Contributed by: Lois Mead
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
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:
Refrigerate. Shake well before using.
What a success this party turned out to be. nd 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.
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 prepare$ 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
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
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.
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
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.
Combine the above ingredients then gently toss in some of the prepared Ranch Salad Dressing until well-coated. Serve cold.
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.
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
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 in$ividual packets but also how many different ways you can use it to spice up your recipes.
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