If someone were to ask me, "What's your guilty pleasure food?" there's only one thing I can honestly answer: Velveeta. It's so bad . . . yet it's so good! Technically Velveeta isn't a cheese, but a "processed pasteurized cheese product" that has a creamy texture, mild cheddar flavor, and characteristic artificial-orange color.
Velveeta's most endearing quality, however, is its wonderful ability to melt; once heated, it becomes as smooth as velvet. Since 1928, when Kraft first introduced it to America kitchens, Velveeta has been used to make macaroni and cheese and my personal favorite, nacho cheese dip.
While I enjoy the traditional queso dip (a mixture of Velveeta and Ro-tel, a line of canned tomatoes and green chiles popular in Texas), I prefer this jazzed-up rendition. The refried beans provide a nice meatiness and the cumin gives it an element of smoke.
Nacho Cheese Dip
Adapted from Bon Appétit
- 1/2 cup beer, like Tecate
- 1 teaspoon ground cumin
- 1/2 teaspoon dried oregano
- 2 cloves garlic, minced
- 1 fresh jalapeño (or 1/4 cup pickled jalapeño slices), minced
- 1 16-ounce can refried beans
- 1 10-ounce can Ro-tel diced tomatoes and green chiles
- 1 16-ounce package Velveeta cheese, cut into 1/2-inch pieces
- 1/4 cup fresh cilantro, chopped
- 1 green onion, sliced, for garnish
- Tortilla chips
- In a medium-sized sauce pan, combine beer, cumin, dried oregano, garlic, and jalapeño. Bring to simmer over medium heat.
- Add beans and Ro-tel; stir until heated through.
- Add Velveeta cheese; stir until cheese melts, about 5 to 8 minutes. If the dip is too thick, thin with a little beer.
- Stir in cilantro. Transfer to bowl. Serve warm with tortilla chips.
Yield Serves 8 to 10