Velveeta Cheese is a pasteurized process cheese spread product with a heritage of cooking versatility that began in 1928 when Kraft purchased the Velveeta Cheese Company of Monroe, NY, maker of Swiss-type cheeses.

After several years of research on the nutritive value of “whey” – a by-product of making cheese – Kraft-Phenix Cheese Corporation introduced this pasteurized process cheese food in the United States and Canada in a half-pound package and gave it the name Velveeta.

Over the years a family of Velveeta products have been introduced. In the 1980’s Velveeta slices, shells and cheese dinners, thick slices, shredded, and Mexican mild and hot were all added to the Kraft Velveeta family.

This creamy processed cheese was a staple in my house as a child. I don’t think my mother’s kitchen was ever without it. This same is true in my own kitchen; it is a staple like sugar, flour and butter. For a grilled cheese sandwich, an appetizer, a creamy sauce for vegetables or a casserole ingredient this versatile cheese product can’t be beat.

Millions of Americans have grown up with Velveeta. It can truly be considered a “slice of Americana.” Furthermore, Velveeta is the first cheese product to gain the American Medical Association’s seal of approval. So, recall those warm, childhood memories and use it in a favorite recipe this week; and, if you didn’t have it as a child, try it. I know that it will become a staple in your kitchen too.

Microwave Potatoes and Onions

6 large potatoes

1 large onion

1 stick butter

Velveeta cheese

Cheddar cheese

Salt and pepper to taste

Peel and slice 3 potatoes and place in bottom of a large square microwavable dish that has been sprayed with vegetable spray. Salt and pepper this layer. Slice enough onion to cover the potatoes. Dot with half a stick of butter. Top onion layer with slices of Velveeta (from the two pound box). Peel and slice remaining 3 potatoes. Layer over cheese. Salt and pepper potato layer. Dot with remaining butter. Cover and microwave on HIGH for 15 minutes or until potatoes are fork tender. Sprinkle with Cheddar cheese and recover. Microwave 2-3 minutes or until cheese melts.

Hot Broccoli Dip

1 1-1/2 lb. round sourdough bread loaf

1/2 cup finely chopped celery

1/2 cup chopped red pepper

1/4 cup finely chopped onion

2 Tbsp. margarine

1 lb. Velveeta Pasteurized Process Cheese Spread, cubed

1 10-oz. pkg. frozen chopped broccoli, thawed, drained

1/4 tsp. dried rosemary leaves, crushed

Cut slice from top of bread loaf; remove center leaving 1-inch shell. Cut removed bread into bite-size pieces. Cover shell with top. Place on cookie sheet with bread pieces. Bake at 350 degrees, 15 minutes or until hot. In large skillet, sauté celery, peppers and onions in margarine. Reduce heat to low. Add process cheese spread; stir until melted. Stir in remaining ingredients; heat thoroughly, stirring constantly. Spoon into bread loaf. Serve hot with toasted bread pieces and vegetable dippers.

Cheesy Potato Skins

4 large baking potatoes, baked

Oil

1/4 lb. Velveeta Pasteurized Process Cheese Spread, cubed

2 Tbsp. chopped red or green pepper

2 crispy cooked bacon slices, crumbled

1 Tbsp. green onion slices

Sour cream

Cut potatoes in half lengthwise; scoop out centers, leaving 1/4-inch shell. Fry shells, a few at a time, in deep hot oil, 375 degrees, 2 to 3 minutes or until golden brown; drain. Place on cookie sheet. Top with process cheese spread; broil until process cheese spread begins to melt. Top with remaining ingredients.

Nachos De Pollo

3/4 lb. Velveeta Pasteurized Process Cheese Spread with Jalapeno pepper, cubed

1 cup chopped cooked chicken

1/2 cup chopped onion

1/2 cup chopped green pepper

1/4 cup milk

Tortilla chips

1 cup chopped tomato

In 2-quart saucepan, combine process cheese spread, chicken, onions, peppers and milk; stir over low heat until process cheese spread is melted. Cover serving platter with chips; top with chicken mixture and tomatoes.

Variation: Place 2 cups shredded lettuce over chicken mixture; top with tomatoes.

— Judy O’Daniel’s “Country Gourmet” column appears in the Times-Journal.

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