Generally speaking, I don’t have food addictions. I get on kicks where I will eat a lot of something for a few weeks and move on to my next fixation. Chili-cheese dip seems to be my one constant. I have been making it for so long I have it down to a fine science, and it. is. GOOD. So good I had a guest just take the whole pot off the stove at a party once and sit in a corner, hovering protectively while he shoveled chips heaped with it in his mouth. I think he was even making that weird, growling noise zombies do when they first get infected. Anyway, this dip will solve all your chili-cheese related cravings and situations. Just make sure you have Worcestershire sauce on hand to cure anyone that is starting to turn.
- 1 can Turkey Chili with Beans, your favorite brand.
- 1 can Ro-Tel Chili Tomatoes – This is the point where you control the heat. There are mild, regular, and hot versions.
- 1 cup freshly grated cheese – This is where you control the kick. Any cheese melts and you can make your dip smokey, creamy, mellow, or spicy. NO processed cheeses like velvetta and no skim-milk cheese. It has to be real cheese that you shred yourself. The better the quality, the better the dip.
Optional, cold add-ins
- Chopped red or white onions
- Green Onion
- Sour Cream
- In a small sauce pan, heat the chili over a medium-low flame.
- Drain out all the liquid from the canned tomatoes, then stir into the chili.
- Once the chili mixture starts simmering, give it about a minute and keep stirring. Turn off the heat completely.
- Fold in your freshly grated cheese and stir until the cheese is totally melted and blended into the chili.
- Fold in your cold toppings last, if you are using any.
- Note: If this mixture is intended to smother, a hot dog or fries for example, add you cold toppings AFTER you smother.
Wait, that’s it?
Yep! The trick is less about the ingredients than the process. You see, melted cheese is completely easy to screw up. It doesn’t microwave and you can’t ever let it come into contact with direct heat. If you have tried to make cheese dips or melted cheese in the past and the end result was an oily, scorched mess, that’s why. Folding the cheese into your already hot chili that is beginning to cool achieves the perfection you’d otherwise need a double broiler for.
I have my dip, now what?
Well, it’s not rocket science, but there are a few things to keep in mind. First, you already have your cheese folded in so if you want to make chili dogs or hamburgers, DON’T add slices of cheese and then smoother. Secondly, as I mentioned before, save your cold toppings for last. Even if you want to serve this as a batch of smothered nachos, sprinkle your onions and sliced green onion around after you smother the tortilla chips. Only fold in the cold toppings if you intend to serve as a dip or just eat straight as a chili.
I don’t like canned chili. Can I use my own?
Yeah, absolutely. But, don’t use a low-sodium, low-fat recipe. There is a time to cut calories and sodium, and chili-cheese day ain’t it. Simply put, the FAT and SALT are what make this dish addictive. If you don’t make your chili with enough of these things, the cheese is going to bland it out like there is no tomorrow and the chili-tomato mixture won’t save you. If you have a really solid chili and have crowd-tested it and been given the thumbs up, by all means, use it! But please add more salt than you would normally so it stands up to that full cup of cheese and extra chili and tomatoes.
Where’s the love for us vegetarians??
I do love you guys! I have a great chili for you right here! Fold in some cheese and ditch the pasta in this recipe if you are looking for a great veggie chili-cheese dip. If you are vegan, just skip the cheese. Enjoy!
So, now you have no reason to stop at a fast food joint the next time you need to get your chili-cheese fix.