Wednesday, March 2, 2016

Salt-Free Ranch Dressing Mix

I don't know about you but I really enjoy ranch dressing. The stuff in the bottle is okay, but if you look at the ingredients it contains some not so good stuff like MSG and added sugar. It also has a lot of added sodium. I'm trying to watch my sodium so I decided to make a salt-free ranch mix, then I can control the salt whenever I make the dressing or add it to a recipe. It's super easy to make your own ranch mix. If you make a batch of this up, you can have it already on hand to make ranch dressing or add it into other recipes. Let's get started!

Salt-free Ranch Dressing Mix

4 Tbsp of dried parsley
4 tsp of dried dill
4 tsp of onion powder
4 tsp of minced dried onion
2 tsp of garlic powder
1 tsp of ground black pepper

Combine the spices in a bowl and from here you can process them for a bit in a mini food processor to mix well and make some of the parsley smaller or you can use a coffee grinder as a spice grinder. Then place in a container and make sure to label it. I used a small canning jar.

If you use a coffee grinder, make sure you keep a separate one for coffee so that you don't get spice flavor where you don't want it and coffee flavor in your spices. Some may prefer just to leave it as is and that's okay too. The first time I did mine in the coffee grinder I got kind of carried away and got it a bit too fine, but I feel it's really personal preference.

When you're ready to make ranch dressing simply mix 1 Tbsp of this mix, 1/3 cup of mayonnaise and 1/4 a cup of buttermilk. This is where you might add a dash of salt if you like as well. Now that's just a starting point, you can add more of the mayo and buttermilk if you like. Maybe even try plain greek yogurt for the mayo or mix them both together. Lots of different ways to do it. I found mine was a bit too thick at first and added some milk to thin it out a bit. Again, personal preference and what you're using it for will make a difference. I hope you enjoy it!

Tuesday, January 12, 2016

The Best Chicken Salad

I hope that all of you have had a blessed Christmas and New Year! I know many of us start the New Year off with the resolution to eat healthier. I definitely want to be on the path to being healthier and am trying to make better choices along the way. Sometimes that can be hard when things are busy but baby steps help. So hopefully I will have lots of new recipes to post of some yummy goodies that are healthy as well!

I feel that chicken salad is a pretty healthy dish. Especially if you are careful to check the ingredients of the mayonnaise. I use Hellmann's Olive Oil mayonnaise and really enjoy it. Chicken salad is a favorite of mine, but I usually make the same recipe. Chicken, mayo, dill, celery, nuts, etc. Sometimes I add grapes to it as well. However, this time I tried something a bit different. I added relish and hard boiled eggs. I loved the result! This chicken salad is so good! I hope you try it and if you do, let me know what you think!

The Best Chicken Salad
2 cups of cooked, diced chicken
1/2 cup of celery, finely diced
2 hard boiled eggs, finely chopped
2 tbsp of sweet relish
2/3 cup of mayonnaise
salt and pepper to taste

In a large bowl, combine the chicken, celery, eggs, relish and mayo until they are mixed well. Taste and see if you want to add salt and/or pepper. I find that some of that will depend on how seasoned your chicken was when you cooked it. I didn't need to add salt to mine but I did add pepper. Also, if you like your chicken salad a bit on the drier side, you may add a bit less mayo, then add more as you need to. This is a very adjustable recipe! The next time I may it I may add a bit of dill and try that.

This chicken salad really is delicious! My son finished his sandwich of it and then wanted more of the chicken salad. Hope you enjoy it as well!