ok, i didn't really cook her. i don't even know her. but we did cook one of her recipes a few days ago. these days the pioneer woman is nearly as famous as dooce, but i've only just found her. jon isn't too impressed but, me, ME i am so impressed. i love her photos from the ranch she lives on. i love her photos of, well, everything. and i love her section of the site for recipes complete with photo instructions. (if you don't know about the pioneer woman yet, you should. go ahead. i'll wait. i'll even trust you to come back here some day.)
we chose as our first pioneer woman extravaganza... fancy macaroni. the recipe is here. macaroni sounded like a safe choice; you can't go wrong with pasta and cheese. we had planned ahead of time to make it some time during the week and then surprise! some friends of ours called and asked what we were up to. nothing really, about to make fancy macaroni. so we invited them over to join us for an impromptu dinner party which turned out to be a great choice since the recipe serves TWELVE. i probably should have looked at that ahead of time. the grumbles, ftw!
but the best part of the fancy macaroni? bacon. and onions. and fancy cheeses. all cooked with... the bacon grease.
i'm not on a diet, can you tell?
the wine shown was purely for socializing, not for cooking. and i've decided- we need a new cheese grater. i was standing there grating that stupid delicious cheese for WAAYYY too long. box grater, here i come. plus we discovered our new stainless stock pot (below) is oven friendly. score!
my only comments- compared to her bacon our bacon created much, much, much more grease. and she said to use it all, so we did. but if i could go back in time i would use maybe half the bacon grease. i know this is blasphemy because bacon is awesome but it was a little too... bacony all over for my taste. and oily. jon also mentioned he would have liked to brown the onions a little more than we did (shown above). and i might (this is just me spitballing here) add in the bacon AFTER everything is done cooking in the oven as a crumbly delicious topping. it would have been nice if the bacon was crunchier to add some variety. then again, if you're going to put the bacon on at the end maybe leave all the grease IN. just some thoughts.
mmmmm, the fancy macaroni. i'd highly recommend it. we served it with garlic bread and fresh greens with jon's homemade balsamic vinaigrette dressing. it was definetly a success- it would make an excellent holiday side dish. we'll be attempting more pioneer woman recipes that i hope to share with you in the future. we've already tried the sesame noodles, lettuce wraps, chocolate chip cookies, and her super easy homemade salsa. but especially the short ribs, god, i want to try the braised short ribs.