Cooking with Less Kilowatts: Spicy Ranch Holiday Cheese Spread

By Stacie Morgan, December 8, 2016, Recipes

Welcome to Cooking with Less Kilowatts! There is nothing better than sitting down in the evening to enjoy a delicious home-cooked meal. But did you know that changing what you do in the kitchen can make an impact on your monthly electricity bill? Each week, I will help you find ways to cook using less energy while still getting a satisfying, flavorful meal. Trust me – I won’t just tell you to do everything in the microwave. I’ll help you cut down on your energy consumption.

When you have a lot of family and friends come over during the holidays, sometimes it is hard to find low energy use recipes that are also budget-friendly and make enough food to feed everyone. Well, this week’s holiday cheese spread uses zero energy (except what it already takes to keep the ingredients in the refrigerator), creates plenty of grub, and is relatively cheap.

Cooking with Less Kilowatts: Spicy Ranch Holiday Cheese Spread | Bounce Energy Blog

Each holiday season, I like to create a new, cheese-loaded dip recipe because they are quite filling – especially for holiday parties. My guests typically flock to these appetizers, as they seem to be the best at keeping people satisfied enough while they wait for the main holiday meal.

In past years, I pop my dips into the oven or under the broiler until they are warm and bubbling. But this year, I wanted to create a no-cooking-required recipe that was still loaded with flavor. And I think I achieved my goal with this borderline addictive dish.

Cooking with Less Kilowatts: Spicy Ranch Holiday Cheese Spread | Bounce Energy Blog

The sharp bite of the cheddar and pepper jack cheeses are complemented by savory bacon, fresh cilantro, and fresh green onions. But it’s the spicy spiced sour cream mixture that makes this such a yummy dish. I definitely recommend a Tex-Mex inspired hot sauce, as it enhances the cilantro and taco seasoning (instead of a buffalo-style hot sauce).

While you can certainly serve this spread with potato chips as shown in the pictures, you should definitely try tortilla chips, crackers, or sourdough bread pieces. In fact, pretty much any carby serving vessel will work for getting this delicious dip into your guest’s mouths. You can even lighten it up (just a little bit) by serving it with carrot and celery sticks.

Spicy Ranch Holiday Cheese Spread

Ingredients:

Cooking with Less Kilowatts: Spicy Ranch Holiday Cheese Spread | Bounce Energy Blog

  • 2 c. Shredded sharp cheddar cheese
  • 2 c. Shredded pepper jack cheese
  • 2 c. Sour cream
  • ¼ c. Heavy cream
  • 1 c. Real bacon bits
  • ½ c. Sliced green onions
  • ½ c. Fresh chopped cilantro
  • 3 tbsp. Hot sauce
  • 2 tbsp. Ranch seasoning
  • 1 tbsp. Taco seasoning
  • 1 tsp. Garlic powder

Directions:

1) Prepare the ingredients as directed in the list.

Cooking with Less Kilowatts: Spicy Ranch Holiday Cheese Spread | Bounce Energy Blog

2) Place the cheese in a large mixing bowl.

Cooking with Less Kilowatts: Spicy Ranch Holiday Cheese Spread | Bounce Energy Blog

3) Add the sour cream to a separate mixing bowl.

Cooking with Less Kilowatts: Spicy Ranch Holiday Cheese Spread | Bounce Energy Blog

4) Add the hot sauce, ranch seasoning, taco seasoning, garlic powder, and heavy cream to the sour cream. Whisk together until smooth.

Cooking with Less Kilowatts: Spicy Ranch Holiday Cheese Spread | Bounce Energy Blog

5) Add the green onions, cilantro, and bacon to the sour cream mixture. Combine until the ingredients are evenly distributed throughout.

Cooking with Less Kilowatts: Spicy Ranch Holiday Cheese Spread | Bounce Energy Blog

6) Add the sour cream mixture to the large bowl with the shredded cheese. Fold everything together until the ingredients achieve a uniform consistency and texture.

Cooking with Less Kilowatts: Spicy Ranch Holiday Cheese Spread | Bounce Energy Blog

7) Serve cold with your preferred dipping vessels.

Check in next week for another Cooking with Less Kilowatts series entry ready to help you create delicious, homemade recipes while keeping energy use and effort to a minimum!

Recipe and Images by Stacie Morgan

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About 

Stacie is a Texas A&M graduate using her animal science education and passion for food to get creative in the kitchen. She previously worked in business before becoming a mom to a special little boy. She's excited to share recipes her family enjoys at home - and they may even help you save energy and be more green in the kitchen.

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