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Book Review: The Pioneer woman Cooks

I'd been reading Ree Drummond's blog at thepioneerwoman.com for years before she breezed into Washington, D.C. one sunny afternoon on her book tour. My friend Danielle and I were delighted to stop by and meet her and when we did I picked up a copy of The Pioneer Woman Cooks.

Jenni (left) and Danielle (right) with Ree (center).

Several years have passed since then and while I've made a recipe or two from the book, I haven't really made her collection a focus of my menu. Recently that changed. My husband Christopher has been urging me to incorporate more comfort food into my menu planning and I guessed that Ree's recipes would be perfect along those lines. One afternoon I handed The Pioneer Woman Cooks to Christopher and asked him to tag a few recipes he'd like to see on our dinner table. He tagged 34. 😃😃😃 I've prepared about half of them over the past two months and nearly every one has been phenomenal, earning a family rating of 4/5 or 5/5 forks (and that includes our children as reviewers who are quite the picky eaters).

Some of our family favorites include the PW Potato Skins, Egg in the Hole, Sherried Tomato Soup (so flavorful!), Ribeye Steak with Whiskey Cream, Chicken Fried Steak (I won over my Father-in-law with this recipe), and Peach Crisp with Maple Cream (TO DIE FOR!!!).

I have to tell you about Ree's Cinnamon Roll recipe. I was halfway through prep on it when I realized the yield was 50 rolls. FIFTY! I've never made so many in one batch in my life. Ree says the extras can be given away or frozen after baking and frosting, so I froze 40 of them. You guys, my daughter has been living on them for weekday morning breakfasts before school for weeks. She just pulls one out of the freezer bag, pops it in the microwave for 30 seconds, and enjoys it with a few pre-cooked sausage links to start her day. The rolls are rich and filling and satisfying and the recommended espresso glaze gives them a complex flavor profile that pairs well with milk, coffee, or tea. Absolutely fantastic!

Ree's writing is intimate and invites you into her life as a friend, not just a reader. Her photographs are lovely and her directions are easy to follow. This is a cookbook to add to your collection without hesitation. I'll be picking up her other cookbooks as soon as I get the chance.

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