I am always on the lookout for ways to make my favorite store-bought snacks at home. I have learned that it is almost always less expensive and, considering the MSG, fillers, and preservatives added to most commercial products it is ALWAYS a healthier option (please note I said healthiER not necessarily healthy).
Bottled Nacho Cheese is one of those items that has been on my family’s no-no list for years. It is just about impossible to find it without MSG and equally difficult to find a gluten-free version that both tastes good and won’t break the budget. So when my hatch peppers arrived this year I decided I wanted to try my hand at making a clean, homemade, nacho cheese sauce. I tossed together real cheeses, roasted peppers, some hot sauce and voila- the end product is a tasty sauce that even the junk-food-junkies approved of (’cause really- who can turn up their nose to melted cheese and spicy peppers, even if it has a bit of gluten-free flour mixed in). The heat levels in this recipe are easily adjusted for any palette. If you want less heat skip the jalapeno and make sure the hatch peppers are mild. If you want a bit more kick use more hot sauce and hotter peppers. I made this at about a medium level of heat to accommodate the guests and small children that were with us, while still firing up the taste buds of the heat-seekers.
I know my limits…and I have a hard time resisting anything chips and cheese so, while this is not a snack that I want to have on hand often, I can serve it up occasionally and feel confident that my kiddos are getting a great yuck-free (albeit fat full) treat. Happy Cooking!
- 1 package cream cheese- softened to room temperature
- 8 oz pepper jack cheese- cubed
- 8 oz sharp cheddar cheese- cubed
- 2 1/2 cups milk
- Hot pepper sauce to taste
- 2 Tbls flour (I used gluten-free sorghum but any all-purpose flour works)
- 1-2 large roasted hatch peppers finely diced (could sub roasted red peppers)
- Diced Jalapeno (optional)
- In a small bowl mix the gluten-free flour with half a cup of milk whisking to remove all the lumps. Set aside.
- Put the cream cheese in a large pot over low heat.
- Stir often until the cream cheese is mostly melted.
- Add in the other cheese cubes and stir.
- Add in the hot sauce, peppers, and 2 cups of milk. Increase heat to medium and keep stirring until everything is totally melted- do NOT let the mixture boil.
- Quickly stir the flour/milk mixture and then whisk into the cheese sauce. Stir constantly and heat until sauce is thick.
- Remove from heat just BEFORE the mixture starts to boil.
- Serve immediately or store in the refrigerator for up to three days. To re-heat Microwave in 30 second increments or stovetop on low.