Last weekend we were invited to a "killer" party (pun intended- the theme was serial killers) hosted by our good friends/relatives, the Piersons. (You should check out their blog, Vanessa has some pretty awesome ideas and I am going to beg her to do a guest post for me even though it is so far beneath her!) I brought what has become our traditional Halloween appetizer – a creamy queso dip with homemade cheese crackers. (I call them pumpkin crackers, but only because they are shaped like pumpkins. There is NO pumpkin in the crackers. Promise.) Hubby really loves this dish, and people seem to like it (or at least they say they like it) when I make it, so I thought I’d share.
There are a million cheese cracker recipes floating around on the internet. Mine goes like this:
1 C flour + some for flouring your rolling surface and rolling pin
¼ C butter
Pinch of salt (no more than ½ teaspoon)
2 C shredded cheese
Water (several tablespoons, just add to consistency)
Mix the flour, salt, and butter in a food processor (a blender will work) until the butter is mixed in and it looks like crumbs. Then add the cheese a half cup at a time, pulsing until it is ground up and well mixed. Your dough will be quite crumb-y at this point. Add water a tablespoon at a time just until the dough will stick together. It usually takes 3-5 tablespoons. Divide the dough into sections, knead and press into balls. Roll thin on a lightly floured surface – I mean SUPER thin – and cut with a cookie cutter (or into squares with a knife). Bake on a baking sheet covered with wax paper or parchment paper at 350 for 12-15 minutes (keep an eye on them, they go from soft to crispy to burned very quickly.) They will stay good in an air-tight container for about a week. If you want them to look really orange, use some food coloring. (I did not.)
Vegetarian Creamy Queso Dip
(This is adapted from a recipe in the Betty Crocker Cookbook, which is pretty much the Bible of cooking, IMO.)
2 Tbs butter
½ C diced onion
½ tsp red pepper flakes (more or less to taste)
½ tsp taco seasoning (more or less to taste)
1 tsp minced garlic (more or less to taste)
1 can green chilies
Put all together in a saucepan and sauté in the butter a few minutes until onions are soft.
1 Tbs + flour
Turn heat to low and mix flour into butter mixture until it is a paste, usually about 1 Tbs, but you may need more.
1 8 oz block cream cheese, softened and cut into cubes
2 cans diced tomatoes, drained
½ cup shredded cheese
Add the last three ingredients in order, stirring constantly. Continue stirring until bubbly and cheeses are melted. If too thick, stir in milk to consistency.
And there you have it, folks! I usually don’t use measurements when I cook, so I’m hoping my estimates work out all right. If you try it, comment to let me know how it turns out!