How to Make Buttermilk Ranch Dressing

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Embracing Motherhood How to Make Buttermilk Ranch Dressing

I was first motivated to make my own ranch dressing when our youngest daughter went through a phase where she wanted to eat everything dipped in ranch, and then she got to the point where she was only sucking the ranch dressing off from things and not even eating the food! So I made this recipe, and we haven’t bought ranch dressing since. I like making it a little thinner and using it as a dressing and a little thicker to use as a dip. It is a favorite of everyone who tries it.

Ingredients/Materials

  • 1-2 c. Fresh Herbs (Cilantro, dill, and curly leaf parsley are my favorites. You could also add sage, thyme, basil, or whatever other fresh herbs you can find.)
  • 3 Green Onions
  • ½ t. Real Salt (I buy my Real Salt in bulk here. You can buy a shaker here, or a refill pouch here.)
  • ¼ t. Pepper
  • ½ t. Onion Powder
  • 2 Pods of Garlic (If kids will be eating this, I’d leave out the garlic. It makes it “too spicy”!)
  • *¼ t. Cayenne Pepper (This gives it a nice kick, but once again, leave it out for the kids.)
  • ¼ c. Helman’s Mayonnaise
  • 1 c. Buttermilk
  • 1 c. Sour Cream
  • Container to Hold Dressing (I like reusing glass jars from store bought dressing, but something like this would be really luxurious.)
  • Small Food Chopper (Get one here.)

Directions

  1. Chop Up Herbs and Garlic: Chop up herbs and garlic into big chunks (on a wooden cutting board) before adding them to the mini food processor.

    green onions, garlic, parsley on a wooden cutting board

    Green Onions, Parsley, and Garlic

  2. Food Chopper: Add the chopped up herbs and garlic to the mini food chopper. Pulse a few times on low until everything if fairly mixed, then mix on high until everything is finely chopped.

    Green Onions, Garlic, and Parsley Chopped Up in a Food Processor

    Green Onions, Garlic, and Parsley Chopped Up in a Food Processor

  3. Add the Mayonnaise, Sour Cream, and Buttermilk: Add more or less buttermilk depending on how thin or thick you like your dressing. If you’re going to be using this as a dip, start with about a ½ c. of buttermilk and add more if needed. Add more sour cream to thicken things up. If you don’t have sour cream, or if you’re looking for a different flavor, add some plain yogurt instead.
  4. Add Seasonings and Herbs: Mix together.
    Ranch Dressing Ingredients About to be Mixed

    Ranch Dressing Ingredients About to be Mixed

    Ranch Dressing All Mixed Up

    Ranch Dressing All Mixed Up

  5. Serve: I like using this dressing as both salad dressing and a dip.
    Salad with Ranch Dressing

    Salad with Ranch Dressing

    Ranch Dressing Dip with carrots and celery

    Ranch Dressing Dip

  6. Storing: I like to pour this dressing into old glass dressing jars, but you could also use mason jars.

    Ranch Dressing Stored in an Old Blue Cheese Container

    Ranch Dressing Stored in an Old Blue Cheese Container

Homemade Olive Garden Salad Dressing Recipe

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I love the house dressing they serve at Olive Garden, and I LOVE the fact that they serve limitless salad and breadsticks even more. To be honest, when we go there (or when we used to go there, before we had all of these kids), I would just fill up on the salad and breadsticks and take the entrè home with me to eat later! But what I don’t love about the Olive Garden dressing that you find at the store, is that like pretty much every other store bought salad dressing, it is made with canola or vegetable oil, white vinegar, and has MSG sneakily hidden in the ingredients (if you see “natural flavors“, that means MSG).

Anyways, I’ve always loved my homemade Italian dressing, but I was looking for something a bit creamier, and so I simplified my Italian dressing recipe, added some mayonnaise, and voilá, a great tasting creation was born! I think it tastes similar to the Olive Garden dressing, but even better because it’s made with only the best ingredients. Give it a try, and see for yourself!

Ingredients

  • Container to Hold Dressing (Get one here. I like using this because it has fill lines for the oil, vinegar, and water pre-marked on the glass jar.)
  • 1 c. Extra Virgin Olive Oil (Get some here.)
  • ½ c. Apple Cider Vinegar (Get some here.)
  • 2 T. Filtered Water
  • 4 T. Mayonnaise (I like Hellman’s)
  • Curly Leaf Parsley – 1 Small Bunch (You can add whatever fresh herbs you have here too. If I have it, I like using cilantro and sometimes dill, sage, or basil.)
  • 1 t. Onion Powder 
  • 1 t. Real Salt (I buy my Real Salt in bulk here. You can buy a shaker here, or a refill pouch here.)
  • ½ t. Pepper
  • Optional: 2-3 green onions chopped, 2-3 pods of garlic peeled and finely chopped, or a sprinkle of cayenne pepper for a little kick,

Directions

Basically, you just mix all of the ingredients together, and shake it up! Simple as can be!

Homemade Olive Garden Salad Dressing

Homemade Olive Garden Salad Dressing

 

I find that with salad dressing, there is such a personal preference of taste that it’s really all about finding a base recipe and making it your own. My husband, for example, really doesn’t like the taste of vinegary things, so his ideal recipe might include less apple cider vinegar and a little more water or olive oil. (But honestly, he’s a die hard thousand island fan, so I’m going to be crafting a homemade thousand island recipe for him soon.) I, on the other hand, love vinegary things, so I’ll actually go a little heavier on the apple cider vinegar than this recipe calls for.

In the end, it’s about finding what you love, making it as healthy as can be, and then enjoying the fruits of your labors as you become the healthiest version of you that you can be!

Homemade Italian Dressing Recipe

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Homemade Italian Dressing

This homemade Italian dressing is my absolute favorite thing about salad! I love making it with whatever fresh herbs are growing in the garden or with whatever herbs I can find at the grocery store. It is a much better alternative to the MSG laden commercial dressings made with canola oil that you’ll find at the store.

Ingredients/Materials

  • ½ c. Extra Virgin Olive Oil (Get it here.)
  • 1 c. Apple Cider Vinegar (Get it here.)
  • 2 T. Filtered Water
  • Fresh Herbs (Cilantro, dill, and curly leaf parsley are my favorites. You could also add sage, thyme, basil, or whatever other fresh herbs you have around.)
  • 2-3 Green Onions
  • 2-3 Pods of Garlic (This is optional. If you don’t mind the garlic breath, go ahead!)
  • 1 t. Real Salt (I buy my Real Salt in bulk here. You can buy a shaker here, or a refill pouch here.)
  • ¼ t. Pepper
  • 1 t. Onion Powder
  • *¼ t. Cayenne Pepper (This gives it a nice kick, but you might want to leave it out.)
  • Container to Hold Dressing (Get one here.)
  • Small Food Chopper (Get one here.)

Directions

  1. Add the Water and Vinegar: If you’re using the container that I linked to above, it will have a line for how much water, vinegar, and oil add. You basically want to have twice as much vinegar as oil and add a splash of water. I like to add my water and vinegar before the oil so that I have enough room for the herbs.
    Dressing Container with Lines for the Water, Oil, and Vinegar

    Dressing Container with Lines for the Water, Oil, and Vinegar

    Water and Vinegar Added to the Dressing Container

    Water and Vinegar Added to the Dressing Container

  2. Chop Up the Herbs, Green Onion, and Garlic: I don’t really measure my herbs, I just grab a handful and sprinkle any leftovers right into my salad. I like to coarsely chop everything up (on a wooden cutting board) before adding them to the mini food processor.
    green onions, garlic, parsley on a wooden cutting board

    Green Onions, Parsley, and Garlic

    Food Chopper: Add the chopped up herbs and garlic to the mini food chopper. Pulse a few times on low until everything if fairly mixed, then mix on high until everything is finely chopped.

    Green Onions, Garlic, and Parsley Chopped Up in a Food Processor

    Green Onions, Garlic, and Parsley Chopped Up in a Food Processor

  3. Add the Herbs: You can see how there’s a lot of room for the herbs. You can go crazy and add a ton or just keep it minimal.

    fresh herbs added to dressing

    Fresh Herbs Added

  4. Add the Olive Oil: Fill up the rest of the container with extra virgin olive oil.

    oil added to Italian dressing

    Oil Added to the Dressing

  5. Add the Seasonings: You can measure out the seasonings or do like me and just sprinkle them in. Once you make this a few times, you’ll get to know what tastes you like more or less of.
  6. Shake and Serve: You’ll want to make sure the cap is securely closed, shake vigorously, and then serve right away before everything separates and settles again.
    homemade italian dressing with fresh herbs, apple cider vinegar, and oil

    Homemade Italian Dressing

    salad with tomatoes, cucumbers, and cheese with italian dressing in a glass bowl

    Salad with Homemade Italian Dressing

  7. Storing: You’ll want to keep this in the fridge for optimum freshness. The oil should stay in liquid form if you use it often enough, but if the oil hardens, either run it under some hot water or leave it at room temperature until it liquefies again.