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Ranch Themed Party - Article

Contributed by: Lois Mead

Article: "Ranch Themed Party"
Author: Lois Mead
Copyright:  2003 Lois Mead
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Ranch Themed Party

By Lois Mead - 1001Recipes2Send.com

I have a group of friends who are very imaginative when it
comes to decorating, party ideas and generally emphasizing
their creative side in general. Recently I was sent an
invitation to what has become a quarterly get-together. It
read as follows:

Happy Holidays to My Fellow Frantic Females

Yes, it's that time of the year. Time for our annual Holiday
Get-Together. This year we're going to do something a little
less expensive and definitely less formal than usual but
something that I hope you all will have fun with. After all,
we're all about having fun and distressing for several hours
every so often, right? 

Below is a recipe to make Dry Ranch Mix. I know you all buy
the dry mix in the little packets and complain about how
expensive it is. Well, I found this wonderful recipe and have
been using it in many creative and delicious ways. Since I know
you all are creative yourselves, your assignment is to make up
the mix then bring a dish to the party that uses the mix. Oh,
and be sure to bring instructions on how you used the mix. I'll
have a large salad prepared (with homemade Ranch Dressing, of
course) as well as some desserts and drinks. So use your
imagination and I'll see everyone on the 13th. 

Hidden Valley Ranch Salad Dressing

Dry Mix:

16 saltine crackers
1 cups dry minced parsley flakes
1/2 cup dry minced onion
1 tablespoon dry dill weed
1/4 cup onion salt
1/4 cup garlic salt
1/4 cup onion powder
1/4 cup garlic powder

Put crackers through a blender on high until they turn to
powder. Add parsley, minced onions and dill weed. Blend again
until powdered. Put into a sealable bowl and stir in onion
salt, garlic salt, onion powder and garlic powder. Put lid on
tightly. You may store your mix up to 1 year. 

To Make Salad Dressing: 

Combine:

2-1/2 tablespoons mix with
1 cup mayonnaise
1 cup buttermilk

Refrigerate. Shake well before using.

~*~*~*~*~*

What a success this party turned out to be. And what a great
array of delicious recipes, all using the Dry Ranch Mix in one
form or another. The hostess had a large salad prepared with
both regular homemade Ranch Dressing as well as a low-calorie
version using oil and vinegar. She also had some red and white
wines available and of course coffee and tea, plus an elaborate
dessert table. The party was great, the company delightful, as
usual, and all 10 in attendance had the opportunity to catch up
on each other's lives, careers, family and sample some
incredible food. I have included the recipes used for this
Ranch Themed Party.

~*~*~*~*~*

Parmesan/Ranch Puffs

Ingredients:

1/2 cup milk
1/4 cup margarine
1/2 cup all-purpose flour
2 eggs
3/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese
2 tablespoons Dry Ranch Mix

Preparation:

Preheat oven to 375 degrees F. Lightly grease a medium
baking sheet.

In a medium saucepan, bring milk and margarine to boil over
medium high heat. Stir in flour and reduce heat to low.
Vigorously stir until thick enough to form into a ball. Remove
from heat. Beat eggs into the mixture until smooth. Stir in
Parmesan Cheese and Dry Ranch Mix.

Drop the dough by rounded teaspoonfuls onto the prepared
baking sheet. Bake in the preheated oven 15 minutes, or until
puffed and golden brown.

~*~*~*~*~*

Ranch Mashed Potatoes

Prepare potatoes as you usually do with butter, milk or cream,
etc. Right before serving, stir in some Dry Ranch Mix to taste.

~*~*~*~*~*

Ranch Cheese Ball

8 ounces softened cream cheese
4 ounce jar Cheeze Whiz
4 tablespoons Dry Ranch Mix
Chopped pecans

Combine softened cream cheese, cheese Whiz and Dry Ranch Mix
together in a large bowl. Cover and refrigerate approximately
1 hour. Remove from bowl and roll into a ball. Then roll the
ball into pecans until completely coated. Serve on a platter
with a variety of crackers.

~*~*~*~*~*

Ranch Flavored Sausage Cheese Balls

1 lb. lean hot sausage
3 cups Bisquick
1/2 cup milk
12 oz. sharp cheddar cheese, grated
1/4 cup Dry Ranch Mix

Preheat oven to 375F. With your hands, knead all the
ingredients together in a bowl. (This may take awhile to fully
moisten the Bisquick and the cheese.) Form mixture into 1-inch
balls (or smaller, if you prefer) and place on a baking pan.
Bake for 15 minutes.

~*~*~*~*~*

Cocktail Meatballs

1 pound ground chuck
1 pound ground pork
1 pound ground veal
3 beaten eggs
1/2 cup Dry Ranch Mix
Dried bread crumbs

Beat eggs in a large bowl. Stir in the Dry Ranch Mix. Add all
the meats (one at a time) until well combined. (Use your hands
to combine.makes it much easier). Add in enough dried bread
crumbs to make the mixture adhere well enough to form into
small meatballs. Bake in a 350 degree oven until done (about an
hour). Serve with dipping sauces such as bar-be-que sauce,
sweet & sour sauce or any others you like.

~*~*~*~*~*

Ranch Flavored Chicken & Vegetables

4 chicken breasts cubed
1 small box frozen broccoli
2 sliced carrots
1 small diced onion
1 green pepper, chopped
1 red pepper, chopped
1/2 cup frozen green peas
1/4 cup Dry Ranch Mix

Sautee the cubed chicken in a little vegetable or olive oil in a
wok or skillet. When browned, remove then drain on paper towels.
Then cook the carrots, broccoli, onion, green pepper, red pepper
and peas together until the carrots & broccoli are tender.
Return the chicken to the vegetable mixture and stir in the
Dry Ranch Mix. Serve over cooked rice.

~*~*~*~*~*

Pasta Salad

8 ounce package cooked pasta shells
1/2 pound cooked bacon, crumbled
1/4 cup frozen peas, thawed
1/2 pound chopped cocktail shrimp
1/2 cup sharp cheddar cheese, shredded

Combine the above ingredients then gently toss in some of the
prepared Ranch Salad Dressing until well-coated. Serve cold.

~*~*~*~*~*

Ranch Loaf

Get your favorite loaf of French Bread. Cut it into slices
about an inch thick and put onto a large baking sheet. In a
microwave safe bowl, melt 1 stick butter or margarine. Stir in
3 tablespoons dry Ranch mix then spread each piece of bread
with some of the butter mixture on both sides. Bake until
browned and slightly crisp on the bottom. 

~*~*~*~*~*

Ranch Roll-Ups

In a large bowl, combine 8 ounces cream cheese, 4 ounces sour
cream, 1 cup grated cheddar cheese and 1/2 cup grated pepper
jack cheese until smooth. Stir in 4 tablespoons dry ranch mix.
Spread the mixture on a large flour tortilla then gently roll
up. Cut into slices about 1/2 inch thick. Serve on a platter
with a bowl of salsa in the middle.

~*~*~*~*~*

Ranch Party Mix

4 tablespoons Worcestershire Sauce
8 tablespoons butter or margarine
3 tablespoons Dry Ranch Mix
3 cups Corn Chex
3 cups Rice Chex
3 cups Multi-grain Chex
1 cup mixed nuts
1 cup garlic flavored bite size bagel chips
1 cup pretzels

Melt butter in large roasting pan. Stir in Worcestershire Sauce
and dry ranch mix. Stir in cereals, nuts, bagel chips and
pretzels. Bake in a 250 degree oven for an hour. 

Hope you all enjoy these recipes. The nice thing about making
your own dry ranch dressing mix is not only how much money you
save over buying the individual packets but also how many
different ways you can use it to spice up your recipes. 

-*-*-*-*-*-*
About the Author: Lois Mead is an Editor for The
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