White Cheddar Queso Dip

White Cheddar Queso Dip (brokeassgourmet.com / June 24, 2014)

I love the idea of queso dip (essentially melted cheese), save for the fact that it's typically made with uber-processed cheese (think Velveeta), which gives it its super-creamy texture. Well, I think uber-processed cheese tastes like melted plastic, and I refuse to eat it.

So, I decided to make it better. I make a simple roux, and then stirred in creamy, nutty, delicious white cheddar.

I also swirled in a little chili powder and salt. You could certainly customize yours by adding things like chopped chipotle chilies, cumin, or a little fresh jalapeño.

The resulting dip: thick, creamy, cheesy queso that totally beats the fake stuff. Try it on tortilla chips for ballpark-style nachos, drizzled over grilled beef and corn tortillas for Southwest-ified tacos, or even atop a bowl of hot chili. And the best part? It reheats like a dream.

Note: Feel free to use regular yellow cheddar if you prefer.

INGREDIENTS

2 tablespoons butter $1 for a stick
2 tablespoons all-purpose flour pantry
1 cup whole milk or half-and-half $1.50 for a pint
1 1/2 cups shredded white cheddar cheese $3.50 for 12 ounces
1/2 teaspoon (or more to taste) chili powder $1.50 for 1 ounce
1/4 teaspoon salt (or more to taste) pantry

Total cost of ingredients: $7.50

DIRECTIONS

Melt butter in a medium pot over medium heat.

Whisk in flour and cook, whisking throughout, for 1 minute.

Gradually add the milk, whisking constantly, until a thick sauce forms (this should take 6-7 minutes).

Melt in the cheese, whisking constantly, for 1-2 minutes and season with the chili powder and salt.

Let cool for 5 minutes, then serve warm, garnished with more chili powder if desired.

Recipe serves 6-8.

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