Slam-Dunk Cheesy Snacks

Upgrade your snacking to a new level with easy, cheesy recipes for any get-together
Cheesy Chicken Enchilada Dip

Photo: Dairy Farmers of Wisconsin

Upgrade snacking to a new level. Whether you’re hanging out with friends to cheer on your favorite team during March Madness, watching your favorite binge-worthy show, or playing your favorite board game, some deliciously cheesy snacks make it just that much better. Here are easy recipes for a few different dips, an easy-but-elegant tart, loaded nachos, and an idea to elevate your everyday popcorn with buttery Asiago, nutty Parmesan, and zesty Romano. All recipes are courtesy Dairy Farmers of Wisconsin.

Cheesy Chicken Enchilada Dip

Makes 3 Cups

Guests will happily munch on this zesty, warm chicken and cheese dip. It’s prepared completely in an ovenproof skillet, which means easy cleanup.

1 medium onion, chopped
1 tablespoon butter, cubed
1 (10-ounce) can enchilada sauce
1 (4-ounce) can chopped green chilies, undrained
1 to 2 teaspoons hot pepper sauce, optional
1 cup shredded cooked chicken
1 package (8 ounces) Crystal Farms Original Cream Cheese, cut into small cubes
1 cup (4 ounces) shredded Cedar Grove Monterey Jack cheese, divided
1 cup (4 ounces) shredded Hook’s Mild Cheddar cheese, divided
Sour cream
Chopped green onions
Tortilla chips

  1. Sauté onion in butter in a large ovenproof or cast-iron skillet over medium-high heat for 5 to 6 minutes or until tender. Reduce heat to medium-low; stir in the enchilada sauce, green chiles and hot pepper sauce if desired.
  2. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat; simmer, uncovered, until sauce mixture is reduced by half, stirring constantly. Stir in chicken.
  3. Remove from the heat. Whisk in cream cheese until melted. Stir in 3/4 cup each Monterey Jack and cheddar. Top with remaining Monterey Jack and cheddar.
  4. Broil 3 to 4 inches from the heat for 1 to 2 minutes or until cheeses are melted. Garnish with sour cream and green onions. Serve with tortilla chips.

Recipe Tip: Want warm chips? Cut flour tortillas into wedges and place in a single layer on ungreased baking sheets. Bake at 400°F for 6 to 8 minutes or until light golden brown.

Cheesemonger Tip: You could try a medium or sharp aged Wisconsin cheddar cheese in this recipe. Cheddar that has been aged longer will have bolder flavor.

Feta and Olive Tapenade

Photo: Dairy Farmers of Wisconsin

Feta and Olive Tapenade

Makes 8 to 10 Servings

3 cups pitted mixed olives, drained
1½ cups chopped fresh parsley, divided
2 tablespoons capers, drained
3 garlic cloves
¼ cup olive oil
2 tablespoons lemon juice
½ teaspoon coarsely ground pepper
1 cup (6 ounces) Weyauwega Star Dairy Traditional Crumbled Feta cheese
Assorted crackers, breadsticks and charcuterie

  1. Place the olives, 3/4 cup parsley, capers and garlic in a food processor; cover and pulse until mixture is minced.
  2. Transfer olive mixture to a large bowl. Stir in the olive oil, lemon juice, pepper and remaining parsley. Cover and refrigerate mixture for at least 30 minutes or until serving. Fold in feta.
  3. Serve with crackers, breadsticks and charcuterie.

Cheesemonger Tip: Feta is a fresh cheese packed in brine (salt and water), which produces tart and salty flavors and gives the cheese a crumbly, moist texture.

Creamy Buffalo Chicken Dip

Photo: Dairy Farmers of Wisconsin

Creamy Buffalo Chicken Dip

Makes 4 Cups

1 package (8 ounces) Crystal Farms Original Cream Cheese, softened
2/3 cup Buffalo wing sauce
3 cups shredded cooked chicken
1 1/3 cups (8 ounces) Roth Buttermilk Blue Cheese Crumbles, divided
1 cup chopped celery
½ cup ranch salad dressing
1 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce
Carrots, celery and crackers

  1. Heat oven to 350°F.
  2. Warm cream cheese and wing sauce in a microwave-safe, large bowl on high in 30-second intervals until soft, stirring until smooth. Fold in the chicken, 1 cup blue cheese, celery, ranch dressing and Worcestershire sauce.
  3. Spoon into a greased 1½-quart or 2-quart baking dish. Bake for 20 to 25 minutes or until bubbly. Remove from the oven. (Pan will be hot!) Stir. Cool for 5 minutes. Sprinkle with remaining blue cheese. Serve with carrots, celery and crackers.

Recipe Tip: This recipe was tested with an 1,100-watt microwave.

Super Loaded Sheet-Pan Nachos

Photo: Dairy Farmers of Wisconsin

Super Loaded Sheet-Pan Nachos

Makes 6 to 8 Servings

1 (13-ounce) bag tortilla chips
4 ounces Cedar Grove Mild Cheddar cheese, shredded (1 cup)
4 ounces Cedar Grove Pepper Jack cheese, shredded (1 cup)
1 (15-ounce) can black beans, rinsed and drained
1 (2.25-ounce) can sliced ripe olives, drained
½ cup diced sweet red bell pepper
4 ounces Cedar Grove Havarti cheese, shredded (1 cup)
Optional toppings: minced fresh cilantro, sliced green onions, pickled banana pepper rings, diced tomato, cubed avocado, sour cream and salsa

  1. Heat oven to 400°F. Line a 15×10-inch baking pan with parchment paper.
  2. Arrange tortilla chips in a single layer on prepared pan. Sprinkle with cheddar and pepper jack. Layer with black beans, olives, red bell pepper and havarti. Bake for 10 to 12 minutes or until cheeses are melted.
  3. Garnish with toppings as desired. Serve immediately.

Cheesemonger Tip: Havarti is a semi-soft, Danish-style cheese with a washed curd. It’s mild, buttery and creamy with tiny, irregular eyes or holes. A wonderful melting and table cheese—it pairs well with Riesling or a pilsner.

Spring Asparagus-Parmesan Tart

Photo: Dairy Farmers of Wisconsin

Spring Asparagus-Parmesan Tart

Makes 8 servings

3 ounces Sartori SarVecchio Parmesan cheese, divided
2 tablespoons butter, cubed
1 large sweet onion, halved and thinly sliced
¼ teaspoon salt
¼ teaspoon pepper
1/3 cup heavy whipping cream
1 sheet frozen puff pastry, thawed
½ pound fresh asparagus spears, trimmed and blanched
8 cherry tomatoes, halved
2 teaspoons lemon zest

  1. Shred ¼ cup Parmesan. Finely shred remaining Parmesan.
  2. Melt butter in a heavy, large skillet over medium heat. Add onion, salt and pepper; cook for 10 minutes, stirring frequently. Reduce heat to medium-low. Cook for 20 to 25 minutes longer or until onion is golden brown, stirring occasionally.
  3. Gradually stir in cream. Bring just to a boil; cook and stir until cream is reduced and thickened. Remove from the heat. Stir in shredded Parmesan until melted; set aside.
  4. Heat oven to 425°F. Line a 15×10-inch baking pan with parchment paper.
  5. Unfold puff pastry on a lightly floured surface; roll out to a 15×10-inch rectangle. Transfer pastry to prepared pan. Score a ½-inch border on edges of pastry with a knife. Prick pastry with a fork.
  6. Spoon reserved onion mixture to edges of scored pastry. Arrange asparagus and tomatoes on top.
  7. Bake for 18 to 20 minutes or until pastry is golden brown. Sprinkle with finely shredded parmesan. Cool on a wire rack for 10 minutes.
  8. Sprinkle with lemon zest just before cutting. Serve warm or at room temperature.

Recipe Tip: To blanch asparagus, add asparagus to boiling, salted water for 2 to 3 minutes or until crisp-tender. Drain asparagus; immediately place in a bowl of ice water. Drain and pat dry.

Three-Cheese Popcorn

Photo: Dairy Farmers of Wisconsin

Three-Cheese Popcorn

Makes 6 to 9 Servings

4 tablespoons butter, cubed and melted
9 cups plain popped popcorn
1 ounce Sartori Classic Asiago cheese, grated (1/3 cup)
1 ounce Sartori Classic Parmesan cheese, grated (1/3 cup)
1 ounce Sartori Classic Romano cheese, grated (1/3 cup)
Salt, to taste

Drizzle butter over popcorn. Add the Asiago, Parmesan and Romano; toss to coat. Season with salt to taste.

Hungry for More?

Check out these posts for additional tasty ideas.

Pairing Snacks and Wine
Wine makes a great match with chips, popcorn and all your favorite snacks any night of the week

How to Pair Pizza and Wine
Wine claims a piece of the pie as a delicious companion to pizza—whether you prefer classic or “gourmet” style

Sweet and Spicy Nut Mix Recipe
Nuts jazzed up with a little kick of spice add a savory note to get-togethers

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Mary Subialka is the editor of Real Food and Drinks magazines, covering the flavorful world of food, wine and spirits. She rarely meets a chicken she doesn’t like, and hopes that her school-age son, who used to eat beets and Indian food, will one day again think of real food as more than a means to a treat—and later share this with his younger brother.