Homemade Ranch Dip & Dressing

Homemade Ranch Dip & Dressing

Ranch dip and ranch dressing have become classic flavors that a lot of us could not picture life without  But do you really need to buy it in a bottle?  I don't think so.  It's so easy to make from just ingredients that you probably already have in your pantry & fridge, there's really no need to ever buy it again!

This is a light and tangy sour cream & yogurt based Ranch Dressing recipe.  A lot of ranch recipes call for mayonnaise. Now don't  get me wrong - I LOVE mayo.  But not in ranch.  I want my ranch dip to be light and tangy.  And by light I don't mean low fat - you'll notice that I'm using full fat sour cream, yogurt, and milk - but I mean not oily, not heavy, not that richer flavor that comes with mayo.  I just prefer it this way.  But honestly you could take this basic blend of seasonings and add it to whatever combination of cream/yogurt/mayo/milk/etc. that you like.  It will taste great. 

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Quick and Easy Homemade Peanut Butter

Quick and Easy Homemade Peanut Butter

I really had no intention to make peanut butter.  Don't get me wrong, I love the idea of homemade nut butters.  I've done sunbutter before, and it was great.  But I try to prioritize my time and making all my nut butters at home has never really made it to the top of my list of things I should be doing.

But I love peanuts.  I mean, I love roasted, salted peanuts.  A quick handful or two is an awesome snack - it satisfies my need for crunchy and salty, and gives me a little protein.  I bought some peanuts a couple weeks ago, thinking I was buying roasted and salted peanuts. Only to get home and realize that what I had grabbed was roasted and NOT salted. (That's what happens when you're trying to squeeze in a quick grocery trip in between pickups and dropoffs.) As far as I'm concerned, there is no place in my life for snacking on nuts that aren't salted.  I know you raw nut lovers can disagree, but I love my salt. 

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Easy Wasabi Mayonnaise

Do you ever get takeout sushi and wonder why the heck they give you SO MUCH wasabi? 

easy wasabi mayo!

Maybe it's just me, I don't know. I personally think a little wasabi in the sushi goes a long way - I like a little heat, but I also like to taste my sushi. So I always end up with extra wasabi.

But I may have mentioned before how I hate to waste food. Especially when it's the good stuff - like when we order sushi from a good place and they give you the real fresh grated wasabi.

So a friend turned me on to this tip and I've been doing it ever since: use the leftover wasabi to make wasabi mayonnaise. It's genius in its simplicity.

Just mix the wasabi into a jar of mayo - I think about a tablespoon of prepared wasabi to about a half a cup of mayo is about right for my taste. But this is really one that you can do however you like. If you like more kick, then you more wasabi. If you want it mild, then use more. 

wasabi may recipe from whatlisacooks.com

It's awesome on sandwiches, or for dipping veggies in. I love mayo on grilled or roasted veggies, and this is a great way to give it a little extra kick. 

The other day I made myself a rice bowl for lunch, with brown rice, tofu, zucchini and some leftover asparagus. A good dollop of the wasabi mayo on top was the perfect to take it from ordinary leftovers to something really delicious. 

Taco Dip

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Here is a really quick and simple dip idea for you - "taco dip". This is just 2 cups of nonfat plain Greek yogurt, and a package of taco seasoning.  Mixed together.  That's all.  Creamy, tangy, spicy. It's maybe even better if you use sour cream instead of yogurt, but the yogurt version is certainly healthier, especially if you eat as much dip as I do.  I made this today for an appetizer tomorrow - it's really good right now and will be even better after it sits for a day.  I often make my own taco seasoning, there are lots of recipes on the web and it's all ingredients you probably already have in your cabinet.  But today I was in a hurry so I just used a package of seasoning from Trader Joes, it's a good one without a lot of weird mystery ingredients, just spices.

Summer Squash Dip

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I have had sooo much squash from the garden this summer - all from three plants! And while I do love it, one gets a little tired of eating it in the same few ways over and over again (like this lunch I had the other day, or this zucchini bread & muffins). And we've got a lot more yellow summer squash than regular green zucchini anyway. I have a couple of favorite dip recipes (this one, and this one) that involve mixing cooked veggies with some yummy stuff - so I thought this might also be possible for squash. I did a little internet searching and came across this one - it sounded great! Squash with cumin, tahini, lemon juice, garlic and yogurt. Who doesn't love those things?

So here is what I did:

Ingredients:

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  • A couple of large summer squashes - I think any kind would work.  I've used a large yellow summer squash (the kind that looks like zucchini but are yellow), and the round pattypan squashes.  Actually I bet this would even work with zucchini.
  • Garlic powder
  • onion powder
  • olive oil
  • kosher salt
  • tahini
  • cumin
  • lemon juice
  • plain yogurt
  • fresh garlic

I tossed the cubed squash with olive oil and salt, garlic powder, and onion powder, and then roasted in the oven at 350 convection on a cookie sheet for about 40 minutes - turning several times, until the cubes were a little brown and very soft. Then I dumped that in the food processor and added the other ingredients.  I used ground cumin, and I used my own homemade whole milk yogurt. And of course there's the fact that I never measure anything, so I didn't follow the quantities in the recipe, I just throw stuff in and blend and taste and keep adding and blending until I like it. I'm sure it ended up being more garlic and lemon juice and cumin than the original recipe calls for, because that's just how I like stuff. And I did it in my food processor - because I have 4 kids and a mortar and pestle, or smushing things with forks, just isn't really going to happen.  Plus, I really like the creamy texture that the food processor gives it.

This was good. Really, really good. I will definitely be making it again.

I might try it without the yogurt next time, just to see how it is as a vegan option. I think maybe adding a little more lemon juice to replace the tanginess of the yogurt.

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Pictured here: Curried Carrot Dip, Eggplant dip (done in the food processor, so creamier than the one in my original post), and Summer squash dip.

Update: I made the squash dip again with no yogurt - so a vegan version.  I just used a little more of the other ingredients to bump up the flavor a bit, and it is also really, really good this way.