Okay, don’t judge me, but probably one of my favorite party-time appetizers is queso and chips. But years ago when I started my real food journey, it’s one of the foods I gave up. As my post about processed cheeses demonstrates, there’s really nothing good about Velveeta.
Does that mean you have to give up queso for good? Absolutely NOT! First of all, I hope you know by now I’m not about judging what you eat—I just want you to really know what’s in your food! Knowledge is power! But wouldn’t it be nice if you could serve up some queso and not feel so badly about it?
Well hold on to your sombreros, folks! I’ve got a delicious recipe for homemade queso that’s made from real ingredients. It’s even got a ton of vegetables in it! And while I’ll never make the claim that a dish like queso is “nutritious” or “healthy,” I’m confident that my recipe is a little better for you since it’s made from real ingredients. Just remember though, calories are calories—queso and chips (even when made with real food) pack a high calorie punch.
- 1 pound (16 ounces) medium or sharp cheddar cheese (see notes)
- 8 ounces cream cheese, cubed
- 1⅓ cups homemade cream of mushroom "condensed" soup (see notes)
- One, 14.5 ounce can of diced tomatoes and green chilies (see notes)
- Hot sauce to taste
- Shred cheddar cheese. Warm homemade, cream of mushroom condensed soup over low heat. A double boiler makes this a little easier to do, but it isn't a necessity. Just try to keep the heat low.
- Mix in one can of tomatoes with green chilies. Mix in shredded cheddar cheese and cubed cream cheese. Stir constantly over low heat until the cheese is completely melted. Add hot sauce to taste.
- Serve with tortilla chips and veggies. Enjoy!
This recipe uses my homemade, cream of mushroom "condensed" soup as a base. If you want your queso to be really smooth, after you've made a batch of this soup, pulse it in your blender for 15-20 seconds to make it really smooth! I use my Blendtec blender, and it works like a charm. I love it!
Muir Glen and Trader Joe's both offer organic, canned diced tomatoes with chilies.
The secrets to a smooth texture are the homemade condensed soup (it keeps the fat in the cheese from separating), low heat, constant stirring, and NOT using pre-shredded cheese (it often contains cellulose which prevents cheese from properly melting into a sauce).
Depending on the cheese you use, this is a fairly mild queso recipe. If you like your queso spicy, add some hot pepper or sriracha sauce.
Kitchen Tips and Resources:
- I love my Crock-Pot® Little Dipper® Food Warmer. It’s perfect for keeping my queso warm and cheesy! You can buy one at Target, Amazon, or most retailers that carry kitchen appliances.
- As I mentioned in the recipe, I use my Blendtec blender to puree my homemade cream of mushroom “condensed” soup so the queso is really smooth … but still chock-full of veggies! 🙂
- A great shredder for cheese makes this recipe soooo… much easier. So either plug in a great food processor like this Cuisinart or check out this super microplane coarse cheese grater.
- As I mentioned in the recipe, a double boiler helps to keep the heat low and makes my queso recipe a little bit easier to cook. So while it’s not a necessity, it can definitely be a plus! You can buy a double boiler at Amazon, Target, or a most retailers that carry kitchen cookware.
- Everyone needs a great platter for chips, veggies and dip or queso. I bought mine years ago from Pottery Barn, and I’m still using it!