Sunday, May 22, 2016

The Ranch Kitchen's Dilly Dip

As spring turn into summer, our garden is starting to overflow with squash and all our other vegetables.  One thing I always insist on making sure we have plenty of is crookneck squash and zucchini as we love it!

Last summer to help be a little healthier, I began to cut the fresh squash and serve it with Hidden Valley Ranch Dip as an appetizer before our meal each night.

This year with the fresh dill from my garden I've starting making my own The Ranch Kitchen's Dilly Dip that my husband and I have become pretty addicted too.  We enjoy it nightly now this past week and I can't wait to make it for my health conscious older daughters when they come in for Memorial Day weekend!

This recipe literally takes under five minutes to make and you will love it just as much, if not even better than traditional ranch dips or salad dressings.

The trick is to this dip is to grow your own fresh dill.  Dill is super, simple to grow and will spread in huge clumps pretty rapidly.  However, I don't think it taking over our herb garden will be much of a problem with Scott and I making this Dilly Dip all the time.

I used a new seasoning in this dip by Tone's called Six Pepper Seasoning Blend as you can see in the picture below. Click on the link in the name in the last sentence and you can buy it off Amazon. It's fantastic in this dip and even better on top of homemade pizza from our grill.

So give it a try and let me know how you like it.  It would be even healthier with a good Greek Yogurt or light sour cream used instead.

Try this dip as a side for baked fish like salmon, cod or catfish too!


Remember, no one said cooking had to be hard!

Alise - The Ranch Kitchen   

Monday, March 28, 2016

The Ranch Kitchen's Jambalaya

In an effort to not just cook the girls usual favorite meal of salmon or goulash when they came in, we opted for something a little out of the ordinary this Easter weekend when they came home.

Jambalaya or anything Cajun has a strong place in our girls hearts.  We love our crawfish season like none other and especially enjoy fried, boiled or it cooked as an etoufee served over rice.  So for Friday nights meal, I cooked a family favorite that we usually don't eat at home but from our favorite Cajun food restaurant Dudley's.  We cooked our own The Ranch Kitchen's Jambalaya.

I used my large nonstick Wok to cook this one pot dish and this recipe could easily have served eight people or a small crowd.  Along with a salad and some crusty French bread to dip up the broth, you have a meal that is worthy of serving company.

Years ago, when my two older daughter's each had their high school senior week activities, we always had a Crawfish Boil at our house with a big Capture the Flag game in the pasture at dark.  To serve along the boiled crawfish, I would make a huge triple batch or two of this recipe for The Ranch Kitchen's Jambalaya and serve it for those kids who didn't really enjoy the main course of 'mud bugs' as some call them in the deep south.  Crawfish are small lobster looking creatures that are harvested in the creeks and man made ditches in Texas, Louisianna and Mississippi. Spiced up with a Creole Seasoning like Tony Chachere's or Zattarain'a Shrimp Boil, you can't find a better meal.  We just boil and serve them out on top of huge tables covered with newspaper for easy cleanup.

I remember those parties well and the fun the parents had cooking for our kids and watching them enjoy each other in their last days before graduation.  It's a tradition we hope to continue for our Audrey when she graduates in a few years and hope they enjoy it as much as her sisters and friends did.

For this recipe you will use three different meats like the shrimp, sausage and chicken we used, but sometimes we can opt for just one.  You can add crawfish if you like and even bits of cut up fish like Crappy, white fish, bass, ling, snapper or catfish.  Just use what you have and make it how you like it! Do however be careful with the Creole Seasoning and add enough to make it as 'hot' in taste or mild depending on your own likes.  When you think about it, jambalaya is a very close to a seafood gumbo with most of the broth or liquid cooked out and white rice already added in.

This jambalaya dish also freezes well to serve for a quick nights dinner.  However, left overs were not an issue and what little was still left the oldest daughter gladly took home to her 'home away from home' for dinner!

So try you some mud bugs or crawfish soon while they are in season!  Season is any month that has a letter R in it (September - April) and especially January - April...because the hot summer months are just too hot to harvest them.

Enjoy and get you some crawfish if you have never had any soon and do try The Ranch Kitchen's Jambalaya!

Alise - The Ranch Kitchen

Sunday, March 6, 2016

Nolana's Potato Soup

Not all my daughter's love soup. It's funny to think of and sometimes a bit confusing to remember just who likes what and can be a little hard to please everyone. Thankfully taste change and as our girls have grown older and they appreciate some of their mom and dad's favorites finally.  

One of my husbands favorites is a plain potato soup.  He is not a cheese lover at all, so a simple recipe is his favorite.  When you ask him what he liked that his mom Billie cooked, it was her potato soup, fried potatoes and her deer steak.  So today as I asked Bethany just what she wanted before she headed back to her internship, it was potato soup that she requested for lunch.

It was nice to have my mom come over and eat with us too.  Along with Bethany being home to top it off my mom asked for this recipe, so that really made my day twice as nice.  

For this recipe you can use red or traditional white potatoes, however today I opted for Idaho Potatoes that had been pealed and cut in one inch cubes.  I sauteed a sweet white onion with garlic and about 3 stalks of celery to add flavor.  I usually add chicken broth, but since I couldn't find any in my pantry, I substituted with Campbell's Cream of Chicken Soup.  Ten minutes before the potato soup was served, I added 1 cup of heavy cream to thicken it up and add a milky texture.  Sometimes I'll also not add the heavy cream, but a little milk really adds to the overall flavor.

We served this with a slice of cornbread today, but sometimes we'll bake biscuits or beer bread as side to go along with it.  This week I'll get my beer bread up on the site to share.  It is so simple and easy to make and the house smells amazing (not like beer)!

Click here for Nolana's Potato Soup  

This soup is easily reheated with a little added water or milk the next day.  If you like add grated cheese on top and bacon or fried ham bits as I did above.  You can also add 1/3 cup or more of Cheese Whiz or Velvetta Cheese the last five minutes if you like.


Alise - The Ranch Kitchen

Monday, February 29, 2016

Red Velvet Whoopie Pies with Oreo Crumb Icing

I'm starting to think the youngest daughter may yet be my next creative baker.  This weekend she wowed us all with her take on whoopie pies with her addition to store bought vanilla icing!  The results were wonderful and you could not eat just one!

One thing I've always enjoyed is cooking a big Sunday lunch. To try to get my girls to help out, I'll either have them make a side dish or dessert to add to the menu.  This week Audrey decided to use our new whoopie pan and create a new family favorite from the seasonal Red Velvet Oreo's I'd found at the grocery store. 

Audrey made the cake from start to finish for the first time on her own and we could not have been prouder.  She used an idea I've done for years by adding whole milk instead of water to the cake mix.  This addition just adds such depth and flavor, yet still keeps the cake moist. 

We spooned about one large tablespoon of the Oreo Crumb Icing in each whoopie pie round using our ice cream scoop which made it extra fun for Audrey.  She loved sticking the toothpick in them toward the end of each batch to check if they were done.


The icing sandwiched between each whoppie cake round helped take these over the top.  We enjoyed them yesterday at midday and then again after dinner during the Oscars.

Audrey hopes you will try them and knows they will become a new family favorite.  She has me thinking now of what else to add to icing to make it a little out of the ordinary.

So give these Red Velvet Whoopie Pies with Oreo Cookie Crumb Icing a try soon and especially get creative with your icing additions! 
Alise - The Ranch Kitchen

Wednesday, February 17, 2016

The Ranch Kitchen's Egg Roll Bowl

Tonight I wanted to cook something a little different, yet use what I had at my house.  I tend to have a little problem with the grocery store and usually impulse buy a little too much of certain things.  But thankfully it's good to overstock the pantry and fridge when you live in the country.

My motto should be to 'don't go shopping hungry'. Yesterday I bought two bags of 50% off Valentines candy that I certainly did not need. However, I did already have the cabbage, soy sauce and brown sugar because I always buy those in excess.  And as for the was put to good use. 

The Eggroll Bowl I prepared tonight was an easy dish that called for most of the ingredients I use in my Granny's Wilted Cabbage recipe.  Adding soy sauce and brown sugar along with the sliced ham steak was a great addition and made this a meal in itself. 

Thanks goodness for the pork we raise on our ranch from my daughter's FFA project.  It was put to good use in this fantastic recipe. 

We served this pork dish over white rice, but I also think it would be excellent over pasta.  This recipe will be easy to reheat and a treat for my lunch tomorrow.



So if you need a relatively low calorie dish that is full of flavor and just a little different from the meals you normally serve each night, this is your recipe.


Alise - The Ranch Kitchen