Friday, April 27, 2012

Cookbook Review: The Pioneer Woman Cooks

The Pioneer Woman Cooks
Food From My Frontier 
by Ree Drummond
294 pages

Nine Chapters: Breakfast; Lunch; Soups; Starters, Party Food, and Drinks; Pasta and Pizza; Supper; Sides; Sweets; and Canning

I'm a big fan of Ree Drummond, aka The Pioneer Woman.  If it weren't for her then I never would have discovered food blogs, much less started one of my own.  Several years ago I was on a forum for bath and body products and someone mentioned The Pioneer Woman's site.  Out of curiosity I clicked on the link to her site and instantly fell in love.

I credit Ree with my discovery of food blogs.  Prior to clicking on her site I never even knew food blogs existed.  For years I had been alone in my love for food and cooking and suddenly a whole new door opened.  I became obsessed with food blogs and eventually I told myself that I could write one of my own.  The rest, as they say, is history.

I really enjoy following Ree along on her journey, whether it's on her blog or on her new Food Network show.  I enjoy everything she shares whether it's the footage of her ranch life, her kids, or her food.  I enjoy her personality and the fact that she doesn't take herself too seriously.  I think she's a real class act and I'm happy for her.  She's really carved out a wonderful career for herself.

I think The Pioneer Woman Cooks is a great book for any food blogger, but mostly I think this is a great book for the family cook.  There are so many wonderful recipes to feed your family in this book.  To be honest, I'm a little embarrassed to tell you how many recipes I have bookmarked.

I'd like to cook almost every recipe in Ree's new book, but here are the ones I managed to do so far.

First up are Ree's Make-Ahead Muffin Melts, which I wrote about on this post.  These little muffin melts are genius!  It's basically a make ahead egg spread that can be pulled out of the fridge in the morning, smeared on an English muffin, and broiled until hot and bubbly in mere minutes.  A very quick and tasty way to have a nice hot breakfast in the morning.  The best part?  You can customize these to suit your tastes.
Next up I chose Ree's Tequila Lime Chicken to serve alongside her Mexican Rice.  Ree's Tequila Lime Chicken is marinated in a mixture of lime juice, garlic, jalapeno, cilantro, olive oil and tequila.  The chicken is tender and flavorful and pairs so well with refried black beans, Mexican rice, and some corn tortillas.  My family really enjoyed this meal.
Tequila Lime Chicken
by Ree Drummond
Makes 6 portions

3 limes
5 garlic cloves, peeled
1 jalapeno, sliced
1 teaspoon kosher salt
1/2 cup chopped cilantro
5 tablespoons olive oil
3/4 cup tequila
6 boneless, skinless chicken breasts

Optional for serving:
pico de gallo
jalapeno slices
Refried black beans (heat two 14.5 ounce cans of black beans in a saucepan, then mash slightly)
Mexican Rice (recipe to follow)
Warmed flour or corn tortillas
Lime wedges
Avocado slices
Sour cream
Grated Monterey Jack cheese

Slice open the limes and squeeze the juice into a food processor or blender.  Add the garlic cloves, jalapeno slices, cilantro, kosher salt, olive oil, and tequila.  Blend the mixture until totally pureed.  Then add the chicken breasts to a large plastic bag and pour in the marinade.  Seal the bag and marinate in the fridge for several hours or overnight.  Remove the chicken from the bag and grill it over medium-high heat. Rotate the chicken 45 degrees on both sides to create nice grill marks, and continue grilling until the chicken is cooked thoroughly, 4 to 5 minutes per side.

Slice the chicken and serve it on a plate topped with pico de gallo and a jalapeno slice, surrounded by refried black beans, Mexican Rice, rolled-up warmed tortillas, and a couple of lime wedges.  You can also add some avocado slices, some sour cream...load it up!
Mexican Rice
by Ree Drummond
Makes a huge amount; enough for two dinners*

2 tablespoons canola oil
1 large onion, chopped
3 garlic cloves, minced
2 cups long-grain rice
One 10-ounce can Rotel Diced Tomatoes and Green Chiles
One 14.5 ounce can whole tomatoes
1 teaspoons ground cumin, or more to taste
1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
1 teaspoon salt
2 to 3 cups chicken broth
Chopped fresh cilantro, for garnish

Heat the oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat.  Add the onion and garlic and cook for 3 to 4 minutes.  Reduce the heat to low and add the rice.  Cook over low heat for 3 minutes, stirring constantly to make sure the rice doesn't burn.  Add the Rotel, whole tomatoes, cumin, cayenne, and salt.  Stir to combine and cook for 2 minutes.  Add 2 cups of the broth and bring to a boil.  Reduce the heat to low, cover, and simmer for 10 to 15 minutes more, or until the rice is done.  Add more liquid as needed; the rice shouldn't be sticky. 

Just before serving, sprinkle lots of freshly chopped cilantro over the top

*Note: This recipe easily makes enough rice for two full meals.  Plan accordingly.

Recipes I have bookmarked to make:   Carnitas Pizza; BBQ Chicken and Pineapple Quesadillas; Fried Chicken Tacos; Peach Whiskey Chicken; Apricot Shrimp Skewers; Pork Chops with Apples & Grits; and Honey-Plum Soy Chicken...just to name a few!


  1. I keep meaning to check her out. For some reason (maybe my Italian obsession?), I haven't read her blog. The recipes you shared do look very delicious - and accessible!

  2. I saw this book at Barnes and Noble and may just buy it. I added it to my Amazon wishlist as they let me now when things go on sale.
    Great looking snaps here, Kim, and what a nice review.

  3. I have the utmost respect for Ree and think that she really deserves everything that has come of her blog! She's also incredibly sweet in person...which is also lovely. :)

  4. Ree rocks!! ad her recipes are always spot on!! great review!

  5. I found Ree about the same time that you did. She also opened up the world of blogging to me. I love her recipes, have blogged many, and still have more to come. I haven't bought her newest cookbook....yet. But, I'm sure that I will. Great choices you shared with us. I'm sure they were all great.

  6. I have a great deal of respect for Ree and so pleased for her success. I didn't discover her until I started blogging, but her photography is just amazing and an inspiration to all of us.

    Love your choices Kim. Your photography skills rival Ree's.

  7. That tequilla lime chicken makes my mouth happy, I'd dive right into that plate! Looks so delicious. I hope you and your family are having a great weekend!

    1. I've made this entire meal, and it IS delicious!

  8. I want to make them all! I have her first cookbook, but I definitely need to get a copy of this one.

  9. I never knew that's how you discovered food blogs. But I have to tell you that YOU are one of the first food blogs I came across (through Tyler Florence Fridays). Maybe one day you'll have a cookbook that I can review on my blog! The tequila lime chicken is something I want right now!

  10. I have not ever visited her blog but I have seen the show a couple of times and she does turn out some delicious looking food. Still drooling over those muffin melts. ;-)


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