Saturday, January 2, 2016

The Pioneer Woman Cooks: Dinnertime - Cookbook Review + Recipe

Christmas is always kind of a funny time for cooking.  I feel like I do nothing but cook but we end up eating out or eating leftovers most of the time somehow.   But once Christmas is done I start feeling the urge to actually cook dinner again and this week seemed like the perfect time to try out Ree Drummond's newest cookbook - The Pioneer Woman Cooks: Dinnertime.

If you have any of The Pioneer Woman's other cookbooks you kind of know what to expect in terms of variety.  This cookbook is full of recipes and cover everything you could possibly need - there's plenty of sides, breads, main dishes, desserts, salads and everything else and all the recipes are pretty family friendly but don't rely on cream of whatever soups or tons of other processed foods (though this is by no means health food).  This book does focus a little more on recipes you can plan ahead with.  For example there's a recipe for basic meatballs and then about 6 different variations for them with the thinking that you could make the meatballs way ahead of time and in bulk and then just heat them up, combine them with sauce and side and get very different meals with little fuss.

Here are a few recipes I'm looking forward to trying:

Croissant French Toast
Panzanella
Swedish Meatballs
Chicken with Mustard Cream Sauce
Pan-Fried Chicken
Bow-tie Chicken Alfredo
Pork Chops with Wine and Roasted Garlic

and really I could go on and on.  There are so many good looking recipes in this book!  The one I'm going to share is from the Comfort Classics chapter.

Salisbury Steak
Steaks:
1 1/2 pounds lean ground beef
1/2 cup seasoned bread crumbs
2 tablespoons heavy cream
2 teaspoons dry mustard
1 beef bouillon cube, crumbled
'4 dashes of Worcestershire sauce (I was pretty heavy handed with my dashes)
1 tablespoon ketchup
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon black pepper
1 tablespoon butter

Gravy:
1/2 onion, halved and thinly sliced
2 1/4 cups beef broth (I used about 2 cups beef broth and 1/4 cup chicken broth because that's what I had)
1 tablespoon ketchup
1 teaspoon Kitchen Bouquet browning sauce (optional)(I didn't use it)
2 tablespoons cornstarch
kosher salt and black pepper to taste.

1.  To make the steaks, combine the beef, breadcrumbs, cream, mustard, bouillon, Worcestershire, ketchup, salt, and pepper in a bowl.

2.  Knead the mixture until it's evenly combined, then form it into 6 oblong patties.  Use your little finger to press indentations all down the patties.  (this is just for fun, to give them a "steak" appearance)

3 Heat a large skillet over medium-high heat and add the olive oil and butter.  Fry the patties on both sides until nicely crusted outside and no longer pink in the middle, 3 to 4 minutes per side.  Remove the patties to a plate.

4.  To make the gravy, add the onion to the pan.

5.  Saute the onion for several minutes, until golden, then add 2 cups of the beef broth, the Worcestershire, ketchup and Kitchen Bouquet (if using - I didn't).

6.  Stir and cook for 2 to 3 minutes to reduce the liquid slightly.

7.  Make a slurry by mixing together the cornstarch and remaining 1/4 cup broth.

8.  Pour the slurry into the gravy, then stir and let it bubble up and thicken for 3 to 4 minutes.  Taste and adjust the seasonings, adding salt and pepper, inf the flavors need more pop.

9.  Nestle the steaks into the skillet and spoon the gravy over the top.  Let it simmer for a couple more minutes.

My Changes: None.  The recipe was straightforward and I followed it exactly.

My Results: A delicious stick to your ribs meal without too many complicated steps.  I served it with these mashed potatoes which finish in the oven and it was delicious!

Make Again?: Absolutely!  My husband might revolt if I didn't.  He loved it!

Recommended For?: I'd recommend this book to just about everyone.  The recipes are solid and reliable without being overly complicated and I think there's something for even the pickiest of family members.  The instructions are fully written out with pictures which would make this great for beginning cooks as well.   If you're a vegetarian this may not be a book you would get a lot out of.  Most of the dishes do involve meat of some kind.

I'm linking up with Weekend Cooking hosted by Beth Fish Reads



33 comments:

  1. I love this book! I tried the chicken mozzarella pasta and it's good, I will post that with my meal planning today. Your Salisbury steak sounds amazing! I have to try that one.
    Don't you just love all the photos in this book?

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    1. Her photos are so gorgeous! I'm really enjoying this book. I'm definitely glad you talked me into it.

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  2. I have a couple of Ree's cookbooks, but I don't have this one. I may have to go out and get it. That recipe looks good.

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    1. I really like this one so far. I like that really focuses on main dishes and dinner type meals. Definitely worth checking out!

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  3. I don't have this book yet, but you're making me want it. Love that the recipe came out perfect just exactly as written. I also like the idea of making dishes ahead of time. I used to use my freezer that way, but have gotten out of the habit.

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    1. I love when a recipe just works and works beautifully at that! I'm definitely looking forward to trying out more of this book.

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  4. This sounds like a wonderful and delicious book.

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  5. Great comfort food. Happy New Year. Cheers from Carole's Chatter!

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    1. It's definitely comfort food. Happy New Year!

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  6. I watch her on TV but I haven't gotten and of her cookbooks yet. I'll have to get one and try though. Enjoy!

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    1. Of all of them I think this is the one I'll use most. Definitely worth trying!

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  7. I do think it's essential for a cookbook to have pictures. I don't like it when I don't know what the final dish looks like. This dish sounds good. It's almost like Loco Moco. We like to dirty our rice here.

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    1. I definitely prefer recipes with pictures and I really love how she photographs each step.

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  8. I like watching her on TV, though I think my dad likes watching her more...lol. I would love to have this cookbook, hope you enjoy her recipes. :)

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    1. This is definitely worth checking out. I do love her show and just her attitude in general.

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  9. I have her first cookbook - her pot roast recipe is now a family favorite. This book sounds like another winner.

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    1. Somehow I don't think I've tried the pot roast. I'll have to fix that!

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  10. I've never tried one of Ree's recipes that I didn't like!

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    1. Me either! I think the worst I've gotten was just okay.

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  11. That recipe sounds yummy! I love looking through cookbooks but I never seem to think about cooking from them. This one sounds like it has a lot of wonderful recipes and I love the idea of things that can be made ahead of time. Great post!

    Carole @ Carole's Random Life

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    1. I'm curious about the making ahead steps. I don't do that too much so it's intriguing. I love looking through cookbooks!

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  12. Good review, Katherine! I'm already tempted. (Swedish meatballs are a weakness of mine, and would you believe I've never made them?) I do have a few questions. Are her recipes time-consuming, or do they go pretty quickly? Time seems to be a real factor for me in whether I cook or not. I like the idea of making things ahead and freezing them to pull out when I'm in a time crunch, but even so, I don't have a lot of time to spend in the kitchen. Also, are there plenty of recipes that don't include tomato? (I'm allergic.)

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    1. I'd say her recipes are fairly quick - most in the half hour range - and simple without being a just dump cans of stuff in type. There are definitely some recipes that do have tomato but a lot that don't. Of the ones I listed only the panzanella does and really you could probably leave the ketchup out of this one and maybe replace it with vinegar and brown sugar for acidity and sweetness. She has most of her recipes on her blog if you want to check her out.

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    2. Thank you! Half an hour is fine; it's the ones that take hours of prep that I can't handle. I think I'll put the book on hold at the library, if they have it, and check out her blog as well.

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  13. I love watching her on TV, but never tried any of her recipes but some of the ones you listed sound delicious!

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    1. I've had pretty good luck with her recipes. I think my worst result was something that was just okay and most have been really good.

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  14. I want to eat croissant french toast right now! I don't even know what it is but the name just sounds delicious! If you make you must share a picture. :)
    I got my brother and his girlfriend the Thug Kitchen cookbook for Christmas. So many people were buying it, so I had to take a look through it and it's filled with really healthy recipes but the guys that wrote it are so funny.

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    1. Doesn't the Croissant French Toast sound amazing! I'm almost scared to make it though because I'll eat it all! I've seen the Thug Kitchen book but never looked at it. I'll definitely have to look for it.

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  15. Sounds much better than what passed for Salisbury Steak in my house growing up! ;) I felt exactly the same way about the holidays when the kids were home. I was always either cooking or cleaning up after a meal, yet we didn't make a real dent in all the food we bought and had to keep running out for something we didn't have!

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    1. Oh I know! I have no idea how many times I had to run to the store. It was ridiculous. This was really good. The term Salsbury Steak doesn't usually make think good things but I'll definitely be remaking it.

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