Real Food Bacon Ranch Chip Dip

Bacon Ranch Chip Dip

I was looking through Pricematerz.com this week to see what produce I could get for great prices, and what do I see? Oodles of sale prices for chips, frozen pizza, and crackers. It must be Super Bowl Week.

I’d forgotten all about it. For us right now it’s Blizzard Week, and we are in preparation for Youth Rally Weekend (where our church hosts 120+ teens for a fun and spiritually encouraging weekend). Therefore, I’m very much out of football mode. This is not such a shocker, since I’m always out of football mode and don’t even know who’s playing this weekend. Denver? And some other team? Forgive me.

Now that I’m (only barely) caught up on what most Americans are thinking about this week, I’ve decided to share a new chip dip recipe in case you want to make this for your Super Bowl party. It includes bacon, sour cream, cream cheese, ranch dressing mix, and shredded cheese – so you know that means it is delicious. Since the recipe is coming from me – so you know that means it is easy.

Our family tested it with corn chips, potato chips, and baked tortilla chips. We all preferred a different chip – which basically means that anything goes.

Why do we have so many chips on hand? Oh my goodness, you do not want to see my stash of chips right now. It has just a little something to do with my preparations for Youth Rally Weekend where somewhere between 15-20 teenage boys will be staying at our house from Friday-Sunday. They’ll eat their meals at the church building, but it’s so weird that they are all hungry again when they come back here for the night. It’s like they’re normal or something.

For this dip recipe, you’ll need this Homemade Ranch Dressing Mix recipe. Make it by the jar-full because that mix is what makes the world go ’round.

Real Food Bacon Ranch Chip Dip

Real Food Bacon Ranch Chip Dip
 
Author:
Serves: 10
Ingredients
  • 1 pound bacon
  • 8 ounces softened cream cheese
  • 3 Tablespoons homemade ranch dressing mix
  • 2 cups shredded cheese (I used colby jack)
  • 2 cups sour cream
Instructions
  1. Cut bacon into ½-inch strips.
  2. Cook the bacon to your liking, then drain.
  3. Stir cooked bacon into a bowl with all other ingredients.
  4. Spread mixture into a 2-quart baking dish.
  5. Bake in a 400° oven for 20-25 minutes or until dip is bubbly and hot.
  6. Serve with corn chips, potato chips, or baked tortilla chips.

Easy Real Food Bacon Ranch Chip Dip

Are you in Super Bowl Week mode? Or Blizzard Week mode? Or Something Else Week mode? Or all/none/some of the above?

Bacon Ranch Hashbrown Casserole

Bacon Hashbrown Casserole

A friend had just stopped by when I was pulling this dish out of the oven for lunch earlier this week. It smelled quite amazing. She asked what it was, so I went down the list of ingredients our lunch included, “bacon, ranch dressing, sour cream, cheese…” Then this is when she said,

“Bacon? Ranch? Cheese? With all that in it, you know it’s going to be good!”

Yep, pretty much.  What’s not to love?

You might also love knowing how easy this is to make. Cook the bacon, stir in the other ingredients, spread it all in a cooking dish, put it into the oven. Easy. It does help if you have premade frozen hashbrowns and a jar of homemade ranch dressing mix ready to go. Just please put the lid on your ranch dressing before you shake it up. Please. I’m only here to help.

A big thanks to Plain Chicken for the idea for this recipe! I’m excited to think about possibilities of ways to continue tweaking this. Maybe add some cooked chicken to the mix? What else can you think of to add to this dish?

Bacon Ranch Hashbrown Casserole
 
Author:
Serves: 10 servings
Ingredients
  • 1 pound bacon
  • 2 cups shredded cheddar or Colby jack cheese
  • 3 cups sour cream
  • 3 Tablespoons Ranch Dressing Mix
  • 1 bag of frozen shredded hashbrowns (about 8 potatoes worth of homemade)
Instructions
  1. Cut bacon into bite-sized pieces and cook.
  2. Drain grease.
  3. In a large bowl, stir together cooked bacon, shredded cheese, sour cream, and ranch dressing mix.
  4. Fold in frozen hashbrowns until all ingredients are well combined.
  5. Bake uncovered in a 350° oven for 45-60 minutes or until casserole is lightly browned and bubbly.

Some recipes you’ll need to go along with this one:

Homemade Ranch Dressing Mix

Homemade Hashbrowns

Lately I’ve been finding really great deals on packaged hashbrowns at the store, so I’ve picked up a few to save me some time. I much prefer homemade, but busyness doesn’t always allow me the luxury. It’s good to be relaxed and flexible about healthy eating, right? Right.

So far I’ve only served this casserole for lunch or dinner. But I also think it would be great for breakfast or brunch!

Want to make Bacon Ranch Hashbrown Casserole ahead and freeze it for later? Here’s how:

Make the casserole as directed. Before baking, cover well and freeze for up to three months. To cook and serve – thaw and bake as directed. Or, cover frozen casserole and place it into a cold oven. Turn the oven on to 225° and bake for 2-3 hours or until casserole has thawed, baked, and is heated through.

Bacon Ranch Hashbrown Casserole - Easy!

Note: This recipe is naturally gluten free. Hold onto this one if you have to avoid gluten – or so that you can bless friends who eat gluten free!

I’ll definitely be making this casserole often! Since it’s freezer-friendly, I’ll likely be making two or three at once so I can have no-brainer meals on hand for busy nights. After all, why dirty up more dishes tomorrow when tomorrow will have enough dirty dishes of its own? Right??

Easy (Make-Ahead) Baked Potato and Bacon Casserole

It’s a Potato and Bacon Casserole. Life is good.

Bacon Baked Potato Casserole

This is so easy we can hardly call it a recipe. I’m pretty sure my family will be having this every other week for the rest of our lives for the following reasons:

  1. Bacon. Of course. And also, cheese.
  2. We can slather it with Spicy Ranch Dressing, which tastes so good I believe I shall become addicted to it.
  3. I can make several of these casseroles at once and freeze them for later, making this easy meal even easier.

This “casserole” is basically baked potatoes cut up in a dish with bacon and cheese all over it. I’m sorry that I can’t make it more complicated for all of you who would rather spend many more minutes sauteing, braising, and broiling. This time, you’ll have to get your steeping and zesting fix elsewhere.

Everyone else: I lovingly suggest that you go scrub some potatoes. You’re having this for dinner tonight.

Baked Potato and Bacon CasseroleYum

Easy (Make-Ahead) Baked Potato and Bacon Casserole
 
8 medium-sized potatoes (any variety) 1 pound bacon 2 cups shredded cheddar or colby jack cheese Sour cream, chives, and/or Spicy Ranch Dressing for topping
Author:
Ingredients
  • 8 medium-sized potatoes (any variety)
  • 1 pound bacon
  • 2 cups shredded cheddar or colby jack cheese
  • Sour cream, chives, and/or Spicy Ranch Dressing for topping
Instructions
  1. Scrub and bake potatoes by putting them into a covered dish in a 350° oven for 1½ hours.
  2. In the meantime, cut bacon into bite-sized pieces and cook thoroughly on the stove-top.
  3. Cut baked potatoes into chunks, spreading them out into a 9x13" baking dish.
  4. Sprinkle cooked bacon over the potatoes.
  5. Top with shredded cheese.
  6. Bake in a 350° oven for about 10 minutes or until the cheese has melted.

Offer sour cream, chives, and/or Spicy Ranch Dressing to complete this main course. Serve with a salad and another fruit or veggie. It is too easy. Makes 6-8 servings.

Baked Potato Bacon Casserole

To Freeze This Dish: 

Make it as directed above. Allow it to cool completely. Cover and label. Put it in the freezer.

To Reheat and Serve This Dish:

This is my favorite trick. Get the casserole out of the freezer. Cover the frozen dish with foil (somebody needs to invent a 9×13 glass cover for my pyrex dishes). Put the frozen casserole into a COLD oven. Turn the oven on to 250° allowing it to heat up along with the casserole. After one hour, turn the oven up to 350° and bake for one more hour or until the casserole is thawed, heated through, and looks like wonderful cheesy deliciousness.

Let us all add this recipe to our “Reasons to Make Extra Baked Potatoes When We’re Making Baked Potatoes Anyway” list.

7 Ways to Use Baked Potatoes

Switch out the bacon in this casserole for other cooked meats. Switch out the regular potatoes for sweet potatoes. Just whatever you do, try it with the Spicy Ranch Dressing. Ah-mazing.

Bacon Tomato Dip With Baked Tortilla Chips

Bacon Tomato Dip. It is so yum.

Bacon Tomato Dip

When I first came upon a recipe like this one, it was called BLT Dip. This sounds delicious, but with one problem. The recipe included no L. There was only B and T.

(Translation: There was only bacon and tomato – no lettuce.)

I considered adding lettuce to the recipe to make it a true BLT dip, but I am quite sure the L would have gotten soggy. Nobody likes soggy L, am I right? Of course I’m right. There are books written about this. People know to run far, far away from soggy L and even limp L will raise eyebrows. So far be it for me to stir crispy L into this recipe and turn out a recipe with soggy or limp L. I love you all too much to put you through that. {wipes tear from eye}

So I played with the recipe and landed on a perfect BT Dip, but decided that BT Dip was a ridiculous name. Come everyone! Try this BT Dip! You will love it! “What a weirdo,” the people will say, “She forgets her vowels.” Then people will try to figure out which vowels and then if they didn’t want to already, they will really not want to try the dip.

Bat Dip, Bit Dip, But Dip (have mercy), Bot Dip… The people would be so busy trying to figure out what the name of the dip is really supposed to be that they would never actually look at the recipe and try the dip. This would be tragic (because this dip is terribly delicious).

I hope this gives you just a glimpse into how hard my life is. This situation has been crippling. Landing on a title kept me up night after painfully long night – so much so that I again considered adding soggy L to the dip just so I could move on with my life and effectively parent my children.

Then I just decided to turn the B and the T back into words. B=Bacon. T=Tomato. Bacon Tomato Dip. How clever.

There is nothing more to say except that you really must make this dip. And also the chips as detailed below because those make the dip many percentages better.

Bacon Tomato Dip (adapted from this recipe) Yum

Bacon Tomato Dip With Baked Tortilla Chips
 
Author:
Ingredients
  • 1 pound bacon
  • 1 cup mayonnaise (I prefer Hain Safflower Mayo)
  • 1 cup sour cream
  • 2 chopped tomatoes
Instructions
  1. Cut bacon into bit-sized pieces, cook, and drain.
  2. Stir cooked bacon into mayo and sour cream.
  3. Stir in chopped tomatoes just before serving.

Serve with corn chips or homemade tortilla chips (details below).

Bacon Tomato Dip with Baked Tortilla Chips

Now let’s talk about making Baked Tortilla Chips. I did not even consider calling these BT Chips because I’d already been through so much trauma. But as you can see, B and T would have also worked for these chips. (B=Baked. T=Tortilla) Try to keep up.

How to Make Baked Tortilla Chips

1. Cut your favorite tortillas into strips or triangles or shapeless objects of any sort. Do not name the objects. It makes for sleepless nights. (I usually make homemade tortillas, but Bountiful Baskets offered a nice variety pack and I grabbed it. This worked very well as it is very sad for me to go to the trouble of making tortillas only to cut them after I’ve rolled them. Naming recipes is hard enough. Do not make me also destroy my hand-rolled creations.)

baked chips4

Lay the cut tortillas in a single layer on a baking sheet. Place them in a 350° oven for about 10-15 minutes or until the tortillas have become crispy.

baked chips3

Notice that they puff up a bit as they get crispy. Delicious perfection.

baked chips2

Throw them all on a platter and serve them with Bacon Tomato Dip. You will love how delicious this combination is.

baked chips1

I can’t wait to hear how much you love this dip with your homemade chips!

Aren’t you proud of me for actually coming up with a dip that did not involve ground beef or cheese? And also for coming up with such a brilliant name for this new dip? May we all stand (neh, just sit) in amazement.

My Favorite Cheesecake Factory Salad Makeover

Who loves a Cheesecake Factory BLT Chopped Salad more than cheesecake???? This girl. I’ve only been there a few times, but I found a salad there that I love soooo much. This begs the question: A salad? At cheesecake factory? Why?

See, here’s the thing. When one goes to the Cheesecake Factory, one wants to enjoy the cheesecake right? Therefore, eating a salad as a meal preceding the cheesecake makes perfect sense. One must save room for the cheesecake! That is how I discovered this salad. Or a salad much like this.

I believe the salad I ordered at Cheesecake Factory had chopped apples and some chicken in it too (but it’s been about a year since I’ve been there so I can’t remember all the specifics). Add those to this if you like. All I know is that this salad is so good that our family devoured a huge bowl of it – two days in a row. And I want to make it again tomorrow.

Helpful hint: Want to get your kids to like salad? Add BACON.

BLT Chopped Salad with Feta Cheese

BLT Chopped Salad with Feta CheeseYum

My Favorite Cheesecake Factory Salad Makeover
 
Author:
Serves: 6-8
Ingredients
  • 6 cups chopped mixed greens, lettuce, or spinach (any combination you like)
  • 2 chopped tomatoes
  • ½ pound bacon, cut into bites, cooked, and drained
  • 1-2 cups sweet corn, cooked and cooled
  • 1-2 chopped avocado
  • 4 ounces feta cheese crumbles
  • Dressing:
  • 2 Tablespoons olive oil
  • Juice of one lime (about 2 Tablespoons)
  • salt and pepper to taste (I put in a few shakes of each)
Instructions
  1. Toss salad ingredients into a large bowl.
  2. In a small jar, shake together dressing ingredients.
  3. Pour over salad and toss.
  4. Serve right away!

This is a perfect spring or summertime meal. I think I could eat this every day. And believe it or not, I don’t even have to have cheesecake afterward. :)

I can’t tell you how delicious and flavorful this is. You MUST try it. Every bite is delicious.

What’s your favorite thing to get at Cheesecake Factory?

Cream Cheese BLT – The Best Sandwich You’ll Ever Eat

We had decided to go on an unplanned road trip. I was determined to avoid the grocery store and instead work with the abundance of food we had on hand to put together a meal we could take along with us and eat in the van. However, I had no bread, no lunch meat, no tortillas, and no cheese. It was time to get creative.

I quickly made a batch of One Hour Whole Wheat Yeast Rolls. Seriously, these rolls practically make themselves. (Although they are terrible about washing their own dishes.)  I almost always have a supply of bacon and cream cheese on hand because those are staple foods at the Coppinger house, along with butter and cocoa, of course. Therefore, I decided to take my BLT Wrap idea and turn them into sandwiches.

What makes a BLT even better? Cream cheese, of course. This “to-go” meal was a hit, though the sandwiches were a tiny bit messy. Eh, that’s what napkins are for, right?

Cream Cheese BLT

Cream Cheese BLT SandwichesYum

8 ounces softened cream cheese
1/2 cup mayonnaise
8 slices cooked and crumbled bacon
Tomato slices
Lettuce

Mix cream cheese and mayonnaise until smooth. Stir in bacon crumbles. Spread mixture on bread or buns and top with lettuce and tomatoes. Delicious!! This mixture makes enough for 10-12 sandwiches.

The best news of all is that you can add this Cream Cheese BLT Sandwich idea to your Make-Ahead Lunch Box list. Simply make the bacon/cream cheese/mayo mixture ahead of time, prep your lettuce and tomatoes, and put it all together on bread, buns, or tortillas when packing your lunch box. It’s a great change of pace from a regular ol’ sandwich.

You’ll definitely want to check out the inspiring idea behind this recipe:  BLT Wraps. Whether in a tortilla, on a bun, or even simply wrapped in lettuce – these are truly amazing.

BLT Wraps

Need more Make-Ahead Lunch Box ideas? Look through all these posts of yumminess.

These BLT Wraps and Cream Cheese BLT Sandwiches rich and filling, so the sides you’ll want to go alongside these need to be simple and light. Our favorites are:

  • Carrot sticks
  • Sliced cucumbers
  • Apples
  • Sliced sweet peppers
  • Pears
  • Applesauce

Now go get out your cream cheese and bacon. Wait. You do have these staples on hand, right?! :)

Bacon, Egg, and Avocado Salad ~ Make-Ahead Lunch Box

How do we get our family to eat a lot of greens? Put bacon, eggs, and avocado in the bowl with the lettuce.

The Make-Ahead Lunch Box

Rarely is my family of men pleased to see a lovely bowl of salad as the main dish at lunchtime. You can almost see the “am I gonna get full?!” look of panic in their eyes. After all, typically a tossed salad lunch just doesn’t stick with a person very long into the afternoon.  But if there’s bacon in it? And boiled eggs? And avocado? And cheese? Well, now we’re on to something.

My family devoured this last week when I made it – even the boys who don’t typically love eating avocados. With all the other flavors mixed in, this salad with all its goodness works for even my pickiest eaters. Along with the salad, I served fresh pineapple, fresh cantaloupe, and a new recipe I was experimenting with: Coconut Fudge Bars.  We were all very full after our meal – and stayed full until after we got back from swimming that evening at 5:15.  At that point we were all ready to eat our own beach towels – but that’s typical no matter what we’ve eaten for lunch.

This recipe is hardly a recipe. Simply throw together whatever amounts of each ingredient you feel is best for each family member. We all ate great big bowls full, because that’s what we do around here. Need to this be Gluten Free? It’s GF without having to try. Need it to be Dairy Free? Leave out the cheese.  You might have been able to figure that one out by yourself.  ;)

Bacon, Egg, and Avocado Salad

Bacon, Egg, and Avocado SaladYum

Bacon, Egg, and Avocado Salad ~ Make-Ahead Lunch Box
 
Author:
Serves: 6-8
Ingredients
  • Bacon, cut into bites, cooked, and drained
  • Boiled eggs
  • Avocado, cut into bites (as well as you can cut an avocado into bites)
  • Cheddar or Colby jack cheese, cut into small chunks
  • Mixed greens, lettuce, and spinach of choice
  • Tomatoes, chopped
  • Salad dressing of choice
Instructions
  1. Toss ingredients together and have a feast.

To prepare for the lunch box:

Prepare all ingredients in advance, from cooking the bacon to boiling the eggs to chunking the cheese. Toss the fixin’s into a jar or bowl with a lid before heading out for the day. Put the dressing into a separate container to add just before eating.

These ingredients, prepared in advance, will last a week or two in the fridge for quick salad prep. If you chop your avocado ahead of time, simply place the avocado pit into the container to help maintain the nice green color.

Side dish ideas:

You really have to try this salad. Really – even people who don’t normally love salad should love this one. It has bacon in it, for crying out loud. It’s happiness in a bowl.

Hey, have any of you tried the “Salad in a Jar” idea? I am excited to try that sometime, both because it’s a great packaging idea…and of course, because it involves a jar. It’s happiness in a jar. With bacon (for crying out loud).

Find more Make-Ahead Lunch Box recipes and be sure to follow along in this series for more fun ideas!

A Very Manly Menu Plan

bacon_cheeseburger_casserole

Bacon Cheeseburger Casserole (recipe in Healthy Make-Ahead Meals and Snacks eBook)

For the first time in a couple of months, the six of us are all been home together again! All four of the boys are now home from camp. We’ve enjoyed some catch up time and heard lots of stories of adventures from the boys being away. We’re doing tons of loads of laundry and getting caught up on work we are behind on. I can’t tell you how nice it is to have all of us back under one roof, even if it is just for a couple of days.

So what does this week hold? Well, since this is the summer of crazy, you can bet it holds more excitement. I’m heading out tomorrow for a traditional “Sister Symposium.”  (More on that for Gratituesday.)  Then the two younger boys will be heading to Kansas to spend several days with grandparents. Left at home will be Matt and our two oldest boys.

Since Asa and Justus have been at camps for weeks and weeks this summer, they’ll likely be spending quite a bit of time this week catching up on sleep. They’ll work with Matt on some house and garden projects. And what will they eat?

Well, I’m guessing they’d be just as happy as can be if I simply left them several pounds of bacon and some steak. :)  For the most part, they’ll be fending for them selves. But I did have the chance to do some freezer cooking in preparation for my being away. Here are some food choices I left for them:

Breakfasts:

Eggs, bacon, hashbrowns, sausage, homemade instant oatmeal, and plenty of fresh and frozen fruit for sides and smoothies

Lunches and Dinners:

Sandwiches, Meat and Cheese Burritos, Bacon Cheeseburger Casserole (recipe in Healthy Make-Ahead Meals and Snacks eBook), Tuna Salad or Tuna Casserole (they can easily make either one on their own), Spicy Avocado Dip, and plenty of fruits, veggies, and salad fixings.

My guys do great figuring out food when I’m away. I love it that they can all cook! I’m pretty sure they’ll even keep up with dirty dishes. :)

guacamoledipwithchipsm.JPG

Asa makes a great guacamole. I grabbed some avocados at the store so he can whip some up. Here’s the recipe!

Here’s to a great new week. Hope your summer has been awesome so far!

BLT Wraps – The Perfect Summertime Meal

Nothing says “I’m a humble cook” like shouting really loudly that this is the best recipe you’ll ever eat!  My bad. What can I say? There’s bacon in it. And cream cheese. The goodness of this recipes has nothing to do with me, and everything to do with the amazing mixture of ingredients all rolled up in a tortilla.

This recipe is so easy that my kids made it on their own for our family to eat on Mother’s Day. These can be made ahead of time – or at the very least, you can cook the bacon and prepare the tomatoes and lettuce so that you can put them together right before serving time.

The best part? Well…the bacon, duh. Yeah, but the other best part? These wraps really hit the spot on a hot day. There’s minimal cooking involved, so the house won’t heat up. Serve these with a variety of fresh fruit like pineapple, watermelon, or strawberries. Set out some sweet peppers, sliced cucumbers, and carrot sticks. What a wonderful, nourishing meal.

BLT Wraps

Yum

BLT Wraps - The Perfect Summertime Meal
 
Author:
Ingredients
  • 4 ounces softened cream cheese
  • ½ cup mayonnaise
  • 8 slices cooked and crumbled bacon
  • ½ cup chopped tomatoes
  • ½ cup shredded spinach, romaine, or green leaf lettuce
  • 3 eight-inch whole wheat tortillas
Instructions
  1. Mix cream cheese and mayonnaise until smooth.
  2. Stir in bacon crumbles and chopped tomatoes.
  3. Spread mixture onto tortillas.
  4. Sprinkle shredded lettuce on top evenly.
  5. Roll tortillas up tightly.
  6. Cut each into 5 diagonal slices.
  7. Chill until ready to serve.

 

BLT Wraps

Tip: Make the cream cheese filling ahead of time and store it in the fridge. Then simply fill your tortillas at meal time, wrap, and serve! These work great for brunch, lunch, party, snack…pretty much any time.

Which do you like better: bacon or cream cheese?  How sweet it is that you can have both in this recipe, at the same time. :)

Bacon Wrapped Cream Cheese Chicken – A Family Favorite Freezer Meal

I don’t think it would matter how much I of this Bacon Wrapped Cream Cheese Chicken I made – my family would keep asking, “Can I have another piece of chicken?”  I definitely never can make enough.

Ah bacon and cream cheese…two of life’s happiest ingredients. Today, I made a batch of this chicken – serving half for lunch and freezing half for another day. It’s a super easy freezer meal to make, and great to pull out and cook quickly. You can even cook it from its frozen state – so having it on hand can save your neck if you forgot to thaw anything for dinner.

Bacon Wrapped Cream Cheese Chicken

What a great way to finish out this week’s freezer cooking challenge! I served this at lunch today with peas and smoothies (full of spinach, strawberries, peaches, and mango). It was a super easy lunch, packed with nourishment for my family. I’m excited to have more of this chicken in my freezer for another meal soon.

Have you made this chicken dish yet?  You’ll find this recipe in our {Healthy} Make-Ahead Meals and Snacks eBook (which is currently part of a package deal you can get for just $5). The recipes included in that package are some that we use all the time at our house to get ahead!

As a reminder, here are the other posts from this week’s challenge:

If you’re just joining us for the Freezer Cooking Challenge, that’s great! You can get started here.

Coming up next week, we’ll be filling the freezer with breakfast items. I’m so excited about this, as having quick, easy, and healthy breakfast foods on hands is such a life-saver for me!