Monday, August 16, 2010

Monterey Ranch Bread

I you are trying to diet and wrestling with your will power at this very moment then GO AWAY....NOW! I mean it. Come back of course, on another day...but right now I'm looking out for you, dear reader. This bread is absolutely horrible for you. Packed with carbs, fat, and of course, calories, I can assure you that this bread is NOT on any diet. Sorry.

But it is AMAZING!

When I came across this recipe on Noble Pig, I knew immediately that my family would love it. It combines some of their most favorite foods in one handy recipe. Bread. Butter. Ranch Dressing. Cheese. Yep. They were going to eat it, no question about that here. As expected, they were head over heels for this one. As a matter of fact, they didn't even touch the rest of their dinner, they just kept asking for more bread. So much for a well balanced diet tonight.

When I was in college, there was this pizza place at Purdue called The Mad Mushroom. They sold cheese sticks. That is, a round sheet of pizza dough brushed with garlic butter and covered with large amounts of cheese and then baked bubbly and cut into strips. We'd order it late at night (or rather early in the morning) and then dip those sticks into the cups of ranch dressing that were included in the box. I distinctly remember the Mad Mushroom delivery guy repeatedly showing up at my husband's fraternity house, his insulated, red pleather cover with the velcro flap hoisted onto his shoulder and FULL of cheese sticks. Rrrrrip. He'd flip open the cover, and the cheese stick aroma would fill the air. Some sweet soul would hurriedly scratch down their name on the receipt and the Mad Mushroom dude handed over the goods as we all looked on....drooling. That box didn't ever make it to a table. Oh no. As if in a trance, we'd drop directly onto the front room steps and a crowd would inevitably form around the magic box (or boxes) of cheese sticks. If you could look past your self and the ranch-dripping cheese stick in your own fist, you would see others cramming them into their own mouths and grabbing for another as fast as they could chew them down. Good stuff...but certainly not figure friendly. Freshman 15? Pshaw! What about 20 or 30!? No wonder I needed Weight Watchers when I graduated.

This recipe made me think of those Mad Mushroom Cheese sticks. After I type this, I'm going to erase the link from my favorites, go jogging, and forget all about it. It's for the best. Really. This bread, combined with the sheer joy of being back in my kitchen after a couple of weeks and cooking up a storm, plus the take out Chinese that I've been grazing on since Saturday are making me quite "puffy" this week. I need to get a grip.

My camera was out with my husband when I began making this bread, so the pictures begin with the garlic butter toasted bread coming out of the oven. The recipe called for 8 tablespoons (that's a whole stick!) of butter to be melted and then brushed over one loaf of French bread that has been sliced in half lengthwise. Thinking of those Mad Mushroom cheese sticks, I took the liberty to add some garlic powder to the butter before brushing it on. Put it under the broiler to toast until golden brown. I've said it over and over again, and I still forget to adhere to my rule: DO NOT walk away from the broiler. Not even for a second. I was loading the dishwasher while toasting my garlic bread tonight. As I dropped silverware into the dishwasher basket, I smelled something burning. Darn it! I dove for the oven door. Luckily, the bread wasn't beyond saving, the edges just got a little dark. It's not like I had another loaf of French bread chillin' in my pantry.

Next mix together 1-1/2 cups of ranch dressing and 4 cups of Monterey Jack cheese. I didn't have 4 cups of Monterey Jack, so I used a blend of Colby Jack, Cheddar, and Mozzarella...emptying each pouch of cheese from my fridge until I had reached 4 cups.

Spread the cheese and ranch dressing over the toasted bread and then return it to the oven at 350 degrees for 8-10 minutes until the cheese is melted. Once removed from the oven, sprinkle it with fresh chopped parsley.

Wait 5 minutes (if you can) before slicing.

Now, in the quiet of your kitchen, before calling the family to the dinner table, take a moment for yourself and sample this delicacy...wallowing in the cheesy, crusty, amazing glow.

Then you can transfer it to a plate or basket and call in the gang.

Please consume responsibly. : )

Monterey Ranch Bread found on Noble Pig from Taste of Home and adapted by me

8 Tablespoons butter, melted
1/2-3/4 teaspoon garlic powder
1 loaf French bread, split in half lengthwise
4 cups Monterey Jack cheese, shredded (or a blend of Colby Jack, Mozzarella, and Cheddar...basically whatever shredded cheese you have in the house)
1-1/2 cups ranch dressing
Fresh parsley for garnish

Melt butter and stir in garlic powder. Brush on bread with a pastry brush. Place bread under the broiler until it's slightly brown and crispy.

Combine cheese and ranch dressing and divide evenly over bread. Place in a 350o degree oven until cheese is melted, about 8-10 minutes.

Sprinkle with parsley once you remove from the oven. Let sit 5 minutes before slicing.


Julie said...

Yep, that's definitely a diet killer right there...bookmarking!!

Mel at Adventures of Mel said...

This looks absolutely delicious!

theUngourmet said...

The Mad Mushroom sounds like my kind of place! This bread looks crazy good! My kids would love it too. It wouldn't last long at my house, that's for sure!

Kim said...

This looks like the perfect indulgence Krista! No way you can stop with just one piece here...more like three or four. I can see why this became the main focus of your dinner. It looks SO GOOD!!

Thanks for the temptation:)

teresa said...

drooooool, how tempting! i could eat this for dinner alone!

Mary Bergfeld said...

What a delightful bread. It may be a diet killer but it is 100% delicious. Your directions are also wonderful. I hope you have a great day. Blessings...Mary

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Plain Chicken said...

I made this and posted it this week too! It was great!!

Anonymous said...

我來湊熱鬧的~~^^ 要平安快樂哦..................................................

Anonymous said...

Searched for mad mushroom cheesesticks and found your blog... love your anecdote!

and for your readers who are unfamiliar with Mad Mushroom, the cheesesticks are delicious! (but skip the pizza)

Desi said...

Hey Krista! I posted about this bread and linked back to you :) Your photos are so much better than mine, I love your cheese mix and the green from the parsley. Great recipe! Check out my post if you want :)

Hillary S said...

OMG I would love some Mad Mushroom cheese sticks, haven't had them in years. I'll have to try this recipe very soon!

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