Saturday afternoon on a crisp fall day could only mean one thing to my husband and sons--Football games! And having the gang over to cheer the favorite team is the best ever! And it's a great chance to share some of those fall goodies that make the afternoon satisfying even if the favorite team isn't having its best day.
Cheese sauce--gooey, rich, golden. Makes everything better from corn chips to apple chips. Even makes broccoli go down easier for the younger set!
- 1 c. evaporated milk
- 1/2 t. seasoning salt (or 1/3 t salt + dash onion powder, garlic powder and paprika)
- 2 T. Ultra Gel®
- 1/4 lb medium cheddar cheese (about 1 1/4 c.) grate it yourself!
- Measure evaporated milk into a heat-proof 2 cup measuring cup or bowl. Allow plenty of room as the milk will boil as it is heated.
- Add seasoning salt.
- Stir Ultra Gel® gradually with a wire whisk or fork until smooth (don't panic if you see a lump--give it some time and it will stir out).
- Microwave for one minute on full power. It should be close to the boiling point--if not, return to the microwave for an additional 30 seconds.
- Add the cheese gradually, stirring to distribute the heat evenly.
- Return to the microwave for another thirty seconds to finish melting the cheese.
- Serve hot with chips or vegetables, or pour over pasta.
- If the sauce becomes too thick, add a tablespoon or two more evaporated milk and heat through, stirring until smooth.
A few observations about cheese. First--which type of cheese best for cheese sauce? I've been happiest with a cheese of medium sharpness for use in a cheese sauce. I know a mild will work--but it somehow seems flavorless to me. But it may be just right for you. Use what your family likes. But if the cheese sauce doesn't seem to have a rich flavor, you might want to kick the cheese sharpness up a notch!
Second--Why not use the grated cheese from packages at the store? I get it--It's one of the best inventions since sliced bread. Why wouldn't you want to use that inexpensive convenience rather than buying a brick and grating it yourself? It's just because the additives used to keep the grated cheese shreds separated can make the cheese sauce grainy. Here's an example of an ingredient statement from a package of store brand grated cheddar cheese:
CHEDDAR CHEESE (PASTEURIZED MILK, CHEESE CULTURE, SALT, ENZYMES, ANNATTO (FOR COLOR)), POTATO STARCH, CORN STARCH, DEXTROSE AND CALCIUM SULFATE (ADDED TO PREVENT CAKING), NATAMYCIN (A NATURAL MOLD INHIBITOR).
Everything after the "Annatto" is added to help keep the shreds from sticking together and to make the cheese keep longer. Again--this isn't bad--but it isn't a part of a high-quality cheese sauce either. So just take a few minutes and grate the cheese! I think it is useful to just divide a pound block of cheese into four parts and eliminate the measuring after it's grated.