28 October 2013

Chicken White Cheese Dip

 
 
There is an almost unanimous anomaly in Arkansas restaurant menus: cheese dip.  It doesn't really matter what type of restaurant you open.  It doesn't have to be Mexican or even Tex-Mex.  You have to have cheese dip on the menu.  Some folks claim that cheese dip was invented in Arkansas.  There's one local restaurant in particular that is boldly staking their claim in radio ads lately.  Granted, they have been open for almost 80 years, so it's possible.  Arkansas has the world's highest per capita consumption of Rotel, a.k.a. canned diced tomatoes and jalapenos.  The cheese dip I grew up with was essentially a block of Velveeta and a can of Rotel mixed together and melted.  Not the greatest concoction in the world, but it vaguely resembles cheese dip.
 
 
Thankfully our local cheese dip quality has greatly increased since I was a kid.  We even host the World Cheese Dip Championship here in Little Rock.  Lots of local joints enter the competition, so most folks have really upped their cheese dip game.  It also helps that there is now a queso blanco version of Velveeta, which is worlds better than the yellow stuff.  There is absolutely no shame in my game for admitting I use it in my cheese dip.  It's easy melting, easy cooking, and kid-friendly.  Those are big deals in my house.  Cheese dip is also a big deal at my house because it's really, really perfect munching while I watch football on Sundays.  Yes, I watch football.  The rest of the family could care less.  I'm a fan.  I'm a die hard Packers fan.  So, on Sundays I watch football while the rest of the folks around here go on with their days and do other stuff. 
 

Since this cheese dip is sort of a meal sometimes I add diced chicken, green onions and some sliced black olives.  You can add what you like.  It's good stuff and hopefully if you decide to make this or any other cheese dip it will remind you of Arkansas from now on.



Chicken White Cheese Dip

Print me, Please!!!
1 lb queso blanco-style processed cheese (a.k.a. Velveeta)
1 1/2 cups jarred salsa verde
1 cup chopped, cooked chicken breast
1/4 cup sliced black olives
1 tsp chili powder
about 5 dashes chipotle hot sauce
1/2 tsp ground white pepper
1 Tbsp chopped green onions


Cut the cheese into 1" cubes and put in a large microwave safe bowl with the salsa.  Heat for 1 minute intervals on high (100%) power, stirring after each, until the cheese is melted and smooth.  Stir in the remaining ingredients except the green onions and cook for 1 additional minute.  Sprinkle with green onions.  Serve with tortilla chips.


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