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Whole Wheat Macaroni and Cheese with Ground Turkey
- Prep time: 20 min
- Cook time: 25 min
- Ready in: 45 min
- Yields: 6-8 servings
Do you prefer real Dairy Cheese or Velveeta?
I happened upon a package of Velveeta cheese, instead of regular cheese, during a mix-up grocery shopping.
Normally, I refrain from using any “processed cheese food”, mainly because it isn’t real cheese; it’s not made from milk, it’s made from oil.
True, it is a bit cheaper and has fewer calories, but I do not like using substitutes for dairy (cheese, butter, or milk). It’s a personal choice; I prefer the flavor and texture of dairy products.
Anyway, I found myself with a block (16 ounces / one pound) of Velveeta and I wasn’t sure what to do with it.
I had already thawed out a pound of ground turkey, and I remembered that a lot of recipes for Mac and Cheese call for using Velveeta cheese (because it “melts easier”).
Now, I have my own recipe for Mac and Cheese using regular shredded Cheddar Cheese. However; I thought I would mix in the Velveeta and the turkey to make a nice Whole Wheat Macaroni and Cheese with Ground Turkey Dinner.
The steps are pretty easy and it should only take about one hour to put this recipe together. It may not be “real” cheese, but the Velveeta works well with this dish and it tastes good too.
1 pound (16 oz.) of whole wheat elbow macaroni pasta
1 pound (16 oz.) of ground turkey
1 medium yellow onion
1 pound (16 oz.) of Velveeta cheese (one 16 oz. block of it)
½ stick (1/4 cup) unsalted butter
¼ cup of all-purpose flour
2 cups (16 oz.) of cold milk
1 cup (8 oz.) shredded cheese, equally divided
¼ cup of Italian bread crumbs
1. Pre-heat the oven to 350 degree F.
2. Dice the onions; using a Vidalia slicer makes it very easy and quick.
3. In a medium sized frying pan over medium heat, brown the turkey along with the diced onions.
4. In a large pot, boil about 4 quarts of water.
5. When the water is at a rapid boil, add the pasta and cook it according the directions given on the package; mine was 6 minutes.
6. Drain the cooked turkey and onions in a colander.
7. Drain the cooked pasta in a colander.
8. Dice the 16 oz. of Velveeta into cubes.
9. Using the same pot that you boiled the pasta in, over medium heat, melt the ½ stick (1/4 cup) od unsalted butter.
10. Add the ¼ cup of all-purpose flour to the melted butter and continue cooking (and whisking) until the roux is a little gold color
11. Add the 2 cups of cold milk, and continue cooking and whisking until the cream sauce is thick enough to coat the back of a spoon.
12. Add the cubed pieces of Velveeta to the pot and stir it into the cream sauce until it is fully melted and the cheese sauce is smooth (no chunks or lumps).
13. Add the drained pasta to the cheese and fold it into the sauce.
14. Add the cooked turkey and onions to the cheese and pasta; fold it into the mixture
15. Add 1/2 cup of shredded cheese to the mixture and fold it into the rest of the mix.
16. Spread the entire mixture into a large casserole dish.
17. Sprinkle ¼ cup of the bread crumbs evenly over the casserole.
18. Sprinkle 1/2 cup of the shredded cheese evenly over the casserole.
19. Bake the mac and cheese casserole for 25 minutes.
20. Allow it to cool 10-15 minutes before serving.