Thursday, December 4, 2008

The Secret to Good Queso Dip

I can remember the first time I tasted queso. It was at a family get-together, and I think my aunt brought it.

It was homemade, and we thought it was So Exotic.

We even called it by an exotic name--"Ro-tel cheese dip".

Back in the "olden days", Ro-tel tomatoes came two ways--with green chilies, or without. The recipe was so simple--one can of Ro-tel tomatoes to one pound of Velveeta. Which meant if you bought the big box of Velveeta, you needed two cans.

These days, you can buy untold varieties of Ro-tel tomatoes. I saw some the other day that were flavored with lime juice and cilantro. (Something about that sounds sooo good.)

They also come already diced, which is where the problem lies. Most people, these days, when they make ro-tel dip, just chunk up the Velveeta and pour the diced Ro-tel tomatoes over the top, then melt it all together in the microwave. Now, I have to say, it's not bad that way. But if you use the old recipe of two cans of diced Ro-tel to two pounds (the big box) of Velveeta, it's not the right consistency, and to me, it doesn't taste as good as the way we did it back in the "olden days".

And how did we do it "back in the day" before Ro-tel came already diced? We opened up the two cans of Ro-tel, dumped it into a blender or food processor, and more or less liquefied it. Then chunked up the Velveeta, poured the liquefied Ro-tel over the top, and melted it in a double boiler, or very carefully in a regular saucepan, on top of the stove.

Stay with me, now! I'm not advocating ditching the microwave!! Melted is melted, I don't care which way you do it! BUT--and this is the BIG SECRET--whether you buy the old fashioned, whole Ro-tel tomatoes, or whether you buy the diced ones---throw them in the blender and liquefy them all first.

You may not think it would make that much difference, but it does, TRUST me. The flavors of the tomatoes and the spices blend with the cheese so much better.

Microwave on about 80%, and stop and stir every few minutes or so. Once it the Velveeta gets melted and you can really stir and blend it together, it looks disgusting, but persevere! Continue to stir, and all of a sudden, it will go from weird looking mixture to the Best Cheese Dip Ever.

Now you know I can't do a recipe without giving you some variations. Add one of the following stir-ins for something different:
  • cook and drain 1/2 lb to a pound of ground meat or pan sausage and stir into dip
  • add a small container of chopped or sliced black olives
  • for a creamier dip, use one can of Ro-tel, one pound of Velveeta, and after melting, add an 8 oz container of sour cream and a packet of ranch dressing mix.
  • add a large can of chili when you add the tomatoes; heat and stir all together

But my very favorite way to eat this dip is just plain, made from two cans of liquefied Ro-tel and the big box of Velveeta.

Pass the Ruffles, please.

Good cooking, and good eating!

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5 comments:

  1. Oooh I will try that next time! Have you ever tried adding ground beef too? Now that is good.
    I think you can save even more time if you are busy is to throw the velveeta in the crockpot and walk away, once its melted add the rotel (I will be sure to blend next time senorita).

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  2. I've never done this in the crock-pot, that sounds like my style--easy!

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  3. I do buy tortilla chips or corn chips for my family, but my very favorite chip to eat with any dip is plain ruffles. Weird, huh?

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  4. Charlene, My family is devouring this dip along with the cheap pita chips from CVS this week. It is definitely a hit, and I used the lime juice and cilantro rotel too. (I haven't noticed much difference, but I will have to compare them in a taste test.) :-)

    Thanks!

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