Yo Quiero Queso

quesoI really like queso. A lot. And this recipe uses real cheese. Not that other stuff. I’m not going to talk smack, but I’ll just say that I don’t cook with it.

We eat this in my house, often. It’s very easy to make and eat straight out of the pot, or you can transfer to a small crockpot, keep on low and serve to guests. It’s also versatile as far as using different types of cheese. And I bet if you make this once, you won’t go back to that orange-ish block of expensive “cheese”.

queso ingredientQueso Blanco

  • 2 tbsp. butter
  • 1/4 c. onion, chopped
  • 1/2 jalapeno, chopped (if you like it spicy, leave the seeds and membrane)
  • 2 small garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 small tomato, chopped
  • 1/8-1/4 c. cilantro, chopped
  • 2 tbsp. flour
  • 2 c. milk (I use 1%)
  • 1 1/2 c. shredded Monterey Jack cheese *see note below

Melt butter in a saucepan or small pot on medium heat. Add onions and jalapeno and sauté for approximately 3 minutes. Add garlic, stir, then sprinkle with flour and stir together. Add milk, cilantro and tomato. Bring to a boil, and then reduce heat. It should be a thicker consistency. Add cheese a little bit at a time, making sure to stir and let it melt before adding more cheese. *If you like a little kick, half Monterey Jack and half pepper jack is a great choice. Or half sharp cheddar and half Monterey Jack makes for a sharper flavor. Serve with your favorite tortilla chips.

queso 2

You want to eat just this for lunch? Go ahead. I’ve done it myself.

Rice, Rice, Baby

rice pilaf 4Good side dishes can be hard to find. So if you’re stuck in a rut and wanting to try something new, here it is. This came from my mom and she’s made it my entire life. And I’ve always loved it. It’s quick, easy, and not just your regular plain white rice. I make it on a regular basis and it’s a family favorite.

Mom’s Rice Pilaf

  • 1 cup of long grain white rice
  • 3/4 c. vermicelli broken up (spaghetti & angel hair are what I usually use)
  • 2 cups chicken broth
  • 1 tbsp. butter
  • Salt & pepper to taste

rice pilaf 3Add butter to a smaller pot. Let melt on medium heat and add in the broken up pasta. Cook and stir for a few minutes until it starts to toast up. Don’t let it burn!

rice pilaf 2Add in the white rice and stir together. Pour in the chicken broth and add salt and pepper. Bring to a boil and then reduce heat to simmer (low), covering with a lid. Let cook for 20-25 minutes. 23 minutes on my stovetop is the magic number! Stir together and serve immediately. rice pilaf

Bacon Brussel Sprouts

brussel sproutsBrussel sprouts are little gems of deliciousness. They have quickly become one of my family’s favorite veggies. So I was really excited when I saw my brother-in-law making them as a side for Christmas dinner. And they were really tasty. I’ve always baked them in the oven and although very yummy, that recipe takes 45 minutes and requires me to shake the pan every 5-7 minutes. This recipe is so much quicker and so very good that it’s a must try.

Bacon Brussel Sprouts

  • 1 lb. brussel sprouts, rinsed, trimmed, halved & dried as much as possible
  • 4 bacon slices, cut into pieces
  • 1/2 c. chicken broth
  • 2 tbsp. brown sugar
  • Ground pepper, to taste

Heat a sauté pan on medium. When heated, add bacon pieces and cook until crisp. Using a slotted spoon, remove bacon to a paper towel to drain. Very important, LEAVE all that wonderful bacon grease in the pan. Add the brussel sprouts and sauté for a few minutes, until they are browned. Pour in the chicken broth and reduce heat to medium low. Put a lid on, leaving it a little to the side for steam to escape. Let cook for 5-7 minutes. Remove lid and sprinkle with brown sugar and pepper. Add the bacon back in. Stir to melt the sugar and eat!

bacon brussel sproutsI’m pretty sure you will inhale these scrumptious brussel sprouts!!