Tomatillo Ranch Chicken

Tangy tomatillo ranch smothered over chicken and rice! While the chicken and rice are served immediately after cooking, the sauce is cold, which makes this a very enjoyable  summer dish.This creamy dish is quick and easy to make. It makes dinner time a breeze! Exactly the relief we need in this Kansas summer heat!

IMG_0344

This recipe provided an opportunity for self-growth. A new ingredient, and an unfamiliar flavor. Oh, I am so glad I embraced the tomatillo goodness, because the tangy ranch sauce just hit the spot!

Tomatillos are common in the Deep South. However, I was unfamiliar with this ingredient when I ordered from it as a part of my weekly produce co-op basket. I’ve never even seen the movie “Fried Green Tomatoes.”  Basically, I had no idea what to do with it.

Tomatillos are basically the flavor of a sweet lemon. Peel off the husk and rinse off the sticky film that is commonly found underneath. Handle like a tomato.


Let’s talk about the ranch seasoning, because seasoning mixes are one of my favorite things, and this ranch is certainly the most commonly used mix in my kitchen.  Powdered ranch seasoning is extremely versatile to be used on both vegan and non-vegan dishes without adding tons of unwanted extra calories or sodium.

IMG_0321

While fresh herbs have a better taste, this dry mix is much more convenient to have on hand.

Firstly, rub the the chicken in the ranch mix and get it into the oven.  While the chicken roasts, put together the tomatillo ranch sauce and cook the rice.

Ingredients:

-3 medium chicken breast

-1 tbsp homemade ranch mix (see ingredients below)

-1 c white rice, uncooked

-2 c water

-1 C mayo

-1/4 C milk

-2 cloves garlic

-1 C fresh cilantro

-3 medium tomatillos

-2 tbsp homemade ranch mix
Homemade Ranch Mix:

-1 tsp Black Pepper

-1 tbsp Parsley, dried

-1/2 tbsp Garlic Powder

-1/2 tbsp Onion Powder

-1 tsp Dried Dill
1. Top raw chicken with ranch mix and put in 375 degree oven for 25 minutes until fully cooked.

2. Cook rice per package directions.

3. Combine mayo, milk, garlic, cilantro, tomatillos, and 2 tbsp ranch mix in a food processor until creamy.

4. Slice chicken into strips. Spoon rice into 3-4 bowls. Top rice with chicken and sauce. Enjoy immediately.

6F9CEC0C-B911-49A5-9EE7-937EBB949E8C

After I made this, I just realized a vegetarian or vegan version using this sauce could be amazing!  Unfortunately, my leftover sauce was left out, and I had to throw it out.  Someday, I will figure this out.

Tangy tomatillo ranch smothered over chicken and rice! While the chicken and rice are served immediately after cooking, the sauce is cold, which makes this a very enjoyable  summer dish.This creamy dish is quick and easy to make. It makes dinner time a breeze!

Garlic Salsa

This recipe for red salsa leaves out one key traditional ingredient: onions. What’s left is a sweet, tangy blend and a spicy kick that can be adjusted to taste. Fresh ingredients–summer tomatoes, fresh cilantro, lime, fresh garlic–are the key to transforming this recipe from similar-to-jarred into “restaurant quality.” (As my cousin put it. Thanks again, lady!).  Best of all, it only takes a few minutes to make and requires almost no chopping!

This recipe for red salsa leaves out one key traditional ingredient: onions. What’s left is a sweet, tangy blend and a spicy kick that can be adjusted to taste. Fresh ingredients–summer tomatoes, fresh cilantro, lime, fresh garlic–are the key to transforming this recipe from similar-to-jarred into “restaurant quality.” (As my cousin put it. Thanks again, lady!). Best of all, it only takes a few minutes to make and requires almost no chopping!

My grandmother has been known for her gigantic tomato collection for decades.  Ceramic tomatoes, Campbell’s tomato soup signs, tomato shaped mugs, tomato salt and pepper shakers of all sizes, tomato cutting boards, tomato magnets, and so much more decorate every surface her sunny country kitchen.  Now that she’s preparing to sell the farm, my sister, my mother, and I have been photographing and cataloging a lifetime of tomatoes piece by piece.

IMG_0314

My grandpa was known in the family for his love of eating tomatoes.  Maybe that inspired her collection?  I have never asked.

Confession: despite the family history, honestly, I don’t really like tomatoes.  Years of training keeps me from not picking them off burgers and sandwiches.  Let me tell you, I am really the black sheep of tomato enjoyment in my mom’s side of the family.  I like looking at them.  I love the juxtaposition of grandma’s red tomatoes in front of her country green plaid wall paper.  I just don’t feel like eating them.

So when I received a pile of Roma tomatoes in my weekly produce co-op basket, I was less than thrilled…

…until the clouds above opened and the idea for this salsa floated down. Hallelujah salsa!

IMG_0322

I brought this salsa to my grandma’s house for Sunday dinner with the family, and they gobbled it up! (On Sundays only, dinner equals lunch, supper equals dinner. Local Kansas country colloquialism lesson for the day!)

This salsa is a hit!  I’ve had people asking for more!

Ingredients:

-3 garlic cloves

approximately 1/4 c fresh cilantro

-3 Roma tomatoes

-2 jalapeno peppers, seeded (leave seeds in for spicy salsa!! Ay-yay-yay!)

-1 tsp cumin

-1/2 tsp salt

-juice from half a lime (or the whole lime, because it’s yummy that way too)

 

Directions:

  1. Blend cilantro and garlic in a food processor until finely chopped.
  2. Add remaining ingredients and pulse food processor until uniform texture is achieved.  Easy!
  3. Chill and serve cold as dip for chips or a topping on any Mexican flavored dish.  Be prepared for it to disappear quickly!

Creative option:

Adjust to your taste.  If it’s too spicy, add more tomato.  If it’s too bland, add the jalapeno seeds.  If you don’t like cilantro, well, I don’t understand people who don’t like cilantro. But, we can overcome our differences and still be friends, ok?

Side note! For me, I’ve learned that my dislike of tomatoes is limited to heirloom tomatoes.  Even though it seems like the opposite should be true, heirloom tomatoes are the type of tomato that embraces that watery, bland flavor that you find placed on a fast food burger.  The newer strands of tomatoes that have been developed in recent years highlight the acidity and provide actual flavor.  But, I know this is a controversial opinion… you heirloom tomato people are crazy about your watery tomatoes.  Look at it this way: I’m just leaving more available for you to eat!