Like Alton Brown, I don’t believe in kitchen unitaskers. I hate walking the aisles of a store and seeing knives just for avocados, or a machine that bakes mini cupcakes in a contraption that looks like a George Foreman grill, or a maze-like brownie pan that promises extra crispy edges. Any good knife can cut an avocado, a properly sized muffin pan can make you baby cupcakes and you can reuse that muffin pan for individual brownies with the crispiest of edges.
But I confess: my kitchen does have one unitasker and I have used it but once.
My disdain for football has been well documented but I am always eager to attend a Super Bowl party. I love snacks and I love tv, a perfect match. One year I ended up as the host of a Super Bowl fiesta and as I strategically planned my menu I realized my kitchen was crying out for a tiny crockpot.
How else would I keep my spicy cheese sauce molten hot and melty all night long?
I’d show you my beloved baby crockpot but it is jammed in the back of a cabinet in the box it came in. But the one time I used it was magnificent.
I may have forgotten about the baby crockpot but this queso recipe is not gathering dust anywhere. I am happy to slap a potholder on the table and drop a bubbly saucepan of queso on top. The crockpot keeps the cheese warmer for longer but really how long does a pot of queso last? If somehow the cheese does cool down you can easily warm it back up on the stove.
And while crumbly queso fresco is salty and delicious, it’s really the processed American cheese that is the workhouse of the queso. I look to Shawnda of The Brewer and the Baker for all things Texas and that includes creamy queso blanco. If a blonde Texan tells me to put American cheese in my queso then that is what goes in my queso.
But don’t think it’s the middle of a grilled cheese sandwich floating in your pot. That American cheese and queso fresco goes swimming with jalapenos, onions, garlic and tomatoes and then gets souped up with a splash of milk.
Since this queso takes all of 5 minutes to come together consider making fresh chips for dipping. If you’re not afraid of hot oil then your chip and dip game will be forever changed.
- 1 tablespoon vegetable oil
- 2 cloves garlic, minced
- 3 tablespoons chopped onion
- ½ jalapeno, minced(seeds and stems removed if you want to pull back on the heat)
- A handful of cherry tomatos or 1 roma tomato, diced
- 6 ounces american cheese, I use the regular individually wrapped slices and you’ll need 8.
- 2 ounces Queso fresco, crumbled
- 3 tablespoons milk, low-fat is fine here
- Zest from one lime
- In a small saucepan heat the vegetable oil over medium heat.
- Add the chopped garlic, onion, jalapeno and tomatoes to the pan and sweat for 5 minutes, until everything is soft but not brown.
- Reduce heat to medium low and add the cheeses and milk, stir until melted.
- Adjust for seasoning, add lime zest and add more milk if the mixture is too thick.
- Serve with chips.