4/12/07

Simple Cheese Sauce

A simple cheese sauce has so many uses! We use it for dipping tortilla chips, over broccoli, cauliflower or other vegetables, served over chimichanga's and enchiladas, even as a simple fondue for garlic bread cubes.

Now I'll upset some of the people that feel they need a strict recipe for anything and everything they ever make... because there isn't one. I've got some guidelines, but you must feel comfortable making changes to recipes based on the ingredients you have in your kitchen and your own families likes and dislikes. With something like a cheese sauce, you also need to make additions and subtractions based on what you are using it on. You would add chilies, salsa or onions to the cheese sauce if you were serving it with tortilla chips, but you would only add salt and pepper if you were using it over broccoli. See?

Now, the only reason I'm even putting a cheese sauce recipe on here is because I was surprised to see posts about it on recipe message boards. People really do have a hard time making this! They apparently end up with clumpy, stringy, greasy messes.


There are two (ok, there are more, but for my purposes we'll say two) ways to make a cheese sauce. One is going to use a 'white' base and one doesn't. I'm going to suggest you use the one that doesn't. Why? Because it's so easy and so good that my own kids have been making it since they were all about 9 or 10 years old.

Simple Cheese Sauces


2-4 tablespoons butter
1/2 c milk
4 oz. cream cheese
2-4 other kinds of cheeses (Velveeta, American, swiss, cheddar, monterey jack, colby, mozzarella, etc.)

Place the milk and butter in a saucepan over medium heat (not high!). Drop the cream cheese in by tablespoons or cubes and stir until it starts to melt. At this point add in at least one other kind of cheese, preferably 2-3. I tend to use about 3 oz. velveeta because it melts so smooth and thickens the sauce, I also tend to use about 2 slices of American and 1 cup shredded cheddar and or monterey jack.



Stir or whisk until smooth, do not let the bottom scorch. The heat can be turned to medium-low once the temperature is warm enough to melt the butter and cheese. Adjust the amount of milk to determine how thick or thin your sauce is. Add 1/4 cup if you need it thinner.



When you add a cheese sauce to vegetables, make it a little thick, as even the best drained vegetables still hold water and your sauce is going to be watered down just a little after it mixes with the veggies.

When using it for fondue for bread you will want it a little thin only because as it cools even a little it will thicken up.

Add 1/2 cup salsa, some chilies, tobasco sauce and/or onions or drained black beans for a tortilla dip.

Use as is on enchiladas, then serve with salsa and sour cream on the side to top.


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