Mexican theme party Emergency!

Im doing a Mexican theme shower Sat and my co-host isnt doing any of the food except queso and chips. She wanted to buy the queso from a local taco truck but realized it was going to be too expensive (Duh!) and now is complaining she's tried a few recipes that all turn out "grainy". Im over it and think its just her ignorance in the cooking department, and Ive seen recipes that all look great to me... Does anyone have a recipe they like for a Queso dip that does NOT use velveeta, or if so, at least in a combination with REAL cheese?

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PieceOfLayerCake
PieceOfLayerCake June 1, 2017

I've never made queso before but I thought it pretty WAS velvetta with salsa or whatever. The problem with using "good" cheese for casual recipes intended for processed cheese is that you wind up with problems like breaking, seizing, graininess, cheese that's too stringy, cheese that melts but firms when cooled, etc. The general setting I see queso in is quick service establishments where its going to be ordered hot and consumed quickly. If you plan on holding it for an extended period of time, you'll have to add more ingredients to keep the cheese from re-solidifying.

One thing I've learned about planning dinner parties or parties with food is that some recipes aren't the best option for some settings. Well intended, but if neither of you have ever made queso for a party before, I would caution you from it and suggest something that's a little more practiced.

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PieceOfLayerCake
PieceOfLayerCake June 1, 2017

*pretty much

Nancy
Nancy June 2, 2017

Agree with POLC comments, especially about making recipes unknown to you a day or two before a party.
It's exactly what you want, but close and easier...Seven layer dip is tasty, pretty, and can be assembled from quality ingredients almost anywhere. You could use some Mexican cheese as one of the layers. Last, there are cute ideas out there (Pinterest, etc) for making individual servings in plastic cups....for those who hate double-dipping, or to accommodate individual tastes.

Nancy
Nancy June 2, 2017

Sorry. sentence should have read:
It's not exactly what you want...

Jennifer W
Jennifer W June 2, 2017

Queso is like cake- some people go for a boxed cake mix and others make from scratch.

HalfPint
HalfPint June 1, 2017

Here is a nacho sauce from Serious Eat's Kenji Lopez:
http://www.seriouseats...

He researches the hell out of whatever recipe he wants and works out all the kinks. Enjoy!

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HalfPint
HalfPint June 1, 2017

There's also this Taco Queso Dip,
http://www.seriouseats...

Jennifer W
Jennifer W June 2, 2017

Ironically, these were exactly the two recipes I was referring to and I did send them to my friend!

HalfPint
HalfPint June 2, 2017

Here's a Rick Bayless recipe for queso:
http://www.rickbayless.com/recipe/green-queso-fundido/

and a meat version,
http://www.rickbayless.com/recipe/queso-fundido-with-chorizo-and-rajas/

Trena Heinrich
Trena Heinrich June 1, 2017

Sodium Citrate is the key to making a velveeta textured cheese at home. I've made it many times and this is the recipe I've used. You can purchase sodium citrate at amazon. Here's a link to the recipe: https://www.chowhound.com...

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Sam1148
Sam1148 June 4, 2017

Also if you need some in a pinch "fruit fresh" is citric acid with vitamin c powder. And works to make cheese melty without separating. You can find that at most supermarket w/o waiting for amazon. And yes. I have a bag of citric acid powder...I use it for rinsing sprouts when I grow sprouts in a jar, and for making homemade alka seltzer. 1 tsp citric acid to 2 tsp baking soda in a large glass of water. (a bc powder if you're using it for hangover in the morning).

Jennifer W
Jennifer W June 2, 2017

Thanks for all the input- I sent my friend a few of the recipes and also suggested an alternative like a bean dip or something. We will have a small crockpot so whatever we go with will be heated the whole time.

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PHIL
PHIL June 2, 2017

Make this: 1 can hormel chili (no beans) 1 bag shredded cheddar , 12 oz cream cheese cut into 4 pieces. cover & microwave 4-5 minutes. Super easy and people devour it. Good luck!

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scruz
scruz June 3, 2017

that recipe is da bomb. can't stop eating it. won our dip contest at work hands down.

Jennifer W
Jennifer W June 4, 2017

Thanks everybody for sharing your recipes!!

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Mikhel
Mikhel June 7, 2017

You can use milk to dilute cheese.

We do not have "cheese dips" here in México per se, but when I prepare cheese for nachos (a food considered as "USA food" in México) I use good quality cheddar, I put it either at low temp on the stove or in a double boil and add milk as needed, you can also add cream (not sour cream though) and add an extra creamyness to the mixture.

Now, if you want a mexican themed party you can not go wrong with ceviche, fish tacos Ensenada style (that's where I am from, in Baja, south of California), aguachile (not for those who do not eat piquant food) or even 'adobada tacos'.

For adobada tacos you can either go with chicken or pork, though beef can be used too. I do them with pork loin, cut it on half inch slices, see if you can find adobo paste made with achiote (they sell it either as bricks or grounded) you need about two tablespoons for every two pounds of meat, that achiote you need to disolve it in fresh orange juice, juice from a lime, add salt, a bit of dry oregano and a couple of bay leafs, add the meat and let it sit overnight in the fridge. Meat can be used sliced as steaks or in smaller chunks.

Once the meat is marinated you need to cook it, I do it on a big pan with just a bit of grease or oil until it is cooked well.

Chop the meat onto smaller pieces and make tacos, top them off with fresh cilantro, white onion and... pineapple, yup, you can even use canned pineapple, but if you buy it fresh then grill it or cook it in the pan with a bit of the marinara mix of achiote and chop it good.

At the end it just needs a bit of lime juice, a bit of salt and hot sauces if you want to.

Tacos de adobada are the most popular food in México in food stands, closely followed by carne asada tacos and tortas, and ceviche (grounded or diced fish cooked in lime juice and salt for a couple of hours, then you strain it, add diced tomatoes, diced white and purple onions, cilantro and just serve them on tostadas = hard shells made of tortillas).

Cheers.

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