Put a Zesty Spin on Weeknight Meals


(Family Features) Dinner in many households means foolproof recipes that families can count on, but those can become bland and boring. Finding new ways to put a twist on meals throughout the week adds fun to time spent in the kitchen while bringing new flavor to the table.


To help reinvigorate traditional weeknight dinners, chef Bobby Flay and Hidden Valley Ranch created the three-part Hidden Valley Ranch Night! series to debut dishes that bring bold flavor to traditional meals, such as these recipes for Ranch Crusted Burgers with Avocado Ranch Sauce and Ranch Seasoned Chicken and Mushroom Quesadillas with Tomato Salsa and Sour Cream. The series will provide a spin on weeknight staples to showcase the simplicity, versatility and zesty flavor of ranch seasoning when used to create family-friendly dinners any night of the week.


Find more information, including series episodes and additional recipes, at hiddenvalley.com/ranch-night.



Ranch Crusted Burgers with Avocado Ranch Sauce

Servings: 4


Avocado Ranch Sauce:

1/4       cup mayonnaise

1/4       cup sour cream

1          tablespoon well-shaken buttermilk

1/2       teaspoon Hidden Valley Ranch Seasoning

kosher salt

freshly ground black pepper

3          green onions, thinly sliced

2          avocados, peeled, pitted and diced


Ranch Spice Crusted Burger:

1 1/2    teaspoons Hidden Valley Ranch Seasoning

1          teaspoon paprika

kosher salt

freshly ground pepper

1 1/2    pounds ground chuck (80% lean)

2          tablespoons canola oil

8          slices American cheese

1/4       cup water

4          brioche buns, split in half

Avocado Ranch Sauce


To make avocado ranch sauce: In bowl, whisk mayonnaise, sour cream, buttermilk, ranch seasoning, salt and pepper until smooth. Fold in green onions and diced avocados; set aside.


To make burgers: In small bowl, whisk ranch seasoning, paprika, salt and pepper.


Heat large cast-iron pan or griddle over high heat. Divide meat into four 6-ounce patties and make deep depression in centers with thumb. Season each with spice rub on one side.


Add canola oil to pan and heat until shimmering. Place on burgers in pan, spice side down, and cook until golden brown and lightly charred, 4 minutes. Turn burgers over and cook 4 minutes, or until they reach desired doneness.


Top each burger with two slices cheese. Add water to pan and cover tightly with lid 10 seconds, or until the cheese is melted.


Place burgers on bottom buns and top each with avocado ranch sauce and top buns.



Ranch Seasoned Chicken and Mushroom Quesadillas with Tomato Salsa and Sour Cream

Servings: 4


Tomato Salsa:

4          plum tomatoes, seeded and finely diced

1/2       small red onion, finely diced

1/2       jalapeno, finely diced

1          lime, juice only

2          tablespoons olive oil

3          tablespoons fresh basil, finely chopped into ribbons

kosher salt

freshly ground black pepper



2          tablespoons canola oil

1 1/2    pounds cremini or button mushrooms, thinly sliced

2          teaspoons Hidden Valley Ranch Seasoning, divided

12        flour tortillas (6 inches)

2          cups shredded Monterey Jack cheese

16        ounces roasted or rotisserie chicken, shredded

kosher salt

freshly ground black pepper

canola oil

1/2       cup sour cream

tomato salsa

2          tablespoons fresh basil, chopped


To make tomato salsa: In medium bowl, combine tomatoes, red onion, jalapeno, lime juice, olive oil and basil; season with salt and pepper. Refrigerate until ready to use.


To make quesadillas: Preheat oven to 450 F.


In large saute pan over medium-high heat, heat oil. Add mushrooms and season with 1 1/2 teaspoons ranch seasoning. Cook until mushrooms are golden brown and liquid has evaporated. Set aside to cool.


Place tortillas next to each other on baking sheet. Sprinkle thin layer of cheese on eight tortillas. Add cooled mushrooms to four tortillas and shredded chicken to other four tortillas. Season each layer with salt and pepper. Stack tortillas to create four, two-layer quesadillas. Cover each with remaining tortillas; brush top tortillas lightly with canola oil and sprinkle with remaining ranch seasoning.


Bake 6-8 minutes until cheese is melted and tortillas turn lightly golden brown with crispy edges.


Cut each quesadilla into four pieces. Garnish each slice with dollop of sour cream. Add dollop of tomato salsa on top of sour cream and garnish with basil.

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