Say Cheese

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I wanted to try some cheeses because it seems like that’s what classy people do sometimes. So, I did. Here are my thoughts, for future reference.

Gouda

Murray’s gouda – 5/10

Described by Murray’s as toasty, biting, and nutty. A somewhat complex flavor. It’s got a bit of sass to it…in an almost sour sort of way. I would almost describe it as a little bitter. Reminds me of a warm beer. Not my favorite. 5/10

Murray’s Monterey Jack – 4/10

Described by Murray’s as toasty, biting, and nutty. It has a lot of sass…even more than gouda. That sour flavor is stronger. Kinda like what you get with a Berlinerweisse beer. It’s beer, and it’s wheat, but man does it kick you a bit. Not quite my style.

Murray’s Muenster – 7/10

Described by Murray’s as toasty, biting, and nutty. Actually pretty mellow. Less sass than the jack, thought it still has a bit. Lighter than the gouda. Pretty well-balanced and enjoyable.

Murray’s Havarti – 6/10

Described by Murray’s as sweet and mushroomy, this cheese is very smooth. It has just a tinge of saltiness. I can definitely see the mushroom comparison.

Turkeyburger Veggironi

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Another April Fool’s day has come and gone. As always, there were many successful pranks and a number few failures. In my opinion, the best “prank” by far had to have been Hamburger Helper’s mixtape. I know next to nothing about rap, but the 5-song album that was dropped on Soundcloud and consists of a variety of odes to a spice packet was apparently anything but cheesy. Twitter boiled over with commentary about the high quality of the music. I was raised by a hard-working single mother, which meant that Hamburger Helper was a staple in our household. I dabbled with it in college, but escaped its powdery cheese grasp a few years back. I thought the album concept and its reception was absolutely hilarious, and despite my best efforts, it did make me want to eat some cheeseburger macaroni.

That’s when I remembered that I’m Cory, part-time host of Cooking with Cory. I realized I could probably create my own healthier interpretation of a childhood classic. About that time I realized I’m Lazy, host of nothing. So, I found DivasCanCook’s copycat recipe and made it instead. Since Hamburger Helper is really just a spice packet and some cheap noodles, the hardest part of this had to have been recreating the spice packet. I’m glad they handled that for me.

Shopping

  • 1 lb ground beef or ground turkey
  • ½ cup onions, diced
  • 1 tablespoon butter, optional
  • 2 cups milk
  • 1 cup cold water
  • 2 cups elbow macaroni, uncooked
  • ½ teaspoon sugar
  • 1 teaspoon salt or seasoning salt
  • ¼ teaspoon black pepper
  • ¾ teaspoon oregano
  • ¾ teaspoon parsley
  • ¾ garlic powder
  • ½ teaspoon chili powder
  • 1 teaspoon paprika
  • 2 cups cheddar cheese, shredded
  • 1 bag frozen broccoli or spinach (optional)

Cooking

Browned ground beef

  1. Brown the ground beef. This has to be the worst cooking term ever. They could say “pan fry” or “sautee” or even “sear.” Nope, just “brown” it. To brown ground beef, put a pan over medium-high heat, put the meat in it, and stir it occasionally while it cooks until it’s not pink anymore. I’ll let you guess what color it turns. If you’re using ground turkey, it’ll never turn brown. It’ll be an off shade of grey at best. However, “grey the ground turkey” sounds even worse than “brown the ground beef” so we’ll just avoid that.
    Onions caramelizing
  2. The original recipe says to add the onions with the beef, but I like cooking them separately and letting them caramelize in the leftover beef/turkey fat. Your call. Caramelizing onions just means letting them cook until the sugar in them undergoes a chemical transformation that turns them brown and creates a nutty flavor. See, now we’re browning the onions too. Everything is brown tonight. Full caramelization can take 40 minutes over medium heat. I don’t have that kinda time, so I just let them cook for about 10 minutes while I dug through the pantry to find the spices and mixed them together.
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  3. Once the beef/turkey and onions are browned/greyed, you pretty much put everything but the cheese in the pot together and let it cook for 8-10 minutes. I’d recommend adding the spices first, then pouring the milk/water over them so it mixes more evenly. Add the noodles last and mix it all together. Get the cover for the pan ready. Put the pan over medium-high heat, bring it up to boiling, cut it back to medium-low, and cover it. If you don’t cover it you’re probably going to have a hard time getting the noodles tender.
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  4. If you’re an inept cook like me, you’ll realize this is supposed to be a healthier dish 5 minutes into cooking and add some frozen broccoli. That’ll definitely kill the boil you had going and you’ll have to bring it back up to a boil again.IMG_2354
  5. Once the noodles are tender, you’re ready to add the two cups of cheese. Oh, and forget what I said about this being a healthy recipe. I probably should have gotten organic, low-enzyme, non-particulate, oriented-strand, other made-up adjectives cheese to be healthier. However, I added broccoli and used almond milk and ground turkey, so I think it’s a net health win. I also used veggie pasta, which I’m pretty positive doesn’t add any healthiness at all. Just because you contain “a full serving of vegetables” doesn’t necessarily mean you have the nutrition of a full serving of vegetables. Anyway, back to the cheese. You should probably add it slowly and stir it in a bit at a time, but I just dumped it all in and then fought with it for 5 minutes to get the cheese to melt.
  6. You may want to let it sit for a few minutes so the sauce will thicken. If you’re like me cooking this at 9:45 at night, you’ll probably scoop it out immediately because you’re hungry and scald your tongue on it.

Eating

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It actually tastes really good and is very close to the original, though It doesn’t quite capture that powdered cheese taste that Kraft made famous. That could be because I used almond milk instead of real milk. I had a ton left over which I’ll be eating this week, so the throwback to my childhood is complete.