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Touted as America's Dairyland, Wisconsin has an embarrassment of riches when it comes to cheese.  According to Wisconsin Milk Marketing Board, farmers produce 3.24 billion lbs. of cheese each year.

To put it in perspective, If Wisconsin were a country, it would rank 4th in the world in cheese production, behind the rest of the U.S., Germany and France.  So, thank you Wisconsin dairy (and goat) farmers for helping cheese lovers all across America celebrate National Cheese Lover's Day with these cheese laden recipes.

French Fried Cheese Curds

1/4 c. milk

1 c. flour

3/4 c. beer

1/2 t. salt

2  eggs

2 lbs. cheese curds

vegetable oil

Mix first five ingredients into a thin batter. Dip curds into batter. Put dipped curds into 375 degree fat fryer until golden brown.

Onion Cheese Puffs

1 c. water

1/3 c. butter

1 c. flour

1/2 t. salt

1/4 t. garlic powder

4  eggs, room temperature

3/4 c. cheddar cheese, shredded

1/4 c. onion, finely chopped

Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Lightly grease baking sheets. In 2 quart pan, bring water and butter to boil. In small bowl, stir in flour, salt, and garlic powder. Add to saucepan all at once. Stir mixture over low heat for 1 minute or until mixture forms a ball. Remove from heat. Beat in eggs, one at a time, beating well after each until smooth and shiny. Stir in cheese and onion. Drop dough by the teaspoonful 1 inch apart on baking sheet. Bake 15-20 minutes until puffed and golden. Makes about 60 puffs. Serve with tuna or chicken spread.

Mini Mac & Cheese Bites

2 c. uncooked elbow macaroni

1 c. seasoned bread crumbs (divided)

2 T.  butter

2 T. flour

½  t. onion powder

½  t. garlic powder

½  t. seasoned salt

1 ¾  c. 2% milk

2 c. (8 oz.) shredded sharp cheddar cheese (divided)

1 c. (4 oz.) shredded Swiss cheese

¾ c. Bisquick baking mix

2 eggs, lightly beaten

Cook macaroni according to package directions; drain. Meanwhile, sprinkle ¼ c. bread crumbs into 36 greased mini-muffin cups. In a large saucepan, melt butter over medium heat. Stir in flour and seasonings until smooth; gradually whisk in milk. Bring to a boil, stirring constantly; cook and stir 1 to 2 minutes or until thickened. Stir in 1 cup cheddar cheese and Swiss cheese until melted.

Remove from heat; stir in biscuit mix, eggs and ½ c. breadcrumbs. Add macaroni; toss to coat. Spoon about 2 T. macaroni mixture into prepared mini-muffin cups; sprinkle with remaining cheddar cheese and breadcrumbs.

Bake at 425 degrees for 8 to 10 minutes or until golden brown. Cool in pans 5 minutes before serving. Makes 3 dozen.

Old Fashioned Cheesecake

Crust:

1/3 c. powdered sugar

1 1/2 c. graham crackers

1/4 lb. butter (1 stick)

Filling:

1 c. sugar

3  8 oz. pkgs. cream cheese

1 1/8 t. vanilla

4 eggs

Topping:

1 pt. sour cream

For crust, melt butter, add cracker crumbs and sugar. Pour into bottom of springform pan, packing firmly. For filling, mix sugar, cream cheese, vanilla and eggs. Bake in preheated 350 degree oven for 50 minutes. Do not turn oven off. Top cheesecake with 1 pint of sour cream and return to oven 5 minutes. Let cake cool. Top with your favorite toppings. Chill overnight.

Cheesy Bacon Dip

16 oz. sour cream

12 oz. bacon, cooked and crumbled

8 oz. cream cheese, at room temperature

8 oz. cheddar cheese, shredded 

⅓ c. sliced green onions

In a large bowl, stir together all of the ingredients until thoroughly combined. Spoon mixture into a 1½-quart baking dish. Bake at 400 degrees until dip starts to bubble and turn brown on top, about 30 minutes. Serve warm with crusty breads, crackers or chips.

Goat Cheese Guacamole

3 avocados

1/3 c. crumbled goat cheese

¼ c. freshly chopped chives

¼ c. chopped sun-dried tomatoes in oil

1 T. fresh lemon juice

Coarse salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste

Tortilla chips for serving

Cut each avocado in half lengthwise. Remove pit and discard. Remove the avocado from the skin and place flesh in a bowl. Add cheese, chives, tomatoes, lemon juice, salt and pepper. Mash with a fork until half smooth and creamy. Taste and add more salt and pepper if desired. Serve immediately with tortilla chips. Makes 4 servings

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