It sure looked like Tennessee came to play Saturday night at the beginning of the game. But then the Dawgs got their game going and never looked back. I really don’t care for Tennessee but I do like their head coach a lot. When he was Georgia’s defensive coach, we were running buddies. 

This has been a tough week for me. No matter how old your children get when they are hurt, you are going to be worried and upset. On Oct. 2, Ross almost lost two fingers on his left hand. One is partially gone and they are working to save the other one. They were cut off by a chain he was working to get back on track at work. He’s having surgery this week to hopefully help with the healing and mending of the hand. He just happens to be left-handed too. He has a long road of healing ahead of him.

Have you ever purchased the dry packages of Hidden Valley Ranch seasoning and dressing mix?  The things you can make with this small package is endless. It’s not just for making your own salad dressing. It can add flavor to meats and vegetables and to dips and salads. 

A combo of the dry salad dressing with bacon and cheese really results is a great tasting side dish.

Bacon Ranch Grilled Potatoes 


2 Tbsps. Hidden Valley Original Ranch seasoning and dressing mix

5 Tbsps. butter (melted)

1 1/2 pounds baby red skinned potatoes (halved or quartered if larger)

1/2 pound bacon

1/2 cup sharp cheddar cheese (shredded)

1/2 bunch scallions (thinly sliced to garnish)

Hot sauce (to serve)

Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste 


Preheat the grill or pan to medium heat. In a small bowl, add the melted butter and the Hidden Valley Original Ranch seasoning and dressing mix and mix to combine. Season with salt and pepper. In a large bowl add the potatoes, drizzle with the melted butter and toss to combine. Divide the potatoes between four pieces of foil. Close the ends of the foil and place on the grill. Cover the grill and allow to cook for 35 to 40 minutes or until the potatoes are tender, flipping the packets often. In the meantime, line a plate with paper towels. Place bacon in a cold sauté pan and heat over medium heat. Allow to cook until the fat is rendered and the bacon is crisp about 7-9 minutes. Remove the bacon to the paper towel lined plate and crumble into small pieces. Set aside once tender; open the packets. Evenly sprinkle with cheddar cheese and pepper jack cheese. Close the lid on the grill and allow the cheese to melt, about 5 minutes. Remove the packets from the grill and top with bacon and scallions.

Something as simple as adding the dressing to chicken and butter adds a new flavor to the chicken.

Baked Ranch Chicken 


4 boneless, skinless chicken breasts 

2 Tbsps. melted butter or olive oil 

2 tsps. Hidden Valley Original Ranch Seasoning and Salad Mix


Preheat the oven to 425 degrees. Place chicken breast into a gallon bag and pound until they are 3/4 of an inch thick. Place the chicken breasts into a baking dish to fit. Brush with the melted butter or olive oil on both sides. Sprinkle or shake the ranch seasoning mix over the chicken on both sides. If there is any remaining butter or oil drizzle over the seasoned chicken. Place in the oven and bake for 18-20 minutes until cooked through and no longer pink in the center. Remove from the oven and let rest for a few minutes. Serve hot.

Adding a little of the Hidden Valley to Brussels sprouts really results in a great tasting dish.

Crispy Ranch Brussels Sprouts 


1 pound Brussels sprouts, ends trimmed, thinly sliced (about 1/8 inch thick)

2 Tbsps. olive oil plus more for garnish

1 1/2 Tbsps. Hidden Valley Original Ranch Seasoning and Salad Dressing Mix

1 tsp. lemon juice 

Sea salt for garnish


Preheat oven to 425 degrees. Spread the Brussels sprouts out on 2 baking sheets. Drizzle with the olive oil and sprinkle on the seasoning mix.  Toss well to coat with your hands. Roast for 10 minutes. Sprinkle on the lemon juice and flip with a spatula to toss with the juice and turn the sprouts over. Cook for another 10 minutes or so until browned and crisp. Remove from oven, drizzle with a little bit of oil and season with sea salt.  Serve hot.

The Hidden Valley Mix is also great on pork chops baked in the oven. Super easy to make but taste is really good.

Original Ranch Pork Chops


1 (1 ounce) packet Hidden Valley Original Ranch Salad Dressing and Seasoning Mix 

6 pork chops about 1 inch thick

1 dash paprika 

Salt to taste

Fresh cracked black pepper to taste


Preheat oven to 450 degrees.

In a small bowl, add the seasoning mix together with salt and pepper and paprika and mix well. Liberally sprinkle the pork chops on both sides with the seasoning mixture. Arrange the pork chops in a baking sheet or tray with a rack. Bake the chops for 20 minutes turning once until browned or an internal temperature of 160 degrees is reached. Serve immediately.

When I was given this next recipe using the Hidden Valley on sweet potatoes, I didn't think I would like it at all. I tried it anyway and immediately changed my mind. Really is a great tasting dish. Great with fish and pork chops.

Savory Roasted Sweet Potatoes 


2 ½ pounds sweet potatoes cut into 1 inch chunks

4 Tbsps. olive oil, divided

2 Tbsps. Hidden Valley Original Ranch Seasoning and Salad Dressing Mix

1/2 cup finely grated Parmesan cheese

2 Tbsps. minced fresh parsley


Preheat oven to 425 degrees.

Spread the sweet potatoes on a baking sheet in an even layer. Drizzle 2 1/2 Tbsps. of the oil over the potatoes and sprinkle the seasoning mix on top. Toss well to coat. Roast, tossing once halfway through cooking until the potatoes are tender and golden brown in spots, about 25-30 minutes. Remove from oven and drizzle with remaining oil. Sprinkle with Parmesan and parsley and toss to coat evenly. Serve immediately.

Joyce Jacks is a native of Barrow County and a graduate of Winder-Barrow High School, Athens Technical College and the University of Georgia. She can be reached at

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