The Pioneer Woman Cooks: Food from My Frontier by Ree Drummond, which was a February book club pick, is a fantastic cookbook for novice cooks and those with a little more experience. This cookbook not only provides step-by-step instructions that are easy to follow, uses items that are pre-prepared (such as Pillsbury Crescent Rolls), and offers alternative ingredients, but it also tells a story of frontier life and gives step-by-step photos to show what recipes look like throughout the process to ensure that those following along are doing things as close to her instructions as possible. I found the instructions and pictures of each step very helpful; they kept me on track, which I need with a 4-year-old helping in the kitchen who tends to get me easily distracted and missing steps.
For Thanksgiving week, I made the Peach-Whiskey Chicken using chicken legs, but you can use breasts and other types of pairings and types of chicken. The directions were easy to follow with the measurements laid out, though the times for cooking in each step were approximate depending on your stove type and some steps could take longer. We thoroughly enjoyed these messy chicken legs, and while I had a hard time finding peaches — I ended up using frozen peaches — it was good to make something so tasty from scratch. This was the recipe that took me the longest time to prepare.
For the actual Thanksgiving dinner, I made the Whiskey-Glazed Carrots — are you sensing a theme here? — which was a relatively simple recipe to follow, though it took me a bit to find the skillet I have that has a lid — many of my pans do not have lids. There’s something I do each Thanksgiving — I make different types of carrots with the hope that I can get Anna‘s daughter to eat them. She doesn’t like carrots very much. So far, I’ve gotten 2 okays in the last couple of years. I’ll take it. Next year, I’ll find another recipe for carrots.
After the Thanksgiving holiday, I had a day off to do some editing and decided to take a break and make Apple Dumplings using Pillsbury Crescent Rolls. Cutting the apples was the hardest part because I don’t own an apple corer for some reason, so I had to cut the apples into 8 pieces — no they were not the same size — and core them once I cut the apple. The rest of the recipe was a breeze, though I didn’t use Mt. Dew as the recipe indicated. I used the variation of ginger ale, and I think they came out really well. I don’t often eat ice cream, but I bet these would taste delicious with some vanilla bean ice cream.
The Pioneer Woman Cooks: Food from My Frontier by Ree Drummond is delightful cookbook, filled with great recipes, anecdotes about frontier life, and advice on alternative recipes and pairings. This is a cookbook I would recommend to anyone who wants to try something new but wants it kept simple. I love that there are a variety of meals from spicy to mild, and the desserts in this book look so good just from the pictures.
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