Story and photos by Angie Sutton
June is National Dairy Month. This is an opportunity to honor America’s dairy farm families and the wholesome, nutritious milk they produce. My family thinks of milk as liquid gold.
Consider all of the foods that contain dairy products. A quick glance in my refrigerator will reveal yogurt, sour cream, whipped cream, cheese, ice cream, frozen pizza, whole milk and butter. In the pantry there are more items including my middle daughter’s favorite summer snack, macaroni and cheese.
Milk provides nine essentials nutrients, which the USDA defines as a dietary substance required for healthy body functioning. These nutrients must come from the diet because the human body isn’t able to manufacture them in sufficient quantities to meet daily needs. Calcium and vitamin D are the first to come to mind as the dairy industry says about 72 percent of the calcium in the U.S. food supply comes from dairy. Potassium, phosphorus, protein, vitamin A, vitamin B12, riboflavin and niacin complete the nine essential vitamins in milk.
How much do we really need? Midwest Dairy Association explains it as three cups of low-fat and fat-free milk or equivalent milk products for those 9 years of age and older and two cups of for children ages 2 to 8 years.
June is a great month to celebrate dairy as ice cream and frozen desserts are the perfect summer treat on a hot day
Segen’s Summer Chiller Drink
The kids love to mix up the flavors in this recipe. We’ve found that chocolate pudding mix and strawberries make a popular combination too. Segen likes to add 2 tablespoons of creamy peanut butter to the chocolate mix.
3 1/2 c. 2% milk
Place all ingredients in a blender and pulse until well blended. This makes about 4 servings to share.
Casey’s Breakfast Energy Smoothie
Casey is a lifeguard, so she is up early and off to teach swimming lessons. She likes this recipe and changes up the fruit to keep it fresh. We buy a bag of mixed frozen fruit to make it easier or we slice and freeze the fresh fruit listed.
2 large peaches (peeled and seed removed) or 2 cups strawberries (hulled), or 2 cups frozen fruit
2/3 c. 2% milk
Place all ingredients in a blender and pulse until smooth. This recipe makes about 2 servings.
Vanilla Ice Cream and 3 Variations
This recipe makes about 8 servings of 1 cup each.
2 c. whole milk
In a medium saucepan, whisk together milk, sugar, egg yolks and salt. Place pan over medium-high heat and whisk until mixture reaches a simmer. Lower heat to medium and whisk for 5 minutes or until mixture begins to thicken. Strain mixture into a large bowl, then whisk in half-and-half, cream and vanilla. Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate about 2 hours. Pour mixture into ice cream maker. Process according to manufacturer instructions.
Easy Variations: Peanut Butter Ice Cream—After straining mixture in step 3, add 1 cup smooth peanut butter and stir until fully incorporated. Continue with recipe.
Mint Chocolate Chip Ice Cream—In step 3, substitute 1 teaspoon peppermint extract for the vanilla. Once ice cream is made, stir in 2 cups mini chocolate chips.
Chocolate Ice Cream—After straining mixture in step 3, add 1 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips and stir until melted and fully incorporated. Continue with recipe.
Lemonsicle Ice Cream
This light and fresh tasting ice cream is perfect after a meal. The recipe makes about 6 servings of 1 cup each. I like to serve it with a few mint leaves from the herb garden.
2 1/2 c. whole milk
In a large bowl, whisk together all ingredients until sugar dissolves. Pour mixture into ice cream maker; process according to manufacturer instructions.
Ice Cream Cookie Sandwiches
The kids love to assemble these but I also make a batch in advance to keep in the freezer for a quick snack.
1 c. unsalted butter
Heat oven to 350 F. Line 2 baking sheets with parchment paper. Drop the butter and chocolate into a medium-sized saucepan and cook, stirring often, over medium heat until melted. Remove from heat and whisk in the sugar, then the eggs. Add the flour and stir until smooth. Spoon 1 tablespoon batter onto the prepared baking sheet; drop a second tablespoon on top. Repeat with the remaining batter, spacing cookies 1 1/2 inches apart. Bake until puffed and set, 12 minutes. Let cool on wire rack. Form sandwiches with 2 cookies and 1/4 cup ice cream. Roll in mini chocolate chips if you want. Serve immediately or wrap tightly and freeze, up to 3 days. Makes about 9 sandwiches.