All posts tagged dressing

Homemade Ranch (and Chipotle Ranch) Dressing and a Trick for “making” Buttermilk

Published February 13, 2014 by jenmatteson

I make a lot of salad dressing, mainly vinaigrettes, which are generally pretty simple.  However, one dressing I’ve never attempted to make before was ranch.  We always just buy it in the bottle – basically the only dressing I buy in the bottle.

Ranch Dressing

I’ve always been a vinaigrette girl, but when I first met Nate, he put ranch on everything.  And I seriously mean everything (pizza, sandwiches, cereal…okay, maybe not cereal).  Being that it was always around, it sorta turned me into a ranch person, too.  But just on my salad 😉  One thing I have a severe weakness for is anything with a chipotle ranch.  Any salad or sandwich with this on it, and it’s a sure bet that’s what I’m going to order.  So, in deciding to make homemade ranch dressing, I thought I better throw in a chipotle ranch, too.  Good thing I did, because it’s soooooooo good.  The ranch is great, too, but man, the chipotle ranch is the bomb!  Try it on tacos instead of Greek yogurt or sour cream.  It’ll knock your socks off!

Play around with the seasonings, and feel free to substitute fresh for dried or dried for fresh, depending on what you have in the fridge.

Homemade Ranch Dressing

TIP: Oh, and a quick tip about buttermilk.  I don’t usually have this in my fridge, and I hate buying some to only use a few tablespoons and let the rest go to waste.  So whether you’re in a pinch or you’re like me and hate buying the stuff, you can easily make your own at home with things you probably already have, milk and white vinegar.  To a liquid measuring cup, add one tablespoon vinegar, then fill with milk to the 1 cup line.  Let the mixture sit for at least 5 minutes before using, and viola!  Buttermilk.

Homemade Ranch Dressing

Homemade Ranch Dressing

Source: Adapted from Pioneer Woman
Servings: Makes about 1 cup


1/4 cup non-fat plain Greek yogurt
1/2 cup low-fat mayonnaise
dash of Worcestershire sauce
1 clove garlic
1/2 tsp dried oregano
1 tsp fresh dill
1/4 cup fresh parsley leaves
1 tbsp. fresh chives, chopped
salt and pepper to taste
1/4-1/2 cup buttermilk (see tip above if you don’t have any)


1. Combine all ingredients in food processor, except buttermilk.  Slowly add buttermilk to desired consistency.  Adjust seasonings to taste.  This will last in your fridge in an airtight container for about a week.

To make chipotle ranch dressing, add 1/2-1 tsp (depending on preference) McCormick chipotle chili pepper.

Lemon Herb Vinaigrette

Published July 15, 2013 by jenmatteson

I rarely purchase fancy salad dressing.  We typically have light ranch and light Italian in our refrigerator, and most of the time I just throw a vinaigrette together.  A few weeks ago, we had our neighbors over for dinner on a Friday night, and I knew I barely had enough time to throw together dinner, drinks, and appetizers, so opted to buy a “fancy” salad dressing instead of taking the extra 5 minutes it takes to make one.  FYI, a “fancy” dressing is one that wasn’t made by Kraft or the generic grocery store brand.  It also lives in the produce section, not in the grocery isle.

Lemon Herb Vinaigrette

I picked a lemon herb vinaigrette from Marie’s.  Never had it before, but it sounded light and fresh so I took a chance.  It was really good!  We ended up going through the bottle in about a month, which I think is quick for a large bottle of dressing.  I think we had it on every salad we ate until it was gone.  Seeing as though I hate spending money on items I can make at home, I wanted to attempt to remake this dressing at home.  A simple read of the ingredients, minus all the stuff I can’t pronounce, and I’d have a good idea of where to start.

Lemon Herb Vinaigrette

The weird thing was that the dressing didn’t include ONE herb.  Funny, seeing as thought it was called lemon herb vinaigrette.  I took some liberties and added some herbs, and I really, really liked this dressing in the end.  It actually tasted quite similar to the store-bought brand, and in my opinion, better.  Maybe that was because of the addition of fresh herbs 😉

Lemon Herb Vinaigrette

And yes, I stored the dressing in an old olive oil bottle.  Maybe some day I’ll bother to take the label off!

Lemon Herb Vinaigrette

Source: Inspired by Marie’s Lemon Herb vinaigrette
Servings: Makes about 1/2 cup


2 tbsp white wine vinegar
1 lemon, juiced
1 tsp Dijon mustard
1/2 tsp onion powder
1/2 tsp garlic powder
1/4 tsp turmeric
1/8 tsp xanthum gum (optional – don’t go out and buy this if you don’t have it.  It’s just nice because it’ll thicken up your dressing so it’s not so watery and resemble a store-bought dressing more closely)
1/4 cup olive oil
1/2 tbsp fresh chives, minced
1/2 tbsp fresh basil, minced


1. In a medium bowl, combine vinegar, lemon juice, Dijon, onion powder, garlic powder, turmeric and xanthum gum.  Whisk in olive oil.  Stir in chives and basil.  Salt and pepper to taste.

Spicy Peanut Noodle Salad

Published April 14, 2013 by jenmatteson

I mentioned a few posts ago that I was really on an Asian kick, and I wasn’t kidding. I’ve got another one. Only because I had 8 oz of fresh rice stick noodles leftover, and I wanted to use them up. I have no idea how long they would be good for, and the packaging was absolutely no help.

Spicy Peanut Noodle Salad

It’s “spring” here in Minnesota, so we must start thinking about our summer figures. Oh, and I have a small event coming up at the end of August that I’d like to look my best for 😉 I love eating salads; they are so versatile, and definitely a meal for spring and summer. While the technical start of spring was March 20th, we’ve had nothing close to what we would call “spring weather”. In fact, we just had a snow storm this week, dumping up to 9″ of snow in some areas. More snow is in the forecast for this weekend. I’m really glad I put all my patio furniture together and out on my deck when it was nice two weeks ago.

Two weeks agoThis week








But let’s talk about the salad. I really loved this salad, and the noodles bring a lot of sustenance to it. As a carb lover, adding the carbs right into my salad is brilliant! The original recipe was for  a noodle salad, but I just added more lettuce and took out some noodles to make a more salad-salad :p  This still made a huge salad, enough for Nate and I to have dinner, and each take it for lunch for two days. We ran a little short on the dressing, but that’s no biggie, though in my opinion, it was the best part! I loved all the veggies in this salad, and I added in bean sprouts (as they were also leftover from the Pad Thai I made earlier in the week).  This was a great way to use up leftover veggies, noodles, and bean sprouts to create a new exciting entrée salad.  It came together super fast, too, which is always a huge plus!

Spicy Peanut Noodle Salad

Spicy Peanut Noodle Salad

Source: Adapted from Branny Boils Over
Servings: 6


For the dressing:
5 tbsp low sodium soy sauce
2 tbsp water
3 tbsp peanut butter
2 tbsp sesame oil
1 tbsp rice wine vinegar
1 tsp fresh ginger, minced
3 cloves garlic
1 tsp sugar
1 Serrano chile, seeded
1/3 cup peanuts

For the salad:
1/2 red bell pepper, julienne
1/2 yellow bell pepper, julienne
2 carrots, shredded
1 head romaine lettuce, sliced into ribbons
2 boneless, skinless chicken breasts, cooked and shredded
4 oz rice stick noodles, cooked and cooled
1 1/2 cup bean sprouts, thoroughly rinsed (I quickly sautéed mine)
1/4 cup cilantro, chopped
crushed red pepper flakes


1. Combine all dressing ingredients in a food process, except for the peanuts.  Puree until smooth.  Add peanuts and pulse until coarsely chopped.

2. In a large bowl, combine all salad ingredients.  Pour dressing over the top and toss to combine.  Garnish with cilantro and red pepper flakes before serving.

Goddess Salad Dressing

Published November 23, 2012 by jenmatteson

Thanksgiving has come and gone and now we are all feeling a little bloated and guilty.  But, there’s great news!  We can move on from here.  Maybe you had an extra helping of stuffing, or mashed potatoes, or pie (or of all of them), but we can’t turn back time.  What we can do is look to the future and make better choices.  If you’re like me, you might be in the mood for a salad after all that heavy (delicious) food.  I have a great homemade dressing for you!

I recently found out that a friend of mine from one of my networking groups, Ashley, is a food blogger as well.  Not only is she a food blogger, but she’s a food and fitness blogger.  Two of my favorite things!

I was checking out all the cool stuff she has on her site, and came across an interesting post about what to do with tahini.  As most of us know, a great way to use it is by making hummus.  I make it all the time, so I almost always have it in my fridge (except for the last time when I was out, but didn’t know it, and poor Nate had to run to the store – he had no idea what he was even looking for.  What a sweetheart!).  Anyway, one of the recipes really caught my eye and I made up a batch right away.  Goddess dressing, because there is a goddess in all of us, right?

The only adjustment I made was using cilantro instead of parsley.  I almost never have parsley and always have cilantro.  The dressing was fabulous!  I served it over a salad of hearts of romaine, white beans, onions, yellow bell peppers and avocado (wonderful lunch salad).  For you cheese eaters, I’m thinking feta would be a great addition.  The vinegar balances out the heaviness of the tahini, but it still retains its nutty flavor.  Can’t wait to try more of these tahini recipes!

Goddess Dressing

Source: Adapted from Sore Legs and Scrambled Eggs
Servings: Makes about 1 1/2 cup dressing


1/2 cup tahini
1/4 cup low sodium soy sauce
1/2 cup apple cider vinegar
1/2 cup water
3 cloves garlic
2 tbsp lemon juice
1/2 tsp salt
1/4 cup cilantro
1 tbsp sugar
1/2 cup olive oil


1. In a food processor, add all ingredients except for olive oil.  Puree until smooth.  While processing, stream in olive oil until mixture reaches desired consistency.

Fennel, Red Onion and Focaccia Stuffing

Published November 21, 2012 by jenmatteson

I’m a very traditional stuffing kind of girl.  Nate likes sausage in his stuffing.  We made two last year so we could both be happy.  This year, we’re not hosting our family for Thanksgiving, but we did celebrate the Saturday prior with our very good friends from Wisconsin.

I thought this would be a fantastic opportunity for us to branch out and try a new stuffing (or dressing as my grammie called it).  Since our friends are not picky eaters whatsoever, I was excited to try something new.  Maybe it would become our new favorite kind of stuffing…

The stuffing was good, but there were a few things I would change for the next time I make it.  I used sea salt focaccia, which I think worked well, but onion would have given it a little more flavor (I couldn’t find any and didn’t have time to make my own).  Also, the 1-inch dice was a little large for me, I would have cubed the bread in 1/2-inch pieces.  Finally, the fennel and onion pieces were too large as well, so I would have diced instead of sliced them.  So the only thing that really affected the flavor of the stuffing was not using the onion focaccia.  Oh, and over toasting it.  I followed the Food and Wine instructions to toast it for 30 minutes, at 375 degrees, stirring once halfway through, but it was far too much time.  My bread did get a slightly over toasted (which wasn’t an issue for consistency, but for flavor), and that flavor translated into the stuffing.  I altered the recipe below so the same mistake doesn’t happen to you.

I’ll be making this again in the future, and with the improvements, and I’ll post a picture then.  With all the commotion, I didn’t get a chance to get a halfway decent picture – but enjoy of picture of us enjoying it 😉  And in case you’re wondering, yes, we did enjoy our Thanksgiving dinner in our pjs!

Fennel, Red Onion, and Focaccia Stuffing

Source: Adapted from Food and Wine
Servings: 12


2 lbs plain or onion focaccia, cut into 1-inch dice (about 16 cups)
4 tbsp unsalted butter
2 tbsp olive oil
3 medium fennel bulbs, halved lengthwise, cored and sliced lengthwise 1/4-inch thick
2 red onions, halved and sliced lengthwise
3 garlic cloves, finely chopped
1 1/2 tsp chopped thyme
1 tsp fennel seeds
3 1/2 cups low-sodium chicken broth
kosher salt and ground black pepper


1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees.  Spread focaccia on a large rimmed baking sheet.  Toast until dry and golden around the edges, about 15-20 minutes, stirring halfway through.  Transfer to a large mixing bowl.

2. In a large skillet, melt 2 tbsps of butter in the olive oil.  Add the fennel and onions and cook over moderate heat, stirring occasionally, until very tender, about 15 minutes.  Add the garlic, thyme and fennel seeds and cook until fragrant, about 1 minute.  Scrape the mixture into the bowl with the focaccia.  Add stock and toss until bread is evenly moistened.  Season with salt and pepper.

3. * See note.  Increase oven temperature to 400 degrees.  Butter a 9 x 13-inch baking dish with 1 tbsp of butter.  Transfer stuffing mixture into the baking dish and top with remaining butter.  Cover with foil, and bake until heated through, about 20 minutes.  Remove foil and bake for another 20 minutes longer, until the top is golden and crisp.

* If you are stuffing your turkey, now would be the time to stuff it and bake stuffing with turkey.  Don’t forget to adjust your turkey cooking time if it’s stuffed (it’ll take longer).

Spicy Asian Dipping Sauce

Published June 4, 2012 by jenmatteson

This would be great for several appetizers, I served it with my Thai Turkey Meatballs.  It’d be a great as a dressing or sauce for a stir fry as well!

Spicy Asian Dipping Sauce

Source: Lund’s and Byerly’s
Servings: Makes 3/4 cups


1/3 cup low-sodium soy sauce
2 tbsp rice vinegar
1/2 tsp sesame oil
1/2 tsp brown sugar
2 tbsp green onions, minced
1/4 cilantro, chopped
2 tsp Asian chili sauce


1. Stir soy sauce, vinegar, sesame oil, brown sugar, green onions, and cilantro together in a small bowl until sugar is dissolved.  Add chili sauce to taste.

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