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Monday, November 25, 2013

Best Italian Salad Dressing


I mean it.

I don't like Italian salad dressing. I was never a fan. Which is weird since italian hoagies were very popular food items amongst my friends growing up. I was more of a Ranch girl. And a few handful of vinaigrettes. But never Italian.

Until my job.

One of the perks to my job is that I get to eat. As the hours and children have grown, thankfully, so has my food "allowance". Over the summer, I would try to get Pumpkin to eat something other than toast there. She doesn't only ever eat toast, but for some reason it's best at Ethel's. Even now, as soon as we get there after dropping Pumpkin off at school, Snowflake immediately asks for "toast and pop" (Ginger Ale spiked water). So while trying to get her to eat something, I would put out a few pieces of lettuce ("leaves" they call it) and she liked that. Then, one day Best Friend was with us and she wanted cucumber with dressing. Pumpkin wanted it, too. I've never seen this child of mine eat so many cucumbers in my life. It was a game changer.

Last week, I wanted some cucumbers and salad dressing to go with our grilled cheese sandwiches. It was a rare day that it could just be me and Pumpkin, so we ate this together. She originally wanted 4 thin slices. she ate a quarter of a cucumber. She kept wanting more! So I asked for the recipe.

The next day I was there, there was a salad dressing kit and a packet of the spices waiting for me. Best. Random. Gift. Ever.

I made it that night (last Thursday) and Pumpkin has had 4 salads, and carrot sticks dipped into it since. That's in 4 days. 3 of those salads were on Friday.

Snowflake tries it, but doesn't like it. And I'm ok with that. She's trying it. She's not even 2 and wants to try salad. I'm pretty lucky.

So to the recipe, shall we?

First you buy this:

It's under $3 at Walmart. It's what creates the magic. It comes with 2 packets of Italian seasoning. That's not the one you want. Sure, if you like regular Italian, this might be fine. I was suggested to use it over ground meat while it's browning before adding tomatoes to make spaghetti sauce. Seems like a perfect use for it.

^^THIS is the seasoning packet you want. It has all the taste of Italian but not as strong. It's perfect.

Then you follow the directions on the bottle. Yes, that simple! The bottle is marked "V" for vinegar, "W" for water, and "O" for oil. The box tells you different recipes to try using different vinegars and oils. I just used normal white vinegar and olive oil for mine. But like always, recipes I "follow" are ever so slightly altered.

Fill the vinegar up to the "V" line.

Fill water up to just past the "W" line.

Pour in flavoring packet.

Here's the biggest difference. Pour in about a teaspoon of sugar. Sorry the picture is blurrier than normal, I realized I was pouring in a bit too much sugar while trying to take the picture left handed.

You can see there's a bit too much sugar in there on the bottom, but aren't those layers pretty?

Then you shake all the ingredients up together. I think the excess sugars didn't dissolve all the way, and that's fine with me.

Pour the oil in until just over the "O" line. Vinegar and oil doesn't mix, so you'll get pretty layers. So more shaking. 

And you're done! Isn't it pretty? It costs less then buying it already made, tastes better, and much prettier on the dinner table. And it'll last up to 4 weeks in the refrigerator. So it won't go to waste.

Then watch as everyone fights over it to eat. Maybe not, but you'll feel good about controlling some of the ingredients you're eating, and it definitely upped our veggie count. We just had to buy another head of lettuce.

They have other packet flavors, and you can always create your own, so I'm excited to try other ones. And for a girl that never measures anything, having the bottle marked for me is a nice bonus. No worries of it being too vinegary or oily.

So what's your favorite dressing? Have you ever made your own before? Other recipes for me to try? Let me know in the comments below.

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