Archive | November, 2010

Ranch Dressing Et Al.

22 Nov


Ingredients: Mayonnaise, sour cream, buttermilk, dill, white wine vinegar, lemon, garlic salt, granulated garlic, paprika, ground pepper, and honey.

I know this is really simple. That’s what I thought too! But a friend told me I should post it because lots of people use ranch and would love to make it at home. So here it is!

I have a household of dippers. So this dressing/dip is a staple in our refrigerator. It takes minutes to put together, tastes great, and is so much cheaper than buying ranch in the store. (I can’t stand buying salad dressing at the store!) Most dressing are easily duplicated at home, and even taste better! Following the ranch dressing recipe, I’ve also listed the basic ingredients for many other common salad dressings. All of which you can totally make yourself. Have fun!

In a mixing bowl, combine equal parts mayonnaise and sour cream. Thin it with buttermilk to the consistency you prefer. Then stir in lots of dill, either dried or fresh. More if you use dried, less if you use fresh. Next comes garlic salt, granulated garlic, and paprika. Start adding these in and taste as you stir until you have reached the ratio of salty and savory that you like. Then stir in white wine vinegar. Start with a touch, then taste. You can always add more if you like. Finally, add a little squeeze of lemon, a touch of honey, agave nectar or sugar, and fresh ground peppercorns. Don’t be afraid to go back and add a bit more of one or more ingredients until you reach the taste you like.

Experiment: Try basil instead of dill for a creamy pesto ranch. Try pickle juice instead of vinegar. Try smoky paprika, red pepper flakes, or some juice from pickled jalapenos to give it a spicy kick. If you like fresh garlic flavor, try using a couple cloves of fresh pressed garlic instead of granulated garlic. For a low-calorie/low-fat version, use light mayonnaise and fat-free sour cream. For a treat, stir in shredded Parmesan cheese for Parmesan ranch.

Here are the basic ingredients for other common salad dressings that I make…

Thousand Island

Ingredients: Mayonnaise, ketchup, buttermilk, chopped dill pickle, minced onion, white wine vinegar, and sea salt.

Balsamic Vinaigrette

Ingredients: Two parts olive oil to one part balsamic vinegar, fresh pressed garlic, honey, salt (or anchovy paste if you have it), and fresh ground pepper.

Italian

Ingredients: Two parts olive oil to one part white or red wine vinegar, minced garlic, minced onion, dried thyme, dried oregano, dried basil, sea salt, pepper, sugar, honey, or other sweetener.

Asian Vinaigrette

Ingredients: Four parts seasoned rice vinegar to one part pure sesame oil, soy sauce, peanut butter, minced green onion, cilantro, sugar, honey, or other sweetener.

Honey Mustard

Ingredients: Three parts mayonnaise to one part Dijon mustard, touch of spicy brown mustard, honey, sea salt, pepper, paprika, and onion powder.  (Sometimes I put dill in it too.)

Spicy Ranch

Ingredients: Two parts mayonnaise to one part Savory Cilantro Sauce, buttermilk, sea salt, a splash of white wine vinegar.  OR, for Chipotle Ranch: One part sour cream to one part mayonnaise, white wine vinegar, buttermilk, one chopped red chili in adobo sauce, minced garlic, sea salt, sugar, honey, or other sweetener.

Advertisements

Potato Soup

15 Nov

Ingredients: Potatoes, onion, olive oil, granulated garlic, sea salt, basil, spinach, dried red pepper flakes, chicken, and chicken stock.

This tasty, slightly spicy, soup is quick and easy to make. It literally took me less than thirty minutes from start to finish. It would make a great lunch with a side salad or served as an appetizer with pasta for dinner.

Heat three tablespoons of olive oil over medium-high heat in a large stock pot. Add six peeled and cubed russet potatoes, half of a diced onion, half a teaspoon of granulated garlic, one to two teaspoons of dried red pepper flakes, and half a teaspoon sea salt. Cook this for about eight minutes, stirring often.

Stir in one cup of chopped fresh basil, two cups of chopped fresh spinach, and one cup of chopped, pre-cooked chicken breast.  (I use leftover roasted chicken from the night before.) Pour in just enough chicken stock to cover the potatoes and bring it to a boil. Reduce the heat to a simmer and cover for another fifteen to twenty minutes until the potatoes are soft but not quite falling apart.

Depending on the flavor of your chicken stock, you may need to add more salt to taste.

Experiment: Add fresh red bell peppers. Try kale instead of spinach. Use cooked Italian ground sausage instead of chicken. Add a splash of balsamic vinegar at the end for an added twist. Top with fresh grated Parmesan cheese.

Blog Interrupted

8 Nov

I’m taking a break from posting this week so that I can work on something I’ve got up my sleeve for next a Monday in the near future. In the meantime, have you ever clicked on the Recipe List tab above and to the right?

Pesto Meatballs

1 Nov

Ingredients: Ground beef, pesto sauce, garlic, bread crumbs, eggs, pepper, and salt.

In a large bowl, combine 1 to 1½ pounds of quality thawed ground beef with ¾ cup of pesto sauce, a couple cloves of pressed garlic, one egg (whisked), and one cup of bread crumbs. It makes it easier if you use crushed croutons. That way you don’t have to add much salt to the meat. Add fresh ground peppercorns. Mix thoroughly.

Preheat your oven to 350 degrees. Try to roll the meatballs so that they’re all about the same size for even cooking. Cook for 25 to 30 minutes until they’re nice and brown.

Top with a bit of extra pesto sauce if you like. These are delicious with simple pasta, in sub sandwiches, or as an appetizer.

Experiment: Spice them up by adding dried red pepper flakes or cayenne pepper. Try adding fresh diced peppers for a different flavor. Add half a cup of grated Parmesan, Asiago, Romano, or even a scoop of Ricotta cheese. Cook the meatballs ahead of time and freeze them for later use.