Dill Ranch Salad Dressing

Anita and I recently spent a few days at the Dollywood DreamMore Resort and Spa. We had such a wonderful time there. One of the biggest highlights was the buffet. Normally when you think buffet you think low quality food, mostly pre-made. Oh that’s definitely not the case at the DreamMore. Everything was made from scratch and everything was out-of-this-world delicious. One of the things I loved the most, interestingly enough, was the house-made dill Ranch salad dressing. It was delicious. I could’ve just drank it out of the bottle. I knew instantly that I had to make some when I got home. Now, this version is mighty good, too, but I’m pretty sure that the DreamMore version used fresh herbs (they had a nice herb garden right outside of the restaurant). Even still, this is delicious and a perfect alternative to ‘normal’ Ranch.
Do not be tempted to rush the 1 hour rest time that this dressing needs. Those dry herbs need time to make the dressing happy. I really love dill so I added a bit more than the recipe calls for.

Dill Ranch Salad Dressing
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Serves: 1 cup
 
Ingredients
  • 1 cup sour cream
  • 1/4 cup mayonnaise
  • 1 tablespoon (plus more as needed) milk
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons dry dill weed
  • 1/2 teaspoon onion powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
  • Kosher salt, to taste
Instructions
  1. Whisk together all ingredients.
  2. Add more milk (a little at a time) if you want the dressing to be thinner. Don't go crazy with it, though.
  3. Refrigerate for at least 1 hour before using. Stir again before serving.

Quick Fix BBQ Ranch Dressing

A lot of restaurant signature sauces start with simple, off-the-shelf ingredients. A restaurant near us starts with BBQ sauce and Ranch, just like with this quick fix BBQ Ranch dressing, and then adds a few other ingredients (such as crumbled cooked bacon) to make it different for different dishes, such as for dipping onion rings or chicken wings.
This quick fix BBQ dressing isn’t just for salads, that’s for sure. I squirted it on a big plate of French fries. I dipped grilled chicken wings in it. Just make sure you start with good, quality BBQ sauce and Ranch dressing. And don’t hesitate to use a spicy BBQ sauce, or one with a bit of smoky flavor to it.

Also try my dill Ranch dressing.

Easy BBQ Ranch Dressing
Author: 
Recipe type: Dressing
Cuisine: American
Serves: 2 cups
 
Ingredients
  • 1 cup Ranch dressing
  • 1 cup BBQ sauce
  • Embellishments, optional (crumbled cooked bacon, chili powder, cayenne, Sriracha, hot sauce, chopped fresh parsley, etc)
Instructions
  1. Whisk together the two ingredients.
  2. Add any embellishments and stir to combine.

Blue Cheese Vinaigrette

Wedge and Cobb salads are always my favorites. I can throw either one together in no time at all with a variety of ingredients, whatever I have on hand. If I’m in a hurry I might grab a simple oil-and-vinegar dressing out of the pantry, but if I have a spare minute or two I like to make my own. Like this blue cheese vinaigrette. Easy to make using ingredients I almost always have on hand. It packs that nice blue cheese twang, along with a little hit of mustard. It was perfect on my simple wedge salad.I like to use smoked pepper and salt when making this blue cheese vinaigrette. It adds a nice unexpected flavor. Subtle but definitely different than ‘normal’ salt and pepper.

Blue Cheese Vinaigrette
Author: 
Prep time: 
Total time: 
Serves: 1 1/2 cups
 
Ingredients
  • 1/2 cup blue cheese, grated or finely chopped
  • 1/3 cup red wine vinegar
  • 1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
  • 2/3 cup extra virgin olive oil
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
Instructions
  1. Whisk together the cheese, vinegar, and mustard.
  2. While still whisking add the olive oil.
  3. Season with salt and pepper.

Ketchup Leather

“Don’t mess with my ketchup” is what Anita told me. And yeah, usually I do listen. But not this time. I was going to make ketchup leather no matter what. And you know what? When we’d finished off our hot-off-the-grill burgers topped with ketchup leather Anita said “Ok, you can mess with my ketchup anytime.”

Ketchup leather makes ketchup on burgers an even better thing. Tastes like ketchup. Looks like a Fruit Roll-Up. But here’s the cool part (besides the wow factor). It doesn’t leak out of your burger. If you’re like me, you’re not shy when squeezing ketchup onto your burger. But the more toppings and the more ketchup, the more that squeezes out. Dripping all over the place and eventually leading to a burger disaster. Not with ketchup leather. Everything stays right where it belongs.

Make a big batch and keep them in the fridge for the next time you make burgers. I really enjoyed it on our copycat of Red Robin’s Royal Red Robin burger.

Ketchup Leather
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
 
Ingredients
  • Ketchup
  • Your favorite seasoning (cracked black pepper is my favorite)
Instructions
  1. Preheat your oven to 170 F.
  2. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper. Spray the paper with non-stick spray.
  3. Squeeze the ketchup out onto the parchment paper. Using a spatula or the back of a spoon, spread it out evenly. You don't want it too thick, but you don't want it too thin either.
  4. Place in the oven for 3 hours.
  5. Let cool completely before cutting into squares or circles for use on burgers.

Hot Pepper Jelly BBQ Sauce

Oh, what a wonderful BBQ sauce this hot pepper jelly sauce is. It has the perfect consistency. Not too runny, not too gloppy. A small bit of heat and a little tang from vinegar and mustard. Perfect for any pork BBQ dish. For me that means smoked baby back ribs.
You can substitute any kind of jelly for the hot pepper jelly, really. But don’t be afraid of hot pepper jelly. Out of the jar, sure, it’s got some kick. But in this sauce that heat gets a little mellowed. You still get great pepper flavor though. It’s still a great sauce!

Want something even spicier? Try my atomic BBQ sauce on ribs.

Hot Pepper Jelly BBQ Sauce
Author: 
Recipe type: Sauce
Cuisine: American
Prep time: 
Total time: 
Serves: 2 cups
 
Ingredients
  • 3/4 cup hot pepper jelly (I used Tabasco)
  • 3/4 cup ketchup
  • 1/4 cup white vinegar
  • 2 tablespoons Worcestershire sauce
  • 1 tablespoon prepared yellow mustard
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
Instructions
  1. Place all ingredients into a saucepan over medium heat.
  2. Whisk until all ingredients are combined.

Copycat Jimmy John’s Avocado Sandwich Spread

Sometimes you just need a little reminder to step outside of your box of usual sandwich spreads and use something you might not think of. This copycat of the avocado sandwich spread from Jimmy John’s is essentially guacamole with a few twists thrown in. It’s fantastic on a sandwich and for that matter, equally as great as a dip for tortilla chips. That’s why I doubled the recipe. Sandwiches and chips. Lunch is done.
Every sandwich needs a little spiciness in my opinion. Which is why I was happy that this avocado sandwich spread includes a jalapeno. Now, granted, it’s a small jalapeno so you’re not going to get overwhelming heat. But you don’t want that kick to be front-and-center. Just there, in the back. Noticed but not overwhelming. This spread is excellent on my copycat of Jason’s Deli California Club sandwich.

Copycat Jimmy John's Avocado Sandwich Spread
Recipe type: Sauce
Cuisine: American
Prep time: 
Total time: 
Serves: 4 servings
 
Ingredients
  • 1 small jalapeno pepper, seeded, chopped
  • 1 medium white onion, chopped
  • 1 garlic clove, chopped
  • 1 Roma tomato, chopped
  • 2 medium avocados, peeled, pitted, chopped
  • 1 tablespoon fresh lime juice
  • 3/4 teaspoon Kosher salt
  • 1/8 teaspoon dry mustard
Instructions
  1. Place the jalapeno, onion, garlic and tomato into a blender or food processor. Process until smooth.
  2. Place avocado into a large bowl. Drizzle with the lime juice and smash with the back of a fork. Transfer to the blender.
  3. Add the salt and mustard to the blender and pulse until the mixture reaches the desired thickness.
  4. Slather on bread for sandwiches. If you do have any extra spread it makes for a great chip dip!

Avocado Ranch Dressing

I love when avocados are in season here. They’re perfect on a salad, be it sliced, chopped or in the dressing itself. This avocado Ranch dressing is quite easy to make. It packs a nice subtle avocado flavor, with the wonderful creamy herb flavor of Ranch.
Avocado Ranch DressingAvocado Ranch dressing isn’t just for salads either. It’s perfect as a dip, or use it as a substitute for sour cream on tacos or nachos.

For a little more kick, try my jalapeno ranch dressing.

Avocado Ranch Dressing
Recipe type: Salad Dressing
Cuisine: American
Prep time: 
Total time: 
Serves: 3-4 cups
 
Ingredients
  • 2 ripe avocados, halved, seed removed
  • 1 cup Ranch dressing
  • 1/2 cup milk (plus more, if needed)
  • 1/2 cup sour cream
  • 1/4 cup fresh squeezed lime juice
  • 2 teaspoons (or more) hot sauce
  • 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 1/4 teaspoon garlic powder
  • Kosher salt, to taste
Instructions
  1. Scoop out the avocado and place into a blender or food processor.
  2. Add remaining ingredients except salt and process until smooth.
  3. Taste, add salt as needed, and pulse a few more times to mix.
  4. Refrigerate for one hour before serving.
  5. Note: If the dressing gets too thick, stir in a bit more milk before serving.

Basic BBQ Rub

When I make a batch of this basic BBQ rub I don’t just make a little ole container full. No, I make a bunch of it. A whole lot. That’s because I use it on just about every piece of meat that I throw onto my trusty old smoker. It shines best on beef and pork, adding a bit of sweetness and a bit of heat. And though it contains coffee and lemon pepper the flavors from those two ingredients don’t jump out and scream at your taste buds. They’re there though, working perfectly with the rest of the flavors. This is truly a great all-around rub.
The idea for this basic BBQ rub came from Ray Lampe’s book, Slow Fire: The Beginner’s Guide to Lip Smacking Barbecue. The book is full of great recipes and stories and ideas, just like this one. This rub can be used as-is or as a great jumping-off point for making your own rub. Play with the ratios to suit your tastes. For example, don’t use regular paprika just use only smoked paprika for a much stronger smoke flavor, perfect for seasoning foods cooked in doors where you won’t get a strong wood flavor. Or add more heat. Or leave out the heat. It’s a very versatile rub.

Also try my basic BBQ sauce. Like this rub, it’s great as is or use it as a base for your own flavors.

Basic BBQ Rub
Author: 
Recipe type: Spice Rub
Cuisine: American
Serves: 1 1/2 cups
 
Ingredients
  • 1/2 cup Sugar in the Raw
  • 1/2 cup Kosher salt
  • 3 tablespoons chili powder (use hot for extra kick)
  • 3 tablespoons paprika
  • 1 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1 teaspoon onion powder
  • 1 teaspoon cayenne
  • 1 teaspoon smoked paprika
  • 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 1/2 teaspoon lemon (or lime) pepper
  • 1/2 teaspoon finely ground coffee (not instant)
Instructions
  1. Combine all ingredients.
  2. Store in an airtight container for up to 6 months.