Nacho Cheese Sauce
Just look at that cheesy gooeyness. Or is it gooey cheesiness?
Imagine this scenario: You’re invited to a party at the last minute and you’re supposed to bring a finger food to share. You suspect that everyone else will bring some kind of dessert, which fine and all, but you kind of get cranky if you don’t get some kind of protein for supper. The problem is finding a high protein food you have on hand that everyone else will consider acceptable party food.
This nacho cheese sauce is mostly made out of cheese (along with a few other real food ingredients), but with that creamy processed food texture that will satisfy all your normal friends that it belongs at a party. In fact, if you could get your hands on an old Cheez Whiz jar, they’d probably never suspect the contents were homemade. (Just make sure you serve it warm–the homemade nacho cheese sauce thickens considerably when cold.)
Other good reasons to make this nacho cheese sauce include needing to make lunch in less than fifteen minutes, needing a midnight snack, having cheese and tortilla chips in the house, or having cheese and spoon in the house.
If you really want to replicate a processed food flavor, I recommend making this recipe using mild cheddar cheese and a few dashes of hot sauce. The sky’s the limit for flavor combinations though, if you want more of a gourmet and personalized cheese sauce. Mozzarella and green hot sauce? Extra sharp cheddar and lots of cayenne? Monterey Jack and a spoonful of chili powder? Okay, now I’m getting hungry…
Healthiness Rating: Healthy
As always, the quality of the ingredients you use determines exactly how healthy your end product is (for example, I always try to use organic cornstarch to avoid GMOs), but in any case you’re replacing a processed food that’s full of chemicals with a homemade sauce made from real foods, so it’s a vast improvement regardless.
Yumminess Rating: Yummy
Oh, so yummy! As you might imagine, this nacho cheese sauce is very much a husband approved recipe. (My husband has been known to mix it with salsa on occasion for a different twist.)
Nacho Cheese Sauce
inspired by this recipe from How to Cook Like Your Grandmother
1 1/2 TBSP butter
1 TBSP cornstarch
1/2 cup milk
1 ounce cream cheese
1 heaping cup of cheddar cheese (or cheese of choice)
dash of cayenne and/or dash of hot sauce
Melt the butter over a medium heat. Break (or cut) the cream cheese into three or four pieces so it melts into the sauce more easily when you add it. (But don’t add it yet.)
Turn down the heat to medium low (if you’re more patient than I am you can just start with the heat at medium low). Whisk the cornstarch and milk into the melted butter.
Add the cream cheese and whisk until it’s fully melted in.
Add the cheddar cheese (or whatever kind of cheese you prefer) and whisk (or stir) it in until it’s completely melted and evenly blended into the sauce.
Mix in cayenne, hot sauce, or whatever seasonings you prefer.
Serve warm. Refrigerate leftovers.
(The refrigerated nacho sauce will develop a texture not unlike a loaf of american cheese, so if you like you can pour the leftovers into a small loaf pan and experiment with this use of the sauce.)