Do you know what's weird?
I grew up in California and definitely had my share of *awesome* Mexican food before moving away to join the Air Force (side note: Columbus, MS was not exactly overflowing with great Mexican options...).
I had all kinds of yumminess.
One thing I didn't have? Ever?
Queso. That warm, gooey, slightly spicy, white cheese dip perfect for dipping chips or covering food.
I don't know, maybe it existed, maybe I just never thought to order it, maybe I'm the only one on Earth that wasn't smothering their chips and food in cheese dip. For all I know the rest of California was literally swimming in the stuff...but I definitely was not.
No, my first experience with queso- the dip, not cheese in general- didn't occur until I got to the South.
Queso is ubiquitous in this part of the country; I honestly don't believe I've been to a Mexican restaurant and not had queso in the past 13 years! Personally I prefer a killer salsa to queso any day- lol my parents have a story they love to tell about me eating a bowl of salsa with a spoon when I was like 3- but my family? Oh boy are they queso lovers. A bowl of queso doesn't stand a chance in the presence of my husband and daughter.
For a long time queso cravings have been the sole reason we've spent too much money on sub-par Mexican food rather than cooking at home. My husband would send me a text asking to have Mexican for dinner...I would counter with an offer to make it at home...and he would come back with "but I want queso, I'm craving queso..."
So we would drag the kids to a Mexican place where my daughter would proceed to order something decidedly un-Mexican to eat with her queso and chips, my son with his eating issues would eat nothing but chips, and I would grumble about how I could have done better at home.
Well friends, those days are over!
Yesterday afternoon that text came from my husband asking for Mexican.
Well...remember when I said that the most important advice I have is to be confident that you can tackle anything in the kitchen?
I told him I'd make him queso at home.
And you know what?
And it rocked.
Like really, really rocked.
I mean, this was some awesome awesome queso! No more dragging the family to a restaurant just because my husband has a queso craving. :-)
Needless to say I'm absolutely thrilled with my new discovery! We'll definitely be repeating this regularly- you could totally just throw all of the ingredients together in the crock pot for game day or parties. Super easy, and super delicious.
Modified from Allrecipes.com
2 lb Velveeta Queso Blanco, cubed
1/2 C milk
1 Tbsp butter
2 (4 ounce) cans chopped green chilies
1/2 tsp cumin
1/2 tsp garlic powder
1/2 tsp onion powder
1/8 tsp cayenne pepper
1. Place cheese, milk, and butter in a medium saucepan over low heat. Cook until cheese has melted, stirring frequently. Stir in green chilies, cumin, garlic powder, onion powder, and cayenne pepper to taste. Add more milk if dip is too thick. Heat through and serve warm.