Creamy Blanco Queso

The countdown is on to the Super Bowl. I wanted to share another yummy appetizer to share at your party. Change it up a little with Blanco Queso. Yummy and you can spice it up with jalapeños. Serve it up with a side of salsa or guacamole.   Everyone loves to munch during the game!  If you still have friends keeping to their New Year’s goals, consider serving up Cauliflower Poppers or Zucchini Fries. Enjoy creating your Super Bowl menu! -Amanda


Creamy Blanco Queso

8 oz block regular cream cheese, cut into 1/2 inch cubes
1 lb. Monterey Jack cheese, cut into 1/2 inch cubes
1 T salted butter 1 (4oz can) green chiles
1 T jalapeños, minced fine (optional)
4-6 T milk
3 Tablespoons water

In a crockpot combine the cream cheese, Monterey Jack cheese, butter, green chiles and jalapeños. Cook on high for 30 minutes. Stir the mixture until well combined and then add a Tablespoon of milk and water at a time until you reach the desired consistency. (this is all up to you on consistency!) Cook for another 15-20 minutes, or until the cheese is completely melted and combined.
Keep cheese dip in the crockpot on the warm setting until ready to serve. Check on it and occasionally stir throughout the serving. Serve with tortilla chips or warm tortilla.

Layered Mexican Dip

Superbowl is this week!  Whether you are cheering for The Seahawks or The “Ball Deflated” Patriots, (or just excited about the commercials and halftime!), everyone wants something fun to munch on.  I will share a few of my “party dips” and highlight some recipes from the past. My Layered Mexican Dip has evolved over the years.  I started with a simple 5 layers and just kept adding stuff.  There is no right or wrong to this recipe.  Delete or add any ingredients that fit your tastes.  Just have good tortilla chips!    -Amanda

IMG_6798Layered Mexican Dip

1 (16oz) can refried beans
2 T taco seasoning
1 cup Guacamole or pre-made avocado dip (6 oz) carton
1 (4.5 oz) can chopped green chiles, undrained
1 (8 oz) carton sour cream
2 tomatoes, diced
1 small onion, finely chopped
1/2 cup shredded Monterey Jack or Cheddar Cheese
1 (4 1/4 oz) can sliced ripe olives, drained

Combine beans and taco seasoning mix.  Spread in a deep dish pie plate or casserole dish.  Layer dip and remaining ingredients in order listed.  I make this dip ahead and refrigerate until party time.  Serve with tortilla chips.

Tex-Mex Tortilla Soup

It’s not cold in ATL today but in my Texas hometown, they are welcoming lots of snow. Snow and cold weather makes me want soup. Here’s a little Tex-Mex Tortilla Soup I made a few weeks ago. You probably have most items on hand already. This soup was different from my go-to Tortilla Soup because of the yummy rice and black beans. Everyone needs options! Enjoy and stay warm! -Amanda


Tex-Mex Tortilla Soup

3 T olive oil, divided
coarse salt and fresh black pepper
1 lb. boneless chicken breasts, cut into small cubes
1 small white onion, diced
1 green bell pepper, diced
1/2 cup black olives, finely chopped
3 cloves garlic, minced
1 + 1/2 t chile powder
1 t dried Mexican oregano
1/2 t dried thyme
15 oz canned black beans, drained
1/2 cup uncooked long or medium-grain brown rice, rinsed well in a wire strainer with cold water
5 cups low-sodium chicken broth
1 cup salsa
Optional Toppings:
sliced avocados
shredded Monterey Jack cheese
sour cream
tortilla chips

In a large soup pan, heat 1 T of oil over medium heat. Season chicken pieces with salt and pepper. Add chicken to pan, stirring often so all sides get browned. Remove and set aside.
Add 2 T of oil to a soup pot over medium-low heat. Sauté the onion, pepper, garlic, and olives together for 5 minutes. Add a little pepper and stir often. Mix in the chile powder, oregano, thyme, black beans, and rice, cook 3 minutes. Stir the chicken back into the pot and add the broth and salsa. Bring to a simmer and cook 30 minutes. Stir often. Add seasonings to taste. (OR add to crock pot and keep on low until ready to dinner.)
Serve with toppings like, cheese, sour cream, sliced avocado, and tortilla chips if desired.