Sunday, March 8, 2015

Making Do

I've been craving green salads lately.  My last grocery order included a head of lettuce and a couple of tomatoes.  I forgot about the salad dressing.

I have in my recipe collection, several recipes for a dry mix to make and keep on hand to make a Ranch Salad Dressing.  But in looking over those recipes I found that I was missing several of the ingredients.  So I dug through my old recipe box that contains recipes I have had for many years.  Sure enough, I found a recipe for Ranch Dressing that I could make with just a few minor adjustments.

Ranch House Dressing

2 C. buttermilk  (I found buttermilk powder at the grocery store, so I keep a couple of cans on hand and make up just the amount I need.)
2 C. Mayo  (I use Miracle Whip)
1/4 C. chopped fresh parsley  (I use the same amount of dried.)
1/2 of a large onion, chopped (I used a handful of dehydrated onion.)
1-2 cloves garlic, finely chopped (I used 2 tsp. garlic powder.)

Dump everything into a bowl, whisk it together and refrigerate.  This dressing doesn't taste exactly like the store-bought ranch salad dressing, but if you like ranch, you probably will like this substitute.  It will fit into a quart canning jar.

As long as I'm on the subject of salad dressings, here is a recipe that I've been using for over 40 years.  The name of the recipe is French
Dressing, but it is more like a darker, richer Russian dressing.  It is really good on a green salad.

French Dressing

1/2 C. vinegar
1-1/2 C. ketchup
2 Tbsp. lemon juice
1/4 tsp. paprika
1 large onion, grated
2 C. vegetable oil
1 C. sugar
1/2 tsp. salt
1 heaping tsp. celery seed

Whisk to blend.  Pour into jars and refrigerate.  This dressing will separate in the fridge, so just shake it up before pouring on a salad.

I've taken pork chops, covered them with slices of raw onion and poured this dressing over the chops like you would a barbeque sauce.  That's when I tried this - when I was out of barbeque sauce!  Baked in the oven until well done, they are delicious.

I think one of the most important things my parents taught me was how to "make do."  Growing up, we lived 10 miles from town.  If we were out of something, we couldn't just jump in the car and go to the store.  We "made do" with what we had.  I have found that making do with what I have often saves me money in the long run.  And as grocery prices continue to rise, I think I will be making more of the things like salad dressings rather than buying them pre-made.  Both of these dressings cost me much less to make than to buy.  Same goes for making things like cakes or brownies or cornbread or pancakes from scratch rather than buying ready-made mixes.

I know there are times when buying new is necessary.  But when it comes to cooking and baking, I think the lessons I had on how to make do were a good thing.

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