Ree Drummond is an Internet sensation who charms thousands daily with her honest humor and family-friendly recipes. We got to ride shotgun with her for the day―here’s what we learned.
You don’t really know “middle of nowhere” until you drive west from Pawhuska, Oklahoma, turn down a long dirt road and find yourself surrounded by vast stretches of dry grass and rolling hills dotted only with wild horses and roaming cattle. Ree Drummond (aka The Pioneer Woman) calls this place home. Miles from the nearest grocery store, gas station, or strip mall, this place feels wild and free, with space to breathe and time to watch slow sunsets. Ree, her husband (“The Marlboro Man”), and their four children run this working cattle ranch. It’s a nonstop job of hard, dirty work from sunrise to sunset, but they love it and do it together, as a family.
Lucky for us, Ree started blogging about her unique world a few years ago. Her site (thepioneerwoman.com) now boasts thousands of devoted followers. She dazzles us daily with her ranch-life confessions, inspiring photography, and mouthwatering recipes―we’re still trying to figure out how she does it all. We asked Ree to share recipes and tips that any busy cook will love. Here’s what she had to say.
Your top 5 tips for the busy home cook?
5 kitchen tools you can’t do without?
How many times a week do you go to the grocery store?
I try to go to the store once a week, but it usually winds up being twice. I keep ground beef in my freezer and a pantry full of staples. I try to fill in the perishables―milk, bread, eggs, fruit―at my local grocery store.
What’s your best kitchen trick?
Making homemade buttermilk. I rarely keep store-bought buttermilk on hand, so when I need it (particularly when I make chocolate sheet cake and buttermilk pancakes), I add a tablespoon or so of white vinegar to regular milk and let it sit for five minutes. I pour in the amount of milk the recipe calls for, less a tablespoon or two. Then finish the amount with the vinegar.
Your pantry must-haves?
Canned whole tomatoes. Tons of dried pasta. Pinto beans. Different flour and baking ingredients. Then I have a special shelf where I have jars of sundried tomatoes, prepared pesto, and kalamata olives as well as specialty panini spreads and things I pick up when I visit civilization.
Your favorite splurge ingredient?
Whole beef tenderloin. It’s so expensive, but it’s just so darned good.
Your favorite convenience product?
When I don’t feel like cooking, I send my husband and kids to the store and tell them they can pick out whatever they want. They always come back with Hamburger Helper. I’m not sure how to feel about that, but it sure is easy to whip up!