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Good ol’ country girl cooking

Jennifer Perillo is a mom of two and the food editor at Working Mother. For a peek in her kitchen, visit InJenniesKitchen.com.

The pioneer woman cooks

Whether you are a country gal living on the ranch or a city girl with a yearning for a connection with good ol‘ country cooking, Ree Drummond, known best as The Pioneer Woman, has a delicious array of recipes for you. One taste of any of Drummond's dishes, and you'll know exactly why The Pioneer Woman has a devoted following.

The Pioneer Woman Cooks: Recipes from an Accidental Country Girl The Pioneer Woman Cooks

Ree Drummond started her blog, The Pioneer Woman, in 2006 as a way to stay in touch with family and friends. Her blog quickly gained a following, welcoming readers to her frontier of recipes, photography and inviting stories with both city and rural roots. It's no surprise that a few years later, Drummond published a cookbook.

As you read even a few pages of her recently released compendium of down-home dishes, The Pioneer Woman Cooks: Recipes from an Accidental Country Girl (William Morrow, 2009), it's not too hard to imagine this country girl, turned city girl, would find herself back in the country happily ever after as a rancher's wife and mom of four. Her sincere, warm personality is evident in every recipe, and leaves you wanting to spend time with her baking up a batch of Mocha Brownies or wrapping a basket full of PW Breakfast Burritos for all those hungry ranch hands.

Feed your body and soul

Drummond's cookbook is also filled with an amazing number of step-by-step photos -- there are 20 alone in her red velvet cake recipe -- so you make no mistake along the way. Smattered with stories of how each recipe originated, and a deep-seated love for what she cooks and who she's cooking it for, this book is a reminder of why so many of us head into the kitchen. Feeding the ones we love nourishes us all -- body and soul -- as you'll see in the following Pioneer Woman recipes.

Rum Mocha Brownies

Rum Mocha BrowniesMakes 16 brownies

Recipe adapted from The Pioneer Woman Cooks (William Morrow, 2009).

For brownies:
4 ounces unsweetened chocolate, melted and slightly cooled
1/2 pound (2 sticks) butter
2 cups granulated sugar
4 large eggs
3 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
1-1/4 cups all-purpose flour

For Mae's Mocha Icing:
1/2 pound (2 sticks) butter, softened
5 cups powdered sugar
1/4 cup cocoa powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
3 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
1/2 cup brewed coffee, cooled to room temperature

Directions:
1. Preheat oven to 325 degrees F. Grease an 8-inch square baking pan.

2. For the brownies, in a medium bowl, cream the butter and sugar until light and fluffy. Beat in the eggs. With the mixer on low speed, drizzle in the chocolate and vanilla extract and mix well. Add the flour and mix until just combined (do not overmix).

3. Spread the batter evenly into prepared pan. Bake for 35 to 40 minutes until the center is no longer soft. Cool completely before icing.

4. In the meantime, prepare the frosting. Combine butter, powdered sugar, cocoa powder, salt and vanilla in a large bowl. Mix until slightly combined. Add coffee, and beat until icing is desired consistency, adding more coffee if too thick to spread.

5. Spread icing over cooled brownies and chill until frosting is firm. Slice into 16 even squares and enjoy!

PW Breakfast Burritos

Makes 12

Breakfast BurritosRecipe adapted from The Pioneer Woman Cooks (William Morrow, 2009).

Ingredients:
1 pound breakfast sausage, removed from casings
3 cups frozen hash brown potatoes
2 red bell peppers, seeded and roughly chopped
10 large eggs
1 teaspoon seasoned salt
Black pepper, to taste
1/4 cup half-and-half
2 tablespoons chopped fresh chives
2 cups grated Monterey Jack cheese
12 flour tortillas
Picante sauce, to taste

Directions:
1. Heat a large skillet over medium heat. Add breakfast sausages, and cook until nicely browned. Drain and discard any excess grease released from cooking sausage.

2. Add the hash brown and bell peppers to the skillet. Cook over low heat for 5 minutes, stirring occasionally.

3. In a large bowl, lightly beat the eggs and half-and-half until combined. Add the chives and cheese, and stir to combine.

4. Pour the egg mixture over the sausage and potato mixture. Gently stir with a spoon and cook until eggs are set. Season with salt and pepper.

5. Place an even amount of egg filling onto the center of each tortilla. Tuck in the sides, then roll the tortilla until completely closed. Wrap in foil sheets to keep warm and serve with picante sauce.

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