Appetizers

Brie and Caramelized Onion Queso

by Shawnda on February 1, 2015

in Appetizers,Brie

Brie and Caramelized Onion Queso

Yeah, that’s right. I made queso out of brie. (Because a girl can only watch so many hours of Big Game Pre-Game Nonsense.)

Brie. And caramelized onions. And a little milk. And 1/2 teaspoon of a secret ingredient that will let you turn just about any cheese into a smooth, melty cheese sauce: sodium citrate.

I’ve also made excellent chile con queso using real cheeses (no processed cheezes at all), macaroni and cheese, and a nacho sauce out of a cheese you’d never think to make nachos with… but those – those are for another day. Today, we’re talking brie.

Brie and Caramelized Onion Queso

So that sodium citrate – I spied it on the Huffington Post a couple months ago. It basically allows cheese to dreamily melt without separating into a clumpy, oily mess. Add some to a little milk, add your cubed or shredded cheese, and then dig out your stretchy-waisted pants. Because your going to need them.

Brie and Caramelized Onion Queso

The sweetness of the caramelized onions and the richness of the brie are a match made in queso heaven.

Brie and Caramelized Onion Queso

A cheesy queso dip made from brie, caramelized onions, and a secret ingredient: sodium citrate.

Ingredients

  • Olive oil
  • 1/2 cup caramelized onions (yield from 1/2 large white onion)*
  • 8 oz wheel brie
  • 1/4 cup + 2 Tbsp milk
  • 1/2 tsp sodium citrate

Instructions

  1. To caramelize the onions, heat a drizzle of olive oil in a large nonstick pan over medium high heat.
  2. Add the onions and cook covered for 10 minutes, stirring occasionally.
  3. Add 1/2 cup water to the onions and stir well, covering and cooking for another 10 minutes.
  4. Add 1/2 cup more water to the onions and stir, cover and cook for another 10 minutes.
  5. Remove lid and cook another 5-10 minutes, reducing heat if necessary, until desired color is reached (I usually call it around 30-35 minutes).
  6. While the onions are cooking, take a spoon and scrape the white rind off the brie.
  7. Cut the brie into 4 wedges. Take a vegetable peeler and make one pass over the scraped surfaces to remove the thin rind.
  8. Cut the brie into small cubes.
  9. Transfer the onions to a small bowl and rinse out the pan.
  10. Heat milk in the pan over medium heat and add the sodium citrate, stirring to dissolve.
  11. Add the brie and stir occasionally at first, and then more frequently as it slowly melts.
  12. When the brie has melted, add 1/2 cup of caramelized onions to the queso and stir.
  13. Serve hot/warm.

Notes

Yields: 1+ cup

Source: Confections of a Foodie Bride

Estimated time: 45 minutes

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Microwave Sweet Potato Chips

The absence of crunchy food is probably one of the hardest things to “get over” while I am eating clean/Whole30. All the amazing foods are crunchy: potato chips, crackers, tortilla chips, every other chip out there.

Maybe it’s just chips that I miss? Because really, there’s no substitute.

And I recommend immediately reevaluating your relationship with anyone who tells you that dipping baby carrots or celery in guacamole is “just as good.” Because they are straight-up lying. And they clearly have something against guacamole. Or you.

Maybe both.

Microwave Sweet Potato Chips

I mean, fajita night is one of my favorite meals of the week. And I’m already voluntarily passing on the margaritas and the tortillas… but carrots in my guacamole? No.

Just no.

My last Whole30, I discovered how to make sweet potato chips in the microwave. It’s easy and the chips are crispy and delicious. And honestly? It really saves fajita night.

Microwave Sweet Potato Chips

You will need a mandoline to get slices thin enough that will crisp – I had a gift card and sprang (sprung?) for this one after my years-old $15 Target version broke.

Microwave Sweet Potato Chips

So let’s talk how you make crispy sweet potato chips in the microwave:
1. Thiiiiinly slice sweet potatoes.
2. Spread on parchment paper with olive oil, salt, and pepper. (Might I also recommend a sprinkling of chipotle chile powder? Because YUM.)
3. Microwave ’til crispy.
4. Eat with guacamole and save fajita night. And your sanity. And possibly the lives of those around you when you’re 5 days deep into sugar withdrawals.

Microwave Sweet Potato Chips

Thin & crispy sweet potato chips made in the microwave.

Ingredients

  • Sweet potatoes*
  • Olive oil
  • Salt
  • Pepper
  • *Look for sweet potatoes that are as uniformly thick as you can find. The chips will be ~the same size and will cook evenly.

Instructions

  1. Take a piece of parchment paper ~the size of your microwave turntable plate and fold/trim as necessary so that the paper rotates freely while the microwave is running - you don't want the paper to get caught and crumple. it will take your potatoes with it.
  2. Using a mandoline on the thinnest setting, slice the sweet potato.
  3. Lightly spray the parchment with olive oil, and, working in batches, spread the sweet potato slices in a single layer.
  4. Lightly spray again with olive oil and then sprinkle with salt and pepper.
  5. Microwave for 4:00 on Power Level 9 (for much smaller rounds, this is likely all you'll need; rounds that start out 2.5 inches usually need 5.5-6 minutes in my microwave) and check for crispness.
  6. Some trial and error will be involved. Continue cooking in 30-45 second intervals on Power Level 9 until crispness is achieved - they will actually get crispier as they cool so if you're on the fence, pull one out of the microwave for ~15 seconds and then eat it. If your potatoes start to develop a darker/grayish concentric ring, stop them - you don't want to cook for much longer because they will scorch. And that is no bueno.
  7. Enjoy your crispy sweet potato chips immensely with guacamole!
  8. Leftovers are okay but they lose their snap and are never as good as first-run chips - so make them the day you want to eat them.

Notes

Yields: Servings vary

Batter barely adapted from Cooking Light

Estimated time: 10 minutes

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Bacon, Brie, and Cranberry Sliders

It’s Wednesday and that means it’s time to talk appetizers for the #HEBJoyville Virtual Progressive Dinner Party! This week, I’ve joined 4 other Texas bloggers to talk you through some of our favorite entertaining tips, food, and drinks this holiday season:

Monday – Table Decor by Handmade Mood
Tuesday – Drinks & Wine by Quarter Life Crisis Cuisine
Wednesday – Bacon & Cheese!
Thursday – Main Course by A Zesty Bite
Friday – Desserts by The Baking Fairy

You, too, can join in the delicious fun and be entered to win a $100 gift card and a $50 Prize Pack! Here’s how it works:
1. Instagram photos of your favorite holiday dish, drink, and/or decor.
2. Tag it with #HEBJoyvilleSweeps
3. Tag @HEB.

Easy enough, right? And one winner will be chosen each day! Now let’s talk appetizers.

Cranberry and Red Wine Meatballs

My formula for putting together a party spread generally goes something like:
Cheese plate
Hot Dip
Baked sliders
Something Meaty
Something Wrapped in Puff Pastry
Vegetables w/Cold Dip (this is Texas so that means Ranch Dressing)
16 Kinds of crackers (because you can never have too many crunchy, crispy dipper thing)

This isn’t the time I opt to make my own puff pastry – there are baseboards to be cleaned and crayon marks to be magic-erased. I use a mix of pre-made and homemade to keep things efficient and convenient.

Cheese Plate

My love for cheese cannot be understated. And the cheese plate is where I have 57% of the non-margarita fun:
Goat cheese – room temp, with honey drizzled over top just before guests arrive
Brie – sometimes baked, sometimes not
Cranberry Gouda – tis the season!
Berries – whatever is in season and on sale
Nuts – the Spiced Texas Pecans you see up there are fabulous
Crackers – pick up a box of those Rosemary & Date crackers, you won’t be sorry
Something Smokey/Spicy – Smoked Gouda and Chipotle Cheddar are two of my favorites

Now let’s talk about the other 43% of non-margarita joy.

Bacon, Brie, and Cranberry Sliders

Two words: Baked Sliders. You can heat 3 dozen or more in the oven at once. No matter how many of those 3-bites-of-heaven you make, you will never, ever have enough. This year’s sliders are filled with crispy bacon, creamy brie, and tangy cranberry sauce and topped with a bacon vinaigrette. Yeah. I know. And you can get the recipe below.

Crab & Artichoke Wontons Crab & Artichoke Dip

Don’t be afraid to reinvent the wheel. Crab & Artichoke dip is a huge crowd pleaser around here, by why stop at “just” dip? Spread it over a halved loaf of crusty bread or drop a spoonful into a wonton wrapper and bake in a mini-muffin tin for a two-bite treat.

Crab & Artichoke Bread

Use that slow-cooker! It will keep meatballs hot, crab & artichoke dip creamy, and queso the perfect consistency so that you get the maximum drippage when you drop it on the front your shirt. Pro-tip: those slow-cooker liners are magical when making queso. Too bad they don’t make shirt liners.

Cranberry and Red Wine Meatballs

Put a bow on it! Okay, so not an actual bow. Add a festive touch to an old favorite. You know those sweet and sour meatballs that use grape jelly? I know you do – they were everywhere in 1995. You couldn’t out run them if you tried but you didn’t try because then someone else would get to eat your meatballs. Try an updated, more sophisticated version that uses cranberry sauce and red wine.

Pesto Palmiers

Less can be more, and just as delicious. A sheet of puff pastry + a small jar of pesto = Pesto Palmiers.

Now that we’ve talked appetizers, let’s get ready for the big show. And don’t forget to Instagram your favorite #HEBJoyvilleSweeps holiday shots!

Bacon, Brie, and Cranberry Sliders

Sliders filled with crispy bacon, creamy brie, and tangy cranberry sauce and topped with bacon vinaigrette.

Ingredients

  • 2 dozen dinner rolls, split horizontally
  • 2 lbs bacon, cooked to a crisp*
  • ~2 cups whole berry cranberry sauce
  • 24 ~1.5 inch strips of brie from an 8oz wheel
  • Bacon Vinaigrette (I used Better Than Good brand, purchased)
  • *I make the bacon in the oven on a rack in a large baking pan. Two batches, 425 until crispy.

Instructions

  1. Preheat oven to 350.
  2. Line a baking pan with foil.
  3. Spread cranberry sauce over the split halves of the rolls.
  4. Break the slices of bacon into 1/3rds and spread evenly over the rolls.
  5. Top with a slice of brie and the roll top.
  6. Brush bacon vinaigrette over the top and bake for ~15 minutes.
  7. Serve hot, warm, or cold. You'll have no leftovers but they allegedly reheat very well.

Notes

Yields: 24 servings

Source: Confections of a Foodie Bride

Estimated time: 1 hour

In accordance with the FTC Guidelines, I am disclosing that I received compensation from H-E-B for my time and participation in the H-E-B Virtual Progressive Dinner. Although we have material connection to H-E-B, any publicly stated opinions of H-E-B and their brands remain my own.

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Chorizo and Black Bean Queso

Last weekend, we had the most amazingly glorious cool front blow through southeast Texas that left me so ready for sweatshirts and frito pie and Friday night football games.

We don’t usually get very much of (what most people consider) a fall, but the snippets we do get are to be immediately celebrated with early morning runs, crockpots full of chili, and publicly sporting a scarf and riding boots. Even though we all know that chilly morning low of 60 will quickly climb to 81 by lunch.

IT STILL COUNTS.

Chorizo and Black Bean Queso

With windows open and Pandora blasting a carefully crafted no-BroCountry-allowed station, we set out to make football munchies for the don’t-even-think-about-turning-on-the-AC weekend.

We started with melted cheese. And a shot of tequila.

Chorizo and Black Bean Queso

We cook up some Chorizo (mexican pork sausage) and then deglaze the pan with tequila to get the flavors from all those browned bits of wonderful into the dip.

Someone onions, cheese, a can of black beans later, and a bowl of pico de gallo later, we’re ready for action. (And by “action,” I mean sitting on the couch in front of football.)

Chorizo and Black Bean Queso

Serve it in any one of these approved, tried-and-true methods: with chips, straight from a bowl. Make a big pan of nachos and graze all day while screaming Mommy words at the TV. Grab a stack of tortillas and wrap up a scoop of the leftovers with scrambled eggs the next morning.

Your call. You win.

Nachos with Chorizo and Black Bean Queso

Chile con queso spiked with tequila, black beans, and chorizo sausage.

Ingredients

  • For the queso:
  • 12 oz Chorizo sausage, removed from casing and crumbled
  • 1 1/2 oz (3 Tbsp) tequila
  • 1/2 small red onion
  • 1/2-3/4 cup milk
  • 12 oz white American cheese, shredded
  • 4 oz Monterrey Jack cheese, shredded
  • 1 can black beans, rinsed and drained
  • For the nachos:
  • Tortilla chips
  • 1/2 pint grape tomatoes, diced
  • 2 jalapenos, sliced
  • Small handful of cilantro, chopped
  • Juice from half a lime
  • Salt

Instructions

  1. Preheat the oven to 375.
  2. In a sauce pan over medium-high, brown the sausage thoroughly.
  3. Transfer the cooked sausage to a strainer (I also quickly ran the strainer under hot water to remove extra fat - sacrilegious but seriously, there's so much fat!) and remove as much of the grease from the pan as possible without scraping off any of the browned bits from the pan.
  4. Add tequila and red onions to the pan and return it to the cooktop, stirring and scraping the browned bits from the pan.
  5. When the liquid has evaporated, add 1/2 cup milk and the shredded cheese.
  6. Reduce heat to medium-low and stir frequently to help melting along. Add cooked chorizo, beans, and additional milk if, after melted, it still seems too thick.
  7. Place tortilla chips on a baking sheet.
  8. Pour the queso over the chips (I saved a few spoonfuls for breakfast tacos) and pop into the oven for 10 minutes.
  9. Mix the tomatoes, jalapenos, cilantro, lime juice, and a pinch of salt in a small bowl. Spoon over the nachos fresh from the oven.
  10. Serve hot or warm.

Notes

Yields: Servings vary

Source: Confections of a Foodie Bride

Estimated time: 20 minutes

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