I’m a tad late on the Magnolia Table bandwagon. The truth is, I wasn’t super excited to purchase this cookbook despite the fact that I do love Chip and Joanna on their TV show. It was almost like I thought it’d be a bit played out due to the fact that they are selling it based off of a design show and that there wouldn’t be any good recipes in it. I was super happy to see what all the fuss was about though when I received it last month from a good friend for my birthday. Since then, I’ve had the opportunity to make several of the recipes from the cookbook and am happy to say, they’ve all been really, really good.
My favorite part about this cookbook though, is the introduction, where Joanna explains her history of cooking and the origination of many of the recipes. As a working parent who many times is just trying to get something on the table but other times wants my family to physically feel the love I have put into their meals, I could totally relate. She describes being newly married and the combination of tastes and family recipes in a super sweet way and it completely sets the stage for the type of recipes you’ll find in this cookbook.
You’ll find most recipes are very easy, though some are a bit more complicated. Almost all recipes are appropriate for a weeknight, with few exceptions, such as the Dutch Oven Cabbage and Bacon and the Beef Stew with Jalapeno Cornbread, which need a bit more cooking time than a normal weeknight generally allows. The cookbook is large and is very good quality with beautiful photos. I wouldn’t necessarily describe the cookbook as “Southern Cooking” in the sense that the recipes are all heavy and full of butter, as there are plenty of light recipes to balance out the heavy meats and desserts. It’s really, overall, a very well rounded cookbook that I think most home cooks would find value in.
I did not choose to feature a “light recipe” for this post however, as I was having a (dinner) party and wanted to try out the party queso. Having traveled to Texas before, I know about queso and have never tried to make it myself. I loved that this recipe was heavy on beans and tomatoes and figured that Joanna’s queso would be a great place to start my queso journey. The recipe was simple, honestly couldn’t have been easier, and the results were delicious. Not only did we enjoy the queso that evening as an appetizer with chips, but I reheated it the next morning as a faux hollandaise over the rest of my leftovers (mashed potatoes and tenderloin) in a leftovers Benedict concoction!
This recipe makes a boatload of queso. Unless you’re having a large party, I would say that halving the recipe would be plenty, even for the hungriest of football watchers. Enjoy the recipe and pick up your Magnolia Table Cookbook here.
This super easy queso is perfect to serve with tortilla chips on a night when you don’t have much time and a lot of people coming over! Note: This recipe makes 14 cups of queso!
2 T salted butter
1 medium white onion, diced
1 jalapeno, ribbed and seeded and finely diced
2 lbs processed cheese, such as velveeta, cut into 2 inch cubes
3 cups heavy cream
One 15-oz can pinto beans, rinsed and drained
One 15-oz can black beans, rinsed and drained
2 cups diced tomatoes
1/2 cup minced cilantro
1/4 t salt
1/2 t pepper
Tortilla chips, for serving
In a dutch oven or other large pot, heat the butter over medium until melted. Add onion and jalapeno and saute until tender. Add the velveeta and cream and whisk occasionally, until the cheese has melted and the mixture is well blended, about 5-7 minutes. Stir in the beans and tomatoes and cook 2 minutes. Stir in cilantro, salt and pepper. Transfer to a serving bowl and serve warm with tortilla chips. Store leftovers in a covered container in the fridge for up to 3 days. Reheat in microwave or over low heat on the stove.