Avocado Ranch Dip

avocado ranch dip | sunsets on the side

avocado ranch dip | sunsets on the side

If you follow me on Instagram, you could probably tell that we’ve had a steady stream of visitors in town.  The weather’s been as close to perfect as weather can be, so it’s been sort of a non-stop sunset viewing, beach loitering, fresh seafood eating party (my favorite kind).

Whenever we have people coming to stay at the house, I always try to have some things on hand that make for a quick bite to eat between outings.  Things like homemade salsa, tzatziki, good cheeses, crackers, and olives always come in handy.  And, versatility is key.  Homemade tzatziki is great just with pita or pretzel chips as a snack, but it also makes a delicious sauce for grilled salmon if we pick that up to cook for a fast dinner.

This time, I decided to make an avocado ranch dip so that we had it around to serve with fresh veggies.  But, it also doubled as a sauce the night we made crab cakes.  Not a traditional remoulade, but it tasted great all the same!

avocado ranch dip | sunsets on the side

Avocado Ranch Dip
 
Author:
Makes: 3 cups
Ingredients
  • 1 garlic clove, minced
  • 3 scallions, chopped
  • ½ cup chopped fresh basil
  • Zest 1 lemon
  • 1 T. freshly-squeezed lemon juice
  • 1 ½ T. Dijon mustard
  • 1 T. extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 tsp. kosher salt
  • ½ tsp. freshly-ground black pepper
  • ½ of a ripe avocado
  • 1 cup mayonnaise
  • ¾ cup Greek yogurt
  • ¼ cup buttermilk
Instructions
  1. In a food processor, process the garlic, scallions, basil, lemon zest, lemon juice, mustard, olive oil, salt, and pepper until they are pureed.
  2. Add the avocado, mayonnaise, yogurt, and buttermilk. Puree until smooth.
  3. Cover and refrigerate at least one hour before serving.

Adapted from Ina Garten.

Light & Creamy Roasted Squash Soup

light-and-creamy-roasted-squash-soup

light-and-creamy-roasted-squash-soup

Yesterday was a rare dark and dreary day here because we had a “cold front” (in Gulf Coast speak, this translates to temperatures being in the mid-80s instead of the high 80s for the next few days, which…whatever.  I’ll take it!) moving through.  I tend to get a little jazzed up when we have weather like that.  It’s so infrequent that it always makes me want to bust out some sort of soup or stew or chili.

roasted-squash

As we head into fall and winter, I love the idea of buzzing up roasted vegetables to make soup.  Roasting makes everything taste great, even veges that are out of season.  And, it just doesn’t take as much babysitting when you can throw vegetables into a hot oven and let it do its thing.

This roasted squash soup is great for weeknight meals because it’s so light.  More often than not, I try to do healthier options for Monday through Thursday cooking.  Not always, but I try.

This would also be great if you’re pressed for time for weeknight meals.  You could make a batch of this pretty quickly on a weekend, refrigerate it in the pot that you used to cook it, and just throw it on the stove to reheat when you’re ready.  Ten minute dinner.

Light & Creamy Roasted Squash Soup
 
Author:
Makes: 4 servings
Ingredients
  • 1 ½ lbs. zucchini, cut into ½” pieces
  • 1 lb. yellow squash, cut into ½” pieces
  • ½ medium red onion, roughly chopped
  • 1 small poblano pepper, cut into 1” pieces
  • 2 T. olive oil
  • ¾ tsp. kosher salt, divided
  • ½ tsp. black pepper
  • 2 cups chicken stock
  • 1 cup 2% milk
  • 3 oz. goat cheese, crumbled
  • ½ tsp. hot sauce
  • ¼ cup Greek yogurt (I use Fage 2%)
  • 8-10 basil leaves, roughly chopped
Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 425 degrees F. Spray two baking sheets with non-stick cooking spray.
  2. Place chopped zucchini, yellow squash, onion, and poblano onto the two baking sheets. Drizzle each sheet with 1 T. olive oil, sprinkle with ¼ tsp. salt, and ¼ tsp. pepper. Toss to coat each piece and spread them out evenly. Roast for 20 minutes. Let cool slightly.
  3. Working in batches, process roasted vegetables in a food processor with ½ cup chicken stock. Pour pureed vegetables into a soup pot set over medium heat.
  4. Add milk, the remaining 1 ½ cups chicken stock, the remaining ¼ tsp. of salt, goat cheese, and hot sauce. Stir to combine.
  5. Cook for 15-20 minutes until soup is heated through and goat cheese is melted.
  6. Off the heat, add yogurt and chopped basil. Serve with additional goat cheese and hot sauce, if desired.

Inspired by Ina’s roasted vegetable soup.