Ranch, Cheddar, and Bacon Dip

A few times each year, I try to bring some sort of treats to other staff members with whom I work and who help create a more vibrant campus for our students, staff, faculty, and visitors.  One of the staff areas that have been knocking it out of the park lately is the facilities management staff.  I took some sweet treats — still coming to be posted, but also wanted to take a savory treat.  I found this recipe for ranch, cheddar, and bacon dip in one of the community cookbooks (the 75th Anniversary WMT Cookbook) and thought it was time to put it together.  I got compliments on it from a few different folks, so it must have hit the spot!

Ranch, Cheddar, and Bacon Dip.jpg

Ranch, Cheddar and Bacon Dip

1 pkg ranch dressing dip
1 c sour cream
1 c cheddar cheese
1/4 c bacon bits

In a bowl, combine ingredients.  Serve with crackers.

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Crunchy Pea Salad

Recently, we had another funeral at church and I brought a salad again.  I’m glad I looked through the salad recipes when I was home at my parents house over Easter, because I found some great ones to try and bring for this funeral and other upcoming funeral luncheons.  This crunchy pea salad came from the Catholic Daughters cookbook and looked to be full of midwestern goodness.  In recent years, I have heard references to ranch dressing being the Millennials’ ketchup and another friend reference moving back to our rural area from a more urban area and realizing how much ranch was in everything.  Since it is a dressing, it seems appropriate in a salad, so here we go with that.

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Ranch Crunchy Pea Salad

1 pkg frozen baby peas, thawed
1 cup chopped cauliflower
1 cup diced celery
1/4 c diced green onion
1/2 c sour cream
1 c ranch dressing
1 c chopped cashews

Combine all ingredients except cashews.  Chill.  Stir in cashews just before serving.

Cheesy Ranch Chex Mix

From the Pillsbury Best Holiday Recipes 2009 magazine, I saw this great chex mix recipe — you may remember that back in December, I was on a bit of a kick with party mixes, including an original flavored mix, and a curried cran-orange mix.  Well, I had another gathering that called for some treats, and I thought this might be a nice recipe to try.  I brought the leftovers in for a marathon meeting at work, and it couldn’t have gone over any better!  And, for a snack mix that doesn’t require baking and can be ready pretty quickly, this recipe is a keeper!

cheesy-ranch-chex-mix

Cheesy Ranch Chex Mix

9 c Corn, Rice, or Wheat Chex cereal (or a combination)
2 c pretzel twists
2 c Cheez-Its
1 Tsp butter or margarine, melted
1 pkg ranch dressing mix
1/2 c grated Parmesan cheese

In a large microwavable bowl, mix cereal, pretzels, and crackers; set aside.  In small microwaveable bowl, microwave butter until melted (about 30 seconds).  Pour over cereal mixture; stir until evenly coated.  Stir in dressing mix and cheese until evenly coated.

Microwave uncovered on high for 3 minutes, stirring each minute.  Spread on waxed paper or foil to cool.  Store in airtight container.

Western Broccoli Salad

Have you ever experienced one of those moments when you realize that something has entered into your diet significantly?  Over the past month I’ve realized that I’m eating a lot more broccoli.  A lot more.  My iron levels must be through the roof.  I have been eating broccoli at lunch daily from the salad bar at work.  But, when I get breakfast in the cafeteria, a lot of times this includes bringing a bowl full of broccoli down to my office to snack on throughout the day.  There have even been a couple of times when I get to the end of the day and realize all three of my meals have included broccoli in some form.

Trying to find a different way to incorporate broccoli into my diet, I came across this recipe, which also uses ranch dressing.  Some would say ranch is the ketchup of our generation.  So, I searched for a recipe which incorporated broccoli and ranch and came across this recipe from Taste of Home magazine.

Western Broccoli Salad

4 cups fresh broccoli florets

1 medium tomato, chopped

1 (16 ounce) can kidney beans, rinsed and drained

3/4 cup chopped sweet onion

1 cup shredded reduced-fat Cheddar cheese

1/4 teaspoon salt

3/4 cup fat-free ranch salad dressing

Place 1 in. of water and broccoli in a skillet; bring to a boil. Boil for 1 minute. Cover and remove from the heat; let stand for 3-4 minutes or until crisp-tender. Drain and pat dry. In a serving bowl, toss the broccoli, tomato, beans, onion, cheese and salt. Drizzle with dressing; toss to coat. Cover and refrigerate until serving.