Ris de Veau

Ris de Veau Recipes

In English, Ris de Veau translates to sweetbread—but this hearty dish is neither sweet, nor bread. So what exactly is this inaptly named French delicacy made of? It’s a meaty treat that you have to dive inward to enjoy? Let’s find out.

Savory and Sumptuous

Ris de veau is made with the thymus gland (throat) and pancreas (stomach region) of calf and lamb. These treats fall into the category of “offal” which simply refers to organs and other cuts of meat that don’t fit into one of the standard cuts. Because thymus glands tend to disappear from animals’ anatomy at around 6 months, much ris de veau is veal. This dish can be prepared in many ways, making it a favorite in French kitchens for its versatility, mild flavor, and luxurious texture. 

Eating Economically

In days of old when most Europeans butchered their own animals, it was wasteful to let the offal go to waste. Thus, ris de veau gained popularity simply out of necessity. It is unclear why a name that translates to sweetbread was chosen, but the title dates all the way back to the 16th century, and may refer to the fact that the thymus gland is sweeter than some other cuts of meat. Now, ris de veau is a favorite among French culinary professionals, as it is an excellent addition to almost any dish as a supporting flavor. If you happen to be in Paris and get the urge to try ris de veau for yourself, visit La Causerie or 24 Le Restaurant.

A Utility Player

There are virtually limitless ways to prepare ris de veau, which is likely why it has maintained popularity for so long. Fried, grilled, roasted, poached, braised, or sauteed, ris de veau will come out tasting delicious every time. This means that chefs can serve ris de veau as an appetizer, in stews, as part of a terrine, or in practically any other way. The true beauty of this dish is certainly its versatility.  

Preparing Ris de Veau

Ris de Veau

Regardless of how you prepare them, these sweetbreads must be soaked in cold water before cooking. This practice removes any blood prior to blanching, which gives ris de veau a firmer texture. Once this is finished, you will need to remove any gristle or tubes. 

In French recipes like this one, ris de veau is generally served in a rich sauce. Though the sauce preparation will vary by recipe, this is a fairly standard method for cooking ris de veau:

Dredge the prepared sweetbreads in flour before placing them in a warm frying pan.

  • Allow the sweetbreads to color on one side over medium heat. 
  • Add butter and shallot (in this case) and turn them over. 
  • Once the sweetbreads are almost cooked through, you can add your sauce to the pan, then you’re ready to serve over a starch, like mashed potatoes in this recipe. 

Favorite Flavors of Ris de Veau

Oftentimes, you’ll see sweetbreads as supporting players in dishes. However, if you want to prepare a dish in the French fashion in which sweetbread is the star, you will want to select some sort of starch and rich sauce to accompany it. Some such popular sauces are:

  • Brown sauce
  • Madeira sauce
  • Truffle sauce

Potatoes are always an excellent base, but you can opt for other root vegetables, too. 

The name may be puzzling, but the long-loved reputation of ris de veau will be anything but confusing once you sample its flavor.

Langue De Boeuf

Langue De Boeuf

Sirloin, Ribeye, Strip, and Flank may be beef cuts you’re familiar with—but what about Tongue? If the concept of eating beef tongue sounds a little foreign, that’s because it is: langue de boeuf is a French delicacy that may just surprise you if you give it a try. 

A Cut Above The Rest

Langue de boeuf literally translates to beef tongue, and it’s not all that different from other cuts of red meat, aside from having a higher fat content. In the French preparation, langue de boeuf is chopped into much smaller pieces (the tongue itself usually weighs several pounds) so that it is virtually unrecognizable. From there, the dish is usually prepared with a healthy helping of sauce and served with some sort of starch. When cooked properly, langue de boeuf will simply melt in your mouth, and you’ll likely forget you ever had an aversion to the dish. 

Waste Not, Want Not

While the French have long embraced langue de boeuf as a national treat, they were far from the first to do so. In fact, humans have been enjoying tongue for millions of years; hunter-gatherers didn’t have much room to turn up their noses at any cut of meat. In ages ago, tongue was likely a sought after dish due to its high fat content more than its flavor, but this long held appreciation for the dish explains why it has appeared in so many modern cultures’ cuisines. In addition to France, Mexico, Japan, and even the United States have historically enjoyed beef tongue. Now, you can enjoy langue de boeuf at Le Bistrot de Paris and Caves Petrissans, both in Paris. 

The Proof Is in The Prep

Cultures across the world eat beef tongue, each with their own unique methods of preparation. In Mexico, they put tongue in tacos, much like they would any other cut of beef. Some Asian cultures even serve beef tongue cold. What makes langue de boeuf unique is its preparation; instead of pretending that beef tongue is the same as every other cut of beef, the French have created a specific format for langue de boeuf recipes. 

Making Langue De Boeuf 

langue de boeuf recipes

When you break down the mechanics of any langue de boeuf recipe, it’s clear that the most time consuming part will actually be creating the sauce, as the meat and starch cook rather quickly and simply (oftentimes in the same pan as the sauce). This detailed recipe, which serves langue de boeuf with lentils, can be broken down into a few steps:

  • First, heat butter, onion, garlic, and lentils in a saucepan.
  • Add tomatoes, tomato paste, water, tongue, and a number of seasonings to create the sauce.
  • Allow this combination to boil. 
  • Finally, remove and slice the tongue, then serve with lentils and tomato sauce. 

Swapping Sauces and Starches

Of course, the easiest variations of langue de boeuf recipes involve different sauces and starches. Potatoes are commonly served alongside tongue, and Madeira sauce was famously touted as a beef tongue aid by Julia Child. Consider the fatty texture of langue de boeuf, and think about what sorts of flavors might best manage that texture for your palate. From there, you’ll have an easier time experimenting with sauce and starch combinations. 

It might not be your favorite cut of beef (yet), but give langue de boeuf a try and you may just see why this French delicacy has been a part of the human diet for millions of years.

Boulette D’Avesnes

Boulette D’Avesnes

What’s spicy, pyramidal, and red all over? Boulette D’Avesnes, of course! This cheese is a European curiosity that no one other than the French could have dreamed up, but don’t let its unusual appearance keep you from experiencing the wholly unique flavor. 

A Fully French Favorite

Famous for its love of cheese, it’s no surprise that French cuisine is responsible for the creation of Boulette D’Avesnes. It hails from a small village on the French-Belgian border called Avesnes, where this cheese was originally created as a means through which to cut down on waste from dairy farms. Boulette means cones in English, so the name of this cheese is quite literal in its translation: cones of Avesnes. One look at this cheese, and it’s clear how its creators dreamt up that name. Boulette D’Avesnes was originally made as a buttermilk by-product on farms; basically, it was at one point a creation of leftover scraps. Now, it is made of Maroilles paste formed together by hand. 

This soft, creamy cow’s milk cheese is generally spiced with parsley, pepper, cloves, and tarragon, giving the cheese itself a strong, distinct flavor that is easily recognizable as a French cheese. The flavor is further compounded through aging and an unusually spicy rind. 

While boulettes were originally meant to be eaten within a month of creation (back when they were the product of scraps), these cheeses now age well in cellars, gaining their distinctive coloring in the aging process from paprika or annatto, both of which serve as a natural sort of food coloring. The rind on this cheese is what gives it the distinct spiciness for which it is so well known. Boulette D’Avesnes has an unmistakable funky odor, which is only further compounded when aged and allowed to mature.

Boulette D’Avesnes may be the spiciest cheese produced in France, and is certainly one of the most fragrant. This cheese is easily recognizable, as its odd color and irregular (because it is molded by hand) shape are unlike that of any other cheese. Once inside the spicy rind, the texture of the cheese is doughy and pungent, further adding to the uniqueness of this cheese. The softness makes it easily spreadable, so it’s a great addition to any cheese course, and the sharp flavor can be dulled by being spread on bread. 

In Demand, But in Short Supply

Because this cheese only comes from one village in France, the authentic version is not available in great abundance. While the process of creating Boulette D’Avesnes is more streamlined than it was years ago due to its increased popularity, it is still a small operation, and therefore it’s difficult to acquire this cheese even in Europe. It’s virtually impossible to get your hands on this cheese in the United States, due in part to the fact that some Boulette D’Avesnes is made with raw milk. In fact, even the internet comes up dry if you search for an online marketplace willing to ship Boulette D’Avesnes stateside. 

Naturally, the easiest place to acquire Boulette D’Avesnes is in France. You can sample this unusual treat at a number of French restaurants, and even buy it in shops. Nearby UK also has access to Boulette D’Avesnes, both in stores and through online shopping. 

Two Versions of One Cheese

The two variations of Boulette D’Avesnes are raw milk and pasteurized; while you probably know that pasteurized cheese is permitted in the U.S. by the FDA and raw milk cheese is not, you may not know exactly what these terms mean. 

Essentially, pasteurized cheese is made with milk that has first been heated to 161 degrees Fahrenheit for 15 minutes, and raw milk cheese has no such stipulation. The logic behind the practice of pasteurization is that it will kill any harmful bacteria that may be lurking in the dairy; on the other hand, it is argued that raw milk cheese has a more diverse and replicable flavor profile. Proponents for raw cheese believe that pasteurization threatens the integrity of a cheese’s natural flavor. 

Raw milk cheese, like Boulette D’Avesnes, is commonplace in France, but less so in other parts of the world. The pasteurized version of this cheese is typically only procured for commercial use due to the hefty price tag, and how difficult it is to locate. Beyond the pasteurized vs. raw divide, the only real variation in different specimen of Boulette D’Avesnes is in their physical appearance. Since each wedge is molded by hand, there is bound to be some discrepancy in size and shape. 

Imitation Is The Highest Form of Flattery

French Cheese

Due to the fact that there is little specification or regulation, cheese imitating Boulette D’Avesnes has popped up from various other points of production. Unfortunately, these imitations vary widely in terms of flavor and quality, and can sometimes make it difficult to differentiate an authentic Boulette D’Avesnes. 

The best way to ensure that you’re sampling the real version of this cheese is to purchase it from a reputable shop or a quality restaurant, ideally while in France. These imitations may be interesting and flavorful, but you’ll be cheated out of the authentic experience by settling for them. 

Boulette D’Avesnes French Cheese

Complementing The Boulettes

If you can get past the unusual, brick-colored appearance and especially strong aroma of Boulette D’Avesnes, you can consider some of these potential pairings to more thoroughly enjoy this unusual French cheese:

  • Traditional Gin
  • A Good Beer (whatever that may mean to you)
  • Honey Drizzle

Boulette D’Avesnes is considered by some to be an explosion of French cheese flavor, so you’ll need a similarly distinct flavor to accompany it properly. If you’re the particularly adventurous sort, you could even give each of these pairings a shot to decide which one you think suits the boulettes best. 

Though Boulette D’Avesnes may not be the most widely available cheese, this French delicacy is an unmissable treat for lovers of all things unique and delicious. If given the opportunity to try it out, don’t let this fiery delight pass you by.

Mongolian Grill Restaurant

Mongolian Grill Restaurant

If a buffet is good, a made-to-order grill system where the food is cooked right in front of you is even better. Not only do mongolian grills allow you the freedom to select the specifics of your dish right down to the seasoning, they also give you the opportunity to watch directly as your food is prepared to your specifications. 

A Deceptive Title

Despite the name, Mongolian grill cuisine (commonly referred to as Mongolian barbecue) does not have ties to Mongolia at all. In fact, this cuisine was developed in Taiwan and has more cultural ties to China (as the creator hailed from Beijing) than anywhere else. Unlike Mongolian food (which is based heavily around dairy and animal fat due to the cold climate), this cuisine is fresh, bright, and bursting with flavor. 

Mongolian barbecue was initially marketed as a street food and sold in a small, shabby  restaurant, but it eventually gained popularity with the upper echelons of society. This led to countless imitations of the original restaurant, which more and more catered to an elevated clientele. Eventually, this style of food had become so popular that it migrated West to the United States. 

Totally Unique Experience

The system of Mongolian grill restaurants is unlike any other. Patrons select their raw ingredients from a buffet-style line; they can choose meats, vegetables, sauces, and the type of rice or noodle they’d prefer before handing their selections to chefs working around a large grill, who expertly prepare the dishes. In some ways, Mongolian grill is like a hibachi restaurant that allows for a high degree of customization. All in all, no other restaurant experience provides the same sort of wholly individualized prep that a Mongolian grill provides. 

The fact that you get to select your own ingredients start to finish makes the process of eating at one of these restaurants as comfortable as eating at your own home. Plus, you don’t deal with any upcharges for extreme customization as you might at a traditional restaurant; in fact, individuality is built into the Mongolian grill system. 

Mongolian Barbecue Favorites

Mongolian grill dishes are generally served in the form of bowls with a protein, a grain, and a series of vegetables. Some popular incarnations of this system you can make at home include:

  • Sesame Beef — To achieve the much-loved sesame beef dish at home, you’ll need to create a marinade by mixing soy sauce and brown sugar, then allow your flank steak to marinate for at least 30 minutes (but ideally for much longer). Next, you’ll saute both your vegetables and steak, then add cornstarch and sesame seeds to your remaining marinade to create the sauce. 

If you’re hoping to create this dish at a Mongolian grill restaurant, you need only choose thinly sliced steak as your protein, pile on as many veggies as you’d like, and select sesame sauce before handing your raw food over to the chefs to prepare. 

Mongolian Grill
  • Teriyaki Chicken — To create teriyaki chicken at home, you’ll have to mix a sauce out of soy sauce, vinegar, honey, ginger, garlic, cornstarch, and oil. Next, cook the slices of chicken in a pan until heated through and add the sauce to coat. Beyond these basic steps, you’ll need to cook your vegetables and rice before adding all of these components together for your final dish.

At a Mongolian grill, you can achieve this dish by selecting slices of chicken and teriyaki sauce for the chefs to prepare. Broccoli is always a favorite addition to teriyaki chicken, but spinach or another green may also pair well. 

The Sky’s The Limit

The potential for customizing these dishes is virtually limitless. Although sesame beef is often served with peppers, you could branch out by adding carrots or onions to the mix. Likewise, teriyaki chicken is generally served with broccoli but you may find pineapple and scallions are more complementary flavors for these recipes. For the most part, the easiest variations to any Mongolian grill recipe will have to do with the fresh aspects, like fruits and vegetables, but you can always switch up the sauces and spices if you have a knack for flavor profiles. 

Of course, it is easier to experiment with other combinations in a restaurant setting than at home where you have limited resources. If you’re feeling particularly curious at a Mongolian grill, put on your chef hat and try out unusual pairings, like thai peanut sauce with steak, pineapple, and broccoli. In this setting, you have nothing to lose if an experiment fails, so let your imagination run wild. 

Some of the offerings you’re likely to find at a Mongolian grill are: steak, chicken, shrimp, tofu, broccoli, carrots, spinach, peppers, curry, ginger, garlic, and many more. The list goes on and on, and includes variety of sauces and bases, so the pairings go on indefinitely as well. 

Navigating a Mongolian Grill

Mongolian Grill Restaurant Ambience

The layout of most Mongolian grill restaurants mirrors their style of cuisine: free flowing and open. You can meander through the lines of toppings before approaching the grill, which is usually large and round, encircled by a team of chefs. Once it’s your turn to hand over your ingredients, the chefs will deftly maneuver between your meal and several others, allowing them to cook for just the right amount of time before returning them to diners. 

Many times, these restaurants are quite similar to buffets in that they have all-you-can-eat policies, which further contribute to the experimental sense of these grills. The atmosphere tends to be light and buzzing, with people constantly moving, giving an elevated casual air. 

Buffets are great for variety, sit down meals are perfect for a relaxing night out, and cooking at home allows you the freedom to experiment, but why not combine all of these benefits and visit a Mongolian grill restaurant? Not only is the experience completely unique, but you’re also likely to enjoy one of the freshest and best prepared meals you’ve had in some time.

Kielbasa Stew

Kielbasa Stew

Culinary connoisseurs know kielbasa is more than just a funny sounding word. In fact, kielbasa stew is a culturally rich, flavorful dish that tastes like it requires hours of preparation when in reality, it doesn’t take more than 15 minutes of active preparation. 

Old World Favorite, Modern Day Delicious

A hearty stew that features kielbasa sausage, broth, and cabbage, this dish could feed an army without costing all that much time or effort. Kielbasa stew can be extremely thick or verge on the consistency of a chunky soup, but the consistent throughline is the presence of both kielbasa sausage and cabbage. Oftimes, traditional versions will also feature kidney beans as a prominent ingredient. 

Kielbasa is a traditional Polish sausage. In Poland, kielbasa can be any type of sausage made of any meat, but in the U.S. kielbasa is typically thought of as a classic u-shaped sausage. Because of this origin, kielbasa stew became a popular dish in Poland, Germany, and other surrounding countries long ago. This means that some traditional versions of kielbasa stew are actually prepared with sauerkraut, as well as caraway seeds, both of which are common in traditional recipes from this part of Europe. Modified versions still seek to carry on the cultural traditions of these countries today. 

Traditional Flavors with A Facelift


This stew features flavors that aren’t all that common in modern cuisine. Often incorporating vinegar or some other element of acidity, it’s clear that kielbasa stew is a long-established dish with historical significance. The true beauty of kielbasa stew is the same today as it was at its creation: it’s a filling, inexpensive, and delicious meal made largely of ingredients that you probably already have sitting idle in your pantry. What’s more, even if the recipes don’t call for an item you’d like to use up, chances are it will work well in kielbasa stew. 

How to Make Kielbasa Stew

The preparation of kielbasa stew depends largely on whether you plan to make a traditional or updated version:

  • A more traditional kielbasa stew features kielbasa sausage, cabbage, potatoes, kidney beans, broth, vinegar, and a series of seasonings. It will likely take a bit longer to prepare as you’ll have to peel and slice the potatoes, then cook most of the ingredients separately before adding the beans, vinegar, and flour at different points.   
  • An updated version of kielbasa stew includes kielbasa, cabbage, broth, tomato soup, peppers, and seasonings. It won’t feature the same historical authenticity, but will only require that you add all of the ingredients at once after browning the sausage. From there, you’ll simply need to let the stew cook until well blended, stirring as it does. 

Though there are small differences in prep time, the biggest factor in choosing which sort of stew to create depends simply on the flavor profile you’re looking to achieve. Since it is such an old dish, there are plenty of kielbasa stew recipes to choose from with ingredient and flavor variations sure to match your or your family’s preferences. 

Updating and Altering Kielbasa Stew

Some of the most common variations in kielbasa stew recipes include:

  • Adding additional root vegetables like carrots 
  • Incorporating sauerkraut as opposed to shredded cabbage
  • Opting for unusual broth or soup bases

Technically, to be a kielbasa stew, a recipe need only call for kielbasa and some sort of broth base. Beyond that, there are plenty of common inclusions, but you’re free to experiment with ingredients. 

The classics are classics for a reason—find out why this dish has a long standing reputation as a favorite when you make your own kielbasa stew.

Grilled Beef Chimichangas

Grilled Beef Chimichangas

A truly delicious meal is worth a little extra effort, and although grilled beef chimichangas may require some work to get just right, the result is well worth the exertion. Whether you are looking to make the most time efficient version or a culinary masterpiece, grilled beef chimichangas are a versatile dish sure to accommodate. 

A Happy Accident Packed with Flavor

Featuring traditionally seasoned beef, usually alongside tomatoes and peppers, this dish’s filling always packs a flavor punch. Grilled beef chimichangas wrap this filling into a flour tortilla which is then grilled to perfection for a warm and tasty dish with a crispy outside and melted inside. Often, grilled beef chimichangas will be served with sour cream, guacamole, salsa, or pico de gallo on the side to further enhance the traditional flavors. 

Given that chimichangas are usually deep fried, it should come as no surprise that they’re a newer addition to the Mexican cuisine than something like a taco. In fact, it is unclear where exactly the chimichanga originated, though it is thought to have been in Northwestern Mexico or Southwestern United States sometime in the mid-1900s. Most potential sources for the chimichanga revolve around stories where burritos were accidentally put into a deep fryer, and the chimichanga was born. Despite being a newcomer, the chimichanga still exhibits all of the classic Mexican flavors. The healthier grilled chimichanga, of course, originated some time later. 

Unusual Origin, Delicious Result

Grilled Beef Chimichanga

Chimichangas themselves are unique in that they are, for all intents and purposes, simply a burrito that has received additional cooking. The grilled chimichanga is even more unusual still, as it offers the same kind of warmth and wholly cooked aspects of a regular chimichanga, but without the unhealthiness associated with deep frying. Basically, a grilled chimichanga is to a burrito as a panini is to a sandwich.

How to Prepare Grilled Beef Chimichangas

Preparing grilled beef chimichangas is essentially the same as preparing beef burritos, with added steps at the end. After filling the tortillas and folding them, the chimichangas must be placed on some sort of grill to allow the cheese to melt and the tortillas to crisp. While these final steps are always the same, the front end of preparation can vary greatly depending on how much effort you’d like to put into the filling:

  • A simpler version will only require that you cook the meat along with onion and garlic, then fold that mixture in with salsa, chiles, and cheese. 
  • More involved recipes will take longer to prepare, as you’ll prepare more of the filling from scratch and need to cook the fresh components. 

Personalizing The Dish

Of course, grilled beef chimichanga recipes can vary widely depending on factors like how many vegetables you want to include, and what sort of beef you’d like them filled with. Some variations to consider:

  • If you or someone in your home is a picky eater, you may want to prepare your grilled beef chimichangas with beef and cheese alone. 
  • If you’re a more adventurous household, you might experiment with carne asada as your beef of choice, and new sorts of peppers to accompany it.
  • Consider adding some of your favorite sides, like rice and beans, in with the filling of your grilled beef chimichanga. 

This dish can be as simple or as complex as you’d like, and because it’s grilled rather than fried, it’s a healthy alternative to kick your chimichanga cravings. 

Don’t shy away from grilled beef chimichangas because you’re worried they’re too complex—the reality is that most versions are relatively simple to prepare, and the difficult variations taste good enough to justify the effort.

Veggie Tacos

Veggie Tacos

Meatless Mondays may be trendy, but if your commitment to a vegetarian lifestyle extends to the other 6 days of the week as well, you’ll need a hearty log of veggie-based recipes to keep your appetite satisfied. Veggie tacos are exactly the sort of spin on traditional dishes that will keep you from craving meat on Taco Tuesdays. 

Missing The Meat, Not The Flavor

Veggie Flavored Meal

Veggie tacos can be prepared with any of your favorite vegetables and seasoned with the same sorts of spices taco meat would be, like chili, cayenne, and cumin. For protein and texture respectively, beans and corn are popular veggie taco inclusions. Plentiful helpings of these flavorful veggies can be presented in either corn or flour tortillas, alongside traditional sides like rice. Even sour cream, cheese, pico de gallo, and other favorite taco toppings can be added to veggie tacos. Almost everything you might enjoy about traditional tacos can be achieved with veggie tacos as well. 

Classic Dish, Modern Twist

Tacos are widely associated with Mexican cuisine, and while this is accurate, they were never exactly a national favorite when they originated—at least not among the upper echelons. The taco is thought to have first become popular with Mexican miners. The dish spread through working class communities in Mexico and eventually traveled across the Northern border as Mexican migrants worked railroads, mines, and other labor intensive jobs. Now, the taco has had more than a century to mature in American culture, which is why so many iterations (like the veggie taco) are readily available. 

Easy to Make, Easier to Eat

Making Veggie Tacos

A delicious and simple meal, tacos are likely so popular because of their ease. The nature of their design means tacos can be eaten as street food or as a sit-down meal, and neither of these methods seems unusual. Veggie tacos are particularly appealing because, unlike many meatless versions of popular foods, the veggie taco does not taste lacking or deficient in any way. Thanks to the flavorful Mexican spices, a taco filled entirely with veggies is just as delicious as one filled with meat. 

Preparing Veggie Tacos

Methods for preparing veggie tacos vary depending on the sorts of veggies you’d like to include. Some popular versions are:

No matter which type of recipe you choose, you’ll either roast the vegetables in the oven, or cook them in a skillet. Of course, these methods of preparation will result in veggies with two very different consistencies, so bear that in mind as you peruse recipes. You can choose any sort of tortilla to accompany your veggie taco filling, though corn tortillas are the most authentic. 

Plenty of Personal Touches

Though peppers, beans, corn, squash, and onions are general favorites when it comes to veggie tacos, there are some other intriguing variations to consider as well:

  • Including mushrooms, as they’re a great veggie texture that mimics that of meat
  • Adding potatoes (either sweet or regular) for a more filling dish 
  • Garnishing with pickled red onion for an extra kick

As with regular tacos, the sky’s the limit when it comes to creating your own spin on veggie tacos. So long as you leave out the meat and welcome the Mexican spices, you’ll be hard pressed to create veggie tacos that aren’t delicious. 

Whether you’re a staunch vegetarian or just enjoy a meatless dish every now and again, veggie tacos are a delight any day of the week.

Chili Queso Dip

Chili Queso Dip

From parties to potlucks to backyard barbecues, chili queso dip has never met a crowd it couldn’t please. The perfect combination of creamy cheese and a chili kick, this shareable dip will have you crowned snack maker extraordinaire without taking more than 20 minutes of active effort. 

The Simple Pleasure of Comfort Food

Usually served with tortilla chips, chili queso dip combines chili and cheese in a slow-simmered delight that comes out tasting irresistibly good. The cheese (being the true star of the show) melts and mixes with the chili and any other added ingredients, usually tomatoes and green chiles. Because it must melt easily, a processed cheese like Velveeta is most commonly used as the base of chili queso dip. This dip is served warm, often with the help of a slow cooker, and ranks in many minds as a favorite party treat.

Queso Dip

As the name betrays, chili queso dip is a gift from Mexican cuisine that was adopted and modified in tex-mex variations. Queso simply means cheese in Spanish, and chili queso dip as it is known today hails from Chihuahua, Mexico where it is called chile con queso. In traditional varieties, the ‘chili’ in chili queso dip actually refers to chili peppers, which makes the end result less acidic (due to the absence of tomato) and more spicy. Many chili queso dip recipes include both canned chili and green chili peppers. 

A Wholly Unique Treat

There’s nothing quite like chili queso dip in any other cuisine. Sure, cheese sauces are a staple in all sorts of cultures, but none have masterfully combined the splash of spice with the comfort food of creamy cheese like chili queso dip. Plus, like many Mexican inspired dishes, this one can be prepared with only a few ingredients, or made much more elaborate depending on how much time and effort you’re willing or able to exert.

How to Make Chili Queso Dip

Making Chili Queso Dip

The process of preparing chili queso dip in its most basic form is shockingly simple. It requires just a few basic steps:

  • First, make sure you have a can of chili, a can of diced tomatoes, green chiles, and at least one package processed cheese. 
  • Cut the cheese into cubes so it will melt faster, and combine all of the ingredients in a saucepan over medium heat. 
  • Heat the mixture until the cheese has melted, stirring continuously so all of the ingredients are evenly mixed. 

Since no part of this basic recipe requires actual cooking, once the concoction is warm and well mixed, it’s ready to serve. Chili queso dip is best enjoyed warm, and with some sort of tortilla or corn chips, so keep that in mind if you plan to transport the dip.

Customizing Chili Queso

Branching off of this basic preparation, virtually limitless recipes have sprung up in the chili queso dip tradition. Some of the most common variations include:

  • Preparing the chili queso dip in a slow cooker rather than a saucepan for easy transport
  • Using fresh tomatoes and green chiles (as well as any other additional peppers) rather than canned ones
  • Adding meat to the recipe by cooking and draining it before mixing in the chili, cheese, tomatoes, and peppers
  • Adding traditional Mexican spices like cayenne, paprika, cumin, and chili powder rather than peppers 

No matter which variation you choose to take on, as long as your chili queso dip contains both melted cheese and chili, there’s no way to really go wrong. 

If you’re looking for a dish that will go over beautifully at every gathering, chili queso dip is the perfect recipe to add to your arsenal.

Varenyky – A National Food of Ukraine

What is it?

Varenyky is a Ukrainian dumpling that has a lot of options when it comes to its fillings. The most common fillings for Varenyky are meat (usually chicken), potatoes, or cottage cheese. Varenyky is also commonly served with some condiments on the side to dip in, like sour cream. No matter the filling, Varenyky is great for appetizers, the main course, or even dessert!

A Ukrainian Icon

Varenyky has been made in Ukraine for hundreds of years, and like many other dumplings, the Ukrainians borrowed from the cuisines of other cultures in order to create this unique dumpling. Not only is Varenyky delicious, but back in the medieval ages, it was also considered to be a good luck charm to the peasants of Ukraine. They would carry Varenyky with them to bring good luck and they would give pregnant women some Varenyky to ensure a safe pregnancy. In fact, Varenyky is such a big part of Ukrainian history and culture that a monument to Varenyky was created in 2006! 


Varenyky is a dumpling so it will take a few hours to prepare everything. Here’s a simple recipe that includes instructions for making the dough, a traditional potato filling, and then cooking the Varenyky until they’re ready. Ingredients for Varenyky include common household items like flour, potatoes, and cheddar cheese, but be sure to refer to the recipe for all the necessary ingredients. The recipes for other traditional fillings such as a chicken or cottage cheese filling are available here

Variations of Varenyky

Most variations of Varenyky involve using a different filling but some also include adding toppings to the Varenyky or using a different condiment. Alternative fillings you can try include a sauerkraut filling or a sweet potato filling. If you want to eat Varenyky as a dessert, you can simply use a sweet filling such as a blueberry filling instead. For toppings, putting diced bacon on top of cooked Varenyky is a tasty and easy variation to try.

The Delightful Fettuccine Alfredo

What is Fettuccine Alfredo?

Fettuccine alfredo is a staple of the Italian food palette. Even most children, who are known to be some of the world’s pickiest eaters, will gladly eat this creamy pasta dish. Though its flavors are complex, this famous dish is actually quite simple. According to Merriam-Webster, fettuccine alfredo is “a dish consisting of fettuccine with butter, Parmesan cheese, cream, and seasonings.” 

The Origins of This Legendary Dish

According to Kimberly Kohatsu in HuffPost, the dish was developed in 1914 by Italian chef Alfredo di Lelio as something his pregnant wife could eat without making her sick. Fast forward to 1920 when two newlywed American actors were honeymooning in Italy and dined in Chef Alfredo’s restaurant. They ordered the dish, got the recipe and brought it back to the states where it has become one of the most popular pasta dishes.  

Uniquely Simple

What makes the dish so unique is its simplicity. It was originally made as something tasty but not too heavy. This is very appealing to many appetites beyond pregnant women. What has made fettuccine alfredo endure for so many years in many households is that it is very inexpensive and quick to prepare. It can be made and served in its most basic form in less than a half hour, which is very appealing to working families. 

How to Prepare

Delish suggests a quick and tasty way to prepare fettuccine alfredo is to boil and salt a pot of water and cook the pasta as the package directs. Save about a cup of water when draining. Cook a half cup of heavy cream and a half cup of butter until it is melted. Mix in a half cup of grated parmesan cheese and blend until it creates a sauce. Pour the sauce into the cooked pasta until it is fully coated with the sauce. If it’s too thick, add the reserved water a teaspoon at a time. Season it to your taste and enjoy!  

Different Variations

Many people enjoy adding some protein to the dish. Adding chicken or shrimp to the cooked fettuccine alfredo is a popular variation. Another popular variation on this classic dish is adding Cajun seasoning. There are also recipes for baked chicken fettuccine alfredo for those looking for a more casserole-like dining experience.