Cheesy Skillet Queso Dip

This Cheesy Skillet Queso Dip is an easy and tasty appetizer recipe, and it’s perfect for watching college bowl season and playoff football games!

This Cheesy Skillet Queso Dip is an easy and tasty appetizer recipe, and it's perfect for watching college bowl season and playoff football games!Beef.  It’s what’s for dinner.  Or in the case of this Cheesy Skillet Queso Dip, it’s more like: Beef.  It’s what’s for snack.  (And maybe for dinner, too!)  Over the past year or so, I’ve had the chance to visit a number of different ranches and farms.  I didn’t grow up with an agriculture background, so I’ve found these visits to be particularly fascinating.  Farmers and ranchers are folks just like you and me.  While you might get up and drive to the office or drop the kids off at school, farmers get up (early!) and begin checking and feeding their cattle.  The only difference is their “office” is a field and their “coworkers” are other ranchers…well, other ranchers and cows.

This Cheesy Skillet Queso Dip is an easy and tasty appetizer recipe, and it's perfect for watching college bowl season and playoff football games!Back in October, I was chatting with some folks out at the National Cattlemen’s Beef Association near Denver, and the idea came up to write a series of posts about life on a cattle farm.  Until this past year, I had no idea what life on a farm looked like.  I’d heard stories so I had a vague idea, but that was it.  Just a vague concept of life on the farm.  So what does life on a working cattle ranch look like?  I got to talking with Joan Ruskamp, a rancher out in Nebraska, about what happens on the ranch on a typical winter day.  (By the way, Joan shares stories and photos from her farm at her blog, Dust in My Coffee.  Check it out when you get a chance!)

In many ways, a cattle ranch on a cold, December morning looks a lot like a cattle ranch on a warm, July morning.  Every morning, ranchers head out to “ride the pens,” or check on each and every cow in their herds.  You might remember my post back in the summer about visiting Steve Olson’s farm out in western New York.  Steve told me that one of the most important things he does each and every day is to put eyes on each and every one of his cows.  Joan echoed this same thing, adding that she has walked her pens in snow, rain, wind and sun.  (Of course, the sunny days are her favorites!)  This happens not only Monday-Friday, but also Saturday and Sunday, too.  This happens not only on Thanksgiving, Christmas and New Year’s Day, but also every day in between.  The work on a ranch never stops.

Pen checks are one of the most important tasks on a ranch.  After riding the pens, the rest of the day could include anything from giving cattle vaccinations, cleaning water tanks, general pen maintenance or paperwork back in the office.  In some ways, winter days can be quiet on a ranch…that is, unless it snows.  Cattle actually handle cold weather quite well.  In addition to thick hair, cattle hides are approximately 10x thicker than our skin.  But as Joan commented, ranchers’ “goal is to give cattle what they want no matter what the weather is.”  This includes “a balanced diet formulated to meet their dietary needs, quality health care, a place to lay down, fresh water at all times and the ability to socialize.”  She and her husband have planted thousands of trees around their ranch as a natural wind break which in turn help keep their cattle comfortable during winter snow storms.  In many ways, Joan points out that they are always seeking to “minimize the extremes of heat and cold, mud and snow.”

Several years ago, Joan recalled a Super Bowl Sunday where she and her husband woke up to a huge snow storm.  That was an “all hands on deck” event as the pens, roads and feeding bunks all had to be blown out.  Cattle pens often have cement bases that are then covered with straw and cornstalks for bedding.  This prevents that snow from melting and turning the pens into huge mud pits, but that snow still needs to be removed.  As I mentioned, the work on a ranch never stops.  Even if all you want to do is go inside and watch the Super Bowl!

Speaking of football, Joan was kind enough to share this recipe for Cheesy Skillet Queso Dip with me.  It’s a favorite around her house, and her family loves to snack on this dip before high school football games.  I’ll add that this Cheesy Skillet Queso Dip makes one heck of a tasty (and easy!) appetizer for watching college bowl games and NFL playoff games!  Aside from the fact that it only takes a few minutes to make, this dip is actually quite versatile.  Love jalapenos?  Dice up a couple and toss ’em in!  Prefer mild salsa?  Go with that instead!  Want a smoky flavor?  Add in some smoked paprika!  The ground beef really bulks up this Cheesy Skillet Queso Dip and adds a ton of flavor, as well.  In fact, we may or may not have eaten the leftovers for dinner.  (Hey, it’s the holidays and we’re all busy.  Leftover Cheesy Skillet Queso Dip totally qualifies as dinner!)

This Cheesy Skillet Queso Dip is an easy and tasty appetizer recipe, and it's perfect for watching college bowl season and playoff football games!

This Cheesy Skillet Queso Dip is an easy and tasty appetizer recipe, and it's perfect for watching college bowl season and playoff football games!If you get the chance to make this dip (or perhaps a hearty beef stew or even prime rib for the holidays), make sure to stop and thank a rancher!  I can say from first-hand experience that a rancher’s work is never done.  They are constantly monitoring their cattle to ensure that the cows are as comfortable as possible…even on Super Bowl Sunday!  Cheers, friends!  Oh, and if you happen to have any questions about life on a ranch, leave a comment below!  I’ll make sure Joan sees the comment and gets back to you.

This Cheesy Skillet Queso Dip is an easy and tasty appetizer recipe, and it's perfect for watching college bowl season and playoff football games!Finally, I wanted to include this video as I personally thought it was amazing!  We’ve all heard the tagline “Beef.  It’s What’s for Dinner.”  The National Cattlemen’s Beef Association recently relaunched the Beef. It’s What’s for Dinner website, and this video does a great job depicting how ranching has changed since Old McDonald had his farm.

This Cheesy Skillet Queso Dip is an easy and tasty appetizer recipe, and it's perfect for watching college bowl season and playoff football games!

Cheesy Skillet Queso Dip

This Cheesy Skillet Queso Dip is an easy and tasty appetizer recipe, and it's perfect for watching college bowl season and playoff football games!
Print Pin Rate
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 20 minutes
Total Time: 30 minutes
Servings: 12 servings
Calories: 311kcal

Ingredients

  • 32 oz Velveeta cheese cut into 1” cubes
  • 8 oz cream cheese cut into 1” cubes
  • 16 oz. lean ground beef
  • 1 10.75-oz. can cream of mushroom soup
  • 1 16-oz. jar salsa
  • {for serving} tortilla chips

Instructions

  • Using a large cast iron skillet, add Velveeta and cream cheese cubes and place over medium-high heat. Cook, stirring often, until cheese has completely melted and mixture is smooth.
  • While the cheese is melting, cook the ground beef in a separate skillet until fully cooked. Drain any excess grease from the pan.
  • Add browned beef, cream of mushroom soup and salsa to the skillet with the melted cheese; stir until well combined.
  • Serve hot with tortilla chips.

Notes

This dip can also be made in a slow cooker. Just place Velveeta and cream cheese cubes in a slow cooker. Add salsa and cream of mushroom soup; stir until well combined. Cover and cook on low for 60 minutes, stirring every 15 minutes. After 30 minutes, add the browned beef and continue cooking, stirring as needed.

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20 Comments

  1. I think that it’s great that you are writing posts on ranchers/farmers. I grew on a dairy farm. Farm life is hard, but it is a very good life. Love this dip, I have made a dip that is very similar to this one and it is delicious. I will have to try this one.

    1. Interesting! I feel like I might have known that you grew up on a dairy farm, but I can’t say I remember that for sure. I love it! Farm life is indeed difficult, and I have SO much more respect for farmers/ranchers now that I’ve walked in their shoes…err, boots…a bit. This farm recipe that Joan passed down is a tasty one, too! Thanks so much, Dawn!!

  2. This post confirms two things I’ve always believed: I would be a terrible rancher and cows are ADORABLE! My grandma grew up on a small farm so I heard stories about how much work goes into maintaining one. Maintaining a massive operation like Joan’s is nothing short of astounding. I would not be as good-natured about missing the Super Bowl as she seems to be :). And this queso sounds completely delish. Nothing beats a skillet full of cheesy goodness!

    1. I didn’t realize your grandma grew up on a farm, Kelsie! That’s awesome! And I totally agree with you…running on a farm/ranch is hard work. I didn’t know much about running a farm until I got a chance to work with a bunch of farmers/ranchers over the past year, and now I have SO much respect for what they do. 🙂 Also, I agree with you. Missing the Super Bowl (ahem, the Super Bowl appetizer table) is just not an option around our house. Thanks so much, my friend, and I hope you had a great weekend out there in Phoenix!

  3. Such a fascinating read – David – I gotta admit, I was bummed it ended – but then I saw that delicious skillet dip! I have wondered what farm life was like myself, wow – I had no idea it could be so “intense” – if the weather is bad and/or my internet goes down my challenge is finding a coffee house that’s open… ranchers don’t have it that easy – having to blow out those pens and do everything else! My hat’s off to them! Also – LOVED that video! I had no clue farming had gotten to be so technical and they rely so much on drones and apps! Awesome post, my friend! BTW, speaking of snow – heard about the snow heading yonder (we are to get some too, but we’ll see if that happens)- hope y’all stay warm and safe!

    1. I totally agree with you, Shashi. I’ve had the chance to work with a bunch of farmers/ranchers over the past year, and I am constantly amazed at how hard they work. It’s not an easy life, and I have SO much more respect for them now that I know how hard they work. Farming has indeed gotten a tech upgrade lately. I mean can you imagine just sending a drone out to do a check of your pastures? Awesome! (I wonder if that drone does side trips…like pick up delicious cookies from your house and bring them up to me??) Oh, and yes, we did get a little bit of snow over the weekend. Nothing too serious, just a couple of inches…enough to be a pain to drive in though! But Robbie loved watching it come down! 🙂 Thanks, Shashi!!

    1. Thanks so much, Marissa! I loved chatting with Joan about her farm, and she was kind enough to share these amazing photos with us. And, yes, this dip is pretty much the epitome of comfort food! 🙂 It’s perfect for watching football!

    1. Thank you so much, Jessie! I have so much respect for farmers and ranchers…and I’ve also learned that ranch recipes are delicious! 🙂 I appreciate you stopping by to comment!!

  4. Those cows are adorable. You need to get one in your backyard and then start making your own cheese, David. And THIS DIP (Sorry for being loud). It’s more than just a regular dip. No wonder as it basically…fondue, Sloppy Joes, and soup in one bowl:) Pretty amazing, my friend!

    1. Hah! You know what’s funny, Ben? Laura and I have been joking that we should get a cow. We could split it with our neighbors. Like we get her on odd days and then get her on even days. We figure we wouldn’t need to mow the grass ever again! 🙂 And, yes, this DIP is quite delicious, Ben. It’s a classic, and I’m really thankful that Joan was willing to share her family recipe with us. Thanks so much, my friend!

  5. I grew up visiting my uncle’s dairy farm every summer – the amount of work he did and the hours he spent doing it was enough for me to “bow down” to any farmer anywhere – it frankly makes me feel a bit lazy. Farmers are definitely an undervalued resource! Anyway – thanks for this recipe – we all love queso here! And you’re right – ‘tis the season!

    1. No way! I didn’t realize your uncle had a dairy farm when you were younger. That’s awesome! But yes, farmers are incredibly hard workers. I’ve had the chance to chat with a number of farmers and ranchers recently, and I’m in constant awe of the work they do. Thanks so much for the comment, my friend, and I hope the holidays are treating you and your family well so far! 🙂

    1. Haha! That sounds like a perfect day to me, Christina! Can we make sure to have plenty of tortilla chips on hand for our swim in the queso?? 🙂

    1. Thank you so much, Agness! Joan (the rancher I talked about in the post) was kind enough to share this recipe with us, and I really appreciate it! We enjoyed it while watching sports, but a movie night would be up there, too! 🙂

    1. Haha! There is definitely nothing wrong with calling this one dinner…we totally did. I’m really glad that Joan (the rancher in the post) shared her family recipe here. It’s a classic, and it’s so good while watching sports! 🙂 Thanks so much, Kathy!!

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