Jack cheese is a mild form of aged cheese that is commonly used in Mexican dishes, yet can also be added to a variety of different cuisines. This type of cheese can be made with jalapenos and other spices, giving it a taste suitable for popular foods like quesadillas, enchiladas and other spicy dishes. Different blends of jack cheese, such as Monterey and Colby jack, are often used to top crackers or breads, as well as crumble on top of salads. Some versions of macaroni and cheese can be made with any jack cheese over the common American variety, as can other Italian dishes such as lasagna.
One of the most common uses of jack cheese is to cube or slice it and place it alongside crackers or small slices of toasted bread as an appetizer or snack. Many party platters will have an assortment of jack cheese, luncheon meats and other foods for individuals to snack on before the main course. The cheese can be melted down into a cheese sauce or spread using a little water or cream, with the addition of salt and other spices. This sauce can act as a dip for guests or be served at a family meal.
Sometimes, cheese makers blend Monterey jack and Colby jack cheese together, which results in a softer, marbled cheese that is light in color. Although there is variation in their colors, the difference in taste is barely noticeable in recipes. Both types of cheese are sometimes used in Italian recipes, such as lasagna or ravioli. There are some cooks who decide to substitute Colby jack cheese for American in macaroni and cheese dishes for a bold, rich flavor.
A jack cheese may contain an array of spices, hot and mild peppers and other flavorings to give it a more unique flavor that is suitable for use in Mexican dishes. Shredding a block of jalapeno or spicy jack onto an enchilada recipe is very popular in Mexican dishes, as is using jalapeno jack for quesadillas and tacos. Melted down into a sauce, this type of spicy cheese is also popular to use in nacho recipes by pouring on top of tortillas chips and serving alongside sour cream and guacamole. Because Monterey jack and Colby jack are somewhat similar in taste, a blend of both cheeses in recipes does not compromise taste or texture in any way.