Dairy is a staple in my family. Big surprise there, right? I love cheese and ice cream and milkshakes. Yogurt? Heavenly! Sour cream? Pile it on! I use milk in smoothies and mashed potatoes; I use it in gravies and sauces. I cook with milk every week and most of my favorite recipes contain it.
But, I rarely find myself reaching for a tall glass of it. There, I said it; transparency is best right?
Although I know it is good for me, and healthy and makes my bones strong, sitting down to drink a glass of plain milk is not something I regularly do. I am sort of ashamed because as much as I know it’s a great source of calcium, vitamin D and that it contains nine essential nutrients, including eight grams of high-quality protein per serving, which is important for kids, moms and dads, I just don’t drink much. But deep down, with all the ways we use milk, I know I am getting my allowance, one way or the other. That’s important to me and to my family.
So when the California Milk Advisory Board asked me to team up with them to spread awareness about the Great American Milk Drive, I knew I wanted to use my blog for good and help out (instead of just using my blog to share mouth-watering recipes and easy DIY stuffs).
Did you know that milk is one of the most-requested nutrition staples at food banks, but out of the more than 377 million meals served by California food banks each year, the facilities are only able to provide the equivalent of less than one gallon of milk per person? That’s why I want to tell you a little about the Great American Milk Drive and how you can get involved:
- California’s more than 1,400 dairy farm families are pledging $100,000 in matching funds to encourage Californians to donate fresh, nutritious milk to local Feeding America food banks through the Great American Milk Drive – that’s 20,000 gallons or 320,000 servings of milk!
- Visit California Ralphs and Food 4 Less locations through Wednesday, September 30, and donate $1, $3, or $5 at checkout. California dairy families are matching up to $50,000 of their total $100,000 milk donations through these retailers. Everything you contribute will help local Feeding America food banks in your area Or, until the end of the year, donate to the Great American Milk Drive at www.MilkLife.com/Give and California dairy farmers will match funds – you can even enter your zip code to make sure donations help out food banks near you
- To donate to the Great American Milk Drive, visit http://milklife.com/Give.
In honor of The Great American Milk Drive, I wanted to create a recipe that was heavily focused on milk, that was homey and comforting and perfect for the fall weather I keep getting promised here in Southern California. And I wanted to use 100% Real California Milk, cuz let’s face it, our cows are the happiest! Plus, I feel good knowing that it is certified and comes from Real California Dairy families.
I sat and thought for a few days and then it came to me. My WORLD FAMOUS (ok maybe not WORLD Famous, but definitely a favorite around these parts) Mac & Cheese with Garlic Breadcrumb Topping.
This recipe is one of our family’s favorites and it’s insanely surprising I haven’t shared it yet.
My husband doesn’t even LIKE Mac and Cheese (what is WRONG with him!?) but he devours this dish and goes back for seconds. We had my cheese sauce and topping as an option at my sister’s baby shower pasta bar and it was GONE before I had a chance to get seconds.
It’s just THAT good.
The sauce is heavily dependent on milk, so it’s insanely creamy and easy to make, with rich sharp cheddar and velvety ColbyJack cheeses, hints of ground mustard and spicy black pepper. But if I am going to be totally honest and transparent again, it’s the breadcrumb topping that takes it over the edge, past the point of no return.
I hate to brag, but then I wouldn’t be much of a blogger. Seriously, the next time you’re headed to a potluck and need a side dish, make this.
- 1 Box No Boil No Drain Macaroni Noodle (Other noodles will work fine, but take more time to prepare)
- 2 cups 100% Real California Milk
- 2 tbsp California Butter
- 2 tbsp flour
- 1 cup California Sharp Cheddar Cheese, shredded
- 1 cup California ColbyJack Cheese, shredded
- 1 tsp mustard powder
- 1 tsp turmeric powder
- salt and pepper, to taste
- ***FOR THE BREADCRUMBS***
- 1 cup panko breadcrumbs
- 2 cloves of fresh garlic, pressed or finely minced
- 2 tbsp chopped parsley
- 1 tbsp California Butter
- salt and pepper, to taste
- Pour the macaroni noodles into a large skillet and cover with water. Prepare according to box directions.
- While your noodles are cooking, in a large saucepan melt the butter and add your flour, stirring often until golden brown to create your roux.
- Slowly pour 2 cups of milk into your roux, stirring the entire time to avoid lumps. Bring to a simmer.
- Add your cheeses and stir constantly until cheese is melted and sauce is thick. Reduce heat.
- Add salt, pepper, mustard powder and turmeric. Stir to incorporate completely.
- By this time the noodles should be done. If you use the no drain variety, pour your sauce over the noodles and stir to coat. If you need to drain, drain and return to pan, and pour sauce over the top.
- ***FOR THE BREADCRUMBS***
- Melt butter in a small pan.
- Add garlic and simmer until fragrant and straw colored. Add parsley.
- Pour bread crumbs over the top of the garlic butter and toss to coat. Lightly press down the crumbs into an even layer and toast, stirring every couple minutes until golden brown.
- Season with salt and pepper and serve over Mac & Cheese.
What are your favorite milk based recipes?
Special Thanks to the CA Milk Advisory Board for sponsoring this post and allowing me to share about the Great American Milk Drive!