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Double Melted Cheese and Red Pepper Dip

Posted Oct 03 2012 3:01am

I was tempted to call this cheese soup rather than cheese dip because then it would have been okay to just dig in by the spoonful, which is what I wanted to do.

I know what you’re thinking. That cheese dip is gluttony in a bowl. And you know what, you’re right, it is. But it’s so good. Then again, I’ve never met a dip, sauce, spread, or condiment that I didn’t love.

I worked in a cup of diced juicy, crunchy red peppers, which lent some texture amidst the oozing smooth cheese so at least you’re getting a few vegetables in.

There’s also a little four-ounce can of fire-roasted green chilis from Trader Joe’s, which added a touch of crunch, a little heat, and a pop of green. Green means vegetable. Vegetable means healthy. You can see how I rationalize my vat of cheese.

The best part of this dip is that it literally takes five minutes to make. Put the cheese, cream cheese, red peppers, and green chilis in a big bow, cover it with plastic wrap, and heat it for three to five minutes in the microwave and the dip is ready.

You could make it on the stovetop or in a slow cooker, but whenever possible I use the quickest and easiest method that dirties the least amount of dishes. I want the shortest path between me and my cheese.

The dip isn’t particularly spicy and I did that on purpose because I didn’t want Scott to complain of heartburn or Skylar to complain that her mouth was burning off. Kids can be a bit melodramatic.

The dip can be made much spicier by adding a pinch of cayenne or chili powder, more peppers, more chilis, about one cup of spicy salsa, or a couple shakes of Sriracha or Tabasco.

I served the dip with whole grain bread, red peppers spears, and carrot sticks to mitigate the gluttony effect from two kinds of melted cheese.

The combination of cheese and cream cheese melted together excites me in a grown-up way similar to how Cheez Whiz excited me as a child. If you will admit to liking Cheez Whiz, you will love this dip.

The cheese dip is a bit like cheese fondue in that anything and everything that you’d like to dunk in it from mushroom caps to sugar snap peas to broccoli crowns to chicken-on-skewers to corn chips is going to taste spectacular. Cheese has that effect on most everything. I resisted buying a bag of corn chips that were the scoop-able style because they would have come in a little too handy.

You can also play with the recipe and add additional protein including a cup of cooked beans, diced leftover chicken, crumbled tofu, tempeh, sausage, or whatever sounds good to you.

The batch makes about 4 cups. A decent amount but not obscene. If you like a little food with your dips like I do, it will go quicker than you think, especially if you have family members clamoring for their share of the silky sauce. I sent little containers of it in both Scott and Skylar’s lunches the next day and I got two containers returned to me that were literally licked clean.

The blessing, or the curse, of this dip is that the leftover portion reheated like a charm and I had hot cheese dip at my fingertips in fifteen seconds flat. Not that that’s a bad thing.

Double Melted Cheese and Red Pepper Dip (gluten-free)

Prep Time: 5 minutes

Cook Time: 5 minutes

Total Time: 10 minutes

Yield: About 20 to 24 ounces, or about 4 cups

Ingredients:

16 ounces cheese (try combinations of American, Monterrey Jack, Pepperjack, Havarti, Gruyere, Velveeta, Swiss, Cheddar or favorite easy-melting cheese)

4 ounces cream cheese (I used Trader Joe’s Whipped Light)

one 4-ounce can green chilis (I used Trader Joe’s fire-roasted green chilis)

4 ounces+ chicken, diced or shredded (canned is okay or use leftovers) or 1/2 cup crumbled tofu or tempeh (previously pan-seared if preferred), optional

1 cup diced red bell peppers

Directions:

Combine all ingredients in a large microwave-safe bowl, cover with plastic-wrap, and heat on high power to melt, about 3 minutes. Stop and stir and continue to heat in 30-second bursts until cheese has melted can dip can be stirred smooth. Serve immediately with crackers, chips, bread, toasted bread rounds, pita chips, baked tortilla strips, vegetables, or your favorite crudites for dipping.

Extra dip may be stored in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 4 days and may be gently reheated prior to serving. Based on the type of cheese used, reheating may prove easier with some types (Velveeta, American, Monterrey Jack may be easier to reheat than a sharp cheddar).

Notes

This recipe is ripe for substitutions. Add any of the following with the rest of the ingredients prior to heating: 1 to 2 cups beans, 1 to 2 cups corn,1 to 2 cups salsa; cayenne, chili powder, or chiptole powder, hot sauce, Sriracha, Tabasco, garlic and onions - all are optional and all are to taste.

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Related Recipes:

Corn and Double Cheese Dip – vegan, GF, fat free, serve warm or cold, 5 minutes to make

  Spinach Artichoke Dip – vegan, gluten-free, fat-free, serve warm or cold, 5 minutes to make

Sweet Corn Salsa with Mango, Lime, Red Pepper – raw, vegan, gluten-free, 5 minutes to make

Spinach Artichoke and Roasted Red Pepper Cheesy Squares – Like spinach and artichoke dip, which is my favorite dip of all time, but in bar form

Homemade Spicy Honey Mustard (GF, use agave to keep vegan) – Making homemade mustard is incredible easy, uses 3 ingredients, and you can make a huge batch for literally nickles

Chips and Cheese Chili Cheese Casserole (vegetarian/vegan, GF) – Chips and cheese are baked into the casserole. Who needs noodles when you can bake in chips

What’s your favorite dip?

Feel free to link up any great dip recipes.

I love a good dip. Actually, I love most any dip from Balsamic Reduction (vegan, GF, 10 minutes to make) to Homemade Peanut Sauce (vegan, GF, 2 minutes to make). I will never turn down dip or sauce of any kind.

Thanks for the Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Cookies + KitchenAid Stand Mixer + $200 Williams-Sonoma Gift Card Giveaway entries

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