Sunday, February 5, 2012

Game Day Dip Recipes!

Today is Super Bowl Sunday! Mike and I are getting ready to pack up some snacks and take them to a friends house to enjoy the game.

Last night I threw together this delicious Salsa Con Queso dip for girls night, today I am turning the leftovers into a Cheesy Black Bean Dip.

Lucky you! You stopped by just in time for an easy 2 for 1 recipe that will wow your guests and make becoming a football widow ONE more time this season, hurt a little less. The Salso Con Queso Dip is something you have seen and perhaps purchased at the grocery store dozens of times. It is used over nachos, to make mac and cheese or put out as dip. You can do all of the above and SO much more with this recipe. The greatest part is the freshness you get from making it from scratch. You get to control the quality of cheese, the heat levels and the salt content. Speaking of salt, I don't add any. If you're tasting along the way and you fee it needs a pinch or two, go for it. But I love the subtle natural saltiness that you get from the melted cheese.

Now onto the Cheesy Black Bean Dip, this is a play on that canned pinto bean spread they have for sale near the chips. It tastes every bit as naughty as the canned stuff, but we're using black beans which are high in fiber and antioxidants. The black beans also give a little gourmet flair to the party! We reserve a little bit of the Salsa Con Queso to add into our black beans, making this a very convenient recipe to throw together at the last minute.

Salsa Con Queso

3 Tbsp butter, salted or unsalted
1 Tbsp olive or vegetable oil
4 Tbsp of flour
1 can of fat free, reduced salt chicken (or vegetarian) broth
1/2 cup fat free milk
1 cup shredded "Mexican" cheese mix (I used a little more than 1 cup for a really thick dip)
2 heaping Tbsp (more or less) chopped pickled jalapeno
2 heaping Tbsp (more or less) salsa (your favorite brand)
1/4 cup chopped tomato
1 tbsp cumin powder

In a medium size pot melt your butter, add oil and flour. Cook the flour on low heat until it has taken on a little color. This will cook out that "raw" flour flavor. Add the can of chicken broth stirring constantly to incorporate, when that has thickened, add milk stirring constantly. Start to add the cheese a little at a time, remembering to stir constantly and wait until the cheese is completely incorporated before adding more. After the cheese is fully melted into your sauce, add the remaining ingredients. You might want to add half the jalapenos and salsa, then taste for heat. My end product turned out a little too spicy for ladies night, but just right for the guys during game night, so keep your intended audience in mind. Test the queso with a corn chip, it should be nice and smooth, not lumpy. It should coat the chip just like nacho cheese sauce and the cheese flavor should be the dominant flavor. Use this dip for nachos, enchiladas, Quesadillas, burritos, mac and cheese and my personal favorite, hamburger skillet meals!
(withhold about a 1/4 cup of this if you're also making the Cheesy Black Bean Dip)

Cheesy Black Bean Dip

1 can black beans, drained and rinsed
1/4 prepared Salsa Con Queso
1/4 Shredded "Mexican" cheese mix
1 Tbsp, chopped cilantro

Add all ingredients into your food processor and roughly pulse on low for 40-60 seconds. Add to a small pot or skillet and warm through. Serve in a dip bowl, garnish with a dollop of sour cream and scallions. I prefer to serve this hot, but it is just as delicious at room temperature. If we end up with left overs (which is rare) we spoon a little into corn or flour tortillas with cheese and sour cream for a delicious burrito. Makes a great vegetarian enchilada filling too!

One of the things that got me into cooking at such a young age, was reading the labels on the back of prepared foods and wondering how hard it would be to make them myself. The truth is: Not that hard at all. Nothing beats serving my friends and family a fresh, healthier version of their favorite snacks. And nothing beats the satisfaction you will get when your guests exclaim, "You made THIS from scratch?!"

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