I remember the first time I ate “American” cheese. I was visiting the USA, and went to have supper at Perkins. I ordered the exact same salad that I always ordered at home, expecting it to be, well, the same.
When I took my first bite, though… I was horrified. What I thought was shredded cheddar cheese was something… not cheese. I was informed that this was called “American cheese”, and was actually – at least partially – an oil product. Could have fooled me – I thought I was eating plastic! Either way, it was not 100% milk, as I’d always known cheese to be. As much as I loved that particular salad before that night, I’ve never ordered it since. The memory of it was forever scarred!
It would be a few years before I’d get another shock from eating a “cheese” product. Somehow, I ended up trying the premade Velveeta Shells and Cheese. I managed two bites, before I realized that it felt like the inside of my mouth was being plastinated. Was Velveeta used in the plastination process for Bodyworlds? I don’t know, but that was the first and last time I was gonna subject myself to it!
Every summer since, of course, I’ve had to gag at the commercials about making Velveeta / Rotel “queso dip”. As I visualized the damage this stuff must be doing to the innards of those poor unsuspecting folks in the commercial, my husband would inform me that – if one grew up with Velveeta – it’s not as horrible as it comes across to my fresh, unplastinated palate.
They must put minute amounts of … something illicit… in that crap, for him to come away with THAT sort of view, on such a horrific thing.
Anyway. Yes. Velveeta is the most disgusting thing I’ve ever come across in my life. That it’s marketed as food should be *criminal*.
I admit, though – there’s a certain attraction to the idea of making super easy cheese dip, per the commercial. I’ve been meaning to post my recipe for proper cheese dip for awhile now. It’s really easy, and honestly doesn’t take much more effort than
So… here it is. This is a great basic recipe, feel free to play with it. Toss in some chopped chilis (after adding the corn starch), maybe some chopped cilantro (after the cheese is all melted and smooth). It’s very adaptable! The amount of cheese you end up needing will depend on how much liquid is in your salsa, and what kind of cheese you’re using.
Basic Salsa Queso Dip Recipe
½ c up milk, beer, or chicken stock
2 Tbsp corn starch
1 cup salsa of choice*
4-5 cups grated sharp cheddar cheese**
In a medium saucepan, whisk together liquid of choice and corn starch, until mixture is smooth and there are NO lumps. Add in salsa, stir until well combined.
Heat over medium, just until it comes to a simmer. Add a large handful of cheese, stir until melted. Continue adding rest of cheese – a handful at a time – stirring until it’s melted each time. Stop when dip reaches desired thickness.
Allow dip to heat for another minute or so, after the final batch of cheese. Serve warm.
* We used a less chunky salsa for this batch, I usually like to use very chunky salsa in my cheese dip recipe. Use whatever you love! Also… I’ll admit it, when I’m feeling lazy and in the mood for chili cheese dip, I’ll substitute a small order of Wendys’ chili for the salsa!
** Please use real cheese. Seriously. Tastes better if you don’t use the pre-shredded stuff, even though I tend to use it out of convenience. Also, feel free to substitute Monterey Jack – or almost any other cheese – for all or part of the cheese in the recipe. The only cheese I don’t recommend is mozzarella, as it tends to make for stringy or goopy dip.
Want to get a bit fancier with it? Try our earlier recipe, Southwest Fondue!
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