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09/15/2013

~ My Basic Cheddar Cheese Sauce for Vegetables ~

IMG_2537Cheddar cheese sauce is really easy to make, and, only takes about five minutes, so please refrain from purchasing the store-bought glop.  Even though I don't think perfectly-cooked vegetables need any livening up, my mother-in-law obviously does because she told me so yesterday.  Ann said, "Did you ever have broccoli or cauliflower with cheese sauce on top?  It is really good."  That, my friends, is my mother-in-law's way of telling me she is hungry for something.  Last Sunday she asked me if I ever baked a coconut cake -- enough said.  So, today, on this week's day of rest, I'm making cheese sauce.  I haven't made this in years, but, while here at the stovetop, I might as well take a few photographs and write a blog post about it!  

IMG_3032I don't have a clue where the recipe originated but I do know my version is a really good one because it got our three boys to eat their vegetables.  They loved it on baked potatoes and French fries too.  I also make a variation of this sauce (using Monterey Jack w/japapeno cheese in place of the yellow cheddar) to make ~ My Stovetop Green Chile Chicken Mac & Cheese ~.  You can find that recipe in Categories 3, 13, 19 or 20.  Or: 

Just stir 1 pound of cooked elbow macaroni into this cheese sauce to make your own better-than-store-bought Kraft mac & cheese, or, drizzle it over tortilla chips for game-day nachos!  

IMG_2557Do I add any secret ingredents to my sauce?  Well, perhaps...

IMG_5037If you consider cheddar cheese powder a secret ingredient, then, yes I do.  I discovered it while meandering around a street fair and stopped at a booth selling popcorn. An employee happened to be stirring a powdery orange substance into some melted butter. The container read:  dried yellow cheddar cheese powder!  Minus the spices, it is the main ingredient in the foil envelope contained in boxed macaroni and cheese mixes. I immediately ordered some via a catalog source, and nowadays I just purchase it on Amazon.com!

Without cheese powder, the cheese sauce will still be awesome.  With it, it will be amazing!

IMG_24964  tablespoons salted butter

4  tablespoons flour

1  tablespoon cheddar cheese powder (optional)

1 1/2  teaspoons dry English mustard

1/2  teaspoon sea salt

1/2  teaspoon white pepper

2  cups milk (plus an additional 1/4-1/2 cup, only if necesary)

8  ounces grated sharp yellow cheddar cheese (about 2 cups), not Velveeta

IMG_2930 IMG_2934 IMG_2938 IMG_2943

 

 

 

~ Steps 1 through 4:  In a 3 1/2-quart chef's pan, melt the butter over low heat.  Add the flour. Whisk constantly until the flour has been incorporated into the butter and a thick, pasty mixture has formed.  Slowly add the milk, in increments, about 1/2 cup at a time, whisking vigorously after each addition to work out almost all of the lumps.

IMG_2507 IMG_2508~ Step 5. Add the cheddar cheese powder, dry mustard, salt and pepper.  Over medium-low heat, bring the mixture to a gentle simmer, whisking constantly, and continue to simmer for 1 1/2-2 1/2 minutes, or until nicely thickened and completely smooth.

IMG_2511Note:  If at any time the mixture seems thicker than you like, just whisk in some additional milk until desired consistency is reached.

~ Step 6.  Turn the heat off.  Add the grated cheddar.  Using a large spoon, stir until the cheese has melted and a glorious cheese sauce has formed, about 1 minute.

Note:  Cover and store leftovers in the the refrigerator.  Reheat gently in the microwave, stopping to stir on occasion -- just like Cheez-Whiz!

My recipe is kid tested AND mother-in-law approved!!!

IMG_2516My Basic Cheddar Cheese Sauce for Vegetables:  Recipe yields 3 cups cheddar cheese sauce.

Special Equipment List:  cutting board; chef's knife; cheese grater; 3 1/2-quart chef's pan w/straight, deep sides (a deep, wide-bottomed skillet); whisk; large spoon

IMG_8718Cook's Note:  I'm not going to be spending any more time preparing the broccoli or cauliflower than I am making today's cheese sauce either.  You can read my easy method for ~ Cooking Broccoli or Cauliflower in a Rice Steamer ~ in Categories 4, 14, 15, or 20! 

"We are all in this food world together." ~ Melanie Preschutti

(Recipe, Commentary and Photos courtesy of Melanie's Kitchen/Copyright 2013)

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