FOODIE: The Pioneer Woman Cookbook Challenge | March & April

I know I'd hoped to write monthly updates about my 2015 New Year Challenge of making all 109 recipes in the Pioneer Woman's cookbook, but the spring just slipped away from me. Really, though, there was too much other stuff going on. I did, however, continue cooking and baking and making as planned. So here's our favorites and not so favorites from the past couple of months. Well, April and May at least. I know, I'm so behind. But rest assured I'm still cooking up a storm, just not taking the time to blog about it as regularly (read: I've now boarded the toddler crazy train + summer).

Links to the recipes via her website are provided if available.


First, the NAWS.

Eggs Florentine: No recipe, except it's exactly like the Eggs Benedict one below but wilted spinach in place of the Canadian bacon. Ugh. I hated it. Plus, leftover hollandaise sauce is not good, at least we didn't think so.

Chicken Parmesan: I thought we'd love this basic recipe, but we didn't. Like, at all.

Fancy Mac and Cheese: PW says this is one of her all-time favorite recipes and so I thought for certain it would be mine, too, but no go. It has several kinds of fancy cheese and bacon in it and STILL. Not that great. Arlo loves it, though. But that baby eats anything and everything and a lot of it.

Pasta with Tomato Cream Sauce: Another ugh. Just okay. I also thought we'd love this simple dish, but no.

Quesadillas de Camarones: Shrimp quesadillas that I thought the kids would like due to their extreme love of shrimp, but nope. We thought them just okay, but we're looking for really good here.

Panfried Kale: Just olive oil and garlic and kale. I'm still not a huge fan of kale, made into those healthy chips or otherwise. It was just okay.

Panfriend Spinach: Same as above, although I like spinach more than kale. I think I still prefer both fresh and in salads instead.


Eggs Benedict: I've never made my own hollandaise sauce before, and it was pretty good. It made a ton of it, though, so we made those Eggs Florentine which I thought were yuck. Also, I am not a fan of poached eggs, so we fried ours for this. Pretty good.

Pizza dough: This is a good one and easy and handmade. It makes two pizzas and keeps in the fridge. A new favorite!

Breakfast Pizza: She's got a handful of homemade pizza recipes in the book using her pizza dough, and this breakfast one with bacon, eggs and hashbrowns is yummy! It makes a ton, though, so best made for a crowd.

Thai Chicken Pizza: This is probably our favorite of her recipes these past two months. We all loved this! Chicken with sweet chili peanut butter sauce? My kids love them some Asian foods, and we'd make this a million more times.

Sloppy Joes: We loved these, even the girls and they are the pickiest. They aren't as saucy as Sloppy Joes I've had in the past, which I was so glad for. Don't forget to drain the grease, though, after frying the hamburger.

Cherry Limeade: No recipe on the blog, but basically it's lemon-lime soda, fresh lime juice, sugar, and a jar of maraschino cherries. Shake and serve. With our without vodka. We did it without vodka for March Mother/Daughter Bookclub and of course the girls loved it. A fun, fruity sweet drink.

Pasta with Pesto Cream Sauce: Holy moly, Alice and Lucy couldn't get enough of this. Arlo, too. Eric and I thought it was pretty good as well and super easy. I used the last jar of homemade pesto from the freezer from last summer making it that much easier.

Fried Chicken Tacos: After the Thai Pizza, this is definitely our second favorite recipe. So simple, but the frying in oil with the corn tortillas sends this over the edge of decadence. It makes your house oily and smelly, but in the best way.

Beef Stew: Great flavor, and even better the next day. Would totally make this again and it quickly became a family favorite! Best use of simple ingredients like carrots, potatoes, onion and beef. Her spices are spot on here.

Buttered Rosemary Rolls: These are so easy. Rhodes frozen dinner rolls in a pan with butter on the bottom and top and sprinkled with rosemary and sea salt. The butter makes the crispy and decadent and we all love rosemary. Yum!

Strawberry Shortcake Cake: Lawd have mercy, this was Lucy's 11th birthday cake, and while it wasn't as much like traditional strawberry shortcake as she'd liked, it was divine. Especially the leftovers with coffee the next morning.