Posts Tagged ‘ranch dressing’

Seasoned Oyster Crackers

Tuesday, September 29th, 2009

Recently, my family had a party celebrating my grandpa’s life. He died a few years ago, but we decided to celebrate his birthday this year by coming together as a family and playing some of his favorite games and eating some of his favorite foods.

There are a few things that stand out in my mind when it comes to “Paw-Paw” foods, but I knew that the family would have most of them covered. (Fried Bologna Sandwiches, Colby Cheese in the wax wrapping, and spreadable yellow mustard in a jar, in case you were wondering). But one of the most iconic “Paw-Paw” foods for me has to be oyster crackers. My grandparents kept them in a canister on the fridge, and when he ate soup for lunch, the canister would come down as he set out everything he’d need for his midday meal. They were fun for me, as a little kid–we didn’t really have them at home. And as I got older, whenever I happened to come across them (mostly on the side of a Steak ‘N Shake cup of chili), they always made me think of Paw Paw. Today, they’re my own soup-cracker of choice, and I remember him fondly whenever we have chili or soup at home.

For the party, I wanted to be a little creative with oyster crackers–treat them as my own kind of “secret ingredient,” Iron Chef style, but I was stuck. When I mentioned my dilemma to some co-workers at lunch, a few people suggested this recipe for seasoned snack crackers. On their recommendation, I decided to whip them up.

When my roommate Leah came home and saw me making them, she got super-excited…apparently they’re a treat from her own home, something her mom would make from time to time when she was younger.

The recipe was about as simple as can be, and the crackers were pretty tasty. Nothing extraordinary, but a quick and tasty treat. The kind of thing that will be nice to have in my back pocket for late-notice parties. These could be set out anywhere you’d put out Chex Mix, or mixed nuts, for example. I also ate some of the leftovers with a bowl of tomato soup, which really dressed up a basic soup.

Seasoned Oyster Crackers

  • 2 bags oyster crackers
  • 2 cup canola oil or vegetable oil
  • 1 teaspoon lemon pepper
  • 1 teaspoon dried dill weed
  • 1 teaspoon garlic salt
  • 1 packet dry ranch dressing (I used Hidden Valley Ranch)
  1. Microwave oil in a 2 cup glass container for about 45-60 seconds. Whisk in seasonings and buttermilk ranch dressing package.
  2. Pour over oyster crackers in a large container and mix until thoroughly coated. Store in an air tight container.

Ranch Crockpot Pork Chops with Roasted Garlic Mashed Potatoes

Thursday, March 12th, 2009

Crockpot recipes really are fantastic. Even though I absolutely love to cook, and making dinner is one of my favorite parts of the day, there is something very satisfying about coming home from work to the smell of dinner simmering away. No exception here. When I opened the door and walked into the kitchen, I was met with the delicious scent of slow cooked pork chops.

The picture below doesn’t do this dish justice. It’s not pretty, or flashy, but it was one of the tastiest dishes I’ve made in the crockpot in a while. The recipe calls for a regular can of soup, but I substituted 98% fat free cream of chicken soup–I don’t find enough of  a taste difference to warrant the extra calories in the full fat version. I used a regular packet of ranch dressing, but I don’t think it would suffer if you wanted to lighten it further by using a fat free packet of dressing.

pork-chops

Ranch Crockpot Pork Chops with Roasted Garlic Mashed Potatoes
Adapted from www.picky-palate.com.

  • 4 pork chops, 1 & 1/2 inch thick
  • 1 packet dry Ranch Dressing Seasoning
  • 10 oz can Cream of Chicken Soup
  • 4 lbs peeled, cubed yukon gold potatoes (I leave the skin on for my mashed potatoes most times. I like the taste of them!)
  • 5 Tablespoons real butter
  • 6 cloves roasted garlic (leftover from a Chicken & 40 Cloves)
  • 1- 1 1/2 Cups warm milk
  • 1 Tablespoon salt, or to taste
  • 1 teaspoon fresh cracked black pepper, or to taste

1. Place pork chops, Ranch seasoning and soup into a medium sized crock pot over high heat for 4 hours or low heat for 6 hours.

2. Place potatoes into a large pot of cold water. Place onto stovetop over high heat and bring to a boil. Once water is boiling, cook for 10-12 minutes or until potatoes are fork tender. Drain and transfer to the work bowl of a stand or electric mixer. Mix on low until potatoes are mashed then add butter, garlic, milk, salt and pepper.

3. Scoop mashed potatoes onto serving plates and top with pork chops and soup gravy from crock pot.

Note: I ended up thickening this sauce with a corstarch slurry, because it was a little thin for my tastes. Otherwise, I’d call this perfect. We used thick cut pork loin chops that stood up well to the crockpot cooking.