Monday, June 9, 2014

Cheese and Bacon Celebrate June Dairy Month

Can you imagine a better start to June Dairy Month than getting to sample delicious dairy recipes prepared by a group of amazing young cooks?  It was my privilege to be one of three judges for the Arkansas Farm Bureau Dairy Foods Contest last week in Little Rock.

Each recipe is judged on the use of dairy products, originality, the availability of products used, and serving technique. Contestants for this contest are selected from the winning recipe submitted from  each county Farm Bureau.

Cheese and Bacon Stuffed Shells prepared by Kendall Yarbrough,14,  4-H member from Benton County  won second place in the Main Dish Category. I can tell you first hand--it is rich, creamy, and deliciously loaded with dairy products. Kendall told us that she loves this recipe "because of the cheese and bacon" and  "likes stuffing the shells." 

Cheese and Bacon Stuffed Shells


24 uncooked jumbo pasta shells
2 cup chopped  fresh mushrooms
1 cup finely chopped onion
1 tablespoon plus 1/4 cup butter,divided
1 1/2 cups ricotta cheese
1 package (8oz) cream cheese, softened and divided
1 1/2 cups Asiago cheese,divided
1 cup shredded Parmesan cheese
1 cup crumbled, cooked bacon
2 tablespoons  minced fresh parsley,divided
1/2 teaspoon garlic salt
1/2 teaspoon nutmeg
1/4 teaspoon pepper
2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
2 cups heavy whipping cream
1/2 cup 1 percent milk
2 cups shredded Romano cheese
2 cups shredded mozzarella

 Cook pasta according to package directions. In a large skillet, sauté  mushrooms and onions in 1 tablespoon butter until tender. In a large bowl, beat ricotta and 4 oz. cream cheese until blended. Stir in 1/2 cup Asiago cheese, Parmesan cheese,bacon, 1 tablespoon parsley, garlic salt,nutmeg, pepper and mushroom mixture. Spoon into shells and place in a greased 13"x 9" baking dish. In a large saucepan, melt remaining butter. Stir in flour until smooth and then gradually add the cream,
broth and milk. Bring to a boil. Cook and stir for 1-2 minutes or until thickened. Stir in Romano cheese and the remaining cream cheese, Asiago and parsley. Pour over shells. Sprinkle with mozzarella cheese. Cover and bake at 350 degrees for 30 minutes. Uncover and bake another 10-15 minutes longer.

Serving Size: 2 stuffed shells
Servings: 12
How much milk does an average dairy cow produce per day?
Answer: The average dairy cow produces anywhere from six to eight gallons of milk per day.
This means the average dairy cow produces more than 2,000 gallons of milk every year!

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