Southwest Ranch Chicken Recipe


  • Fire Roasted Tequila Lime Rub and Marinade Spice (or lime pepper)
  • Boneless Skinless Chicken Breasts (2 to 3 breasts)

  • Fine cut Co-Jack Shredded cheese (or other Shredded Cheese)

  • Marzetti Southwest Ranch Veggie Dip (Any SW Ranch dressing will do, the thicker the better)

Coat chicken with spice rub. Push spices deeply into the chicken. Then place the chicken in a baking dish. Any lime pepper mix is good, if you can’t find the fire-roasted one. If your mix doesn’t include salt also add a small amount of salt to the chicken to keep it moist.

Frost chicken with Southwest Ranch dressing. Use a lot of ranch and completely coat the chicken. Any ranch will work (I’ve even made this recipe with Kraft) but the thicker the dressing the better it will work.

Cover chicken with shredded cheese. Co-jack works nicely because it melts evenly without becoming greasy or oily. The thinner or smaller the shards of the cheese the better because it aids even melting.

Bake until chicken is completely cooked, approximately 1 hour.

This recipe is my attempt at making Applebee’s Fiesta Lime Chicken at home. It’s also a way to use the Tequila Lime spice mix I bought… somewhere. The rest of the ingredients are staples and easy to pick up in supermarkets. And again, if you can’t find the brands I use, just use whatever you can find. The recipe should still work.



Cheese and Puff Pastry Swirls


  • 1 Sheet Frozen Puff Pastry (1/2 box)
  • Finely shreded Cheese such as co-jack or cheddar
  • Dried Dill (optional)
  • Egg Wash

Defrost puff pastry according to package directions or in refrigerator.  Pastry should be pliable, not frozen, but not overly warm. Lay full sheet on lightly-floured, non-stick surface (I use a large, plastic cutting board). Lightly flour surface of puff pastry, and also push together seams. Be careful to not over-work pastry or it will become tough. Spread a thin layer of cheese over puff pastry.

Roll pastry into a log, with the cheese inside and pastry on the outside (like a jelly roll). Lightly coat surface of roll with egg wash.  If the edge doesn’t seem to seal, use egg wash to get it to stick. Slice into 1/4th inch slices.  Lay slices on cookie sheet. Sprinkle with dill if desired. Top surface can also be coated with a little egg wash if desired.

Bake as package directs – mine said 400 degrees for 15 minutes. Check that swirls are done.

Serve warm in bread basket.

I tried out this recipe today and it worked out really well. Easy to make and delicious! I used co-jack (Colby / Monteray Jack) cheese, but cheddar would probably work just as well.

For an Italian Twist, try Mozzarella Cheese, Basil or Italian Seasoning, and possibly tomato (well drained). I haven’t tried the Italian version yet.

Cheese and Fire Roasted Pepper Egg Pancake

What is egg pancake? It’s a recipe I came up with myself, that’s somewhat of a cross between an omelet and a frittata.  Like a frittata, the ingredients are mixed into the eggs, but like an omelet, it’s cooked entirely on the stove-top, no second step baking in a special pan required.  It’s an infinitely variably recipe, more about that at the end of the post.  It’s one of my go-to weekend recipes, since it’s easy and fast to make.


  • Egg Substitute, such as Egg Beaters  (or two real eggs.  If using real eggs, break into bowl and whisk thoroughly before adding other ingredients)
  • Shredded Cheese (I use Co-Jack, which melts easily and evenly)
  • Bottled Fire Roasted peppers
  • Butter (for pan)
  • Dried Dill

1.  Pour a little more than 1/4 cup Egg Substitute into a bowl.


2.  Add a little less than 1/4 cup cheese into the bowl and whisk.

3. Cut a large fire-roasted pepper into 1/4 inch pieces, place in small colander and rinse to remove oil and any seeds, let water drain, add to cheese-egg mixture, whisk. You want about 1/8th a cup diced peppers – depending on the size of the jarred peppers this might be anything from half a pepper to one full pepper, to even two peppers if they are really small.



4. Prepare a medium-sized nonstick frying by melting about 1 tablespoon of butter in the pan.  As soon as butter is melted pour the egg/cheese/pepper mixture into the pan. It should form a flat disk in the pan as you pour it in.  Sprinkle a little dill over the egg mixture in the pan.  Dill enhances eggs.


5.  Let the egg pancake cook for about 3-5 minutes on low heat.  Do not stir!  Do not shake the pan, either.  This isn’t scrambled eggs.  When the egg starts to set and the bottom is cooked, use a thin spatula to carefully turn the entire egg pancake over.  It will still be a disk.  The top will now be crispy brown and the bottom will have a chance to cook.


6. Keep a close eye on the egg pancake.  It will get fluffy around the edges and the bottom will also get crispy and brown.  As soon as the bottom is also browned and the eggs are completely cooked, slide onto a plate.  Excellent!

As I said at the beginning of this post – this is a variable recipe.  You can use cheese and bacon, ham, or sausage.  If using meat, pre-cook it and crumble, or cut the meat into small pieces. Do not use raw bacon – the grease will make a mess and it won’t completely cook – cook the bacon first, let it cool (or use leftover cooked bacon), then crumble into the egg mixture.   You can swap out the cheese – any easy-melting finely shredded cheese works well. You can add veggies like mushrooms, sautéd onions, green pepper, yellow pepper, red pepper, etc.  The trick is that all your add-ins are chopped into small pieces then added to the egg mixture to warm up.  Depending on how savory you like your breakfast, egg pancake, like frittata or quiche can be an excellent way to use-up leftovers.

Recipe: Cheater Sopapillas (Baked)


Refrigerated Croissant Dough


(Toppings – honey, chocolate sauce)

1.  Preheat oven according to croissant dough instructions (475 Degrees).

2.  Open package according to instructions.

3.  Flour working surface (I used a large plastic cutting board).

4.  Pull dough apart, and work small amounts into a square with the heel of your hand.  Depending on the dough, you may need to just free-form use a ball of dough, or fold the triangle ends in, and form a square.

5.  Sprinkle cinnamon-sugar on both sides of square.  As you add more sugar to the sopapillas, extra sugar will end up on the board, and stick to the dough as you work with it.  This is good – the more cinnamon-sugar the better.

5a.  Cinnamon-sugar is just a mixture of white sugar and cinnamon.  I had some on hand I’d made earlier (I make a batch and store it in a Tupperware container for toast or pancakes.)  To make a batch pour sugar in a dry bowl, add cinnamon, mix.

6.  Working from corner to corner, diagonally, cut the square into two triangles with a pizza cutter.  (Flour cutter so the dough doesn’t stick).

7.  Place triangles on ungreased cookie sheet and bake, following package directions.  For the two different brands I used, that was 10 minutes per sheet.  Cookies should be lightly brown and slightly puffy when done.

8.  Remove sopapillas from cookie sheet, place on cooling rack to cool.  If you don’t have a wire cooling rack, use a plate or something.  Do not leave on cookie sheet to cool or they will stick.

9.  Serve with honey (traditional) or chocolate sauce (modern).  You can also serve with strawberry sauce.  If you have extra cinnamon sugar, serve with the sopapillas, or give them one last extra sprinkle of cinnamon sugar before serving.  Store in an air-tight container.

Skillet Vegetable Recipe

This recipe originally appeared on my tumblr.  I’ve copied it below and fixed a couple of typos.


Skillet Vegetables Recipe

3 Hierloom carrots (one white, one orange, one purple) – sliced

2-4 Fingerling Potatoes, sliced

1 red bell pepper, cleaned and cut into bite-sized pieces

2 shallots, cleaned and chopped

1 teaspoon pre-chopped garlic (the kind that comes in jars in water not oil)

2 tablepoons (roughly) salted butter (sweet cream butter)

2 tablespoons (roughly) olive oil

Lawry’s seasoning pepper

Sea Salt


Melt butter and olive oil together in frying pan or skillet.  Once butter is melted, add sliced veggies.  Add garlic after carrots and potatoes have cooked for 1-3 minutes and are starting to soften.  Sprinkle salt, pepper, and paprika directly on veggies to taste then mix.  Cook, stirring with wooden or plastic spoon or spatula until done.  Transfer to serving bowl.  It takes probably 10-15 minutes to cook, another 10 or so to cut everything up.

This is an INFINITELY variable recipe.  I basically cut up whatever extra veggies I have (potatoes, carrots, colored peppers, leeks, onion, jarred artichoke hearts, jarred fire-roasted peppers, etc) into bite-sized, roughly equivalent-sized pieces, and throw it in a frying pan or skillet with olive oil and butter.  Cook until done.  I usually add seasoning pepper.  If using potatoes of any sort – I usually add paprika.  You can use salt too, but it’s not necessary – I’ve made it plenty of times without extra salt.

Skillet Vegetable Recipe

Pasta and Fruit Summer Salad

Summer Fruit and Pasta Salad


  • Pasta (Rotini, Tri-color)
  • Watermelon, cut into cubes
  • Canned Pineapple, drained and rinsed
  • Canned Mandarin oranges, drained & rinsed

For sauce

  • Light Mayonnaise
  • Paprika
  • Dried Mustard
  • Orange Juice


1)   Cook (two cups) pasta as directed, drain, rinse with cold water, set aside.

2)   While pasta is cooking, cut watermelon into bite-sized pieces.  If desired, use melon baller to form watermelon.

3)   Add rinsed and strained pineapple, oranges, and watermelon to drained pasta in large bowl.  Set aside.

4)   In small bowl, combine 1 cup mayonnaise, 1 teaspoon paprika, and ½ teaspoon dried mustard.  Mix well.  Add orange juice, as needed to thin mixture.  (I used 2 teaspoons).

5)   Pour mayonnaise mixture over pasta and fruit mixture.  Stir gently to coat.  Refrigerate.  Stir again, lightly, before serving.

Spicy Ranch Chicken Recipe (my own creation)

I made Spicy Ranch chicken for the second time tonight and it turned out really well. I was trying to mimic Applebee’s “Tequila Lime Chicken” – the original recipe, not the new one, but this turned out better.

Spicy Ranch Chicken


Boneless, skinless chicken breast

“Old World Fire Roasted Creations Tequila Lime Dry Rub & Marinade”

Hidden Valley Spicy Ranch Salad Dressing

Co-Jack Cheese (Colby/ Monterey Jack)

1.  Take 3-4 boneless skinless chicken breasts, sprinkle liberally with “Old World Fire Roasted Creations Tequila Lime Dry Rub & Marinade” push the rub into the chicken.

2. Place the chicken pieces in a glass baking dish (such as Pyrex).

3. Pour lots of Hidden Valley Spicy Ranch salad dressing on chicken.  Use a rubber/plastic spatula to “frost” chicken.  It should be completely covered with about 1/4” of salad dressing.

4.  Cover chicken and dressing with fine-cut shredded Co-Jack (Colby/Monterey Jack) Cheese.  I use Sargento, but it really doesn’t matter – feel free to shred your  own cheese, switch to Cheddar, etc.  Please note though that Co-Jack melts really nicely and results may vary with other types of cheese.

5.  Place baking dish in oven and cook at 350 degrees F for about an hour, or until chicken is done.

Prep time:  5-10 Minutes;  Baking Time:  1 hour; Level:  Extremely Easy.

By the bye — I’ve had the spice mix I use for this chicken in my cupboard for ages and never knew what to do with it (it’s a tad salty tasting for most uses) but in this recipe it really makes the chicken moist and flavorful.  No idea where I bought it, possibly Old World Market.  Obviously, another lime-based pepper & salt spice mix or rub will work.  Oh, same goes for the salad dressing — I needed to use up some salad dressing the first time I made this.  I think Kraft also makes a “Spicy Ranch” dressing.  Any Southwestern or spicy style ranch dressing would work.

This is an easy, quick, and really good recipe.  It tastes wonderful.  The chicken is moist and flavorful and the sauce melts down and can be spooned onto the chicken if you like a lot of sauce, or not if you don’t.