Friday, July 3, 2015

Homemade 4th of July goodness.

  It's Fourth of July Weekend, and I couldn't be more excited for all the fantastic food I'm not going to be able to eat. Thanks diet you totally suck! My Dad used to throw the best BBQ's for July 4th. The food was great, and so was the company. I remember my Dad's best friend would always throw a watermelon in the pool. (I'm not sure how that relates to this post, but now you know something about my life, and my big Redneck family). I'm fortunate enough to actually have my Dad here this year for the holiday weekend. My Dad and his wife travel the country in an RV so it's always a treat when he comes to visit his favorite daughter. Sadly, we won't be doing a big shindig. I promise this post has a point...
  Anyway when I think of Fourth of July I think of how wonderful all the fresh food is. I love homemade food! Which brings me to my point... There is nothing better then Homemade Ranch Dressing.

    When I was younger I literally dipped EVERYTHING in Hidden Valley ranch dressing. I think most kids do it, honestly. I seriously thought that shit was golden nectar! As I got older, and started eating more things I discovered that Ranch from a bottle was gross. I stopped eating it entirely and moved on to blue cheese dressing never looking back.
  Then I met B who was a typical 19 year old boy who survived on pizza, Taco Bell, and anything his grandma would send him home with. (to be completely honest, B's grandma is the BEST cook in the world. I would choose a meal at her house over a 5 star dining experience any day. I aspire to be her day.) . Anyways- B literally put ranch on everything he ate, including lasagna. That to me was the strangest thing in the world! I knew about his obsession for years before moving in with him. Flash forward to our first apartment together.... I did all the grocery shopping and it seemed like we were going through two bottles of ranch every two weeks. GROSS. Not only was that a ton of Ranch dressing- but it was hidden valley ranch dressing to boot. Ew.
  I ignored my distaste for his love, and kept buying it. For over a year I was running to Costco for ranch every few weeks... When I decided to start eating healthier I looked up online different things that were horrible for you.... Hidden Valley ranch was on there. I had never taken the time to look at the ingredients or calorie count in that crap. Los and behold, I was shocked! MSG, along with a ton of ingredients I couldn't even pronounce where amount the ingredients. I was truly horrified. That day I decided it was time to try homemade ranch! I had waited tables for a few years, so I knew the basic ingredients- mayo, sour cream, chives, and some sort of other green leafy thing. ( I later learned it was parsley- flat parsley to be exact). I began researching recipes and compared reviews. The first batch I made was pretty good! It was better for you then hidden valley, but it was just a basic ranch dressing.
As time went on I started adventuring with my recipe. After probably 18-25 different batches over a year I finally have gotten it right!
B rejoices every time I make a new batch! Not only is it SUPER easy to make but it really is wonderful! Now he can smother his food, and I feel better about what he is eating. It's a win win!
So without any more rambling ranch stories- here is the recipes for homemade ranch!

  • 2 cups Hellmans (or best foods) mayo
  • 1 cup low fat sour cream
  • 3 cloves garlic
  • 1/2 cup chopped flat parsley (fresh is best)
  • 4 tablespoons fresh chives (chives have a strong taste, and I like my Ranch a little bit heavy on the chives)
  • A small pinch of dill (if you aren't a dill fan DON'T DO IT! Dill is strong!)
Salt and pepper to taste.
Step one: Add mayo, and sour cream in a bowl. I use the mayo with olive oil in it.
Step two: chop parsley, chives and mince the garlic. After mincing the garlic squash it with a fork so it's almost a paste.
Step three: combine ingredients! I use a rubber spatula to fold things together!
  The Ranch will be pretty thick, so you can add some regular milk or buttermilk to make it smooth and creamy! It will still be a bit chunky from all the fresh ingredients! I prefer it that way.
  Now if you are lazy or short of time just toss everything into a blender! It will come out green, but also fantastic! The texture is smooth like store bought ranch.

  Now let's say you are tired of plain ranch! When I'm feeling a little spicy I put all the ingredients in a blender, then I set a fresh jalapeño on the burner of my stove so it gets that nice roasted pepper flavor! Then I toss it in, and blend it up! I like the extra kick so I leave the seeds in. If you are a bit of a spice wimp please take the seeds out! It's wonderful on tacos, BBQ pizzas, and it makes a great pasta salad dressing!
I try to chill it for 2 hours before serving!

Jalapeño Ranch pasta salad!

I hope you all have a safe, and fun 4th of July!! For all my Canadian readers- I hope you enjoyed Canada Day!
Remember it isn't considered 'Day Drinking' if it's a holiday!!

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