That’s “Mexican Cheese Dip with Beans” for those of us who don’t speak Spanish (and by the way, I don’t speak Spanish … I know a few words … cerveza, queso, chile, frijoles, “Donde es el banos?” and “No habla Espanol” … but that is it!)
I have been craving some good spicy queso all day today … well, queso or bean dip, I wasn’t quite sure which … so I made both! I just put them together in one.
I used to make Chile con Queso with Velveeta or a can of cheddar cheese soup, but I’ve become increasingly more distrustful of the extra preservatives and things they put in pre-packaged foods, so I decided to make one without that pre-made cheesey stuff. Really, it wasn’t much more difficult, and it turned out just as (if not more) delicious than any Queso I’ve made before. It’s a creamy, cheesy spicy dip that would be perfect for Cinco de Mayo or any fiesta … or for a night alone without the kids (which is me tonight … ah! a little solitude is good for the soul sometimes …)
Chile con Queso y Frijoles (Mexican Cheese Dip with Beans)
- 1 Tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
- 1 cup of onion, chopped fine
- 2 cloves garlic, peeled and chopped fine
- 1/4 cup flour
- 1 cup lowfat milk (I used 1%)
- 2 cups shredded sharp cheddar cheese (about 4 oz.)
- 1/3 cup shredded mozzarella cheese
- 1/2 cup roasted, chopped Hatch green chile (I used extra hot, but use mild if you don’t like things too spicy)
- 1/4 cup + 2 Tablespoons of your favorite salsa
- 1 cup refried beans
- 1 teaspoon Red Robin salt (or just add salt to taste)
- In a sautee pan or cast iron skillet, heat the olive oil over medium heat till hot. Add the onion and garlic and sautee for a few minutes until the onion is translucent and soft. (If you like a little “crunch” of onion in your dip like me, reserved half of the onion and add it in later.)
- Add the flour and stir to coat all the onion and garlic pieces and soak up all the oil.
- Pour in the milk and whisk to dissolve the flour into the milk. Cook for a few minutes over medium heat, whisking constantly or until you have a thick white sauce.
- Reduce the heat to medium low and add the shredded cheeses. Stir the cheese into the mixture till it’s all melted, then add the green chile, salsa, beans, and Red Robin seasoning.
- Serve hot with tortilla chips.
Guess who got her fingernails painted purple at the teenage slumber party last night?
This recipe was shared at Cinco de Mayo Fiesta, Weekend Potluck, Sweet & Simple Sundays, Everyday Mom’s Meals, Trick or Treat Tuesdays, Katherine Martinelli’s Bean Blog Hop and Totally Tasty Tuesdays.
This cheesecake doesn’t get eaten like a cake … it is really a dip. A spicy, creamy, avocado dip. Perfect for a party. I know, New Year’s is over and everyone is done partying and onto their New Year’s Resolutions (which often somehow don’t seem like very much fun). Well, for me, January is a party month because it’s my birthday month. So I hope you will pardon me while I continue the celebration of life …
You see, when the crust from my sweet avocado cheesecake made enough for two cheesecakes (a larger one and a smaller one), but the filling only filled the larger one, I remembered this: when I was mentioning the avocado cheesecake to my foodie friends on facebook, a couple thought maybe it would be a savory cheesecake. I embraced that savory cheesecake idea and consulted my friend Google to find me one. It wasn’t long till I found a recipe and with the help of my sister’s blender, in just a few minutes, the 2nd cheesecake was in the oven.
Spicy Mexican Avocado Cheesecake (Appetizer)
Adapted from Frugal Foodie Family
Makes 1 small 5-inch cheesecake. If you want a larger cheesecake, make a double batch of the filling.
For the crust, remember that mini-crust from my sweet avocado cheesecake? I used that crust for this … I thought the sweet with the hot spicy filling would go well, but honestly it was a little too sweet for this savory filling. I think it would work better if you cut out the sugar and use a salty or cheese cracker in place of the graham crackers. Or try the tortilla crust from Frugal Foodie Family. Cut the recipe in half to make this smaller cheesecake.
- 4 oz. fat-free cream cheese
- 4 oz. light cream cheese
- 1 reduced fat cheddar cheese stick (or a bit of shredded extra sharp cheddar cheese)
- 1 ripe avocado, pitted
- 1/4 cup lowfat greek yogurt
- 1 egg and 1 egg white
- 1 jalapeno
- For topping: greek yogurt, shredded cheese, salsa, onion, bacon, olives, tomato, lettuce, corn, black beans … basically anything Mexican! I threw together a few things I could find in my sister’s kitchen
- Crackers or tortilla chips for dipping
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Make the crust. Crust options:
- Use 1/2 the batch of the walnut crust except cut out all the sugar and use salty or cheese crackers in place of the graham crackers.
- Use 1/2 a batch of the tortilla crust from Frugal Foodie Family
- In a blender or food processor, combine all the filling ingredients and blend until smooth. Pour the mixture over crust and spread evenly. Place pan on a baking sheet and bake about 20 minutes or until set.
- Cool to room temperature and chill.
- Top with your desired toppings. I spread the top with greek yogurt, then a layer of salsa, then shredded cheese, lettuce, onion, and corn.
- Serve with crackers or tortilla chips.
To me, basil has got to be one of the best herbs on the planet. I just love the intense rich and spicy, peppery flavor of it, with a hint of clove and mint. I keep basil in pots so I can enjoy it year round, and they keep me supplied with fresh basil for salads, pasta, pizzas, salad dressings, breads, sandwiches, etc. You can use it as a dip with hunks of good french bread. My little basil pots are great for every day use, but they don’t ever yield that much at once.
However, I am a VERY lucky girl because my mom and my friend are phenomenal basil growers and they often have more than they can handle! And I just tumbled into a lucky spot this weekend when I went to visit my good friend Sunday night. Her basil was growing like crazy! I cut and cut and cut and we dug a couple of the plants up for a potted basil plant and still you couldn’t even tell we’d taken any.
And whenever I get a lot of basil, I HAVE to make pesto!
Pesto is one of those wonderful flavorful things you can use in so many ways. It’s most traditionally used as a pasta sauce, but I like to use it on pizzas (instead of pizza sauce) and sandwiches. I also like to add some to the ricotta when I’m making lasagna. You can even add it to soup! It freezes well so it’s easy to pull it out whenever you need to add a little garlicky basil flavor to something. I have heard of people freezing it in ice cube trays then just popping out a pesto cube whenever they need pesto. I think that’s a great idea, but I never seem to have room in my freezer for ice cube trays! I do, however, have room for a couple little containers of basil.
This time I added lime juice because my basil-growing friend always puts lime in her pesto and her pesto stays such a bright green color and mine used to turn to an ugly dark green over time. The lime adds a little tang too, which is brilliant, and so beautiful. Look at that color!
- A big bunch of fresh basil leaves, washed, stems removed (I had enough basil leaves to entirely fill my blender even after packing down the leaves a bit)
- 2/3 c. olive oil
- 1/2 c. pinon nuts
- 1 c. freshly grated parmesan or romano cheese
- 2 T. tequila
- About 5 cloves garlic (you can adjust more or less depending on how garlicky you like it)
- juice of 1 lime
- Put all ingredients in a blender or food processor and blend until smooth. If it won’t blend well, add a bit of water to get it to blend. Just enough to get the blender to go–you want the pesto to end up a thick paste.
- Freeze whatever you don’t want to use right away in small containers (or an ice cube tray!). A little pesto goes a long way!
This picture is larger than life size … I love the intense green of this pesto!
Hummus is one of those amazing things I could eat and eat and never tire of … the soft texture of it on my tongue with the intense flavor of garlic, lemon, and sesame all blend together so wonderfully.
I have tried many hummus recipes over the years, but never found one that quite satisfied me as much as the store-bought stuff. It’s terribly easy to make, but you have to hit on the right combination of flavors and I never could quite achieve that. Until today! I finally found the perfect combination of ingredients. All I had to do was add a good bunch of one of my very favorite herbs: basil.
It has a flavor reminiscent of pesto, but with the texture of hummus.
My inspiration for this was a link to 6 Health-Boosting Basil Recipes that my friend Jennifer sent me–they all look fantastic, but it was the basil hummus recipe that really intrigued me. But I am up at my parents’ place on the lake and there are no sundried tomatoes or cannellini beans, so I had to make up my own recipe.
My mom has both green and this beautful purple basil growing in her garden, so I used both.
- 16 oz. cooked chickpeas (you can use canned ones if you like, drain them and reserve the juice)
- 5 cloves of garlic
- 1/4 c. lemon juice
- 1/4 c. olive oil
- a handful of fresh basil leaves
- a sprig of fresh dill
- a spoonful of tahini
- water (or juice from the canned beans)
- Put all the ingredients in the blender and blend until it’s really smooth. You will most likely need to add some water (or juice from the can) to get it to blend well.