26 May 2015

Cold Queso Dip

Dear Lissy,

School's out and a heat wave's in...hooray for summer!!!!  We are a nacho lovin' family, but in this weather, something cool hits the the spot.  The queso base is three simple ingredients whipped together.  I've been known to serve just the cold queso portion of this on occasion, but it really is yummier as a layered dip.

Photo Credit and Original Recipe

Mexican Layered Queso Dip

Adapted from Allrecipes.com

Queso Base:
1 8 oz package cream cheese
1 16 oz tub sour cream
1 packet taco seasoning

Bring cream cheese to room temp or warm in microwave until soft. Mix in taco seasoning and beat in sour cream until mixture is smooth.  Spread on 12-15 inch plate or platter.  Cover with plastic film and refrigerate until serving time.  Add desired toppings right before serving.

Layers: Family Style (budget)
8 oz fresh salsa
2 cups finely chopped lettuce
1 small can sliced black olives

Spread salsa evenly over cream cheese mixture, leaving a 1/2 inch border
Top with chopped lettuce
Sprinkle with sliced black olives

For the family version, I don't add more shredded cheese or any other veg that's already in the salsa.

Layers:  Picnic Style
All ingredients from Family Style
1 tomato, finely chopped
1 cup shredded mexican cheese
1/2 cup finely chopped purple or vidalia onion
3/4 cup diced red, yellow, orange peppers  (Green overpowers the rest of the dish)
Peanuts, crushed

Spread salsa evenly over cream cheese mixture, leaving a 1/2 inch border
Top with chopped lettuce
Sprinkle tomato and shredded cheese evenly over the top
Sprinkle any optional ingredients over the top
Sprinkle with sliced black olives

Cover with plastic film and refrigerate until serving. 

Mom's notes:

For fancier events, make individual serving cups in halved and cleaned small bell peppers.  Garnish with one blue, one white, and one yellow corn chip right before serving.

I use non-fat/low fat alternatives in this dish.  Greek yogurt is good in place of sour cream, and Neufchatel cheese is just as tasty as regular.  Homemade taco seasoning works fine flavor wise, but doesn't have the starch to thicken the queso into a cheese consistency.


09 May 2015

Mother's Day Food for Thought

Dear Lissy,

How strong will your son's marriage be if he treats his wife exactly the same way he treats you? 

01 May 2015

Mother's Day and Wedding Gift Alert

Dear Lissy,

 I don't often put store items into your letters, but this is a broader principle that will serve you well 15 years from now as well as being a blessing to the ladies who read along as I write these letters.  One of my favorite gifts to give is a quality item that I've found deeply discounted.  A Cuisinart Knife set that normally retails for over $!00 just came up on Amazon for $22.  I've used the paring knife in this set for several years and absolutely love it.   A deal like this usually takes a bit of digging on favorite discount sites or in discount stores, but the ability to give a quality gift to a person I love while still maintaining our family budget is worth the work.

Cuisinart Advantage 12-Piece Knife Set