Cook's Corner: Ranch dresses up dishes

Published 1:27 am Wednesday, January 3, 2007

By Staff
Happy New Year! I hope that you had your black-eyed peas and cabbage for your first dinner of the year. I did have black-eyed peas, but since I did my shopping for the meal on New Year's Eve, I wasn't lucky enough to get a cabbage. I hope that turnip greens carry the same amount of luck as cabbage. If they do, then I'm in good shape for the year.
I realize that a lot of people make resolutions this time of year to lose weight and eat better along with other wonderful things. It's usually this time of year when I share low-carb, low-fat, high-fiber recipes with readers of this column. However, since I have come to the realization that most folks don't usually keep those resolutions for very long, I've decided to forego those types of recipes and share something you'll really enjoy.
My family loves Ranch dressing. I've seen everything from chicken wings to pizza crust dipped in the creamy dressing. I even had someone pouring the dressing on a grilled chicken breast at my house over the weekend. Since I realized how much people, especially kids, love this type of dressing on practically anything, I decided to share a few recipes using Ranch dressing in both powder and liquid form.
Ranch Chicken Chunks
1 and one-half pounds chicken breast
1 cup Ranch-style dressing
2 cups breadcrumbs
Dipping Sauce:
One-fouth cup Ranch-style dressing
One-fourth cup mustard
Honey and brown sugar to taste
Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Cut chicken breasts into 2-inch pieces. Coat chicken in Ranch dressing. Dredge chicken in breadcrumbs. Place on greased baking sheet and cook for 15-20 minutes or until golden. For dipping sauce, mix Ranch dressing with mustard. Add honey or brown sugar to taste.
I have a niece who makes it a point to eat hamburgers if she's at a restaurant she's never been to before. Her theory is that it's hard to mess up a hamburger, no matter how bad the cook may be.
Ranch Cheese Burgers
1 (1 ounce) packet dry Ranch-style dressing mix
1 pound ground beef
1 cup shredded Cheddar cheese
4 hamburger buns
Combine Ranch mix, beef and cheese. Shape into patties; cook thoroughly, until meat is no longer pink in the center. Toast buns before serving, if desired.
If you really want to dress up the burger, add a slice of purple onion with a few slices of Roma tomatoes. I have even stirred in a little of the dry seasoning mix with some mayonnaise to add a little zing on the outside.
This recipe gives you a chance to serve mashed potatoes without having some sort of gravy around to pour over. This recipe makes enough for four servings, but it is so good, you may want to double up so everyone can have seconds.
Creamy Ranch Potatoes
4 medium potatoes, with or without skins
1 (1 ounce) packet dry Ranch-style dressing mix
One-half cup milk
3 tbsp. butter or margarine
Pierce skin of potatoes with fork; microwave 8 to 10 minutes or until tender. Mash with fork. Add Ranch mix, milk and butter to potatoes; stir well.
I hope that you have a chance to try one or two of these recipes. The chicken chunks with the mashed potatoes and a green salad would make a great meal anytime.
I love to hear from you whether you have a good kitchen tip or a good recipe. You can email ideas and other information to me at You could also just give me a call at 867-4876. I'll be happy to share your recipes, giving you credit for your submission.
Until next week, Happy Cooking!