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June is National Dairy Month

June is National Dairy Month

 

                National Dairy Month started out as National Milk Month in 1937 as a way to promote drinking milk.   National Dairy Month is a great way to start the summer with nutrient-rich dairy foods. From calcium to potassium, dairy products like milk contain nine essential nutrients which may help to better manage your weight, reduce your risk for high blood pressure, osteoporosis and certain cancers.       Those are just a few of the reasons that you should celebrate dairy not just in June, but all year long.  One of the most popular dairy foods is cheese. According to ancient records passed down through the centuries, the making of cheese dates back more than 4,000 years.

                According to an ancient legend, the first cheese was made accidentally by an Arabian merchant who put his supply of milk into a pouch made from a sheep's stomach, as he set out on a day's journey across the desert. The rennet in the lining of the pouch, combined with the heat of the sun, caused the milk to separate into curd and whey. That night he found that the whey satisfied his thirst, and the cheese (curd) had a delightful flavor which satisfied his hunger.

                Travelers from Asia are believed to have brought the art of cheese making to Europe.  Romans, in turn, introduced cheese making to England.

                Cheese making continued to flourish in Europe and became an established food. In fact, the Pilgrims included cheese in the Mayflower's supplies when they made their voyage to America in 1620. The making of cheese quickly spread in the New World, but until the 19th century it remained a local farm industry. It wasn't until 1851 that the first cheese factory in the United States was built by Jesse Williams in Oneida County, New York.

                Currently, more than one-third of all milk produced each year in the U.S. is used to manufacture cheese.  There are around 2,000 varieties of cheeses. Cheese takes up about 1/10 the volume of the milk it was made from – no wonder it is no nutrient dense! And the most popular cheese recipe in the United States - "Macaroni and Cheese."! Try the crockpot version of macaroni and cheese during June to celebrate National Dairy Month.

 

Homemade Crockpot Macaroni and Cheese

 

Ingredients

  • 2 cups uncooked elbow macaroni
  • 4 tablespoons butter
  • 2 1/2 cups grated sharp cheddar cheese
  • 1/2 cup sour cream
  • 1 (10.75 oz.) can condensed cheddar cheese soup
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup 2 % milk (
  • 1/2 teaspoon dry mustard
  • 1/2 teaspoon black pepper

 

                Bring water to boil in a large kettle and add macaroni. Boil the macaroni in water for six minutes and drain.  In a medium saucepan, mix butter and cheese. Heat over medium high heat and stir until the cheese melts.  Coat slow cooker with non-stick cooking spray. Combine cheese mixture, sour cream, soup, salt, milk, mustard and pepper in your slow cooker. Add the drained macaroni and stir again.

                        Cook on low for 2 to 2 1/2 hours, stirring two to three times.  

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