Whenever I am unsure of anything, I’m totally guilty of thinking about it a lot (read: overthink and analyze to death). And frankly, the past few years have given me a lot to think about. The good news? I can handle it better now. As I have gotten older, I have found solace in making lists — to-dos, pros and cons, etc. They let me work out whatever is bothering me, and find enough peace that I don’t lose sleep or drive myself bonkers. Totally a good thing. And all that list making has spilled into my worklife where I preemptively make lists about what needs to be done, when things are do, plans I have and such. Really, it’s made me a lot more organized.
Being organized (okay, my kitchen cabinets? not so organized … I mean in a more overall sense) has allowed me the mental space necessary to tap into the things I really like to do — writing, creating, sharing. And especially cooking for those I love. It’s also let me really see beyond what I enjoy to making things that my family will love. Like this Homemade Buttermilk Ranch Dressing. It’s pretty far from my first choice of dressing, but I wanted to make it because it’s something the kids and Shawn adore. I love to make people happy through my food.
Do you like ranch dressing? Whenever ranch dressing hits the table, the kids get wildly excited and ask for it. They like it on salad, steamed broccoli, baked potatoes, whatever …
Ranch dressing requires minimal time and effort, and the payoff is so worthwhile. But the key to making this is in the ingredients you use. You want to choose the best quality ingredients you can because the quality and flavor is key to this dressing’s success.
That’s why I got a little specific in the ingredients list, suggesting my favorites for this recipe. For instance, I like Hellmann’s Real Mayonnaise — the full fat kind. It has a mild flavor that lets the other ingredients really shine. (Yes, I am a Hellmann’s Real Foodie, but Hellmann’s has been in my fridge pretty much my whole life.). For the buttermilk, I love Kate’s Real Butter Milk which is made by the same folks who create my favorite butter — Kate’s Homemade Butter. It’s really the best buttermilk I have ever had, but if you have a different favorite, use that!
Making this couldn’t be easier. You measure the ingredients, whisk it all together, pour into an airtight container, chill and use. Simple. Fresh. Yum. The kids and Shawn adored this dressing, so once fall comes around (when I keep buttermilk around regularly), this will be making frequent appearances at my table.
And here’s a fun way to use this ranch dressing — bread thinner pork chops with it. Even as someone who isn’t a fan of ranch, I love pork chops that are dredged in ranch and breadcrumbs and then grilled. When a relative made them for dinner recently, I was the total skeptic — but wow. Try it.
One last thing: I am totally in love with this OXO Salad Dressing Shaker. It has a great seal and is super easy to pour. Plus, the wide opening when you unscrew the top makes it so easy to pour homemade dressing inside to store it. OXO sent me this recently to try out and I was pleasantly surprised to find that it’s probably the best salad dressing container I have used. Although I love flask-style ones, they aren’t easy to get the dressing into and can be challenging to clean. This isn’t. And the fact that the BPA-free container is dishwasher safe? Totally a happy bonus that makes my life easier.
Homemade Buttermilk Ranch Dressing
- 3/4 cup mayo recommended: Hellmann’s Real Mayonnaise
- 1/2 cup buttermilk recommended: Kate’s Real Butter Milk
- 1 clove garlic minced
- 1 tbsp minced fresh flat leaf parsley
- 1 tsp finely chopped chives
- 1/2 tsp kosher salt
- pepper to taste
- Combine all ingredients in a bowl. Whisk thoroughly until combined. Transfer to a tightly sealed container and refrigerate for at least two hours before using. Be sure to shake or stir before using.
- This can be stored in the fridge in an airtight container for up to five days.
Disclosure: I was not compensated for the writing of this post. However, I am an unpaid brand ambassador for Hellmann’s and also received this salad dressing container from Oxo in hopes I would write about it. But all opinions are my own.
Sarah Walker Caron is a cookbook author, freelance writer and founder of Sarah’s Cucina Bella. Her latest cookbook is The Super Easy 5-Ingredient Cookbook, published by Rockridge Press, which focuses on quick, easy, from-scratch cooking for busy people. A single mother to two kids in middle school, Sarah loves nightly family dinners, juicy tomatoes plucked fresh from the vine and lazy days on the beach. She also adores reading and traveling.