Whenever I fix Mexican food, I serve tortilla chips and salsa. On Cinco de Mayo, I like to spice things up a bit and serve queso dip. Queso may sound exotic, but it's actually the Spanish word for cheese.
The cheese dip I make only uses three ingredients -- Velveeta cheese, Ro-Tel, cream cheese -- and is heated in a crock-pot. Not only does the crock-pot do all the work, it keeps the dip warm during the meal. If the dip gets too hot, turn the crock-pot off.
Ro-Tel is a canned tomato product that also contains green chilies. I use mild Ro-Tel, but it also comes in hot. If you want the dip to have more texture, use chunky Ro-Tel. I use Neufchatel cream cheese which has 1/3 less fat, but you can use regular cream cheese instead. You can leave the cream cheese out, but it makes the dip richer and creamier than using Velveeta alone.
Cube the Velveeta and cream cheese and put in a 1 1/2-quart crock-pot. Add the Ro-Tel, stirring to combine the ingredients.
Cover the crock-pot with the lid and heat on low. Stir the ingredients periodically as the cheeses melt. It doesn't take the dip long to heat so start it about an hour before you're ready to eat.
To end the meal, I serve a batch of Mexican Sugar Cookies. Normally, I use margarine in recipes, but this is one time I use real butter.
Butter comes in salted and unsalted varieties. I use unsalted butter for two reasons. One, it has a fresher flavor. Two, salted butter has more salt than a recipe needs. It's easier to control the amount of salt when you use unsalted butter.
The recipe makes a very soft cookie dough. Even when I've added the additional 1/4 cup flour, the dough has been too soft and sticky to form into balls. I refrigerate the dough about an hour until it's firmer. To make sure the dough stays firm, put it back in the refrigerator when it's not in use .
Shape the mixture into balls -- I use a small cookie scoop -- using 1 tablespoon of dough for each. Place the balls on a greased cookie sheet. The cookies spread during baking so make sure to place them 3-inches apart.
Flatten each cookie with the bottom of a glass dipped in sugar. If the glass sticks to the dough, lightly spray the bottom of the glass with Pam before dipping it into the sugar. Be sure to dip the glass in sugar before flattening each cookie. If the glass starts sticking, lightly spray it again with Pam.
It's always best to make cookies the same size to ensure even baking. To do this, I use the bottom of the glass as a guide and press the dough until it reaches the edge of the glass.