I was given a Pioneer Woman cookbook for Christmas. I had no idea how much it would inspire me. When I browsed through it at Wally World, I was only mildly interested. In the last 3 weeks I have made a total of eight of the recipes! The funny thing is, I am usually more attracted to the recipe books that have 100's if not 1,000's of recipes. Pictures are not important to me. Furthermore, there aren't many new recipes in the book. Most of them I already have been cooking. I think its her writing style that draws me in. She makes me feel like I could step into her kitchen and start exchanging stories of ranch life, cowboy husbands, bulls ruining the garden, and gravy. Anyways, I love the book. I look at a few pages (or more) at least three times per day. :) I know - I am verging on obsessed. Its OK. Ranch Wives get lonesome. While my city-girl friends are texting each other, I am reading The PW Cooks, and chortling in empathy over the muddy jeans.
Here is a review of the recipes I have made...
Mac and Cheese ~ I loved it. But the kids are more used to the store stuff, and this was a bit thick for them. My Cowboy didn't make a comment. He thinks anything besides the meat is just 'filler'. His words, not mine.
Meatballs ~ These were almost exactly like the ones I make every week. Except I don't fry mine before baking. I thought maybe that made them better, somehow, so I did these just like she said. But then I was reminded why I never fry them. And I didn't think it made them any better - just made a smoky house. We all liked them. (why did you think I have been making them every week for 10 years?)
Meatloaf ~ I didn't have bacon on hand to wrap it in, like she does, so I left that off. I am sure that is the crowning glory. But, again, this recipe is eerily similar to mine. Maybe one minor difference. Again, we liked it.
Twice Baked Potatoes ~ This was the only recipe that I was really disappointed in. They didn't have nearly enough salt, and they were too sticky. I like my potato stuffing light and fluffy. But the kids thought they were awesome, so what do I know?
Chicken Spaghetti ~ I made this tonight. It is exceptional. Tastes like chicken enchiladas, American style. We all liked it. I think. (Casserole is filler.)
Jalapeno Poppers ~ I made a 1/2 recipe of these last Saturday night, which happens to be our family movie/pizza night. My Cowboy and I scarfed them all down. Not that the kids would've been able to stand the heat, anyways. I was thinking that i am tougher these days, and so I left some seeds/veins in the peppers. (if you can handle the sizzle, she says) All I will say is that I drank copious amounts of liquid, and ate 2 cinnamon rolls, trying to get the heat out of my poor scorched mouth. (I can't handle the sizzle.)
Chicken Fried Steak. ~ I used elk steak, since I am too stingy to buy beef. I was scared it would be weird. I usually fry it plain, and eat with BBQ sauce. So I pounded and pounded that steak, and then followed her every instruction. It was good. But the GRAVY! I have made that kind of gravy all my life, but never combined it with chicken fried steak before. I was literally eating it by the spoonful out of the pan. The only sad thing about this story -- I had made fluffy mashed potatoes, crispy fried steak, and creamy, hot gravy. I finished exactly at 12:00 noon. Then My Cowboy had to work late. Sadness. But he got his later.
Maple Cream Sauce ~ I made it this morning. I tasted it this afternoon. I haven't made a pie to pour it over, yet. But it tastes like liquid caramel. As a friend would say - "It makes me about go into a coma." :) You get the idea. I may not make a pie. I may just hide it in the fridge, and take spoonfuls as necessary. Shh. Don't tell My Cowboy. He might find it.
Unfortunately, I have taken all the picture with my phone, and am too non-tech-y to know how to get them onto my PC from my phone. So there will be no pictures. You will have to use your imagination. It probably needs exercise anyways. (most parts of us do.) :) Have a cheery day!