Tag Archives: The Pioneer Woman

Cowboy Quiche (aka Bacon and Sharp Cheddar Quiche with Caramelized Onions)

7 Nov

You are in luck.  I own both the Pioneer Woman’s cookbooks.  And reading her cookbooks is the only way you will find this gem of a recipe.  It’s not on her website; I checked.  It’s not on the Food Network site; I checked.

So, you found it here first, my friends, but all credit must go to Ree.  Another winner from her recipe box.

Melt-in-your-mouth lovely.  With the homiest of ingredients.

Cowboy Quiche

This Cowboy Quiche is one that should make it into your recipe box.  It’ll be on our table regularly.  I mean, who would have thought bacon and caramelized onions and cream and sharp cheddar could be so delicious?

I jest, of course.  We are born knowing these foods are delicious.  My fourteen-month old gobbled up an entire slice.  (Except he wasn’t a big fan of the homemade crust.  What’s up with that?)

Hold on.  I must amend a statement.  This quiche will be on our table regularly, so long as we are also regularly hitting the pavement in our running shoes.  My only issue is its title: Cowboy Quiche.  It conjures images of strong, husky men wearing plaid shirts, hunkered down at a split-pine table.  Not a bad image, admittedly, but girls can eat this quiche, too.  Girls like me with an appetite for rich, indulgent foods and a convenient ability to selectively ignore obvious calorie counts.

Now, I will admit, I do have a little trouble with the actual execution of quiches.  They never bake for me in the suggested time.  For instance, this quiche is supposed to bake 45 minutes.  Mine took 1.5 hours, no joke.  So you might want to consider baking this well before you plan to eat it.  You can always recover it with foil to keep it semi-warm, and it is absolutely amazing even at room temperature.

Maybe if I didn’t have to bake it an additional 45 minutes, it wouldn’t have been quite so brown on top.  But then maybe it wouldn’t have tasted quite so lovely.  We all know that’s when cheese and eggs start to take on an epic taste all their own.

Cowboy Quiche
or, to more aptly describe it, my lengthy title “Bacon and Sharp Cheddar Quiche with Caramelized Onions”

Makes 8-12 slices (I suppose it depends on whether you’re feeding actual cowboys, or just girls who like to eat, or a small toddler, or a combination)

1 deep-dish pie crust
8 slices bacon, fried until chewy (preferably thick-cut)
2 yellow onions, sliced
2 Tbsp butter
8 eggs
1 1/2 c heavy cream
salt and pepper, to taste
2 c hand-grated sharp cheddar

Preheat oven to 400.

Roll out the pie dough and lay gently in a large tart or deep dish pie pan; press into grooves and trim as needed.  Set aside (don’t bake!  I wanted to bake at this point… but don’t!).

Chop the fried bacon into small bite-sized pieces.  In a heavy skillet or pot over medium-low heat, caramelize the onions in butter until deep golden brown.  Set aside to cool.

Mix the eggs, cream, salt and pepper in a large bowl.  Add the bacon, onions, and cheese; stir to combine.  At this point, you can refrigerate the mixture up to 3 days before using.

If you wish to bake immediately, pour into pie shell.  Cover lightly with foil and bake for 45 minutes (or 105 minutes, whatever…).  Remove the foil and bake for an additional 10 minutes, or until the quiche is set, jiggling very little when shaken, and the crust is golden brown.  Remove from oven when done and allow to sit for 10 minutes.

DELISH.  Enjoy!


Sausage, Onion and Pepper Calzones with Homemade Marinara Sauce

1 Nov

Enormous Sausage, Onion and Pepper Calzone


These things are tasty.

They are also huge.

I’d suggest making them using frozen dinner rolls instead of frozen bread loaves (even divided into thirds, they took up half a plate).  Then invite a bunch of friends over to watch a game, and chow down.  Sounds like a good time.  I enjoy feeding people.  I think I inherited it from my grandma.  She likes nothing better than to fill her home with a big, chaotic group (aka, my family) and weight down her small kitchen island with dish after dish.

The filling is rich, what with the pork sausage, ricotta, mozzarella and Parmesan.  It’s also quite mild; the recipe calls for 1/4 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes.  I couldn’t taste any heat, so I think you could increase that to 3/4 or even 1 whole teaspoon, and get just the right amount of heat.  Disclaimer: I have been known to be very, very wrong about the spiciness of food…  Also, I often misread recipe instructions.  For instance, this time I cooked the calzones at 350 instead of 400.  No doubt the higher temperature will give you a better-looking crust!

That Filling

The recipe made 9 calzones, which means our freezer now holds 4 of these puppies, just waiting for that day I don’t have the time – or the inclination! – to cook something new.  Then, I’ll pull them out, thaw them for a few hours and pop them in the oven at 400 until they are light golden brown.

The Homemade Marinara Sauce is dee-lightful as well.  So fresh and flavorful, it’s hard to believe the tomatoes come from a can.  That’s my kind of recipe.  The sneaky kind.  (Recipe adjustments:  I added 2 teaspoons of dried oregano and 1 teaspoon of Italian seasoning, plus a couple Tablespoons of minced fresh parsley, and used 2 28-ounce cans of crushed tomatoes.)

Did I mention these are both Pioneer Woman recipes?  You can always count on the Pioneer Woman.  In fact, I am 90% sure I’m using her Cowboy Quiche recipe when I host a little brunch next week.  For your cooking ease, though, I am copying her recipes below – and including any changes I made to the recipes.  If you want the unadulterated versions, click on her link above.


Sausage, Onion and Pepper Calzones

3 whole frozen, un-risen bread loaves (I used Rhodes, can also use frozen dinner rolls)
1 tablespoon butter
1 whole medium onion, diced
1 cup diced green bell pepper
1 pound breakfast sausage
1/2 teaspoon Italian seasoning
1/4 teaspoon red pepper flakes (optional: increase to 3/4 teaspoon)
15 ounces whole milk ricotta
1 1/2 cups finely shredded mozzarella
1/2 cup grated Parmesan
2 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley
1/2 teaspoon salt
Black pepper
2 whole eggs plus 1 whole egg, beaten
All-purpose flour, for dusting
Marinara Sauce, warmed, for serving, recipe follows


Place the frozen bread loaves on a baking sheet to thaw. Cover with a tea towel and let thaw and rise for 2 to 3 hours.

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F.

Melt the butter in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add the onions and peppers and allow to cook for a couple of minutes. Add the sausage and cook until brown, crumbling the sausage as you stir. Add the Italian seasoning and red pepper flakes. Remove from the skillet and allow to cool on a plate.

In a separate bowl, combine the ricotta, mozzarella, Parmesan, salt, some pepper, parsley and 2 eggs.

When the sausage is cool, stir it into the cheese mixture and set aside.

When the loaves are thawed and risen, divide them into thirds (or quarters) and roll each out on a lightly floured surface until paper thin. Spoon 1/4 to 1/2 cups of the filling onto half of the dough circle. Fold half of the dough over itself, and then press the edges with a fork to seal.

Brush the surface of each calzone with the beaten egg, and then bake until nice and golden brown, 10 to 13 minutes. Serve with warm Marinara Sauce.

Marinara Sauce

Olive oil
3 to 4 whole cloves garlic, minced
1 whole small to medium onion, chopped
1/2 cup chicken broth
2 28-ounce cans crushed tomatoes
Salt and ground black pepper
Couple pinches sugar
2 teaspoons dried oregano
1 teaspoon Italian seasoning
Minced fresh parsley, to taste (about 1/4 cup)

Add a tablespoon or so of olive oil into a hot pan over medium-high heat and throw in the garlic and chopped onions and give them a stir.

Now add the wine (or chicken broth), whisking to deglaze the bottom of the skillet. Cook until the liquid reduces by half.

Add the crushed tomatoes and stir to combine. Add salt and pepper to taste, plus sugar, oregano and Italian seasoning. Reduce the heat to low and simmer for 30 minutes.

Toward the end of the cooking process, chop up your fresh parsley and add it to the sauce to taste, stirring to combine.  Adjust salt, pepper and sugar as needed.

Kitchen Mommy’s Note: Leftovers freeze well!  To defrost, just sit on your kitchen counter for a couple hours (but is that up to health codes?) or run warm water over the sides of your freezer container, then drop the frozen sauce into a saucepan and reheat on low until thawed and warm (probably closer to health codes).

Simple and Delish: Honey-Dijon Chicken & Delicata Squash

19 Oct

I bought the squash for its name.  Delicata.  I love it.  There’s nothing delicate-looking about winter squash in general and this one had its share of knobs and bumps – yet it dares to take the name “Delicata.”

It was delicious.  I took a bite before I added butter, salt and pepper, and alone, it was buttery and smooth and just really good.  So you can be super-healthy and skip the tasty additions.  My husband did that.  He’s always one-upping me on the nutrition front.  Are you the one in your relationship that always suggests ice cream or cookies or nachos at 10 pm?  There is always one, mark my words.  But back to the squash.  The Delicata (at least ours) do have less flesh than butternuts or acorns, so buy a big one if you want a substantial side dish.

All I did was microwave it for 7 minutes and let it sit while I did a few things, then cut it in half and scooped out the seeds and stringy stuff.  Easy, easy, easy.

I’ve been wanting to try this chicken marinade for a while, after seeing it in the Pioneer Woman’s show and in her cookbook.  Yum!  It’s a little sweet (that’s the honey talkin’) and a little tangy (the mustard chimes in).  I didn’t use much crushed red pepper, so it lacked heat.  I’ll toss in probably half a teaspoon next time.  Next time I will also top it with thick, crispy bacon and piles of melted cheese.  But this time we had it plain.  The better to really taste it, right?  The Big Guy was disappointed, I know, even though he did not say it aloud.

I grilled it inside, in a grill pan.  Sigh.  I hate doing that because it always, always leaves such a sticky, hard-to-remove gunk in the grill pan.  But the wind was blowing 50 mph – literally – so it was the lesser of two evils.  That’s the kind of wind that will blow a patio chair into your shins and a flower pot at your neck.  I was not taking any chances.  Plus, it would have ruined my hair.

I’m calling the chicken marinade something different, because even she admits no real reason for her original title, Ranch Style Chicken.  Artistic liberty.  I love it.  If you want the original recipe, with all her funny witticisms, click the link above.  Reread for fun.

Honey-Dijon Chicken
serves: 2 plus leftovers (unless you’re really hungry)

3 boneless, skinless chicken breasts, pounded to even 1/4″ thickness
1/4 c honey
1/4 c dijon mustard, grainy otherwise
the juice of 1/3 a whole lemon
1/4 tsp paprika
1/4 tsp salt
1/2 tsp crushed red pepper flakes

Mix the marinade ingredients together by squeezing in a large plastic zip-top bag.  Add the chicken, press out air and seal.  Squish around to coat evenly.  Refrigerate for 1-3 hours, turning occasionally so every part of the chicken gets soaked in the marinade.

Heat grill pan over medium heat or grill to medium.  Cook for 5-7 minutes, flip and cook until done.

Spicy Pulled Pork and Fried Green Tomatoes

12 Oct

What do those two foods – Spicy Pulled Pork and Fried Green Tomatoes – have in common, you may ask?  Not a thing, my friend, not a thing.

I had the pork bubbling away in the crockpot when my mom presented me with some green tomatoes and what may be the last bag of bell peppers from her garden.

We were both surprised by how much we loved the Fried Green Tomatoes, and how spicy the Spicy Pulled Pork was.  Don’t underestimate the power of the chipotle pepper.  I used about 1/3 of the chipotle the Pioneer Woman’s recipe actually calls for, and it was still enough to light up the back of our throats.  But it was delicious!  It had just the right amount of sweetness to offset that spicy.

Spicy Pulled Pork and Fried Green Tomatoes

Here’s a link to the Pioneer Woman’s recipe for spicy pulled pork.

Now the Fried Green Tomatoes…  so easy I could make them more than once every year, which seems to be my current rate of repitition.  Perhaps this weekend, in fact.

Fried Green Tomatoes… I Ate 5

To fry green tomatoes:
Slice tomatoes in 1/2″ slices.

In a dish, whisk an egg (or two if you’re using a lot of tomatoes) with a generous pinch of salt.

In another bowl, dump about a cup of panko bread crumbs; mix with black pepper and a generous sprinkle of ground thyme.

In a large saucepan, heat about 1/4″ of oil over medium-high heat (hot enough to fry, but not to kick oil bubbles up everywhere).

Dunk each tomato slice in the egg bath, then cover as thickly as possible in the bread crumbs.  Place carefully in the pan and fry about two minutes on each side.

Serve with a dipping sauce made of mayonnaise (not Miracle Whip) and a couple healthy dashes of Sriracha sauce.

Fresh, fresh fiesta!

24 Mar

Last night we had a mini, semi-impromptu fiesta!  My aunt was coming to spend the night before heading on to a meeting, so we (in the spirit of “the more the merrier”) invited my brother, sister-in-law and little niece to eat with us and add to the chaos I happily call family fun.  An extra pound of ground turkey for the tacos, another package of tortilla shells, and we were set.

Two recipes I’ve had in my back pocket for a while inspired the fiesta theme – The Barefoot Contessa’s Guacamole Salad and the Pioneer Woman’s Restaurant-Style Salsa.  They were both received – and gobbled down – with rave reviews.  The guacamole salad is entirely made of fresh ingredients – a clean eater’s dream.  The salsa, while it involves several cans, still manages to taste like you grabbed the tomatoes and peppers from your backyard garden to put it together.

It’s spring!  The sun is shining and the grass is greening!  Wipe down your patio chairs, light up your fire pit, and have your own fiesta!

This Guacamole Salad is so fresh and so satisfying.  The vegetables are added in perfect ratios so you have just the right amount of tomatoes vs bell pepper vs black beans vs avocado.  And if you, like I do, love black beans and avocados with a strange passion, this dish will really, really hit a high note.  The dressing is aaaaamazing.  I want to toss it on a salad with tortilla strips and shredded cheddar and corn.  Maybe I will, in fact.  The lime keeps the avocado from turning that gunky brown – even your leftovers will look good the next morning!

Guacamole Salad

Guacamole Salad
from The Barefoot Contessa

1 pint grape tomatoes, halved
1 yellow bell pepper, seeding, 1/2″ diced
1 15 oz. can black beans, drained and rinsed
1/2 c. red onion, small diced
2 Tbsp. minced fresh jalapenos
1/2 tsp. freshly grated lime zest (from about 1 lime)
1/4 c. freshly squeezed lime juice (a couple limes)
1/4 c. olive oil
1 tsp. kosher salt
1/2 tsp. ground black pepper
1/2 tsp. minced fresh garlic
1/4 tsp. cayenne
2 avocados, seeded, peeled and 1/2″ diced

Place tomatoes, yellow pepper, black beans, red onion, jalapenos and lime zest in a large bowl.  Whisk together lime juice, olive oil, salt, pepper, garlic and cayenne, and pour over vegetables.  Toss to coat.  Refrigerate.  Just before serving, cut avocadoes and fold into salad gently.  Check seasoning; serve at room temperature.

The Restaurant-Style Salsa has a sassy little kick and a bright hit of cilantro.  I could eat bowlful after bowlful.  Our group of 5 (heavy eaters, we’ll all freely admit) nearly finished off the entire large batch.  I had set some aside in a jar and was going to send it home with my brother, because he dearly loves chips and salsa in the evenings, but… I forgot?  The good news for him is that I’ll probably be making this salsa on a weekly basis as we head into warmer weather, so he’ll have many more chances to enjoy it.

Restaurant-Style Salsa

Restaurant-Style Salsa
from The Pioneer Woman

1 28-oz. can whole tomatoes with juice
2 10-oz. cans Rotel Diced Tomatoes and Green Chilies (I used one mild and one original)
1/4 c. chopped onion (I used white)
1 jalapeno, quartered and finely sliced
1 garlic clove, minced
1/4 tsp. sugar
1/4 tsp. salt
1/4 tsp. ground cumin
juice of half a lime
1/2 c. fresh cilantro (I used 1 cup)

Into a large, 10-12 cup food processor, add the whole tomatoes, Rotel, onion, jalapeno, garlic, sugar, salt, cumin, lime juice, and cilantro.  Pulse several times until you reach the consistency you like.

As easy as that.  I can’t wait to try it after the flavors have melded together overnight.  Hello, brunch idea.  Eggs and salsa…

The Could-Have-Been-Given-Away Jar