Creamy Jalapeño Dip

The Holy Grail of Copycat Recipes
Chuy’s Creamy Jalapeño

Suggested pairing: Hallelujah chorus

For those of us who don’t live anywhere near a Chuy’s. I’m publishing this without a photo yet because I keep getting asked for it!
It has taken many, many iterations, but I finally took a bite of this version and proclaimed victory.

1 packet Hidden Valley Ranch Dressing Dry Mix, Buttermilk Recipe 
(Note: there are several packet mixes, so be sure to choose the one in which the first two ingredients are salt and msg. Roll your eyes at me if you want – you’ve been eating this at Chuy’s all along!)
1 C buttermilk
1 C sour cream
2 whole pickled jalapeños, tops trimmed off, cut into chunks (minimum)
2 T pickle juice from jalapeños
1 T packed cilantro leaves
2-3 cloves garlic, blanched in boiling water for 2 minutes

Tortilla chips
Suggested: small food processor

Whisk together the mix, buttermilk, and sour cream. In a small food processor go the jalapeños, juice, cilantro leaves, and blanched garlic. Pulse repeatedly, scraping down as often as needed, until puréed. Whisk purée into liquid mixture.
IMPORTANT – this really needs to sit for at least three hours, otherwise it will just taste like the dressing mix. Overnight is best.

Credits: Thanks to Patty for the blanching-the-garlic tip. And thanks to the many folks who taste-tested and encouraged me to publish this – you know who you are.

Super Bowl Sunday Sauce

Or Dip. But I’ll do almost anything for alliteration.  

Suggested Pairing (music to cook by)Red Solo Cup
What can I say? The falsetto makes me smile every time.


  1. 1/2 jar (8 0z.) El Pinto Hot Green Chile Salsa   Don’t even think about medium or mild – this is the Super Bowl, not the Medium Bowl. (and see note below. please. really.)
  2. scant 1 teaspoon cumin
  3. 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
  4. 1 C sour cream
  • Tortilla chips, veggies, red solo cups

Draining off as much liquid as you can, put the green chile salsa in a food processor and purée. Add the garlic powder and cumin and pulse a bit. Add a dollop of sour cream, pulse.  Add all the sour cream and process until smooth.
Taste test now! Tweak now!

Chill – a few hours is best.
Pour a margarita and proceed to party.

NOTE: This really makes the sauce:

I have found this at HEB in Texas, in Eugene, OR and in suburban Detroit at Kroger.  I haven’t been able to find it on the Chicagoland area, so you can use the link above or here.  (Sorry – couldn’t find the HOT on Amazon.)

If you find a substitute, I’d really appreciate knowing what you used and what you thought of it.

Credits: Thanks to Jean V. for nudging me to get back to work on this. I still owe you a margarita.


Bacon Cornbread Cupcakes with Green Chili Icing and Chive Sprinkles

Suggested Pairing (music to cook by):

Today, by Raul Malo (try the Listen to Samples button)

While watching Cupcake Wars, hiking on the treadmill, and listening to Lady Gaga (don’t judge me!), I couldn’t help but think the cupcakes could be somehow… better.
And how does one make anything better?  ADD BACON!
So to kick off my blog, I’ve invented the following recipe:


  • 12 ounces bacon, cooked & chopped
  • 1 C chopped green chilis (roasted Hatch chilis – if you have ’em,
    use ’em), divided. (1/2 C well-drained for cupcakes, the rest for the icing.)
  • 1/2 C butter + extra for pan
  • 1/4 C sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 C buttermilk (I’m not sure I could tell the difference if regular milk was used.)
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 C cornmeal
  • 1 C flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • Chives (My store sells a 0.75 oz package – I use half for icing & half for sprinkles.)
  • 6 ounces whipped cream cheese (Or sub regular & thin with milk/cream.)

Suggested tools:
ziploc bag
mini muffin tin
mini food processor


Preheat oven to 375.
Combine cornmeal, flour, & salt in large mixing bowl.
Melt butter in medium bowl in microwave. Mix sugar into butter, add eggs & beat well.
Whisk baking soda into buttermilk, then mix in to butter mixture.
Pour liquid mixture into dry, stir a couple of times, add bacon & green chilis & stir just until mixed.

Using a mini muffin tin, put a tiny dab of butter into each cup. Place tin in oven for a few minutes to get hot, but be careful not to burn the butter. (I have gotten the butter dark golden brown & used it with no problem.) Remove tin from oven & quickly fill with cornbread batter. If you fill to the top, it will make a high crown & about 24 mini cupcakes. I prefer to fill them halfway so that they are only 2-3 bites big, & I throw the batter that won’t fit in the 24 mini pan into another pan. Bake for about 8-10 minutes, or until the top of the muffin is firm. Cool.


Wash & dry the chives very well. Chop half of them fine. Do not try to skip this step and throw them into the mini food processor, because they will just stick to the sides in strings and say, “Ha! I laugh at your whirling blades!” in a voice that sounds suspiciously like John Cleese doing a bad French accent. Into the food processor, do put the green chilis, lifted out of any liquid, & the finely chopped chives (if using here). Puree. Add a couple big spoonfuls of cream cheese & process. Add all the rest of the cream cheese & process until smooth and yummy. Put into a ziploc bag and refrigerate.

Sprinkles: Take the rest of the chives and chop into
sprinkle-sized pieces.

Before serving, cut a small corner off of the ziploc bag & squeeze icing onto the cupcakes. Sprinkle with chives. Send me feedback!

Credits: I modified this recipe for the cornbread:
Grandmother’s Buttermilk Cornbread
And many thanks to Jeanne & Steve Stearns for hosting their Chile 101 Party (NOT political, but hey there’s an idea…) & all the folks who taste-tested.