes before serving. I divided this in 2 containers and froze one.
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Ranch mac
1 pkg. (16 oz.) elbow macaroni
1 C 2% milk
1/4 C butter, cubed
1 envelope ranch salad dressing mix
1 tsp. garlic salt
1 tsp. garlic pepper blend
1 tsp. lemon-pepper seasoning
1 C (4 oz.) shredded Monterey Jack cheese
1 C (4 oz.) shredded Colby cheese
1 C (8 oz.) sour cream
1/2 C crushed saltines
1/3 C grated Parmesan cheese
Cook macaroni according to package directions. Meanwhile, in a Dutch oven, combine milk, butter, dressing mix and seasonings; heat through. Stir in Monterey Jack and Colby cheeses until melted. Stir in sour cream.
Drain macaroni; stir into cheese sauce with saltines. Sprinkle with Parmesan cheese. Yield: 8 servings.
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If you would like to share a recipe with me, just send it to the J-T or email it to me.
(Melanie Behrens – melb@marysvillejt.com)



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