It was never really a threat to game-day parties, but the reported Velveeta shortage a few weeks ago certainly garnered attention.
After all, Velveeta sells a lot of prepared cheese product for queso, that popular dip made with melted blocks of the orange stuff. It's served often during the NFL playoffs and the Super Bowl, so imagine a viewing party without queso? That would be serving up a big bowl of bummer.
Whether the report was true (Kraft Foods confirmed the shortage on its Tumblr page) or a stunt, Kraft predicted the shortage would be temporary, and there certainly seems to be plenty of Velveeta to go around.
But maybe the scare is a culinary sign encouraging you to try a different cheese dip. Even if you're a fan of the brand-linked queso dip (basically, melted Velveeta mixed with a can of Rotel diced tomatoes and green chilies), consider the melted goodness of these three dips. One brings together the flavors of Buffalo wings. The others are favorites from our archives.
Each is almost as easy as the queso dip. Try one for Super Bowl and watch them disappear before halftime.
Buffalo blue cheese dip
Prep: 15 minutes
Cook: 5-10 minutes
Makes: About 8 cups
The flavors of Buffalo chicken wings and the attendant tangy, rich blue cheese dip come together in one pot in this couldn't-be-simpler, dump-and-stir dip. The slow cooker does the work and keeps it warm throughout the game. Buffalo blue cheese dip is an Internet-driven recipe, with more complex versions published on many sites. This version comes from my friend Ginna Haravon, who in turn got it from her cousin. At some point, it probably came directly from the Frank's hot sauce website, as the ingredients match. The recipe makes a very spicy dip, so start with less hot sauce if you prefer a milder dip.
1 rotisserie chicken, deboned, shredded (discard skin and bones)
1 package (8 ounces) cream cheese, at room temperature
2 cups shredded cheddar
1 bottle (12 ounces) hot sauce, such as Frank's Red Hot Original Cayenne Pepper Sauce
1 bottle (12 ounces) chunky blue cheese dressing
Dump all the ingredients into a slower cooker; stir together. Cook on high, stirring occasionally, until the cream cheese and cheddar cheese melt. Stir until the ingredients are well blended. Serve from the slow cooker, keeping the temperature on low or warm, with celery and carrot sticks and/or a sturdy chip, such as pita chips.
Nutrition information per tablespoon: 37 calories, 3 g fat, 1 g saturated fat, 10 mg cholesterol, 0 g carbohydrates, 2 g protein, 128 mg sodium, 0 g fiber
Prep: 15 minutes
Cook: 25 minutes
Chill: 2 hours
Makes: About 2 cups
The packaged French onion dips of the '70s have nothing on this dip, adapted from a recipe from Erin Bailey of La Pomme de Pin in Barrington, Ill. The onions cook down to draw out their natural sweetness, abetted with a little balsamic vinegar. The rich goat cheese and creme fraiche provide tang. Creme fraiche is sold in larger supermarkets and specialty shops; sour cream could be used instead. Serve with potato chips, crudites or toasted pita bread.
1 tablespoon each: olive oil, butter
2 each, peeled, sliced: yellow onions, red onions
1 teaspoon salt
Freshly ground pepper
2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
1 cup each: goat cheese, creme fraiche
1 tablespoon chopped fresh thyme
1Heat oil and butter in a large skillet. Add onions, 1/2 teaspoon salt and pepper to taste; cook, stirring occasionally, until onions are caramelized, 20-30 minutes. Add balsamic vinegar, stirring up browned bits from the bottom of the skillet.
2Combine the onions with the goat cheese, creme fraiche, thyme, the remaining 1/2 teaspoon salt and pepper to taste in a medium bowl. Stir, allowing the warm onions to help melt the goat cheese. Cover; refrigerate 2 to 12 hours. Let stand at room temperature until softened slightly before serving.
Nutrition information per tablespoon: 44 calories, 3 g fat, 2 g saturated fat, 7 mg cholesterol, 2 g carbohydrates, 1 g protein, 99 mg sodium, 0 g fiber
Two-onion souffle dip
Prep: 10 minutesCook: 30 minutes
Makes: 10 servings
This dip bakes up into a delicious gooeyness. Jan Turner Hazard, author of "Half-Baked Gourmet: Party Food," suggests assembling this dip the day before serving and baking 30 minutes before the party begins. "You might want to make extra; otherwise, you won't have any leftovers," she writes.
1 package (8 ounces) cream cheese, softened
1 yellow onion, finely chopped
1/4 cup mayonnaise
1 cup (4 ounces) shredded Parmesan cheese
1 green onion, chopped, for garnish
Heat oven to 350 degrees. Combine cream cheese, onion and mayonnaise in a bowl; stir well. Mix in Parmesan cheese. Spoon mixture into a 4-cup shallow quiche pan or baking dish. Bake until lightly browned and bubbly, about 25 minutes. Garnish with green onions. Serve with crackers.
Nutrition information per serving: 174 calories, 16 g fat, 7.5 g saturated fat, 37 mg cholesterol, 2 g carbohydrates, 6 g protein, 271 mg sodium, 0 g fiber