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The Bestest Best Queso of Them All (no Velveeta, no Cream of Anything)

Erica
Creamy, rich queso cheese dip with beef, bacon, tomatoes, green chilies, and spinach. No Velveeta processed cheese and no cream of mushroom soup. Better ingredients make for the Best Queso.
Prep Time 5 mins
Cook Time 25 mins
Total Time 30 mins
Course Appetizer, Snack
Cuisine football food, party food
Servings 6

Ingredients
  

  • 2 Tbs unsalted butter
  • 2 Tbs all-purpose flour
  • 2 + 1/4-1/2 cups milk, divided
  • 1 cup shredded sharp cheddar cheese
  • 1 cup Monterey Jack cheese
  • 8 oz pkg Neufchatel cheese, softened
  • 1 tsp Dijon mustard
  • 1/2 tsp kosher salt
  • 6 strips bacon
  • 1/2 lb ground beef
  • 10 oz can Rotel tomatoes and green chilies
  • 4 oz can chopped green chilies
  • 10 oz pkg chopped spinach, thawed and water squeezed out
  • 1/8 tsp cayenne pepper

Instructions
 

  • 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.

Notes

  1. 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.