At Home with the Pioneer Woman
ou 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.
Advice for Busy Cooks
Favorite Kitchen Tools
5 kitchen tools you can't do without?
- My KitchenAid mixer. I've had mine since the day I got married, and it's my best friend and constant companion.
- My Wüsthof Santoku knife.
- My Cuisinart food processor. It's the best, and it reminds me of my mom cooking in the early eighties.
- Iron skillets. Big, small, old, new.
- Flat whisks. They flatten against the bottom of the skillet and scrape up the good stuff
- Recipe: Cowboy Nachos
Grocery Store Trips
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.
In the Pantry
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.
- Recipe: Cowboy Dip Sandwich
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!
- Recipe: Scrumptious Apple Pie