ode to pioneer woman

Last week our lunchroom conversation was over how we learned how to bake and cook. I told a story about how at some point in middle school I tried making cookies from The Immanuel Lutheran Church cookbook. This cookbook is comprised of classic recipes gathered from the female icons in my grandma's home town. I followed the recipe word for word and cried when the cookie dough turned into a rock. My mom said, "did you cream the sugar and butter?" I replied,"what do you mean cream the sugar and butter?" "Well, did you beat the butter, add the sugar and then the eggs one at a time?" "No! I did what the recipe said! I just put all the ingredients in the mixer together!"

My mom laughed and I was mad, "Why don't they write step-by-step instructions! How are you supposed to know to cream the sugar and butter?! Why didn't Hazel Linder write out how to make her cookies?!" And then we had a calm conversation about how this is how everyone learns how to bake...

There were other stories shared and then I brought up the brand new Pioneer Woman Cookbook my sister got me for Christmas (pure joy when I unwrapped this unexpected gift.) On every page of this cookbook, Ree (Pioneer Woman), shows in photographs every step of every recipe. Some pages have 12-20 pictures. And I adore it. Because I am a visual learner. Pioneer Woman Cookbook is quite the opposite from the ladies of Immanuel Lutheran who assume everyone knows what temperature bread bakes at. Though I must say the ladies of Immanuel are the actual, true Pioneer Women in the world, baking their bread, cookies and swedish tea rings each day because it wasn't an option to buy these things.

My friend Deb (regarding the Pioneer step-by-step cookbook) said, "that's what we need for that cheeseburger soup recipe!"

Hold the phone. Did you just say cheeseburger soup? Because this is my favorite soup of all time. Made by our wonderful friend Julie, Rory and I salivate frequently as we talk about this delicious cheesy soup. I have always wanted the recipe and never remember to get it from Julie. It's from Taste of Home, a personal favorite anyway, but in my mind, it's from Julie. I was overjoyed when Deb told me she had the recipe and would bring it for me.

And then she threw out the challenge. "Becca! You should document your cheeseburger soup making like Pioneer Woman! Just break it down and show pictures on your blog, step by step."

The recipe appeared on my desk on Monday. I went to the grocery store immediately after work and kept my camera handy.

So here it is: The recipe, and then the pictures. Long live Pioneer Woman.

Cheeseburger Soup
1 lb ground beef
3/4 cup chopped onion
3/4 cup shredded carrots
3/4 cup diced celery
1 teaspoon dried basil
1 teaspoon dried parsley flakes
4 tablespoons butter or margarine, divided
4 cups chicken broth
4 cups peeled and diced potatoes
1/4 cup all-purpose flour
8 ounces process American cheese cubed (I think regular cheddar would be better)
1 1/2 cups milk
3/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon pepper
1/4 cup sour cream

In a 3 quart saucepan, brown beef; drain and set aside.

In the same saucepan, saute onion, carrots, celery, basil and parsley in 1 tablespoon butter until vegetables are tender, about 10 minutes.

Add broth, potatoes and beef; bring to a boil. Reduce heat; cover and simmer for 10-12 minutes or until potatoes are tender.

Meanwhile, in a small skillet, melt remaining butter. Add flour; cook and stir for 3-5 minutes or until bubbly. Add to soup; bring to a boil. Cook and stir for 2 minutes. Reduce head to low.

Add cheese, milk, salt and pepper; cook and stir until cheese melts. Remove from the heat; blend in sour cream. Yield 8 servings (2 1/4 quarts)

Clearly it's not the healthiest of all soups...but it is worth every single calorie. Enjoy!


Renee said...

mmmm! Looks good! The PW cookbok is going to be one of my next purchases but it's nice that so many of her recipes are online too. We're having dinner guests for Valentine's and the menu is going to be entirely Pioneer Woman! Can't wait!! Now, I'll take a bowl of that soup!

Casey Fuerst said...

I LOVE this story. First, because I so miss the great friendship and laughter of the NLOM lunch bunch. Second, because it cracks me up that you took pictures of every step. Third, because I am SOOO going to try that recipe - looks amazing!

Miss you tons Becca!

Unknown said...

Hey Girl,
Guess what I got for Christmas? The Pioneer Woman Cooks, that's what! My sweet girlfriends stood in line for five hours (I was hosting Anna's birthday party, so I could not be a part of this ranch-inspired insanity). They met Ree, Marlboro Man and the two boy Punks.

To say I was jealous, well... it doesn't say enough! :)

I can't wait to hear the VD menu.

Love the pictures of the soup making. You rock!