Category Archives: Pioneer Woman

Pioneer Woman’s Chili

We’ve been eating a lot of chili around here lately. It’s easy to make a big pot full of it and then eat on it all week. And when I’m in the midst of busy season with photography – cooking one time and eating all week is a winner. We have our favorite chili recipe which I’ve shared with you guys before, but to change it up a bit we also tried the Pioneer Woman’s chili recipe. Because she is awesome and her recipes are the bomb dot com.

pioneer woman chili

Pioneer Woman’s Chili


2 garlic cloves, chopped
1 tsp ground oregano
1 tbsp ground cumin
1/4 tsp cayenne pepper
2 tbsp chili powder
2 lbs ground beef
1 (8 oz) can tomato sauce
1 tsp salt
1/4 cup masa (corn flour)
1 (15 oz) can pinto beans
1 (15 oz) can red kidney beans
1 (13 oz) can Rotel
1 jalapeño, seeded and finely diced (optional)


1. Place the ground beef in a large pot and throw in the garlic. Cook the beef until brown. Drain excess fat. Pour in the tomato sauce. Followed by the spices and the salt. Stir together well, cover, and reduce the heat to low. Let simmer for 1 hour, stirring occasionally. If the mixture becomes overly dry, add in 1/2 cup water at a time as needed.

2. After an hour, place the masa in a small bowl.  Add 1/2 cup water and stir together with a fork. Dump the masa mixture into the chili. Stir together well. Taste, adjust the seasonings, and add more masa paste and/or water to get the chili to your preferred consistency, or to add more corn flavor.

3. Add the beans and tomatoes (and jalapeño if desired).  Simmer for 10 minutes. Serve with cheese and fritos if desired.

The chili was delicious as per normal for the Pioneer Woman. Buuuut (yes there is a but), in our opinions: it’s not as good as our normal chili recipe. I know, I know, I speak blasphemy and such. But trust me, as good as her recipe is (and it IS!), we still like ours better. Which feels strange to say because normally the PW’s recipes are the best. I mean, let’s all take a moment to remember the ribeye steaks with whiskey cream sauce. Ah-mazing. This chili, however, is just “good”. Not super amazing or the best ever. And that’s okay. And also entirely possibly a preference thing. But it definitely was still good to try a different recipe!

Do you have a recipe of your own that you like better than the one most people swear by?

Love Rach


Pioneer Woman’s Shrimp Scampi

One of the things I loved about our 30 days together (besides the awesome NYC trip!) was how much time we got to spend just being together. It was great to have nowhere specific to be every night. That meant we had plenty of time to try out some of the many recipes I’ve had pinned on Pinterest for years. Some were just okay, but some were super delicious. I plan to share all the amazing ones with you! Beginning with the Pioneer Woman’s shrimp scampi!

pioneer woman shrimp scampi2

Pioneer Woman’s Shrimp Scampi


2 tbsp butter
2 tbsp olive oil
4 cloves garlic, minced
1/2 medium onion, diced
1 lb large shrimp, peeled and deveined
2 lemons, halved
1/2 cup white wine
4 dashes hot sauce (I used Franks Red Hot)
Freshly ground salt and pepper to taste
8 oz angel hair pasta
1/2 cup Parmesan, grated
Fresh parsley, minced


1. Boil water for the pasta and have it ready.

2. Melt the butter and heat the olive oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Add the garlic and onions and cook 2-3 minutes until the onions are translucent. Add shrimp, then stir and cook for a couple of minutes. Squeeze in the lemon juice. Add the wine, hot sauce, salt and pepper. Stir and reduce the heat to low.

3. Throw the angel hair pasta into the boiling water. Cook until just al dente. Drain, reserving a cup or 2 of the pasta water.

4. Remove the skillet from the heat. Add the pasta and toss, adding a splash of pasta water if it needs to be thinned. Taste for seasoning, adding salt and pepper if needed. Top with the grated Parmesan and minced parsley and serve immediately.

I know this is a very summery looking recipe for me to be sharing as fall begins, but I mean, it’s the Pioneer Woman. And pasta. And shrimp. All wonderful things. So really there’s no wrong time of year to be sharing a recipe like this. 😉

As a side note… see that plate in the photo? That’s a piece of my grandmother’s china. We don’t pull out our china very often, but a romantic dinner candle lit over our 30 days seemed like the perfect time to use it. 🙂

Love Rach

I like to eat buttery pasta

Remember when AIM was a big thing? Everyone had cool names on it that had nothing to do with their real names (Christopher’s was kiwisurferboy… how adorable is that?) . Well, I remember a girl who had the name iliketoeatbutterypasta. And I remember that it made me hungry every time I talked to her. And today I’m thinking fondly of her as I talk about how I really do like to eat buttery pasta. 😉

Last week Jayda shared a photo of a Pioneer Woman recipe that she had made and I was smitten. I knew I needed to make it immediately. So I did. And it was ah-mazing. But I mean, it’s butter and pasta and some fresh herbs… what’s not to love?

pioneer woman pasta

I had some basil growing on my front porch that just begged to be added to this dish and I can’t help myself from adding garlic to pretty much everything I cook. But other than those two modifications, this is pretty much just like the Pioneer Woman’s original recipe.

Buttery Lemon Herbed Pasta


4 oz pasta
1 tbsp butter
1 clove garlic, minced
handful of fresh basil & parsley, minced
squeeze of a lemon
salt & pepper to taste


1. Cook noodles according to package directions (I used tagliatelle pasta so it cooks for only a few minutes before it’s al dente). Drain and give your colander a good shake to remove excess water.

2. Melt butter in skillet over medium-high heat. Add garlic and let it begin to sizzle. After 30 seconds-1 minute when it starts to turn golden (just before it turns brown), toss in your cooked pasta and allow it to pan fry for a couple of minutes.

3. Slice a lemon in half and give it a good squeeze over your pasta while it pan fries. Then toss in minced parsley & basil. Add salt & pepper to taste, then toss together. Serve while warm.

Worth making. Over and over again. It’s all ingredients I always have so it’s perfect for a quick lunch when I’m not sure what to make. As always, The Pioneer Woman doesn’t disappoint. 🙂

Did anyone have a fun AIM username? I had a couple of different ones. Usually speck or speckjoy (speck and joy were both nicknames) or dinghaile (my name in Chinese – it means “ocean of joy”).

Do you like buttery pasta?

Love Rach

Whiskey Bacon Burgers

Oh my gracious, you guys. We made the best burgers ever this past weekend. Seriously, the best. So unreasonably good.

It’s a little ironic that I’m about to share a massively cholesterol filled recipe mere days after talking about how we are working to lower Christopher’s cholesterol level. But I had actually already grocery shopped for last week by the time we got Christopher’s results so it would have been wasteful not to make the burgers we had on the menu plan. Plus, his PCP recommended moderation, not total elimination of cholesterol. And I’m so glad we made these burgers. Because they were, as I said before, the best.

Remember how I made those Rib Eye Steaks with Whiskey Cream Sauce last week? And I raved about them. And mentioned that we wanted to try that whiskey cream sauce over burgers. Yeah, that was a moment of brilliance. Then I kept thinking about it and the things I love most on burgers. Colby jack cheese, bacon, grilled onions… what if these things all came together to make the ULTIMATE burger? Well, this past weekend… they did. I give you what I call the Whiskey Bacon Burger:

whiskey bacon burgersThe next time I make these, I’ll make sure we have better lighting and plating so there’s a prettier picture. But I just couldn’t wait to share the recipe. It was too amazing not to share immediately! 🙂

whiskey cream sauceOooh the whiskey cream sauce… how delightful! This is the amount that one recipe made (just enough for four burgers). We made them for friends and Brodie said next time we need to double the sauce recipe so he can drown his burger in it, haha! And trust me, we will definitely be making these again!

grilled onionsSome sauteed onions to top off the burgers. As well as bacon. I totally forgot to photograph the bacon. But it was there. And delicious.

whiskey bacon burgersWe made beef burgers and bison burgers and topped them with colby jack cheese.

whiskey cream sauceGoodbye whiskey cream sauce, you were amazing. Every delicious bite!

christopher and brodieOur grill masters in adorable matching aprons. 😉 Christopher and Brodie = #besties 😀

whiskey bacon burgers

whiskey bacon burgers

The burger part of this recipe was based off Steakhouse Burgers from Once Upon a Chef

The Whiskey Cream Sauce is from the Pioneer Woman

You guys, the pictures do not do this burger justice. The burgers themselves are delicious, but topped with the colby jack cheese, grilled onions, bacon, and whiskey cream sauce… um, oh my gracious. Amazing. The general consensus of the night was that they were awesome and needed to be made again pronto! 🙂 Just maybe after we have a couple of grilled fish dinners first. 😉

Have you ever had a moment of brilliance with a meal idea?

Also, I am still accepting fish recipe ideas! Thanks for the ones you’ve shared so far! 🙂

Love Rach

Pioneer Woman’s Rib Eye Steak with Whiskey Cream Sauce

Three years ago I made a note to myself that I wanted to make The Pioneer Woman’s Rib Eye Steak with Whiskey Cream Sauce. It looked and sounded delightful. But in general when we cook at home we tend to pick healthier meals that don’t cost just a ton. And Rib-Eye Steaks don’t come cheap. 😉 Well, the opportunity finally came earlier this week! Monday was Christopher’s first day at his new job and I felt like a steak and potato dinner was needed for celebration. 🙂 So I pulled out this recipe and oh-my-gracious, I am glad I did! It is like a little taste of heaven.


First you have to have whiskey. True story, I’ve never bought whiskey before. Ever. I’d never even tasted it. I honestly didn’t realize that you couldn’t get it at your grocery store. It took me a good minute before I realized that you have to go to an actual free standing liquor store. Ha! I walked into the liquor store and immediately someone walked up to me and asked if they could help me. Either I looked totally lost or they figured I was underage. 😉

I explained to him that I needed the smallest bottle of whiskey they had and they told me to just ask the clerk for a “two shot bottle” that they keep behind the desk at the front. Turns out, it was the perfect amount! I used exactly half of my two shot bottle for the recipe which is perfect because it gives me just enough to make it again! 😀 Oh, and Christopher and I both tried whiskey from the bottle for the first time… he took the smallest sip and I had like two drops in my mouth… and both of us made this horrible face at each other. And then grabbed our noses as they started to burn. It was terrible. I’m not sure how anyone drinks that stuff. But then I guess it’s like a lot of things – just an acquired taste. But I digress…

rib eye steak with whiskey cream sauce

pioneer woman's rib eye steak with whiskey cream sauceClick recipe card to see larger. Original recipe from the Pioneer Woman. Because she’s the bomb dot com. 😀

You guys, it’s unreal how good this was. Like, there just are not words for how amazing it is. I actually fudged just a little and bought one rib eye steak and one sirloin steak. I just wanted to know if it would be just as good. The rib eye was better, but the sirloin was pretty amazing too! And rib eye isn’t something we’d buy often (I mean, $14/lb… my gracious!). But we will totally make this recipe again, but with a cheaper cut of meat! And if we have something exciting to celebrate again then we might go all out and get rib eye steak again! 🙂 We plan to make this sauce again and put it over burgers this weekend. My mouth is watering just thinking about it! You guys, make it. Seriously. Do it. You won’t regret it!

Are there any recipes that you save for special occasions? 
Have you made any Pioneer Woman recipes? I love them all!
Love Rach


Pioneer Woman’s Chicken Fried Steak

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Two years ago I got the The Pioneer Woman Cooks Cookbook and I pinned different recipes to remind myself to make them. One of those recipes was her Chicken Fried Steak. In the two years since I pinned it, it has been repinned nearly 1200 times with 90 cute little heart likes. So I figured it was way past time I actually made it myself, ha!

pw chicken fried steak

Dear BakingBySue, you’re welcome for sending so much traffic your way over the past two years. 😉 I finally got around to making it last week. And it was amazing. 🙂

pioneer woman's chicken fried steak

pw chicken fried steakClick recipe card to see it larger. Recipe slightly adapted from Ree Drummond to feed just the two of us versus an army. 🙂

I considered making a healthy salad or steaming a veggie to go along side this meal, but when you’re frying food in your kitchen… well, mashed potatoes just call your name. 😉 So I made my favorite old fashioned mashed potatoes and we devoured this meal. If you like good old fashioned chicken fried steak, you should try this recipe. You’ll love it!

Do you love the Pioneer Woman as much as I do? She has the best home cooking recipes!

Have you had chicken fried steak before? This is the first time I’ve had it in years (since before we got married), but it was SO good!

Love Rach

Pioneer Woman’s Spaghetti

It just hit Christopher and I that the holiday season is officially here and it has been MONTHS since we got back from Italy. It literally feels like we just got back last month so it’s hard to believe that August was so long ago. In that time we have been busy recreating and honing recipes based on meals we ate there. I already shared our bolognese sauce based on what we ate at ZaZa’s in Florence, but I still want to share a couple more. I have two recipes totally ready to share… except that I don’t have a picture of them yet, haha! Anyway, all this is to say, I haven’t forgotten to share those recipes with you. But in the mean time, if you are craving some Italian, why not make the Pioneer Woman’s spaghetti?

pioneer woman's spaghetti

pioneer woman's spaghettiI halved this recipe and made a couple of small adjustments so for the original recipe please see Ree’s blog here. 🙂

It doesn’t taste like pasta that we ate in Italy, but it tastes like good old comfort food spaghetti. Like the type you eat at grandma’s house or a church pot luck. It’s delicious. 🙂 So, make it. Enjoy it. And hopefully soon I’ll get at least one of those Italy recipes on the blog! 🙂
Love Rach