Wetzel theorizes this is due to the popularity of comfort foods in the region, including Tater Tot hot dish.
Chile Con Queso
Makes 2 cups. Prep: 5 minutes. Cook: 15 minutes.
In "The Texas Cowboy Cookbook," Rob Walsh recommends serving this dip with tortilla chips or as a topping for tacos, chalupas or Frito pie. Why not a dunkable for potato tots too? Walsh said the dish can be made in a double boiler or microwave but he also recommends a slow cooker. "You can leave it there for hours, ladling small amounts into serving bowls while the rest stays warm," he writes.
Walsh's recipe calls for Velveeta cheese and a can of Rotel tomatoes, a brand of canned tomatoes with green chilies.
1 pound processed cheese
1 10-ounce can tomatoes with green chilies
CUT the cheese into 1-inch cubes.
MELT the cheese in a slow cooker or double boiler.
STIR in the can of tomatoes with green chilies.
Nutrition information: Per tablespoon: 56 calories, 5 grams fat, 3 grams saturated fat, 13 milligrams cholesterol, 1 gram carbohydrates, 3 grams protein, 186 milligrams sodium, 0 grams fiber.
Makes about 2 cups. Prep: 10 minutes.
2 egg yolks
2 crushed cloves garlic
1 tablespoon mustard
1/4 cup lemon juice
1/2 cup each: extra-virgin olive oil, canola oil
1/2 bunch cilantro, finely chopped
2 chipotle chilies, or more to taste
1 red onion, finely chopped
COMBINE the egg, egg yolks, garlic, mustard and lemon juice in a food processor or blender.
PROCESS until smooth. With the machine still running, add the olive oil and canola oil in a slow stream; blend until the mixture emulsifies to the consistency of mayonnaise.
ADD the cilantro and chilies; blend until smooth. Stir in the red onion; serve.
Nutrition information: Per tablespoon: 70 calories, 7 grams fat, 1 gram saturated fat, 17 milligrams cholesterol, 1 gram carbohydrates, 1 gram protein, 17 milligrams sodium, 0 grams fiber.
Tangy Soy Dipping Sauce
Makes about 2/3 cup. Prep: 5 minutes. From "Asian Dumplings," by Andrea Nguyen.
1/3 cup light (regular) soy sauce
2 1/2 tablespoons unseasoned rice vinegar
1/8 teaspoon sugar, optional
1 to 3 tablespoons chili oil (optional)
1 piece (1 inch long) fresh ginger, peeled, finely shredded, or 2 cloves garlic, minced
COMBINE the soy sauce, vinegar and sugar in a bowl. Stir to dissolve the sugar. Taste and adjust the flavors for a tart-savory balance.
ADD chili oil as you like for heat. Right before serving, add the ginger or garlic.
Nutrition information: Per teaspoon: 2 calories, 0 grams fat, 0 grams saturated fat, 0 milligrams cholesterol, 0 grams carbohydrates, 0 grams protein, 217 milligrams sodium, 0 grams fiber.