Ranch Dressing Mix…the Magic Elixer!

I was reading an article on the site, Babble (www.babble.com), and article author, Brooke McLay, said something that I really resonated with: “There are a few pantry essentials that tend to add a little bit of magic to any meal…a packet of dry ranch dressing mix, for instance, can be tossed into just about everything…Meatloaf for dinner? Meh. Ranch meatloaf for dinner? Yeehaw!”

I too, have had the experience of successfully adding oomph to many ho-hum dishes through the application of this magic recipe elixir. But back to Brooke’s article. She went on to share her favorite ways to use ranch dressing mix and promised that this addition would not just lend more flavor, but take the recipe from normal to wowza!

She started with proverbial everyday popcorn. Just drizzle your melted butter over it and then sprinkle with your ranch dressing mix. This is really delicious.

Next, consider combining ranch dressing mix with grated Parmesan cheese. Brooke suggested coating oven fries in it. We liked that a lot. From there I went on to coating chicken breasts and salmon steaks in this mix. Yum yum yum.

Let your imagination run wild with this combination. Pork chops, chicken tenders, even as a pot roast seasoner. And back to popcorn; why not add Parmesan to the above-mentioned idea?

And then there’s homemade bread and rolls. I sprinkled lots over my loaves of whole wheat bread before popping them in the over, and the finished product had a lovely-flavored crispy crust. On another day I added a teaspoon of the Parmesan/ranch dressing mix to the center of each dinner roll I formed and then finished off each roll by coating them in the stuff before baking. This was a hit and calls for a repeat performance.

Leaving the Parmesan + ranch dressing mix theme, think about adding a ranch dressing mix packet to your pasta salad. The depth of flavor and character of the salad changes dramatically with this touch.

And wow oh wow what ranch dressing mix does to soups. A perfect example: Taco soup. I know this dish isn’t new to you…don’t you love how it lends itself to a quick meal or one you can throw into the slow cooker so your set free to pursue things other than dinner-making? Eat it over tortilla chips and top it off with sliced green onions, grated cheddar cheese, sour cream, and diced avocado and everyone’s happy.

But the addition of a packet of ranch dressing mix creates a unique taco soup…nothing like you’ve tasted before. This little trick turns a typical dish into a signature dish! I’ll close with the recipe and a big “THANK YOU!” to Jennifer Cooks (www.jennifercooks.com) for sharing this wonderful version of a proverbial favorite.

And if you’d like to pass on your favorite ways for using ranch dressing mix, please do. We’d love to hear from you. Meanwhile, let’s experiment!


1 pound lean ground beef

1 pound pork breakfast sausage

2 (14.5 ounce) cans diced tomatoes

2 (15 ounce) cans pinto beans, undrained

3 cups water

1 (15.25 ounce) can Mexi-Corn, undrained

1 (1.0 ounce) package dry ranch salad dressing mix

1 (1.0 ounce) package taco seasoning

  1. Brown and drain beef and pork in large stew pot. Add remaining ingredients and cook on medium-low heat for 30 minutes. An alternate method is to brown meats and pour meats and all remaining ingredients into a large crock pot or slow cooker and cook on low for 4 to 6 hours.

  2. Garnish soup with chopped green onions, sour cream, shredded cheddar cheese, and Tortilla Chips.

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  •   www.jennifercooks.com

    Alice Osborne
    Weekly Newsletter Contributor since 2006
    Email the author! alice@dvo.com

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