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IDEA ALLEY: Taste alike Mexico Chiquito cheese dips & punch

by Kelly Brant | March 22, 2023 at 5:17 p.m.
(Illustration by Kelly Brant)

Recipes that appear in Idea Alley have not been tested by the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette.

Wrapping up our string of columns devoted to Arkansas' most favorite appetizer — cheese dip — is this recipe shared by Peggy Thompson.

"I first tasted [this cheese dip] in 1952 under the straw roof building at Protho Junction," writes Thompson referring to the original location of Mexico Chiquito in North Little Rock. "They served cheese dip, taco, burrito, enchilada, Spanish rice, punch, and a rainbow sherbet dessert -- all for $1.50. It was all delicious and so much atmosphere."

It is similar to, but not identical to one of the recipes we published March 8.

Cheese Dip Like Mexico Chiquito

  • ½ cup margarine
  • 4 tablespoons flour
  • 1 heaping teaspoon paprika
  • 1 heaping teaspoon salt
  • ¼ teaspoon dry mustard
  • 1 teaspoon chile powder
  • ½ teaspoon cumin powder
  • 1 tablespoon ketchup
  • 1 teaspoon jalapeno juice (from jarred jalapenos)
  • 1 jarred jalapeno pepper, chopped
  • 2 cups milk
  • 1 clove garlic
  • 8 ounces Velveeta cheese

Melt margarine and flour to paste in a double boiler. Add remaining ingredients and bring to a boil. Use more jalapeno pepper for a hotter dip. Serve with corn chips.

Makes 8 to 10 servings.

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Here is anther purported to be like Mexico Chiquito. It was published almost exactly 10 years ago in Idea Alley, shared by Alice Ann Kellar.

At the time Kellar wrote, "The late Dr. T.A. Formby of Searcy 'duplicated' this recipe from the dip served at Mexico Chiquito at Protho Junction in the 1950s and beyond.

"I have made perhaps a couple of boxcar loads of this dip through the years and do not recall having to throw away even one cupful."

The recipe is from the first edition of the Associated Women for Harding cookbook (1965).

Dr. T.A. Formby's Cheese Dip

  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • 1 ½ tablespoons cornstarch
  • 1 cup milk
  • Salt and ground black pepper, to taste
  • 1 pound American cheese, cubed (do not use Velveeta)
  • 1 can original Ro-Tel, warmed (see note)
  • 1 tablespoon chili powder
  • 1 tablespoon cumin seed
  • ½ teaspoon garlic powder

In a saucepan, make a white sauce of first four ingredients (it will be thick). Add the cheese and stir until melted. Add the warmed Ro-tel to the cheese mixture. Add spices and serve.

Note: Kellar recommends pureeing the Ro-tel for a smoother dip.

■  ■  ■

If all that cheese dip has you feeling a little thirsty, maybe you'd like a glass of punch.

This is not the Mexican punch. Just a punch. It is an amalgamation of recipes from the comments section of a post on the North Little Rock, The Good/The Bad/The Ugly Facebook group page.

Mexican Punch

  • 1 (46-ounce) can pineapple juice
  • 1 bottle grenadine OR red food coloring
  • 1 cup granulated sugar (increase sugar to 1 ¾ cups if using food coloring)
  • ¼ cup lemon juice
  • 1 (1-ounce) packet instant tea powder
  • 5 quarts water

Combine all ingredients in a large pitcher and mix until sugar dissolves. Serve chilled.

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