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Return of mac and cheese: A recipe kids will love — and a spicier version for the grown ups

MILWAUKEE -- It's the number one cheese recipe in the United States -- mac and cheese! For decades it's made top ten comfort foods lists and is also a top ten favorite choice for kids. Laura Wilford with the Wisconsin Milk Marketing Board joins Real Milwaukee to show us two recipes you can try at home.

Buffalo Macaroni and Cheese Bites

Makes 4 dozen

Get the party started with a zippy appetizer featuring popular buffalo flavor and tasty mac and cheese. The triple trio of sharp cheddar, gooey mozzarella and rich blue cheese gives these bites a tangy flavor. Spiced with hot pepper sauce, the homemade sour cream dip cools down the heat.

Ingredients

  • 1 package (16 ounces) uncooked ditalini pasta
  • 6 tablespoons butter, cubed and divided
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced and divided
  • 3/4 cup Panko bread crumbs
  • 3 tablespoons minced fresh parsley, divided
  • 3 tablespoons minced fresh dill, divided
  • 1/4 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1 cup milk
  • 1/2 cup half-and-half cream
  • 1/2 cup hot pepper sauce
  • 2 teaspoons ranch salad dressing mix, divided
  • 4 ounces Crystal Farms Mozzarella cheese, shredded (1 cup)
  • 4 ounces Crystal Farms Sharp Cheddar cheese, shredded (1 cup)
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • 2 eggs, lightly beaten
  • 4 ounces crumbled Salemville Amish Blue Cheese (2/3 cup)
  • 1 cup sour cream
  • 1/3 cup buttermilk

Directions

Heat oven to 350°F.

Cook pasta according to package directions; drain. Meanwhile, melt 2 tablespoons butter in a small skillet over medium-low heat. Add 1 garlic clove; cook and stir for 1 minute. Stir in Panko bread crumbs; toss to coat. Remove from the heat. Stir in 1 tablespoon each parsley and dill. Set aside.

Melt remaining butter in a Dutch oven over medium-low heat. Whisk in flour until smooth. Add remaining garlic clove; cook and stir for 1 minute. Gradually whisk in milk, cream, hot pepper sauce and 1 teaspoon ranch salad dressing mix. Bring to a boil; cook and whisk for 2 minutes or until thickened. Reduce heat to low; gradually stir in mozzarella and cheddar until melted. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Remove from the heat. Whisk 1/4 cup hot cheese sauce into eggs in a bowl. Return all to pan; whisk to combine. Stir in pasta.

Divide pasta mixture into 48 greased mini muffin cups; press down gently. Sprinkle with blue cheese and reserved bread crumb mixture. Bake for 20-25 minutes or until a thermometer reads 160°F and pasta is lightly brown and bubbly. Let stand 10 minutes in pans before serving.

Combine sour cream with buttermilk. Season with remaining parsley, dill and ranch salad dressing mix to taste. Serve with mac and cheese bites.

Recipe Tip:

Any brand of Wisconsin mozzarella, sharp cheddar and blue cheese can be used.    We used Frank’s RedHot Original Sauce in this recipe.

Ultimate Creamy Baked Wisconsin Macaroni and Cheese

Servings: 12

This is the one … the mouthwatering mac and cheese you’ve been craving! Five noteworthy cheeses crafted by Master Cheesemakers make the rich cheese sauce so satisfying. Whether you bake it in one casserole or divide between two dishes, share it with those you love. They’ll love you for it.

Ingredients

  • 1 package (16 ounces) uncooked penne pasta
  • 8 tablespoons (1 stick) butter, cubed and divided
  • 1/3 cup all-purpose flour
  • 4 cups whole milk
  • 1 1/2 cups heavy whipping cream
  • 1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
  • 1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
  • 4 ounces Carr Valley Fontina cheese, shredded (1 cup)
  • 4 ounces Nasonville Dairy Muenster cheese, shredded (1 cup)
  • 4 ounces Nasonville Dairy Colby Longhorn cheese, shredded (1 cup)
  • 4 ounces Nasonville Dairy Aged Cheddar cheese, shredded (1 cup)
  • 1 1/2 ounces Nasonville Dairy Asiago cheese, grated (1/2 cup)
  • Kosher salt to taste
  • Coarsely ground pepper to taste
  • 4 thick slices day-old bread, torn

Directions

Heat oven to 375°F.

Cook pasta according to package directions until al dente. Drain reserving 1/2 cup water; set aside.

Melt 5 tablespoons butter in a Dutch oven over medium-low heat. Whisk in flour until light golden brown. Gradually whisk in milk, cream, Dijon mustard and cayenne pepper. Bring to a boil; cook and whisk for 2 minutes or until thickened. Reduce heat to low; gradually stir in fontina, muenster, colby, aged cheddar and asiago until cheeses are melted. Stir in pasta and reserved water to desired consistency. Season with salt and pepper to taste.

Spoon pasta into a greased 4-quart baking dish or two 8-inch baking dishes. Place bread in a food processor; cover and process until coarse crumbs. Melt remaining butter in a bowl; toss with bread crumbs to coat. Sprinkle bread crumb mixture over pasta. Bake for 25-30 minutes or until topping is golden brown and sauce is bubbly. Let stand 10 minutes before serving.

Recipe Tip: Any brand of Wisconsin fontina, muenster, colby, aged cheddar and asiago can be used.