The best use of a quarter

By Michelle Plummer

The drought is profoundly affecting American agriculture and dairy farmers are some of the hardest hit. Dairy farmers appreciate Americans understanding their situation, and recognize these are tough time s for everyone.  Consumers can show their support for dairy farmers by continuing to enjoy and purchase nutritious, and great tasting dairy products.

Dairy farmers don’t control the price of milk at the store and a higher cost at retail doesn’t mean farmers make more money, on average farmers receive 30% of the retail cost.  Thinking about all the farmers do every day to make sure they deliver a perfect product, that isn’t much money!  An 8-ounce glass of milk costs about a quarter and provides so much benefit.

At the American Dairy Association we have a slogan and it seems to never go out of style that Dairy is always in season!  Today I want to share three of my very favorite dairy recipes that are good for you and your wallet!  Just in time for the Fall Season.

Maple and Fruit Oatmeal

½ cup oats                                                                           1 cup milk

2 tablespoons maple syrup                                          ½ banana sliced

In microwave safe bowl combine oats and milk.  Place in microwave for 2 minutes on high; stir halfway through cooking time.  Remove from microwave and top with maple syrup and sliced bananas.  Delicious!  Additional toppers: Peanut butter and fruit, nuts, spices, wheat germ (the sky’s the limit, be creative!)

Creamy Mac and Cheese

2 tablespoons butter                                                      2 tablespoons onion

2 tablespoons flour                                                         2 cups milk

8 ounces of macaroni                                                     2 dashes each Worcestershire, tabasco, cayenne pepper

2 cups assorted cheese, cubed                                  1 cup cooked chicken

½ cup peas and carrots

Cook macaroni in boiling water until tender; drain.  Meanwhile, in pan the macaroni was cooked in add butter, and onion.  Sauté for 3 minutes, add flour and stir for 3 minutes.  Add milk and whisk until smooth and add the Worcestershire, tabasco, cayenne and cheese.  Cook until smooth.  Add macaroni and chicken and combine.  Lastly add peas and carrots.  Here is the decision — bake or stove top?  At our house I like stove top and others like the crunchy edges—either way if you bake it place contents in the pan to a prepared baking dish and bake for 30 minutes at 350 degrees F or until you see the crunchy edges.  You can also add spinach or red peppers or salsa…. just open the fridge and get a bit wild! 

Ole’ Quesadillas!

4- 7” flour tortillas                                                            16 ounce package of onion pepper medley

1 tablespoon taco seasoning                                       1 cup grated cheese, assorted mild and sharp

Salsa                                                                                      avocado slices

In large skillet place frozen onion pepper mixture and add taco seasoning plus ¼ cup water.  Cook until tender about 5 minutes and mixture is dry.  On griddle place the tortillas add ¼ of the pepper mixture to each and top with ¼ of cheese on half of the tortilla.  Flip the top over the mixture and griddle until golden then flip to second side and griddle until golden.  Remove from griddle and place on platters. Serve with salsa, taco sauce, sour cream or plain yogurt and avocado.  Using a pizza cutter cut each quesadilla into fourths and serve with a green salad topped with salsa!  OLE!

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