National Cheese Day

Let's celebrate! National Cheese Day is upon us! June 4th has been declared National Cheese Day according to the people at The Flying Dutchman  so browse through a few of your favorite macaroni and cheese recipes in honor of this wonderful day.

Cheese sometimes gets a bad reputation for being a high fat food that should be limited in a healthy diet but this is a completely wrong attitude towards cheese. Cheese is higher in calories than other dairy products but if you watch your portions and plan meals accordingly, cheese has a place in everyone's healthy lifestyle. A serving of cheese is considered to be the size of 2 dice and is around 100 calories depending on the variety of cheese. Approximately 1/3 cup of shredded cheese equals one cup of milk.

The protein found in cheese contains all of the essential amino acids a body needs. (http://www.nationaldairycouncil.org/NationalDairyCouncil/Health/Digest/dcd73-5Page3.htm) Although the fat content of cheese is higher than in other dairy products, cheese can be a valuable addition to your diet along with proper exercise if eaten in moderation (proper portion size).

Ideas on how to celebrate National Cheese include:

1. Make cheese covered eggs for breakfast.

Scrambled eggs are a great breakfast food but when you sprinkle a handful of cheese on top, they become Celebration Eggs for National Cheese Day.

Kids think these are even better if you add a few American flag toothpicks on top.

2. Cheese and Crackers

A simple plate of cheese and crackers could be your perfect way of honoring this national day of cheese. Try slices of gouda, cheddar and havarti for a nice plate.

3. What better way to celebrate National Cheese Day than by making macaroni and cheese. You can choose an easy microwave or stovetop mac and cheese or opt for an oven baked macaroni and cheese. Pair this with a salad or sliced vegetables and you have a great dinner that any adult or child will enjoy.

4. If you're really serious about National Cheese Day and want to have a small cocktail hour to celebrate. Here's a great appetizer to serve along with different selections of cheeses, wines and beers.

Gorgonzola Stuffed Dates

12-15 pitted dates

gorgonzola cheese

1/2 slice of bacon for each date

toothpicks

Stuff each date with a small amount of gorgonzola cheese. Wrap date with a 1/2 slice of bacon and insert toothpick to hold in place. Bake at 350 degrees until dates are soft and bacon is fully cooked. This pairs well with a nice white wine.

For more information on wine and cheese pairings see http://www.artisanalcheese.com/prodinfo.asp?number=NP2001.

Cheese is a wonderful food to celebrate and with so many different cheeses to choose from, one can get carried away. Stick with 3 to 4 cheeses and 2-3 beverages at your celebration and your guests will remember National Cheese Day as a day that should always be remembered. However you choose to celebrate, know that you are not alone. Have fun!