Easy Roasted Ranch Carrots



It’s almost Thanksgiving, which is full of recipes that are ridiculous to prepare.  They either have a bunch of steps that you’re trying to take in order while making 10 other recipes at the same time or they take up oven space for hours on end.  But this recipe is so easy that you can whip it up while the turkey rests after cooking.  Or, as long as you keep an eye on them, the carrots can be roasted at a slightly different temperature so that you can have them in the oven with another side.  Another option is to steam or boil the carrots, but I personally don’t like the taste and texture as much as roasting.  Whatever works for you works for me.  The flexibility is what’s so nice about this recipe.  Of course, with butter, brown sugar, and dry ranch mix, they’re not as healthy as plain roasted carrots, but they’re still vegetables.  And it’s a holiday, after all, so let’s all cut ourselves some slack.

In reality, after having Thanksgiving with my family last weekend (and the leftovers that all ended up at our house), I can’t imagine another round of the same food in less than two more days with my in-laws.  We didn’t have these carrots, so maybe I’ll make them for a slight change in scenery.  Plus, it’s more about the company than the food anyway, right?  Have a wonderful Thanksgiving!

Easy Roasted Ranch Carrots

1 pound baby carrots
drizzle of olive oil
5 Tbsp. butter
3 Tbsp. brown sugar
1 package dry ranch mix  (like Hidden Valley)

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees.

Spread the carrots in an even layer on a baking sheet and drizzle with olive oil.  Roast until the carrots are softened, about 15-20 minutes.

Meanwhile, melt the butter in a saute pan and mix in the sugar and ranch mix until combined.  Add the carrots and stir until they are completely coated.  Serve warm.

Source: adapted from Hidden Valley

Crudite Roll-Up



Now that the holidays (and all of their indulgent foods) are gone, I suppose it’s time to get back to a few healthier recipes.  Which isn’t easy to do when the windchill outside is -30º and all you want is something warm and hearty.  Isn’t it part of evolution that the colder it is, the more our body wants to eat heavy foods and pack on fat?  No?  That’s just for animals who actually live outside in the elements?  Ah, well, fresh veggies it is.  (But fear not, with Valentine’s Day coming up, I’m sure there are sweets in our future.)  I really liked this recipe because it has the crunchy veggies of your choice, but also the cold, smooth ranch, and a finger-food package.  Perfect for parties, and much easier to eat than veggies with actual dip on top (plus, you can avoid double-dippers!).  If you want to make it more of a wrap, just throw a handful of lettuce in before rolling it up and you’ve got lunch!

But, speaking of the cold, our furnace broke last week (on New Year’s Day to be exact… how convenient), and while it wasn’t -30, the temperatures were in the 20s and things got chilly!  I stayed in the house for the first night with Jake and Buster, but bailed on them the second night and went to sleep at my Dad’s house  where Lily was smart enough to already be staying.  With the inside of the house the same temperature as the outside at this point, Jake and Buster used an electric blanket to keep warm, but Jake didn’t seem to understand that it uses a timer, so at 3am the blanket turned off and he and Buster were on their own.  At least Jake got to be underneath; poor Buster was laying on top of the blanket and was probably shivering his tail off.  Poor guy.  But all is resolved now, and somehow the pipes never froze before being emptied and the animal rescuers weren’t alerted to the short-haired dog being held against his will in frigid conditions.  So, I guess in the end it was a success… though I think coming back home from the spoils of Bobo’s house was a colder shock for Lily than the thermostat. Rules?  What rules?


Crudite Roll-Up

4 burrito-size flour tortillas
8 ounces cream cheese, softened
1/4 cup sour cream
1 packet ranch dressing mix
5 cups diced fresh vegetables that you would dip into ranch (carrots, de-seeded tomatoes, peppers, broccoli, cauliflower, etc.)
Lettuce, optional, if you want to make more of a wrap

In a bowl, combine the cream cheese, sour cream, and ranch mix.  Mix all of the vegetables in another bowl.

Lay out the 4 tortillas and spread an even layer of the cream cheese mix on each one, leaving about half an inch edge around the outside.  Cover with about 1 1/4 cup of fresh vegetables on each wrap.  Tightly roll up the wrap.  

Then tightly roll the whole wrap in seran wrap to keep it tight and put in the fridge for at least an hour.

Take out of the fridge, remove seran wrap, and cut into slices that are about 1-2 inches thick.  If it helps, use toothpicks to hold the rolls together.  Serve chilled.

Source: L+K original

Whiskey-Glazed Carrots


Lily opened the fridge earlier today (yes, we learned the hard way that she can open the fridge… about half an hour after it originally happened) and looked around.  She saw all kinds of snacks and treats, but what did she ask for?  Carrots.  I’ll consider that a win!  She eats them raw and she eats them cooked.  She will dip them in ranch dressing or shovel them in plain.  What a good girl.

On the other end of the spectrum, my dad is quite the whiskey connoisseur.  When I called to ask him if I could borrow an ounce or two for this recipe, he asked me what kind.  As though I have a clue.  The last time I drank whiskey was in college, and I can assure you that I wasn’t concerned about taste.  I told him to give me the kind that goes well with carrots.  Evidently, it’s bourbon.  The Maker’s Mark bubbled into a delicious sauce!

I found this recipe at The Saturday Evening Pot for this month’s Secret Recipe Club swap.  And you best believe this recipe is going to land on the Thanksgiving menu this year.  It’s so quick and easy that it is a refreshing distraction from the week-long prep that other dishes take.  And, taste-wise, it’s just as impressive.  You’ve got to try it!


Whiskey-Glazed Carrots

1.5 pounds raw carrots (peeled and sliced into coins)
1 tablespoon oil
2 tablespoons butter
2 tablespoons brown sugar
1/2 ounce bourbon whiskey
1/4 teaspoon salt

Steam the raw carrots until tender and set aside to cool.

Heat large non-stick skillet over medium heat.  As pan is warming to temperature, add the butter and oil.

Immediately after the butter/oil mixture is melted, add the brown sugar.  Using the back of a wooden spoon, spread brown sugar evenly in the butter.

Add the whiskey.  As soon as the whiskey is added, the pan will sizzle loudly.

Add carrots and toss in glaze.  Season with salt and remove from pan immediately.  Serve warm.

Source: The Saturday Evening Pot

Carrot Cake Pancakes with Cream Cheese Glaze

I made these pancakes last weekend when Jake, Lily, and I were visiting his parents (and Lily became one with nature).  His two sisters were there, too, along with their families/significant others, so I prepped a double batch.  Then Sunday morning came and everyone else went home and the 4 of us left were staring at each other over a platter of 700 pancakes.  It was insane.  Not that any of us were complaining!  The carrot cake pancakes were delicious and not-too-sweet as a carrot cake pancake has the potential to be.  Of course, because we are sugar lovers, we added some maple syrup on top, but it actually added a really good, fall-ish flavor as well.

This recipe comes from Nicole at PreventionRD (it was given to me in Sarah’s What’s Cooking swap), and I was so excited to get a chance to try it.  I have made and loved Nicole’s food before, and she even adds healthy ingredients that makes me feel like I’m not a horrible person for having dessert for breakfast.  Definitely give these a try!


Carrot Cake Pancakes with Cream Cheese Glaze

2 1/4 cups whole wheat pastry flour
1/4 cup brown sugar
2 tsp cinnamon
2 1/4 tsp baking powder
3/4 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
1 1/2 cups low-fat buttermilk
3 eggs, lightly beaten
1 1/2 Tbsp canola oil
1 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
3 cups carrots, peeled and shredded
1/3 cup walnuts, chopped (plus more for the top)

For the glaze:
4 oz 1/3 less fat neufachtel cream cheese, room temperature
1/3 cup powdered sugar
1 tsp vanilla extract
3 Tbsp skim milk + more, if needed to thin

Whisk the flour, sugar, cinnamon, baking powder, baking soda, and salt together. Set aside.

In a large bowl, whisk together buttermilk, eggs, oil, and vanilla until combined.

Add the dry ingredients to the wet ingredients and gently stir until blended. Fold in carrots and walnuts. Let the batter sit for 10 minutes.

Meanwhile, whisk the ingredients for the glaze, adding additional milk, if needed, to thin.

Preheat a large nonstick skillet or griddle to medium heat.  Pour the batter onto griddle using a 1/4 cup measuring cup, spreading the batter with the flat bottom. Flip pancakes when tops are covered with bubbles and edges look cooked (about 2-3 minutes). Cook the other side until set (about 2 minutes). Serve warm with cream cheese glaze and a drizzle of maple syrup.

Source: very slightly adapted from PreventionRD