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Tips & Tricks

Watch this section for updates on tips and tricks related to ranch. Yes, that's what I said, tips and tricks. I'll share good bargains I find, and good combinations, or whatever I think might be useful. Here are the current tips:

Fresh Is Better

Fresh ranch is always better than the bottled ranch. I generally buy the large bottle of Hidden Valley, because it's such a great deal and it tastes good. But if you want to taste really good ranch, you should buy the powdered ranch mix. Just add milk and mayo, and you're all set. I also really like the Litehouse dressing, as it seems to be a bit fresher than the stuff in the bottles. You can find Litehouse dressings in the produce section. Just make sure you get the Country Ranch not the regular red labeled ranch. It tastes a lot better. And of course, if you've got the time, look for recipes on the internet and make a really fresh ranch!

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Hash Browns

Despite what my friends say, ranch DOES NOT go with hash browns (they seem to think it does, but none of them have tried it, so how could they know?). If you mix them, all you really get is potato flavored ranch. Trust me. Note: I am referring to the shredded kind, not the cube kind.

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Buy Bulk

If you really need to buy it in the bottle, make sure you get a good deal. Let's take Hidden Valley as an example: A 16oz bottle of ranch costs about $3.50, a 32oz bottle at Costco is about $7. Well Fred Meyers sells two 32oz bottles in one package for $6.99!! Now that's a good deal.

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Make Them Make Two Trips

I'm sure you've seen my rant in the About section or the What I Ate section about the extra ranch with the JoJos. Basically, When you order JoJos at the deli at the market, you get two free ranches. If you ask for extra ranch, they get all weird and warn you that they will have to charge you (usually $.25). And they say it as if I might not want it since I gotta pay for it. I asked for it because I wanted it, not because it's nice to have around.

Anyway, on to the tip. When you order JoJos, just say, "I'd like to buy two more ranches." They generally ask if you want ranch with them, and you should just say yes then. Wait until they place the JoJos and ranch on the counter as if they are done, then say it. I think that if we all do this, over time they will begin to learn from it and they will try to avoid the extra trip back to the refrigerator. Maybe they will ask up front, "how many ranches would you like?". Or maybe they'll turn it into an up sell thing like, "would you like two extra ranches for fifty cents?" Whatever, it will be better than it is now, we just all have to do it.

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Ranch, It's Not Just A Dressing

Many people associate ranch with salad. It is, after all, called ranch dressing. But as time has passed, ranch has started associating itself with other foods and uses. It's a dip for chips, fries, onion rings, vegetables, or anything else that will fit in the cup. It's a topping for potatoes skins, pizza and anything else flat. And most recently, it's a seasoning for chips, wheat thins, and even home cooked meals. Such a versatile condiment. What will become of ranch in 20 years? Will it evolve to a new beverage flavor or will it dominate the market so heavily, that it forces all the other dressings and condiments out of existence? Only time will tell.

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Guacamole, The Mexican Ranch

For some reason, ranch doesn't seem to go as well with Mexican food (an exception would be the crisp bean burrito from Taco Time). I'm not saying it doesn't go at all, but it doesn't quite seem to fit. So what do you dip your quesadilla in? Or top your taco salad with? Guacamole! It's smooth, creamy and filled with flavor, just like ranch. It's more of a Mexican flavor, but that's what you would want anyway. The best guacamole is made fresh with real avocados. It can be difficult to find good guacamole at restaurants (especially here in Oregon), but if you find one with good guac, they probably have good food all around. Here is a small list of foods I like to have with Guacamole (although I'm sure there are more): quesadillas, burritos, chimichangas, tostados, chips, mexican pizzas, and cheese crisps. Maybe someday I'll make a Planet Guacamole. OK, maybe not.

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