Greek Yogurt Based Ranch Dressing & Café Rio Creamy Tomatillo Dressing

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I really, really, really love ranch dressing. It’s probably one of my greatest food weaknesses.  And I really don’t care for low-fat or low-calorie ranch dressing, it’s gotta be the real stuff.  One day it occurred to me that it was probably pretty easy to make and that I might feel a whole lot better about eating it if I knew what was going into it. Not only did it turn out to be super easy to make, but after a few experiments with Greek yogurt I came up with a recipe that’s mostly yogurt-based instead of mostly mayo-based.

I win! Pass the carrots and let’s start dipping!

The great thing about this is that you can make it dip consistency or salad dressing consistency, just by adding milk to it.  I keep this recipe hung up inside my spice pantry door now so I can refer to it quickly and easily.  All the herbs as dried, but if you had any fresh on hand I bet it’d make it even tastier! After consulting a few different recipes that were already out there, here is what I’ve come up with:

  • 1 container of plain Greek Yogurt (some are 8-oz, some are 6-oz… to be honest, it doesn’t really matter)
  • 1/2 cup mayo
  • 1/2 t chives
  • 1/2 t parsley
  • 1/2 t dill
  • 1/4 t garlic powder
  • 1/4 t onion powder
  • 1/8 t salt
  • 1/8 t pepper
  • Skim milk*, to desired consistency

The easiest way to make this is to put it in a container with a lid and just shake, shake, shake.

If you stopped right before the skim milk, it’s a great consistency to serve as a dip. If you want to use it as a salad dressing, just add a few tablespoons of milk at a time and keep shaking it up until it’s as runny as you’d like it to be.

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I’ve been making my ranch this way for about a year now and I’m totally addicted. Today, I discovered that it also works great as the base for one of my other favorite dressings, Café Rio Creamy Tomatillo Dressing. My CSA box came with a whole bunch of tomatillos this week and I immediately knew it was time to make a batch of creamy tomatillo dressing.

Now to be perfectly fair, a Café Rio purist will not find this to be spot on. There’s a lot of great copycat recipes out there for the tomatillo dressing and the ones I’ve had the most success with use the Hidden Valley ranch package. Since most of them are basically starting with a ranch dressing base, I decided to experiment with my Greek yogurt ranch and see how it turned out.

(Spoiler alert: Delicious. Now I need me some pork barbacoa burrito to go with it!)

Again, I just looked at a couple recipes and kind of went with the common theme of what most of them were doing.  I mixed it all in the food processor, which made it super easy and creamy.

  • Greek Yogurt ranch dressing
  • 2-3 tomatillos, quartered
  • 2 cloves garlic
  • 1 jalapeno, chopped & seeded
  • juice from 1/2 lime
  • 1/2 bunch of cilantro, rough chopped

If you started with a dip-consistency ranch dressing, you’ll probably want to add the milk to make it a bit runnier and more like a salad dressing. You also don’t need to chop things up really good if you’re tossing it all into the food processor (or a blender) which makes it super easy to make. 

My grocery store sells tomatillos over by the tomatoes. You remove the outer husk before chopping. The smaller they are, the sweeter they are. I still have a few leftover from my CSA this week so I think I’m going to have to try my hand at making some salsa verde next!

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Baileywick Black Bean Salsa

I haven’t posted a recipe in a long time but this one was too easy and delicious to pass up.  It actually came from a cookbook that my friend Jenny gave me that was put together by parents in the school she teaches in.  (The school is called Baileywick, which is why I call it Baileywick Black Bean Salsa.  I like the alliteration.) 

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It is easy- there’s some chopping involved, but it took me about 15 minutes to put together.

It’s delicious. 

It’s healthy.

What’s not to love?  Make it and serve it with some scoops as a dip, or else use it to accompany tacos as a side dish or topping.   It probably goes great with margaritas or a Corona.  I’ll find out in a few months.  So enjoy and thank Jenny when you’re done for passing this cookbook along to me with this little gem in it.  Oh and while I’m bragging on her, let me just mention she was teacher of the year this year at her school.  Because it’s my blog and I can brag if I want to. 

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Now chop, chill and eat!

Ingredients

  • 1 can black beans, rinsed + drained
  • 1 can white shoepeg corn, drained
  • 1 chopped red pepper
  • 1 chopped red onion
  • fresh cilantro to taste
  • jalapeno, chopped (added to taste)
  • juice of 1 lg lime
  • 2 T minced garlic
  • 1/2 T Adobo brand seasoning*
  • 4 T olive oil

Mix all and chill for 1-2 hours (up to overnight.)

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*I actually didn’t use the Adobo brand seasoning.  I just used salt and pepper.  But I was shopping in Wally world the other day and was in the international aisle and passed right by it – so it does exist and is easy to find!

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And, as a side note…this is the secret best place to buy spices instead of buying them from the baking aisle. 

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They don’t have every spice but they have a lot of the common ones – paprika, garlic, onion, parsley, cumin, chili pepper – and they less than a dollar for each bag.  You get a smaller amount, but that’s okay – does anyone ever use the spices in those jars before they go stale anyways??

So, that’s my hidden tip for today.  You’re welcome.  Now, go eat.

Cuban Toasties

This is a recipe straight from the one and only Rachel Ray, that my mom started making as her go-to appetizer and since momma always knows best, I’ve adapted it as one of mine now.  I first served it for my Christmas party, then Jamie asked me to do a repeat performance for Akanksha’s baby shower. 

It’s a pretty simple recipe to follow and, of course, it’s very tasty! I usually double it for parties and the chili sauce I use is Srichachi sauce, so I don’t use quite as much as they call for.  Maybe one teaspoon per batch?  I have also done half mayo and half greek yogurt, just to healthify things up a tiny bit.  There’s absolutely no difference in taste when I do that.  Also, I buy the pickles pre-sliced in coins which makes things a whole lot easier.

Ingredients:

  • 1 1/2 ounces boiled deli ham slices, finely chopped (1/3 cup)
  • 3 ounces shredded Swiss cheese (3/4 cup)
  • 1/3 cup mayonnaise
  • 1/2 small onion, finely chopped
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons chili sauce
  • 1 teaspoon yellow mustard
  • 1 baguette, cut into 1/3-inch-thick slices, or 5 slices of white sandwich bread, quartered
  • 2 – 3 crisp dill pickles, thinly sliced

The How To:

  1. Preheat the oven to 500 degrees . In a small bowl, stir together the ham, cheese, mayonnaise, onion, chili sauce and mustard.
  2. Arrange the bread slices on a foil-lined baking sheet. Place 2 pickle slices on each slice of bread, then spread about 1 tablespoon of the ham mixture on top. Bake the toasties for 8 to 10 minutes, until golden and bubbly. Cool for a few minutes before serving.

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Chopped Ham

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Making a big mess

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All in…

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It’s not a particularly attractive recipe…

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Ready for toppings!

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Into the broiler they go!

(What’s that you say?  You’d like a photo of the finished product…. well, I whisked them off to the party and forgot to photograph them!  Blogger no-no.  But trust me, they look tasty!)