Versatile queso dip is easy addition to gathering of friends and family

We were lucky enough to go to Florida for spring break, where we enjoyed days worth of sun, sand and fish.

I was well taken care of by my mother, so my responsibility level was very low. I hate to admit it, but I barely cooked a thing.

Upon our return, the fridge was nearly empty, and I was really craving more of the fresh fish we had been enjoying on vacation, but I did scrounge up enough ingredients to make a fun queso dip.

Of course, Molly, 9, steered clear of this one, but the rest of us devoured it with tortilla chips and some very spicy pickled jalepenos on the side. Okay, I ate those.

Even though Molly did not eat the cheese dip, she did help make it. She started grating the cheese. Don’t get the pre-grated stuff – it has added ingredients that may affect the texture of the melted sauce.

In order to make the queso dip smooth, first make a small béchamel sauce. Emma, 11, worked on this by melting a little butter in a saucepan. The onion went in and cooked until soft – about 4 minutes. Then Emma added the flour and whisked for a few minutes. Slowly, she added some milk, then Clay, 7, started adding handfuls of grated cheese.

Emma stirred over medium-low heat until it was smooth and creamy, then stirred in a spoonful of salsa and the other seasonings that Molly and Clay measured out.

A head of lettuce actually survived a whole week while we were gone, so along with our queso dip, we had a green salad that was all we needed to cut the richness of the dip.

So, if you want a really easy dip for a party or just a fun, communal meal for friends and family, try this queso dip that your little chefs can help with. It is a great recipe to have on hand for any type of get-together.

mpoitras@discoveryspeed.com. Margery Reed Poitras is a former professional chef who now cooks for her kids and occasionally for the more mature palate.