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Mix It Up With Jenny - Winter Brunch a Winner

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Spicy Jack Mac & Cheese With Broccoli

 (Family Features) - Cabin fever? Not me! Being housebound in February is just my cup of tea. Winter weather is a great excuse for baking and cooking. And it's not difficult to coax others into the heart of the home with warmth and tempting aromas.

So look no further than "winter" for an excuse to get together. Gather the kids to do some fun baking - bars or other favorite cookies - to prepare for a mid-winter's party. Plan an easy menu that includes a lot of comfort.

Gather your crowd for some comfort and coddling:

  • Invite friends, and include the kids, for a casual weekend brunch.
  • Choose a heartwarming classic casserole as a centerpiece entrée.

  • Add a fruit salad, a loaf of pumpkin bread or some rolls from the bakery.

  • Pour coffee, make hot cocoa and have the kids pass a plate of home-baked cookies and bars.

  • Play a favorite board game, get out a deck of cards or play charades for good old-fashioned fun indoors.

Comfort classics like a cheesy casserole, quiche or chowder can take the chill out of winter. This twist on the all-American, popular-with-everyone mac 'n' cheese includes three different types of cheese, including Pepper Jack to spice things up.

Heartwarming winter baking ideas and cooking inspiration can be found at www.VeryBestBaking.com.

Jenny Harper is Consumer Test Kitchen Project Manager for the Nestlé Test Kitchens and VeryBestBaking.com.

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Spicy Jack Mac & Cheese With Broccoli

Winter weather is a great excuse for baking and cooking so why not try this twist on the all-American mac 'n' cheese? This recipe for Spicy Jack Mac & Cheese includes three different types of cheese!

  • 2 cups (8 ounces) dry elbow macaroni
  • 2 cups chopped frozen or fresh broccoli
  • 2 cups (8 ounces) shredded sharp cheddar cheese
  • 2 cups (8 ounces) Pepper Jack cheese
  • 1 can (12 ounces) Nestlé Carnation Evaporated Milk
  • 1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese, divided
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper
  • 2 tablespoons bread crumbs

    1. PREHEAT oven to 350°F. Lightly butter 2 1/2-quart casserole dish. COOK macaroni in large saucepan according to package directions, adding broccoli to boiling pasta water for last 3 minutes of cooking time.
    2. COMBINE drained cooked pasta, broccoli, cheddar cheese, Pepper Jack cheese, evaporated milk, 1/4 cup Parmesan cheese and black pepper in large bowl. Pour into prepared casserole dish. Combine remaining Parmesan cheese and bread crumbs; sprinkle over macaroni mixture. Cover tightly with aluminum foil.
    3. BAKE covered 20 minutes. Remove foil; bake additional 10 minutes until lightly browned.

Calories: 420g     Total Fat: 23g
Cholesterol: 80mg     Protein: 24g
Carbohydrates: 31g     Sodium: 490mg

Serves 8

Notes, Tips & Suggestions
Note: For a less spicy version, substitute 2 cups (8 ounces) Monterey Jack cheese and a few dashes of hot pepper sauce (optional) for the Pepper Jack cheese.

SOURCE: Nestlé USA, Inc.

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