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The Pioneer Woman Recap: Indoor Cooking, Outdoor Cookout

It’s a girls’ day in Pawhuska when Ree gathers the ladies from the Drummond and Kane families for a little faux cookout dinner around her good friend Hyacinth’s pool. Hyacinth has been a regular on The Pioneer Woman as she and her family have been friends with Ree’s family for five generations.

That is one steady friendship and it’s nice to see that they still get together to honor this deep connection of families. Now, the faux cookout is just what it sounds like.

Ree is preparing a traditional cookout menu, but in the comfort of her own kitchen. All of these recipes are great for Labor Day, especially if you find yourself with some less than ideal weather and you need to move your party prep indoors.

Ree is making a few favorite dishes for summer cookouts: BBQ chicken, grilled veggies and pasta salad. And in case you were worried there wouldn’t be dessert, Ree’s got it covered.

The Pioneer Woman and Family

Oven Roasted BBQ Chicken is kicking of this indoor cookout menu. This recipe looks simple enough, although it involves a few steps, as one would image an indoor BBQ recipe might need in order to mimic the flavor of a traditional grilled chicken. Ree is using bone-in, skin-on chicken thighs that will be full of moisture and flavor. I love that chicken thighs are rising in popularity and Ree is embracing the trend.

For this oven roasted chicken recipe, Ree starts by oiling some rimmed baking sheets, placing the chicken skin side down on the pans and roasting them in the oven for a bit. While the chicken is in it’s first stage of cooking, Ree works on her doctored up BBQ sauce. She starts with her favorite bottled sauce and adds some peach preserves, grated garlic and a splash of hot sauce.

She lets the sauce simmer for a bit before removing the chicken from the oven and slathering the underside of the chicken with this jazzed up BBQ sauce. The chicken gets cooked a bit longer before she flips it, skin side up and adds a thick layer of sauce to each thigh. For the remainder of the cooking time, Ree periodically adds more sauce to create a thick, sticky flavor layer, about every seven minutes until the chicken is cooked through. The finished product is some seriously decadent looking chicken.

Next up is Ree’s Spicy Pasta Salad with Smoked Gouda Tomatoes and Basil. That’s a long name, but a pretty fabulous looking pasta salad. The salad is full of halved grape tomatoes, chunks of smoked gouda and of course, lots of chilled pasta. The spice comes into play when Ree makes the mayonnaise based dressing.

To the mayo, Ree adds a splash of milk, vinegar, several spoonfuls of adobo sauce from a can of chipotle peppers. The dressing gets stirred up and poured over the salad ingredients. Some chopped basil finishes off this pasta salad that would be great for any cookout – indoor or out.

To go along with this pasta salad and BBQ chicken, Ree is making a big platter of Grilled Vegetables with Cilantro Yogurt Dressing. This is not a standard “Ree” dish and doesn’t seem like something that she would make if she were cooking for the Drummond males.

But it’s a simple and great recipe and something that her group of girls will love. Ree’s veggies of choice are eggplant, zucchini, yellow squash, mushrooms and a large red onion. Grilling veggies isn’t difficult and Ree demonstrates how easy it is with a bit of olive oil and an indoor grill pan.

What makes this veggie platter special is her Cilantro Yogurt Dipping Sauce. This sauce starts with Greek yogurt and cilantro to which Ree adds lime juice, garlic, salt, pepper and a dash of hot sauce. This dipping sauce is a great way to jazz up any plate of veggies – grilled or otherwise.

To finish off this indoor/outdoor cookout menu, Ree is whipping up a batch of peach syrup to spoon over vanilla ice cream. The syrup is just simple syrup poured over fresh, chopped peaches and basil. The peaches and basil infuse the syrup to create a great topping for ice cream. Keeping a bottle of this syrup on hand in the fridge would make for a great speedy dessert!

All of these dishes were made ahead of time at Ree’s Lodge and transported over to Hyacinth’s house. It’s helpful to have some BBQ/cookout recipes on hand that are perfect for make ahead parties and with Labor Day celebrations going on this weekend, you can never have too many cookout recipes up your sleeve!

Remember to visit our section of Pioneer Woman recipes for a lot more!