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Erie County Dairy Princess celebrates cheese month

Nicole Achtyl

The following is a guest column by Erie County Dairy Princess Nicole Achtyl.

Hi everyone, this is Nicole Achtyl, your 2013-2014 Erie County Dairy Princess, writing in to tell you that October is Cheese Month. Cheese is my favorite dairy product, especially extra sharp cheddar and pepper jack cheese. Cheese comes in about 400 different varieties. Cheese is made from milk, but the way that it is manufactured and aged is what makes all the different varieties.

Cheese is made from whole, 2%, 1%, fat-free milk or a combination of these milks. In the United States, roughly one-third of the milk produced by the farmers’ beautiful dairy cows is used to make cheese. It takes about 10 pounds of milk or 5 quarts to make 1 pound of cheese. Cheese is made by coagulating or curdling the milk. It is then stirred and heated. The whey, or watery part of milk, is drained off and then the curd is pressed. The cheese is aged and, in some cases, ripened to get the many flavors of cheese that we eat. Some of the common varieties are cheddar, colby, Swiss, mozzarella, muenster, provolone, Monterey Jack, ricotta, feta, cream cheese, cottage cheese, blue, parmesan and American.

One of my favorite meals is “Homemade Mac n Cheese.” I think it’s a great thing for everyone to try. Here is the recipe, if you would like to try it.

Homemade Macaroni and Cheese

1 to 1 1/2 cups uncooked elbow macaroni
1/4 cup margarine or butter
1 small onion, chopped (about 1/4 cup)
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon pepper
1/4 cup flour
1 3/4 cups milk
8 ounces of Velveeta cheese

Cook the macaroni. Cook and stir the margarine, onion, salt and pepper over medium heat, until the onion is tender. Stir in flour, cooking over low heat, stirring constantly, until the mixture is smooth and bubbly. Remove from heat. Stir in milk and heat to boiling, stirring constantly. Boil and stir 1 minute, then remove from heat and stir in cheese, until melted. Place the macaroni in ungreased 1 1/2-quart casserole dish and stir in cheese sauce. Bake uncovered in a 375-degree oven for 30 minutes. Serve warm. This recipe makes 5 servings

Remember, it is important to have your three dairy products every day, so make this for dinner or lunch, and that will be one serving. Eating three products a day helps to build strong bones, promote healthy skin and helps with eyesight, as well.

I am one of the 35 county dairy princesses involved in the New York State Dairy Princess and Promotion program. The purpose of this program is to promote the dairy industry and increase milk and dairy product sales.It is funded by local dairy farmers, through their check-off investment in the American Dairy Association and Dairy Council Inc.

If you have any questions or comments, please feel free to email me at


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