queso dip - keto style
I'll be honest - the only thing getting me through this new keto lifestyle lately (besides helping my joint pain <emoji eye roll>), is cheese. Lots of cheese. Well not every day but as a yummy treat now and then. Also, let's face it, meat and meat and more meat can get a bit tiresome. BUT...slather some yummy melty cheese on top of pretty much anything and it goes down easily!
I picked up a whole lot of ripe avocados at CostCo yesterday and I made myself a big batch of guacamole (I will have to post my way of making it because it's family tested and soooo good - that will be a later post, I promise). Well guacamole and queso go hand and hand! Now, you can definitely get the box cheese (velveeta) but I just can't. I like using real cheese and although queso will harden a bit if it sits too long, I like the restaurant style queso that stays creamy longer. Also, I like having a vehicle to use up all the plethora of cheeses that I always have a bit leftover of. I would say out of the cheeses that I used, the American cheese and the cream cheese are the ones that are most important to achieve that Mexican restaurant taste and creaminess but in addition to those, I added a lot of other cheeses that I was trying to use up with it. I will only list the main ones in the recipe below but feel free to add what you have to your queso (as long as it melts well)!
The other thing that you might find weird about the version that I finally landed on is the use of pickled jalapeños. I really loved the bite of vinegar in this and even use the juice from the jar to thin out my queso and add that spicy tanginess. You can certainly omit it or use less based on your preferences but I really loved the addition of it! As you guys all probably know by now, I like things spicy! However, the best part of savory recipes is that you can really tailor this to suit yours and that of your family's tastes! Go wild with it...the melted cheese and cream give you the perfect base to add any flavors that you want. Mix in spicy chorizo or even crispy bacon to this at the end - anything goes!
This recipe couldn't be more simple! First, to give the base as much flavor as you can, sauté in butter the onions, garlic and spices in a medium pan and sweat out all those flavors. Then slowly add in the heavy cream and softened cream cheese. Cook gently until everything is melty and then slowly add in the other cheeses. Once everything is melted, add in the jalapeños, the jalapeño juice and the hot sauce (if using). Mix until everything is well incorporated and serve warm! Done and done.
Queso - Keto Style!
2 tablespoons butter
1/2 medium onion, finely chopped
1/2 teaspoon garlic, minced
1/4 teaspoon onion powder
1/4 teaspoon cumin
1 cup heavy cream
4 oz cream cheese, softened and at room temperature
8 oz American cheese (sliced from the deli, cut into bit size pieces)
8 oz sharp cheddar cheese, freshly shredded (you can replace some of this with whatever cheese you have that you need to use up!)
3 Tbsp pickled jalapeños, drained and chopped
1/4 cup pickled jalapeño juice
1 teaspoon hot sauce or crushed red pepper, or to taste
In a medium saucepan, on a low-medium heat, melt the butter and sauté the onions, garlic and spices until translucent and fragrant.
Add in the cream for 2-3 minutes, stirring often. Add the softened cream cheese and whisk until fully melted and smooth.
Slowly add in the other cheeses and continue whisking until the cheese has fully melted and has a creamy texture.
Remove the saucepan from the heat and add the chopped up jalapeños, juice and hot sauce. Whisk well until the sauce is creamy, smooth, and there are no lumps.
The queso will thicken more as it cools or you can add some water to thin it out more. Serve with veggies, pork rinds, other keto-friendly chips or pretty much on anything you want!
You can store any leftovers in the refrigerator for up to a week. Reheat leftovers on the stovetop or in the microwave.
Tex Mex even while keto'ing makes me happy! This would be awesome on tacos too...in fact, now I want tacos <thinking emoji>. I would stay tuned for tacos ...I found some amazing pork belly at the butcher's and I think this would be the perfect opportunity for it!