Wednesday, March 7, 2012

An Ode to The Pioneer Woman

I'm writing in honor of The Pioneer Woman's fabulous cooking skills. One look on her cooking page and all day my thoughts are consumed with cooking and eating. I have tried out a few of her recipes, that I'll share my review for below. Spoiler Alert: They are all raving reviews. She has never failed me. not once.
The cover of her latest cookbook.

I am not, and will never claim to be, one who cooks . Do I enjoy it? Yes, from time to time when I get excited about a new recipe I've found on pinterest. Are the things I make tasty? Sure they are. Do they look tasty? Sometimes.

The point is: Cooking is a skill... some people are naturals and can whip things up at a moments notice, adding a dash of this or a pinch of that because they think it needs it. While I try to cook, and sometimes succeed... it is just not something that comes easily to me. It is a proccess. A very messy and time-consuming proccess.

Exhibit A; and this was before any actual baking even occured.
But, I digress. As I discussed in an earlier post, here, trying to cook more is one of my goals for 2012. The purpose of this post is to highlight some of the recipes from Pioneer Woman's arsenal of delicacies that I have tried and loved (or others have loved). I'll feature three for you:

I first made these little guys for a Wine & Cheese Party that I had in November. Actually, it was my sister's who so kindly lended their assistance in making these treats, A.) Because I really needed help B.) Because I know nothing about cooking shrimp because C.) I don't eat shrimp and D.) I don't even like to touch them with their gross little tails...looking like they could swim off my plate.

Anyways, this shrimp dish has received rave reviews from the guests at the party and other gatherings we have had since and made them for. It's super easy to make, requires few ingredients, and just bake away themselves in the oven leaving your hands free for other tasks.

I have tried and loved Chili's chicken tortilla soup, so when I saw this recipe on Pioneer Woman's site I just had to try it. And guess what?? It's better! We have made this soup at home a handful of times in the year and half since I've found the recipe. It is out of this world delicious if you're a soup-lovin gal like me. She suggests having some extras to sprinkle on top before serving, such as fresh cilantro, hand fried corn tortilla strips, cheese, sour cream, etc.--and I am here to tell you, DO NOT take the easy way out and skip these extras!!! The fresh cilantro is the perfect touch and the crispy tortillas give the needed crunch. I don't even think I need to explain why the cheese makes it better. And, it makes a huge batch which is perfect for freezer meals! (I do like substituting corn for the black beans!)

Just made a bit of this creamy-saucy-deliciousness the other night, and am still thinking about this incredible sauce. I used it over italian sausage stuffed tortellino and I can't even tell you in words how. good. it. was. I've never made a vodka sauce before, and was a little freaked out at first to try, but this sauce is a life changer for sure. You can easily swap in wine instead (just hold a bit of the salt) and you will have another Pioneer Woman favorite, Pasta a la Betsy.

Lesson to be learned? If you need a recipe, look no further than the PW blog. I even added a dash of basil to the alla vodka sauce-- on my own, because I thought it needed it! Maybe her prairie-ranch-wonderfulness is finally starting to rub off!

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