Ree Drummond, the Pioneer Woman, and star of her own TV show, is wildly popular. But how does her cookbook stack up, and is it worth your time?
Our verdict? Comfort food, pretty pictures, and lots of family anecdotes fill the pages, along with some solid recipes. Will this cookbook be the time-saver you’re looking for, though?
There’s a wide variety of cooking and preparation requirements across all the recipes, so we would define this cookbook overall as “eclectic.” If you’re looking exclusively for freezer meal recipes, this isn’t quite that.
In our opinion, if you’re really looking to save time and streamline your dinner preparation for a week or even a month or more at a time, just go straight to a FreezerFit membership. Do not pass Go, do not collect $200.
In our experience, it’s way faster to commit to freezer cooking for a percentage of your dinners and then fill in the gaps when you have the time and energy to cook from scratch.
Who Is This Freezer Meal Cookbook For?
Is your kitchen decked out in Pioneer Woman-themed accessories? Do you live for the Food Network? This cookbook is definitely geared towards people who really like pictures of food along with their recipes and are trying to achieve a “slower living” ideal. There are lots of full-color, glossy photos of Ree’s family and ranch, so reading the book is definitely an enjoyable experience.
Also: comfort food. This is a lot of comfort food. There are plenty of casseroles, chicken pot pies, and other richer, filling food. This is very on-brand for Ree Drummond.
If you want to know how to cook a burger at home instead of going through the drive-thru, this will teach you that. A lot of the recipes have minor twists, like making the chicken pot pies personal-sized or adding sliced pineapple to the burgers.
While there are “freezer-friendly” meals in the book, it’s not specifically a freezer meal cookbook alone. A lot of the recipes still require quite a bit of hands-on time or need the cook to be at home long enough for something to bake in the oven for a while. If you plan to have a bit of time and want some comfort food that’s beginner-friendly, this has some solid recipes.
Who Is This Cookbook NOT For?
A lot of the tips and “prep” section of The Pioneer Woman Cooks Dinner is scheduled around preparing for a couple of days, not necessarily a week or longer at a time. If you like doing your meal prep once a week or less, this might not be the best fit for you.
Most of these recipes are also larger batches. That can be great if you plan to do big-batch cooking and freeze some for later, or if you have a large group to feed. Keep in mind that you’ll have to divide that up after it’s cooked since this isn’t specifically a freezer meal prep book.
Specialty diet and allergy concerns don’t really seem to have made their way into this cookbook either. While some of the recipes are naturally pretty customizable and allergy-friendly (like taco salad, for example), there aren’t any notes on the recipes marking them as low-calorie, gluten-free, etc.
So if you have dietary restrictions and want to know right off the bat whether a recipe is going to work out for you, just use a FreezerFit recipe filter instead.
The Pioneer Woman Cooks: Dinnertime in a Nutshell
As part of her Pioneer Woman Cooks series, Ree Drummond brings us The Pioneer Woman Cooks – Dinnertime: Comfort Classics, Freezer Food, 16-Minute Meals, and Other Delicious Ways to Solve Supper.
As the name suggests, there’s a lot going on here. The Pioneer Woman Cooks recipes are all related to dinner, but the book isn’t committed to any one technique. Are there freezer-friendly meals? Sure. Quick fixes? Yes. Longer-cooking, classic American comfort food? Some of that too.
There’s also a lengthy section on food prep and shopping tips from Drummond’s experience. Since she lives on a ranch, her book focuses on stocking up on staples and supplementing with fresh ingredients once a week – it does require a fair amount of shelf space for at-home storage.
Depending on your lifestyle, there might be some dinner recipes in here that are a good fit and others that don’t work as well.
Ultimately, reading The Pioneer Woman Cooks Dinner is a whole lot like watching an episode of the TV show – lots of beautiful scenic images of country life, stories about her extended family, and then comfort food that’s pretty accessible for most of us with some basic cooking skills.
Our Verdict: The Pioneer Woman Cooks Dinnertime Cookbook Review
We like nice pictures of the country life as much as the next person, but we also believe in making these kinds of home-cooked recipes accessible for the nights that you don’t have an hour to cook.
Honestly, everyone craves comfort food sometimes, and most of those recipes are extremely compatible with freezer meal prep. If you really want to know how to make your favorites possible for less time and money, we recommend checking out FreezerFit and sorting the recipes by “cuisine.”
There are plenty of American and Tex-Mex favorites that will remind you of your childhood while saving the more labor-intensive recipes for your day off.