Making the 'World's Best Mac and Cheese' at Home Is Easier Than You Think

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Many people's experience cooking mac and cheese is limited to pasta from a box and cheese powder from the enclosed packet. But settling for the pre-packaged stuff isn't the only way to enjoy crave-worthy mac and cheese at home. This recipe shared on Martha Stewart's website proves that you don't need a culinary degree to make some of the best mac and cheese of your life.

This recipe was originally published in Kurt Beecher Dammeier's cookbook Pure Flavor. To start cooking it, you'll need 1/4 cup of grated Gruyere cheese, 1/4 cup of grated cheddar, 1/4 to 1/2 teaspoon of chipotle-chile powder, butter or oil for greasing the baking dish, 6 ounces of the short pasta of your choice, and 2 cups of Beecher's Flagship Cheese Sauce. The recipe for the cheese sauce includes jack and cheddar, bringing the cheese total up to three. It also provides the mac and cheese with its all-important creaminess.

Once your ingredients are assembled, grease an 8-inch baking dish, preheat your oven to 350°F, and bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Add the pasta and take it off the heat about two minutes sooner than the recommended cooking time. Strain the pasta, rinse under cold water, and strain out any excess water.

When the pasta is cool, stir it with the cheese sauce and add it to the baking dish. Top it with the grated cheeses and chile powder and bake uncovered for about 20 minutes. Once the top has browned slightly, pull it out of the oven and allow it to sit for about five minutes before digging in.

If you're teaching yourself how to cook at home, memorizing a few super-simple staple recipes is a good place to start. After mastering mac, try this pasta sauce recipe from Italian cooking icon Marcella Hazan that takes only three ingredients and less than an hour to make.

[h/t Martha Stewart]

Ground Beef Targeted by Massive Recall Might Still Be in Your Freezer

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More than 132,000 pounds of ground beef produced by Cargill Meat Solutions were recalled on September 19 due to a risk of E. coli O26, according to a news release from the USDA’s Food Safety and Inspection Service. The affected beef was produced and packaged on June 21, so you may want to check your freezer for any burger patties or homemade bolognese sauce you stored away over the summer.

“FSIS is concerned that some product may be frozen and in consumers’ freezers,” the agency said in a statement. “Consumers who have purchased these products are urged not to consume them. These products should be thrown away or returned to the place of purchase.”

Cargill Meat Solutions is based in Colorado, but these products have been shipped across the country. One death and 17 illnesses have been linked to the outbreak so far, with the dates of illness ranging from July 5 to July 25. According to the FSIS, people usually become ill within three to four days of exposure to E. coli O26. Symptoms include diarrhea (often bloody) and vomiting.

The recalled products have the establishment number “EST. 86R” inside the USDA inspection mark on the package. To see the 12 varieties of ground beef that were affected, click the following link [PDF].

How Maggots Could Lead to More Sustainable Agriculture

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A decade ago, two brothers started recycling food waste into feed for animals by letting the food chain run its natural course. In other words—they got into the maggot business. Now their South Africa-based company, AgriProtein, is planning to expand its fly farms into an international network, CNN Money reports.

Jason and David Drew founded their company in 2008 with the goal of cultivating fly larvae (a.k.a. maggots) as an eco-friendly protein source. Today, many farmed animals, such as fish and chicken, are fed fish meal: a type of feed made from dried and ground-up fish. Fish are a cheap protein source, but the high demand for animal feed has led to them being harvested at an unsustainable rate.

AgriProtein's solution to the feed industry's sustainability problem involves tapping into a resource that can be found wherever there's food waste. To create its products, the company's two fly factories in Cape Town and Durban each take in 276 tons of food waste every day. The flies lay 340 million eggs on the waste daily, and those eggs hatch into the maggots used to make the feed.

Theoretically, the process could have wide-reaching effects at every stage of the agriculture industry: Human-generated food waste that would otherwise rot in a landfill is used to nourish the protein, which is then used to feed livestock, which ends up as food for humans.

The Drew brothers' "nutrient recycling" concept attracted research funding from the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, and today AgriProtein is valued at more than $200 million. The fly farms are limited to South Africa for now, but the company plans to open 100 factories in Asia, the Middle East, Europe and the United States. If their efforts are successful, the brothers could inspire other insect farmers to embrace the maggot revolution.

[h/t CNN Money]

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