Three cheeses …and none of them are Velveeta. This stuff is good. Ay mios dios soooo good. Yes I say that about a lot of the recipes I send out into the world, but this dip is simply da best. Totally worthy of celebrating any success …or just for sitting around dipping stuff and enjoying.
Not that I am not a fan of the traditional Velveeta-based queso. I love it. Just look here – I have been making it for years. But if I want to say I make the “best” of something, it has to be really different, no? Special. Made from scratch. And mine has bacon. So there.
So this is the post-triathlon splurge! If you’ve been following along, my healthy dishes leading up to this triathlon were my Healthy Frittata with Smoked Salmon, Baby Kale, and Sweet Potato and Sweet Balsamic Salmon Kabobs. These posts also described some of my trials and tribulations getting there. Then in my last post, I told you alllll about my Half Ironman this past Saturday. …Weeeelllll, today I signed up for another (in addition to the other). So, yeah …two more coming this year. I am that kind of crazy.
Any-hoots…”The Bestest Best Queso of Them All” – a little over the top maybe? Yes. That’s the point, but I’m sure you knew that cuz we’re tight like that. I’ve said before that claiming to make the best of something is just silly. So I’m just being cheeky. But I do know this is the best I have ever had. Creamy, bacony – just so tasty! And how perfect is my timing on this with big big football games coming up right this weekend, right?
This recipe takes 25-30 minutes to make, but it is worth every niblet of that time. First, we cook some bacon and ground beef. Then we make a basic béchamel, and cheese the hell outta that with cheddar, Jack, and creamy Neufchatel. Then we wrap things up with spinach, Rotel, even more chilies, and couple little extra touches to make this the queso of our dreams.
The bestest best ever.
- 2 T unsalted butter
- 2 T all-purpose flour
- 2 c plus 1/4-1/2 c milk, divided
- 1 c shredded sharp cheddar cheese
- 1 c Monterey Jack cheese
- 1 (8 oz) pkg Neufchatel cheese, softened
- 1 t Dijon mustard
- 1/2 t kosher salt
- 6 strips bacon
- 1/2 lb ground beef
- 1 (10 oz) can Rotel, undrained
- 1 (4 oz) can chopped green chilies
- 1 (10 oz) pkg chopped spinach, thawed and water squeezed out
- 1/8 t cayenne pepper
- In a large nonstick pan, cook the bacon until crisp. Transfer to a plate lined with paper towels. Once cooled, chop the bacon and set aside.
- Drain the bacon fat from the pan and place back on the burner. Add the ground beef and cook, stirring and breaking up the pieces, until no longer pink (this way it will pick up extra flavor and yum-yums in the pan left by the bacon). Drain the fat and set aside.
- Melt the butter in a medium-high saucepan over medium heat. Whisk in the flour until smooth. Once the mixture bubbles, cook one minute whisking to make a roux. Slowly whisk in 2 cups milk. Over medium-high heat stirring constantly, cook the sauce until thickened enough to coat the back of a wooden spoon (~8-10 minutes). Remove from the heat.
- Over low heat, whisk in the cheddar, Jack, and Neufchatel cheeses until smooth. Stir in the remaining ingredients including the beef and bacon, and cook over low heat until heated, stirring occasionally. Taste for seasoning and add more salt and cayenne if you like. Add an additional 1/4 to 1/2 c milk, as necessary, to reach desired consistency. Serve warm with tortilla chips.
- Once the cheeses are added, the mixture will cool and thicken quite a bit. It will thin out again as it heats, but I add an additional 1/4 to 1/2 cup milk at the end to get it to the consistency I like.