Wednesday, July 18, 2012

Dinner tonight: Dude, it's ranch

Before I tell you this, I will admit that I am probably the last person on the planet besides my grandma who was ignorant to its wonders.

My friends, I have discovered Instagram. OK, not so much as discovered Instagram as much as now have the capability to use Instagram.

Up until last week, I had a Sony Ericson Xperia. It was a decent enough phone, and I liked that I didn't have to pay any money for it (with a new contract). However, it always felt like I had got it only because I didn't want to spend money on an iPhone. It didn't have some of the functionality that I had seen with Mark's iPhone, and the photos were definitely lacking. It took forever to load emails or any data for that matter, and I used it basically to call, text and play Angry Birds.

I had to replace my laptop last week so Mark and I figured that we should bite the proverbial bullet and empty a sizable chunk of my paycheck at Best Buy. Asus computer and an iPhone it would be for me. The computer is lovely but the phone is beautiful. It is my friend and I shall name her Penny.

Penny has made my life so much easier. OK, not really, but it has encouraged me to take more photos including some in the kitchen - like the Southwest Ranch Chicken Stuffed Potatoes I made for dinner tonight. They might not have made it on the blog before (find camera, take photos, upload photos, blog) but with the wonders of Instagram and its filters making lighting less of an issue, I had to snap a photo when I was prepping them.

This dinner is wonderful in that you can prep every thing in the morning, time permitting, and merely bake the potatoes when you get home from work. I served the dish with boiled then grilled local corn that I got in my Green B.E.A.N. delivery and zucchini from my garden.

I had gone out merely to check on things only to discover that I had one giant zucchini and a very cute baby one. I was so excited! So much so that I almost forgot about the potatoes in the oven.

Mark and I really enjoyed this dish. The flavors were subtle but identifiable, and it was a nice change from the regular grilled chicken + potato/starch + vegetable.

Southwest Ranch Chicken Stuffed Potatoes

Four potatoes
3 wedges Laughing Cow Queso Fresco & Chipotle
2 teaspoons dry ranch dressing mix
1/4 cup to 1/2 cup milk
1 to 1.5 cups cooked chicken, cubed (I grilled mine with additional ranch dressing mix as seasoning)
1/2 cup 2% shredded cheddar cheese
2 scallions, sliced
Toppings, as desired: Sour cream, Greek yogurt, salsa, chopped bacon

Scrub potatoes and slit to vent. Bake in a 400-degree oven for an hour or until cooked. Allow to cool to the touch.

Once potatoes are cool, cut in half. Use a spoon to scoop out the insides, leaving a quarter- to half-inch border around the skin. Put the scooped potato in a bowl. Add Laughing Cow wedges and ranch mix, mashing with a fork. Pour milk over potatoes, starting with 1/4 cup, adding more as necessary. Be mindful not to overwork as potatoes can become gummy. Fold in the chicken. Divide mashed mixture evenly among the potato shells. At this point, you can place potatoes on cookie sheet and cover with plastic wrap, refrigerating until ready to bake.

Lower oven to 350 degrees. Top potatoes with cheese and bake for 20 to 25 minutes, or until the cheese is melted and the potatoes are slightly golden. Remove from oven. Sprinkle with chopped scallions and serve.


  1. I love your hair in the first picture and that skirt!!

    I am way behind on the technology front. Neither my husband or I have smart phones, but we did put down a chunk of my summer school paycheck at Best Buy on a new camera last week!!

  2. I will give these a try this week! Looks very yummy! Erica

  3. I've yet to get into Instagram either. I installed it but haven't really messed with it yet. That dinner looks yummy!

  4. I love your skirt..where did you get it? I am dying for an iPhone but stupid Verizon wants to charge me $599 for one this year but $199 for it in December. ughh, I'm waiting so I do absolutely NOTHING on my outdated phone. I will be the last person on earth who has Instagram. Those potatoes look yummy and I need to try that recipe. So good.

  5. LOVE your outfit!!!

  6. Hooray for an IPhone- I am so addicted to mine and it's so nice to be able to browse the Internet, check Twitter, blog, etc.
    Where did you get that gorgeous skirt? You look fantastic in it!

  7. oh emm gee! i love you! you make me snort laugh.

  8. First, LOVE the skirt. Super cute. Two, I am obsessed with Instagram. Three, our zucchini's are overwhelming us now. I've already made zucchini brownies and tonight, zucchini parmesan. mmmm.

  9. HOLY SKINNY MINNY FRIEND - LOOK AT YOU!!! LOOK AT YOUR TEENY TINY WAIST!!!! WOW - WOW - WOW!!!! Who had a baby a year ago? OMG - TINY! You look FANTASTIC!!!!!!!!!

    It's lunch time and seeing your spuds is making it growl - thanks for that! They look so delicious and I can't wait to make them.

    Glad you're loving your new technology - gonna have to have to dump the 'berry and upgrade to the better side of the world soon!!!

    Hugs friend!

  10. Your outfit is adorable!! Where did you get that skirt??


  11. This sounds really really good right about now :)

    question. do you grow alot of vegetables. It might be a little late to start my own garden, but what did you begin with and what do you recommend growing as a newbie.

  12. I have downloaded Instagram but still need to play around with it! I agree with everyone else, that outfit is too cute!