Recipe for cheese sauce for nachos needed!
I've decided to throw my guy friend a 40-something b-day party. I think a Mexican theme would be fun and delicious, and I'd like to do a nachos bar with chips, salsa, beans etc. I have a one of those crock pots with three pots in a single base and I was thinking that it would be perfect to keep the cheese sauce and beans warm. Problem is, I need a recipe for nacho cheese sauce. can anyone help? And if you have any other ideas for easy (vegetarian) Mexican snacks, please pass them along!
This one looks good -- I've heard of the evaporated milk trick before...less soggy chips from a thicker sauce, etc. Check it out -- they toss shredded cheese with 1T corn starch, then melt down with evap milk and Frank's Hot Sauce.
I also like Tyler Florence's sauce which is a basic roux plus cheese, however, he uses chix stock rather than milk:
I know this may sound like heresy on Chowhound, but unless your friend is a real foodie I would think that the ubiquitous queso made with Rotel and Velveeta would be perfect for your purposes. Yes, I know sauces made with real cheese are better - but there's something addictive about Velveeta queso, and people love it and expect it.
I did a similarly-themed party not too long ago and I served quesadilla wedges, tamales (time consuming but easy to do in advance), stuffed mini-peppers and jalapenos, empanadas and a huge bowl of guacamole with homemade tortilla chips. I used meat, but all of these things could be made vegetarian easily.
I'd start that nacho cheese sauce by making a blonde roux from flour and butter, adding a sufficient quantity of milk and when it's slightly thickened, melting shredded cheddar, muenster and monterey jack. Add a little bit of chopped chipotles in adobo for a little kick. The result should be runny enough for nachos but also stringy and gooey.
If you are looking for other snacks, try your hand at making some salsas. Salsa macha is one of my favorites when tomatoes are unavailable, but you can also get experimental with a pear or apple salsa. You could also do corn on the cob or esquites by preparing roasted corn and topping it with butter, mayo, onions chili and lime juice. Butternut squash and mushroom empanadas might be a seasonally appropriate options. If you're willing to use soyrizo, which is delicious, miniature pambazos made with potatoes and soyrizo, drizzled with a guajillo salsa, could be a huge hit.
Here's one recipe for the stovetop. Love this blog, as everything is made with "all-natural" ingredients, which to me is always good for vegetarians. Pretty simple recipe: http://cooklikeyourgrandmother.com/2008/09/how-to-make-nacho-cheese-sauce/
As for other snacks, I'd put out maybe two types of beans (black beans and refried?), salad (maybe not traditional mexican, but good to round out the dairy and carbs). I've been hooked on homemade "mexican" rice, made by sauteeing onion, garlic, and rice until browned, then adding in veggie stock and tomato sauce/paste. I throw in some frozen or fresh spinach too, or corn, peas, and carrots. Let simmer til rice is cooked. It's really good and flavorful, and vegetarian.
Other veggie-friendly snacks could be roasted or grilled meaty veggies like red peppers, onions, eggplants, zucchini, squash, portobellos. These can be used on the nachos or snacked on separately. Or you could make quesadillas stuffed with above veggies and slice into triangles. Easy enough.
Another Mexican-themed snack would be marinated veggies. There are variations on these, but usually they include carrots, onions, jalapenos, etc. There's a CHOW thread here: http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/300668.
Lastly, as a vegetarian, I always appreciate fresh yummy veggies. I'd probably enjoy a big bowl of freshly grilled/steamed corn off the cob, tomato-stewed green beans, or roasted potatoes/sweet potatoes. I make a Mexican-tinged corn hash that people tend to love. I saute onion/garlic in olive oil, then add lots of fresh corn and saute until the kernels brown and start popping. Depending on what I have on hand, I'll add a chopped bell pepper in with the onions, or chopped jalapenos/poblanos. Or I'll add whatever green veggies I have (green beans, broccoli, spinach, etc.) and season with cumin, cayenne, paprika, oregano, etc. Pretty versatile, but always yummy with sweet corn as the base.