IDEA ALLEY: Kat shares three different recipes for cheese dip

(Illustration by Kelly Brant)
(Illustration by Kelly Brant)

Recipes that appear in Idea Alley have not been tested by the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette.

In last week's column devoted to Mexican restaurants of yore and three classic cheese dip recipes, I asked readers to pass along their favorite cheese dip recipe.

Harold Sharp was the first to answer the call.

"Here are three that I think might be good additions," Sharp writes. "The first is my favorite (not too sure it is really a copycat of Chili's recipe)."

Chili's Queso (Slow Cooker Version)

  • 1 pound Velveeta cheese
  • 1 cup half-and-half or milk (half-and-half preferred)
  • ½ teaspoon ground red (cayenne) pepper
  • 2 teaspoons paprika
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 (15-ounce) can chili (no beans) — Wolf Brand seems best
  • 1 tablespoon chile powder
  • 2 teaspoons cumin
  • Juice of 1 lime (about 1 tablespoon)

Cut Velveeta into cubes, about 1 inch square (this is not totally necessary, but it helps quicken the melting time).

Add all other ingredients to slow cooker, cover and cook on low for 2 hours. Stir occasionally until all is mixed thoroughly. Cook an additional 30 minutes if necessary. Do not leave on heat for longer than 30 minutes or mixture begins to break down and does not taste good.

Serve with tortilla chips.

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"Obviously, this is for a restaurant size quantity and would have to be adjusted for home use," Sharp writes.

Editor's note: The original recipe for Juanita's and Blue Mesa's cheese dip is a closely guarded secret. The following is the recipe the most recent owners and management of Juanita's shared with the public when the restaurant closed its doors in late 2015.

Juanita's White Mesa Cheese Dip

  • 5 pounds white cheese melt OR Velveeta Queso Blanco
  • 1 ½ quarts milk, plus more as needed
  • 15 ounces canned diced green peppers
  • 8 ounces finely chopped onions
  • 3 ounces white pepper
  • 2 ounces finely chopped cilantro
  • 2 tablespoons finely diced jalapeno
  • 1 tablespoon cumin

Combine all ingredients in a double boiler or slow cooker and cook, stirring, until melted. Then add more milk and stir until it reaches the desired consistency.

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"Finally, a cheese dip for those that like it 'loaded.' "[This dip is] similar to the 'Bob Armstrong' dip so revered by folks from central Texas," Sharp writes.

Meat Lovers Cheese Dip

  • ½ pound pork sausage (use your favorite brand)
  • ½ pound lean ground beef
  • 3 ribs celery, chopped
  • 1 medium yellow onion, chopped
  • 1 can (size not given) mushroom stems and pieces
  • 1 can (size not given) golden cream of mushroom soup
  • 2 pounds Velveeta, cut into 1-inch cubes
  • 2 cans (size not given) cheddar cheese soup
  • 2 cups whole milk (not 2% or low fat)
  • 1 can Ro-Tel
  • Chips, for serving

Cook the meats in a large skillet. When about half done, add celery, onion and mushrooms to pan. Cook until meat is browned well. Drain fat thoroughly. Transfer the mixture to a large slow cooker and combine with the remaining ingredients (except chips) and cook on low setting for 4 to 6 hours.

Serve with corn chips such as Doritos.

Email recipe contributions, requests and culinary questions to: [email protected]

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