Make your own Ranch Dressing / Ranch Dip

You can make your own Ranch Dressing. Buttermilk and a Ranch seasoning packet. This is how people did it back in the 70s when salad wasn’t invented. You can also make Ranch dip with Sour Cream and a ranch seasoning packet.

This seems to be right on the edge of a forgotten skill.

Bonus Tip- you can make onion dip with powdered onion soup packet and sour cream.

Make it fresh.

Father’s Day Bonus Round 20210621

The Story

Conan was asked “what is good?” My answer… “To see your children driven before you and hear the lamentations.”

We had a perfect day to clean up storm damage. Friday it was 103 degrees. Today is was 72. In between, we lost the rest of the pear tree in the south field.

Last year, we lost about one third of it. This weekend, we lost the rest of it. It fell all the way down to the stump.

I loaded the saw in the truck and headed down. I made pear tree firewood for a couple of hours. I also cut a path into the woods. After dinner, Merryweather came out and pulled the tops inside the tree line. I stacked fire wood. We had a beverage.

After the sun set, we made a level line on the side of the house with lasers for a different project. Being a dad is awesome.

The Satur-Deluge Before

We were planning on dinner with Clark and Mrs. Clark. There was a big storm just north of the house. Mssrs and Mrs. Clark were wind bound. We had carry out that needed picked up. On the map, it looked like I could skirt the storm to the restaurant and pick up dinner. In reality, I drove into the storm and ended up parked on the curb of an empty building to avoid the sideways rain and hail.

On the way back, I damn near hydroplaned into the center divider on the highway. It was like the movie we had to watch in middle school. I just remember the hydroplaning and getting in trouble for laughing at the tear jerker after school movie.

Hail damage and a near death experience is a small price to pay for Pappy’s Barbecue. It’s still in my top 5. There is a location less than 15 minutes from my house.

The Sunday Before

I had rolled out the pool cover before the Satur-Deluge. It was filthy, but there was enough water on the cover to give it a good scrubbing. Mssrs and Mrs. Clark came over. The pool was used. We were heading out for dinner. We stopped and harassed Merryweather at his JOB. Our initial dinner plan was denied. We went to Salty’s Fresh Mex. instead. It was delicious.

Conquering the Spice Drawer

Or how a $10 jar of cayenne pepper turned into a $200 spice drawer revamp.

When we moved to the new house, it seemed obviously that the spices were going in a drawer. We had kept them on a shelf in the way that had been passed down by our ancestors. The trick is… The new house has a ton of cabinets, and a relatively small number of shelves. The shelf that was the obvious candidate was taken down, because we were updating appliances.

This brings us to the drawer. I had initially just dumped everything in there. Covid resulted in a lot of additions. Indian spices. Greek Spices. No salt spices. I had to get a handle on it.

I had three sizes sorted alphabetically. Organized. Kinda.

I was at a graduation party the other day. The host had a cool spice drawer organizing insert. I started looking around at a way to take my spice drawer to the next level.

I have about thirty 4 ounce (regular store bought size) or smaller. I have another fifteen Costco sized or larger. I just got a jar of cayenne pepper that is ridiculous. A lifetime supply. It’s so big that I should probably just call this story. I over bought cayenne pepper and now need to over-buy spice drawer organization.

Current System – Three Sizes Sorted Alphabetically

It’s not awesome. Those tiny MCormicks might as well be in the trash.

Next System – Two sizes , alphabetically then Vertical

This is not nearly as bad as I thought. I did run into an early problem. Simply Organic Curry Powder and Garam Masala are about the same width as regular spices, but taller and two of them were breaking up my beautiful, orderly columns right at the start of the alpha sort. I pulled them out. Stored them separate which made the columns work. So now I am standing over here getting ready to do it again including the overly large “regular” jars.

Oh Me of Little Faith

Of course, Simply Organic Curry Powder and Garam Masala fit. You just have to believe it will fit. Have confidence in your systems.

When was the last time you went through your spice drawer?

Take a look. Throw out anything older than four years. We have moved a couple times in the past 10 years. The first time we moved it was Purge City. We didn’t move any food stuff. Look again. Update the ground pepper in your pepper shaker. Or upgrade to a pepper mill. Did you get a spice rack as a wedding gift? How long ago was that? Inherit a spice collection from somebody? Forget about fresh.

Every time I go through the pantry, or the fridge, or the spice drawer, I am surprised by something that has been around too long. The USDA has a for more information. There is also a USDA app called Foodkeeper. Just in case, you want to do a deep dive.

What is next

I am going to bide my time. Amazon has several beautiful things I might try. My main concern is beautiful systems don’t have crazy tons of spices. I don’t want to throw things out for the sake of a system.

Every time you see a lovely staged photo, there is a pile of shit that didn’t fit in the picture stuffed some where. Don’t make yourself crazy.

Hummingbird Food

Hummingbird Food


  • 4 cups Hot water
  • 1 cup granulated sugar


  • Stir granulated sugar into hot water.
  • Let Cool
  • Pour into recently cleaned hummingbird feeders.
  • Enjoy your happy hummingbirds

Keep the 4 parts water to 1 cup sugar. Don’t change the ingredients. Don’t add coloring.

Strawberry Simple Syrup

Strawberry Simple Syrup


  • Strawberries – Raw – Smooshed – maybe two cups
  • Sugar – 1 cup
  • Water – 1 cup
  • A bottle or something to store the end result
  • A strainer
  • A Funnel

How to :

  • Heat up the water,
  • Add the sugar slowly, when the water gets close to boiling
  • Add the smushed strawberries..
  • Stir and Smush. Smush and stir.
  • Strain the syrup into a bottle. My strainer and funnel nest so I did this in one step.
  • Save the strawberry smush as a topping.

I have made simple syrup for cocktails a couple of times. I have also bought it from the store.

Last weekend, I was at the farmers market. Strawberries were $7 for a flat. $7 for 8 pints. I bought two. Gave a couple to the neighbors. Ate a bunch. Put some up for later.

Then I made Strawberry Simple Syrup. It is AMAZING on Hawaiian Ice. I need to do some additional research on how it tastes in an Old Fashion. #ilovescience

Marinated Greek Chicken on the Grill

Marinated Greek Chicken on the Grill. This has become a new staple. It’s pretty simple.


  • Chicken Breast
  • Olive Oil
  • Garlic
  • Greek Seasoning


  • Throw everything in a bag. Marinate for a while or over night.

Serving Suggestions:

  • Cook on grill. Serve with pita, or naan or tzatziki or feta or a salad or vegetables.

Trial & Error – Grilled Cheese

So the other day, Merryweather and I’s watched a little too much Good Eats Reloaded. We had seen an episode on Grilled Cheese. We made some nice grilled cheese with mom’s chili for dinner.

We got to talking about grilled cheese modifications. We actually used Dubliner Cheese for dinner. Merryweather went multi-cheese, mayo, mustard, paprika?. If Merryweather doesn’t learn how to tame if down about 20%, I am going to start calling him Squirrelly Dan. We had a nice dinner. To be clear.

Standard Grilled Cheese


  • Three unwrapped American Cheese slices. Pre-sliced American Cheese that was never individually wrapped. Probably from costco, maybe store brand, rarely Kraft.
  • Two slices of wheat bread probably from Aldi.
  • Butter


  1. Butter a slice of bread
  2. Slap it on a warm skillet butter side down.
  3. Add Cheese
  4. Add another slice of bread, butter side up
  5. Cooked on a non-stick skillet at medium until brown.
  6. Flip it brown other side
  7. Plate & Consume

The experiment.

We had six slices of bread left. A large chunk of Velveeta block. Various Condiments. We split the cheese into equal portions.

  • Wheat Bread, Butter, Velveeta
  • Wheat Bread, Mayonnaise, Velveeta
  • Wheat Bread, Butter, Dijon Mustard on the inside, Velveeta

The Results

Velveeta is inedible, chemical tasting trash. It might have been better if we just hadn’t had nicer cheese for dinner. I love it. I use it for queso dip all the time. We cut the experiment short. We didn’t finish any of the sandwiches. Bleah.


Mayonnaise spreads more smoothly than room temperature butter, so it looks more uniformly browned. I don’t eat mayonnaise, but it didn’t radically change the taste which was gross, because we used block Velveeta.

Mustard… I like mustard, but this wasn’t a fun new way to enjoy mustard.

Lazy Chicken Breast in the Instant Pot


  • Six Chicken Breasts (thawed) (like in the package from the store)
  • 2 cans of Rotel
  • 2 cans of Water


  • Put in a trivet
  • Place chicken on top of trivet neatly
  • Pour two cans of Rotel on Top
  • Add a can or two of water in the Instant Pot.
  • Cook on Poultry for 14 minutes
  • Quick Release

The Back Story

I had some chicken breast and basically nothing else in the fridge. Didn’t want to go out to dinner. So I searched Google for “Chicken Breast Instant Pot”. That is where I got the 14 minutes on the Poultry setting. I don’t know what it means. I checked the breast with the thermometer when I opened it. Thickest part – 190+ degrees Fahrenheit. It’s pretty good. I have used it in tortillas twice.

The Tip

I am a proponent of the Costco Chicken Breast Sous Vide in two hours. The instant pot is a neater. You can pour off the fat and water. you don’t want.

The Poultry Button

According to <== Shadiest link I have visited in years, but the first quote I picked from another site was incoherent.

Poultry – This can make your favorite chicken recipes in a simple 15 minutes! You can adjust for “More” for 30 minutes, or “Less” for 5. This is actually great for when you need a quick batch of shredded chicken for a recipe.

Spaghetti in the Instant Pot


  • 2 pounds of Ground Beef
  • 1 package of Spaghetti
  • 24 Ounce Jar of Prego Roasted Garlic & Herb


  • Brown Ground Beef on Saute’
  • Pour in Sauce and mix well with ground beef
  • Break Pasta in half and spread it out nicely on top of the sauce.
  • Cover with water.
  • Cook for 8 minutes on high
  • Quick Release
  • Serve

Baked Spaghetti

Do everything above then sprinkle with cheese before serving

Pro Tip

I don’t always drain the ground beef. I suspect that a little fat is probably makes you feel full sooner.

Today’s Word. Saiety

Satiety (Noun) – sa·ti·e·ty – The feeling or state of being sated.

Spaghetti in the Instant Pot.

I had stopped doing spaghetti in the Instant Pot. Last night, I had a request for baked spaghetti. I also had FOUR pounds of ground beef to cook. So tonight was the night.

I got home from the grocery and dumped the whole FOUR pounds of ground beef into the instant pot on Saute’. I thought I had covered this before. I couldn’t find my own link. So let’s add “search” to the web page updates.

So I Googled someone else’s spaghetti recipe.

This one from the Kitchn by Meghan Splawn

Lot of wisdom in there.

  • So I split the ground beef in half,
  • Poured a 24 ounce jar of Prego Roasted Herb and Garlic on top of it.
  • Stirred the ground beef and sauce well.
  • Broke the spaghetti in half. and layered it on top.
  • Poured about 24 ounces of water on top
  • Cooked it for 8 minutes in the instant pot.
  • Quick Release
  • Bowled.
  • Sprinkled six cheese Italian cheese on top for Mrs. I want baked spaghetti.
  • Dinner

Next Time

I might cook it for nine minutes or take more time layering in the noodles.

My iPhone hates me

I use Apple Music on purpose about once every six months. Usually, I am listening to a podcast or Amazon music or Audible.

When I plug my iPhone into the car, “ABC” by the Jackson Five comes screaming out. I don’t hate the song. I own it it, but fuck “ABC” by the Jackson Five when I am trying to get on the road to somewhere.

It’s annoying.

There isn’t an iPhone option to choose default apps for music or what happens when it gets plugged into a car. So today I went old school, I copied some songs and renamed them so they precede “ABC” alphabetically.

I am not a total monster. I kept the original versions, but hopefully the next time I hear Michael Jackson consent will be involved.

See that playlist? “ABC” by Jackson Five isn’t on the phone. What kind of monster app is downloading a song to play just because I plugged the phone into a car? Hubris? Satan?

This is only been an issue for about five years. I am excited/thrilled/disappointed/sad that it took me this long to come up with a solution.