Tag Archives: Pioneer Woman

Fried Mozzarella Sticks

A couple weeks ago I did a Pioneer Woman week of meals and fried mozzarella sticks were an appetizer that got postponed until now.  Since I enjoy trying new things and eating fried foods it looked like a good fit.   The Mrs. likes to describe these types of food as “redneck foods.”  She thinks because I grew up in Indiana eating donuts, elephant ears, nachos, corn dogs, onion rings, pigs in a blanket, etc. that it somehow translates into “redneck foods”.  I consider these to be the little joys in life that people from all nations and backgrounds can enjoy.

The best days to cook, in order, are Saturday, Sunday, Friday.  This little ditty came on a Friday night after work.  I prefer to make things from scratch as much as possible but I didn’t feel like making my own breadcrumbs or mozzarella cheese. I’ll save that for another time.

Panko breadcrumbs were instructed for this but any kind would work fine.
Panko Breadcrumbs

The simplicity of this recipes comes from using mozzarella sticks. Since it’s just an appetizer I’m letting this slide.
Cheese Sticks

Then it’s 3 simple bowls of egg/milk, breadcrumbs + parsley/salt/pepper/whatever, and flour.


You take a piece of cheese, coat it in the flour, give it an egg bath and then let it soak up the breadcrumbs.  Once assembly is complete the next step (as The PW points out) is to plate the assembled sticks and then freeze them for 20-30 minutes.  Since you’re about to put cheese into hot oil you want to give it the best chance to survive the temperature without falling apart.


I guessed at the oil temperature here, it’s probably 350 degrees.  Like most things, when cooking, watch them until they’re the color you want and then flip or pull them out.

Frying cheese

In the end you should be left with some golden brown looking breaded cheese sticks.  You can see a couple burst open and the cheese is poking through. Don’t worry, they’ll taste like the other ones.


The Mrs. only ate 2/12 which meant I was left to finish off the other 10.  No, that was not a complaint.  However, these weren’t as flavorful as I was hoping for.  I don’t know if it was the cheese or the seasoning.  I’m sure to try this again but for now am satisfied with saying “Yeah, I’ve made those.”


Pioneer Woman – Steakhouse Pizza

Day #5 of Pioneer Woman Dinner Week was finished off with Steakhouse Pizza, including homemade dough.   I’ve been making my own pizza dough for a while now and enjoy trying new dough recipes.  The crust can make or break a pizza.   I usually make enough dough for two pizzas but this recipe was a single crust.

The original recipe calls for 2 onions to be grilled up but since the Mrs. isn’t a fan of onions I substituted green pepper.

On the griddle

I think then grilled up the flank steak and cut it into strips.


We used real mozzarella on this bad boy.  We rarely buy the real stuff but I did it in the name of following the recipe and it sure was tasty.  This used a couple ingredients I’ve never used with pizza before: 1) balsamic vinegar and 2) worcestershire sauce were added to the marinara sauce.


A quick ~10 min at 475 and we’re ready to go.  I heard a tip a while ago, that you let the pizza cool for as long as you baked it.    I think it’s supposed to help the crust soften up.



The finished product is sprinkled with parmesan and steak sauce.  We didn’t have any steak sauce though so I skipped that part.


Pioneer Woman – Cajun Chicken Pasta

Day #4 of Pioneer Woman Dinner Week is Cajun Chicken Pasta. A couple years ago I experienced Yats in Indianapolis, Indiana and have been hooked on cajun food since then. Yats has an amazing Chili Cheese Etouffe that I highly recommend. I know I’ll be making that again so I’ll post it when I do.

As with most cajun recipes, the first step is cut, chop, and dice up all the ingredients. The holy trinity of cajun recipes are green pepper, onion, and celery. However, this recipe mixed it up and swapped the celery for tomatoes. I was working with a dull knife tonight so it wasn’t super fun, but I like getting all the prep work done first so it’s just combining, cooking, and stirring after that.


I used a single chicken breast from the whole chicken I dismantled on Sunday and added shrimp since that’s also a staple in most cajun recipes. Mmmmm… my mind often drifts back to a jambalaya pasta I had at the Yard House in Fort Lauderdale, FL about a year ago. It was the BEST jambalaya I’ve ever had.


Anyway, enough daydreaming, back to dinner. The garlic was diced by hand, although I think I prefer the garlic press. Not sure if there’s any difference in the results.  Definitely use fresh garlic though, not that powdery stuff.


The meat is cooked first, on high, in some butter and oil.

Cooking Meat

Once that’s done we set it aside for later.


Now it’s the veggies turn, peppers, onions (if you’re using them), and garlic goes in first. After the peppers have browned and softened add the tomatoes for a short stint.

Veggies in Pan

The sauce is white wine, chicken stock (hand made, from the same whole chicken), and heavy cream. It’s supposed to thicken up but I struggle with that part. Then you combine everything together in the pan and season to taste.


Here’s the final plated version that we both devoured. This was about a 45 min recipe I would say. I couldn’t decide if noodles or rice would be better here. I’m a fan of my cajun food on rice so I’ll probably do that next time. Rice helps soak up the extra sauce too.

Cajun Chicken Pasta

Pioneer Woman – Spinach Artichoke Pasta

Day 3 of my Pioneer Woman Week of dinners I decided to make Spinach Artichoke Pasta. Heidi and I love spinach artichoke dip and I thought the pasta version sounded great. I used rice noodles to reduce the amount of gluten we’re intaking, but still had 1.5 T of flour in the sauce to thicken it up.

Cooking Steps in a nutshell, see the original recipe for full details.

  1. Butter + garlic + spinach, set aside.
  2. Butter + artichokes, set aside
  3. Butter + flour + milk + cheese (parmesan and mozzarella)
  4. Combine everything together and season with salt, pepper, and cayenne.
  5. Once combined, top with red pepper flakes and panko bread crumbs for a nice crunch.





Here’s the final product.  I think I had too much pasta and could have used some more artichokes.  The red peper flakes gave it a good spice and the bread crumbs gave it some additional texture.   This meal was extremely easy to make and took ~30 minutes.

Finished Product

Pioneer Woman – Grilled Chicken Salad

Tuesday of “Pioneer Woman Week” was Grilled Chicken Salad with feta, corn, and blueberries.

First step is to pound down a chicken breast or two, season them, and grill it up.  I tried to get the criss cross lines you see in a restaurant but didn’t only got the criss part.
Grilled Chicken

The sauce here is a combination of mayonaise, sour cream, lemon juice and spices.  You combine finely chopped celery, corn, chicken, and sauce and mix it up. We skipped the chopped onions since Heidi and I don’t do raw onions.  We decided to put it over a bed of lettuce even though the recipe doesn’t call for it.  Finally, it’s topped with fresh blueberries.  It was a light, refreshing dinner.  It took about ~30 minutes to make and was something fun to try out.

Pioneer Woman – Perfect Pot Roast

I’ve planned a week long menu from The Pioneer Woman’s website.  Day 1, Monday, is Perfect Post Roast.  I followed all the preparation instructions but threw everything into a crockpot and let it go for 8 hours on low.   It turned out great and the mashed potatoes are a must to go with it.


Glazed Donuts

I’m a sucker for donuts. I used to get donuts instead of birthday cake.  I’m always on the prowl for a mom and pop donut shop because the chains just don’t make them the way they should.

There are two types of donuts: cake vs yeast.  It’s a battle for the ages.  Last year I took a stab at cake donuts and they turned out pretty good.   This time I went for a yeast based dough.  I’m a big fan of dough/bread making and felt a yeast based donut was something to tackle.  We had our wonderful assistant Dominique help us out and she did an excellent job blogging about it, so I’ll just redirect you over there.

The recipe we used was from the Pioneer Woman and here’s the result.