I am both a ranch lover and a ranch snob; read: I would put that stuff on almost anything and I am picky about it! This recipe is something I make almost weekly and I use it on salads, and also as a veggie dip. I like raw fresh vegetables, and I like them even more dipped in this stuff. You won’t miss the bottled Ranch at all once you start making this! 
This is really easy. And it definitely tastes like a homemade ranch and not hidden valley ranch. I normally encourage improvising and substituting when cooking, but not with this recipe; I have worked hard at perfecting the flavor! 

And if you have never bought or used fresh parsley before, spring for the $.99 and get some! 

RANCH DIP & DRESSING
1 cup plain greek yogurt
1 Tbs mayonnaise (I use Vegenaise)
¼ tsp black pepper
½ tsp sea salt
½ tsp granulated garlic
1 tsp onion powder
½ tsp dried dill
1 Tbs fresh chopped parsley

Mix the yogurt and mayo together first and once they are blended add in everything else.

If you want it runnier, like for a dressing, add in some milk or cream, or buttermilk, whatever you have on hand. 

This will last in the fridge almost all week!
 
 
I will never buy pre-made store bought salsa again, not even in the dead of winter!

Salsa is so versatile and so good for you too! And although nothing beats the fresh homemade stuff with garden tomatoes, it isn’t very practical during winter in Wisconsin; tomatoes from the grocery store, even organic ones often have little taste and are expensive.  

Store-bought jarred salsa usually contains preservatives, lacks flavor, and is quite expensive- especially the good quality stuff. I don’t care much for the consistency either. Enter: the simple canned tomato; clean and inexpensive, and when you pair it with a few fresh ingredients, you won’t be disappointed!
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WINTER IN WISCONSIN SALSA
2 jalapenos, seeded and roughly chopped
½ cup roughly chopped red onion
2 cloves garlic, grated with a microplane
½ tsp salt
1 Tbs fresh lime juice
1- 15oz can fire-roasted diced tomatoes*
2 Tbs fresh chopped cilantro

1. In a food processor or blender combine jalapeno, onion, garlic, salt and lime juice: pulse several times until ground finely but not quite pureed. 

2. Add in the tomatoes with their liquid and the cilantro and pulse until the desired consistency is reached. I usually run it for about 10-15 seconds; I like it smooth.

*My favorite brand of canned tomatoes is Muir Glen Organic. Get the “fire-roasted” style: it really adds a lot to this recipe. 

This is a pretty flavorful salsa, add less jalapeno and garlic if you like less flavor. But I will say that I think the amounts indicated are needed to fully get rid of the "canned tomato" taste. 


 
 
Guacamole is an often-overlooked powerhouse food. It is so good for you, loaded with avocado, lime, and fresh garlic. And whats not to like? The problem many people run in to is that they usually eat it on tortilla chips and aren't sure what else to do with it. 

It is so very simple to make, but we'll start with the basics for anyone who has never ventured into the world of avocados... 
Selection: if they are to be used within a day or two, go for the ones that are dark browny-black-green colored and not bright green. Pick one up and give it a gentle squeeze, it should give a little to the pressure of your fingers; this is the one you want. I have been know to squeeze every one in the bin looking for the ones with the best texture! FYI, occasionally there are not any ripe ones available. Of course you can buy green ones and let them ripen on your counter at home, which will take several days. 

Guacamole Ideas to Try:
-a great topping for your grilled chicken breast
-cucumber, celery, and bell pepper slices dipped in it
-fajita bowl: sauteed steak, peppers and onions topped with a big dollop
-a great sweet potato topping
-great for a salad: lettuce + black beans + tomato + grilled corn + shredded carrot + guacamole + vinaigrette dressing
-hardboiled egg cut in half and topped with a spoonful of guacamole (beats mayo any day!)
-fancy appetizer: radicchio or endive lettuce cups filled with guacamole and topped with cheddar cheese
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SIMPLE GUACAMOLE
1 Roma tomato, seeded and finely chopped
 1 jalapeno, seeded and finely diced
 ½ cup finely chopped red onion
 1 Tbs fresh lime juice
1 clove garlic, very finely chopped or grated 
½ tsp sea salt
 2 Tbs fresh chopped cilantro
 3 Haas avocados, very ripe*

1. In a bowl combine the tomato, jalapeno, red onion, lime juice, garlic, cilantro, and salt.

2. Cut the avocadoes in half and remove the pits. Scoop out the flesh with a spoon. If it is very ripe/soft you can put it in the bowl with the other ingredients and just vigorously mix everything up. If it is slightly under ripe/hard I will pile it up on my cutting board and use a potato masher to mash it into bits.  

3. Add the avocado to the other ingredients and mix to combine. Enjoy! 

Guacamole doesn’t store too well, so I recommend making only as much as you will use in a day or two. Store it in the fridge and place a piece of plastic wrap directly on top of the guacamole in the bowl that it is in. 

*If you have good ripe ones it should form a uniform mash, if they are a little under-ripe they will form mashed up little pieces, which are fine. I do think that very ripe avocados make the best guacamole.