Sep 30, 2012

Velveeta-Free Rotel Cheese Dip

Snack foods for parties and potlucks often end up being sweet treats with no nutritional value. So whenever there is an opportunity to bring snacks to an event, I like to choose something savory. I always want to make healthy recipes taste good, so I was pleased when this new recipe I developed was a big hit at several recent get-together. Processed cheese like Velveeta is so unhealthy, being made with hydrogenated (trans) fat and lots of preservatives and artificial ingredients.  (In my post on dairy I talk more about why hydrogenated fat is so bad for you). So I wanted to make a version of this popular dip that contained only healthy ingredients. My Velveeta-Free Rotel Cheese Dip is rich in protein and calcium, and can be a guilt-free high protein/low carb snack if served with fresh veggie dippers. If served with vegetables this dip is also Nourishing Traditions approved.

Velveeta-Free Rotel Cheese Dip

1/2 to 1 pound ground beef or turkey*
1 medium onion, chopped
2 teaspoons garlic salt, divided, plus additional to taste, or 4 cloves minced fresh garlic plus 1 1/2 teaspoons salt**
2 teaspoons cumin
1 large or 2 small fresh banana peppers, diced, or one 8 oz. can green chilies
1 can diced tomatoes and green chilies, regular or mild according to preference
2 8 oz. packages cream cheese
1 1/2 cups shredded cheddar cheese, or mexican blend

Tortilla chips or assorted vegetables for serving (baby carrots, celery sticks, green pepper strips, etc.)

*If using turkey use fresh as versus frozen meat for the best texture and flavor. Add 1 tablespoon olive oil to the skillet if using turkey.

**If using only half a pound of ground meat, cut the salt in half.

Place meat in a 4 quart pot. Turn the heat to medium. Break up the ground meat with a spoon or stiff spatula. Add the onions. Sprinkle the garlic salt over the meat, or stir in the salt and minced garlic if using. Add the banana pepper, if using. Cook and stir until meat is no longer pink. Drain excess fat, if necessary. Stir in green chilies, if using, diced tomatoes and green chilies, and cumin. Bring to a boil then add the cream cheese, breaking up a bit with a spoon. Reduce heat to low. Heat, stirring occasionally until cream cheese is melted, about 7 minutes. Stir in the cheddar cheese. Serve hot. 

This dip is also great served in a small crock pot set on warm.

Serve with chips or veggies.

Preparation time: 5  minutes. Cook time: 20 minutes. Servings: 10-15. 

Search terms:
Healthy rotel cheese dip
Mexican cheese dip with cream cheese
Healthy nacho dip with ground beef / turkey / hamburger

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