Thursday, November 25, 2010

"All About Sausage by Oscar Mayer & Co." - Wiener Cheesaroni

Date I made this recipe: November 21, 2010 (the annual Packer-Viking game)

All About Sausage by Oscar Mayer & Co.
Published by: Oscar Mayer & Co.
© 1973
Recipe: Weiner Cheesaroni – p. 50

Today marked the 100th meeting of the Green Bay Packers (yay!) and the Minnesota Vikings (boo!). And what a glorious meeting it was with the Packers winning 31-3. Tee hee hee. All I can say is payback’s a bitch: last year with Brett Favre as quarterback (having left the Packers in a huff 2 years before), the team I call the Vike-Queens smoked us. But this year to my great enjoyment, we royally embarrassed our rival as well as our ex-quarterback (traitor!) causing the Vikings owners to fire coach Brad Childress (that’s “Chilly” to those in the know), and Brett Favre to “re-evaluate” the game. Many sports announcers (and me) took this to mean he might sit out the rest of the season but of course not. Yesterday he announced (and not for the first time) that he didn’t MEAN he was going to quit. It just meant he was evaluating the rest of the season. Uh huh, right. Liar, liar, pants on fire.

At any rate, prior to the game, I decided to pay homage to my Packers by making something that just screams “Wisconsin:” sausage and cheese.

Now I have to tell you that I already knew, deep down in my gut, that this dish would probably not live up to the standards set by the back-to-back home runs of Craig Claiborne’s meals and it did not disappoint; it wasn’t a total disaster but it was close. In fact, when I informed my husband that I was making “Weiner Cheesaroni” for dinner, his cute little nose curled up in a gesture I can only describe as the universal signal for “Ew.” Honey, not every recipe can be a winner.

Here’s what is inherently wrong with this dish: it’s not the wieners or cheese or even macaroni that’s the problem, it’s the addition of caraway seeds and green onion. As I’ve said many times before in this blog though, I make the recipes as written and so like it or not, I went with ingredients I knew would be problematic and they were.

So here’s what I think could possibly salvage this next time around: scrap the caraway seeds and the green onion and use real onion instead. I’d sauté it first so the onion isn’t so sharp. And I’d add real cheese to the dish as well to make it extra creamy. Nothing against Campbell’s soup but in this case that canned flavor was just too much.

I’m not sure what to substitute for a spice, if anything, but definitely pass on the caraway seeds or you, too, will experience an “Ew” moment!

And speaking of “Ew” moments, I’d say the Packers handed Vikings fans enough “Ew” moments to last a lifetime. Go Pack Go!!

By the way, when I told the name of this dish to a coworker, he said “It sounds like a great name for a band!” (How true is that?!) Since “cheesearoni” sounds like Beefaroni (a popular canned macaroni product from the 60’s) we also promptly launched into the Beefaroni song. Okay, everybody: “We’re having Beefaroni. Made from macaroni. Beefaroni’s full of meat. Beefaroni’s really neat. Beefaroni’s fun to eat. Hooray! For Beefaroni!”

Thank you, thank you. I’m here all week…..

Wiener Cheesaroni – serves 5
1 pound package (10 wieners) ((I used half the amount but did buy Unsinger’s wieners, made in Milwaukee, WI).
7 ounces macaroni, cooked
1 can (10 ¾ oz.) condensed cheese soup
2/3 cup milk
½ cup chopped green onions
1 teaspoon dry mustard
½ teaspoon caraway seed

Preheat oven to 350. Cut half the wieners into bite-size pieces; combine with remaining ingredients in 2-quart casserole. Top with remaining whole wieners. Cover and bake 30 minutes, or until heated through.

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