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Ree Drummond, the Pioneer Lady, mentioned her rising meals empire and performed with doggies in New York’s Bryant Park.

USA TODAY

Like many, Meals Community big name Ree Drummond has discovered to conform because the COVID-19 pandemic started.

“It’s been a relentless roughly refiguring and rethinking and reframing of the whole lot,” says Drummond, identified to fanatics of her tasks – which come with a cooking display and lately relaunched weblog – as “The Pioneer Lady.” “However, that’s now not a nasty talent to be told any method, simply to be versatile and be open to modify.”

Her selection of essays “Frontier Follies Adventures in Marriage and Motherhood within the Heart of Nowhere” previously slated for October has been driven to November.

“The rationale I am overdue is as a result of I used to be all set to roughly dig in and do the majority of it across the center of March,” she says with amusing. “After which the whole lot modified.” 

What it is like to (nearly) prepare dinner with the Pioneer Lady

On account of the outbreak, her teenage sons – Bryce, 17, and Todd, 16 – had been out of faculty. Daughter Paige, 20, left her sophomore yr on the College of Arkansas, and the lately engaged Alex, 23, left Dallas to go back to the circle of relatives’s Oklahoma oasis. “Everyone mainly got here house to the ranch for a just right two months,” says Drummond, 51. Considering additionally of her husband Ladd and her nephew, Stuart, the creator is amused on the affect on her pantry and freezer. “It’s hilarious how a lot much less additional the groceries stretch with 3 boys over 6’2” and large people in the home.”

Ree Drummond

Ree Drummond (Picture: Courtesy Meals Community)

Her circle of relatives dined on mac and cheese, rooster quesadillas and a model of a drip-beef sandwich – slow-cooked chuck roast with pepperoncinis, red meat broth and Italian seasoning – that proved to be too widespread along with her circle of relatives. “It simply was this mythical sandwich in our space,” Drummond recollects. “By means of the 7th batch of that I used to be like, ‘OK (laughs), initially we’re out of chuck roast and 2nd of all, I will be able to’t make this once more for a very long time.'” 

Staying Aside, In combination:A newsletter about how to cope with the coronavirus pandemic

Drummond’s family members helped her out by replacing her cooking show crew. In April, Food Network began airing episodes of “The Pioneer Woman” shot by Paige, Alex, and Stuart, using their iPhones. The network announced late last month an additional dozen of the family-shot episodes had been ordered and would begin airing Aug. 15.

“It’s good for the time we’re in, I think,” Drummond says of the post-outbreak episodes. “And it reflects, I think, more accurately where my cooking is on any given day. It’s pretty simple, it’s pretty quick, easy and it’s tasty ‘cause I’ve got these picky teenagers to cook for (laughs).”

Drummond’s dressing – as in clothing and not Thanksgiving staple – is also about simplicity. She says she’s been riding out the last few months in what she calls her “pandemic pants.” 

“They’re black yoga pants, and I think (it was) the day all the kids came home – I would say it was March 12 or March 13 – and I have not worn anything, but black yoga pants since then,” she says of the bottoms she equates to the “clothing version of comfort food.” “And part of it is that we were home and comfortable, and there was no reason to, but the other part is, I cooked so much and nibbled so much that I was afraid to put on my jeans.” Drummond says she began “exercising a lot” about six weeks ago, and recently tried on her jeans to find “they actually fit pretty nicely. So, I’m feeling better about life (laughs).”

Ree Drummond is filmed making a parmesan salad bowl, for an episode of "The Pioneer Woman" filmed with a smartphone.

Ree Drummond is filmed making a parmesan salad bowl, for an episode of “The Pioneer Woman” filmed with a smartphone. (Photo: Courtesy Food Network)

Still, she says her clothing line which she hopes to launch through her Mercantile store in Pawhuska, Oklahoma, and its website by October will go with her beloved comfy pants. It’s “lots of beautiful florals and vivid colors and nothing that is fitted,” she says with a laugh. “Everything goes really well with pandemic pants.”

Drummond wrote about her “pandemic pants” on her revamped blog, the start of her flourishing empire. As she had more business opportunities and her kids got older, Drummond found she had less time to devote to her site.

“My blog over time had sort of started to wither a little bit just from a lack of attention from me,” she says. “And I realized that at a certain point I wasn’t going to be able to keep up with doing the content all myself.”

She partnered with Hearst, who publishes her Pioneer Woman Magazine, and the new site launched in June. “It definitely has the same kind of aesthetic and feel as my old website, but the difference is just so much more content that I would never in a million years be able to execute myself.”

She says of the new site that “food is certainly the focus,” and naturally, we couldn’t speak to foodie on the frontier without nabbing a recipe. Drummond has shared the instructions for her Instant Pot BBQ chicken grain bowls, featured in her magazine’s Summer 2020 print issue. She says she loves an Instant Pot for “braised meat of any kind,” noting the appliance’s efficiency.  

“I love this recipe because the chicken is done so quickly, the sauce is rich so quickly and then to build a kind of pretty updated bowl out of it is the best of both worlds,” she says. “I love bowls like this because there’s a lot going on and every little bite is different.”

Ree Drummond's Instant Pot BBQ chicken grain bowls

Ree Drummond’s Instant Pot BBQ chicken grain bowls (Photo: Ralph Smith)

Instant Pot BBQ chicken grain Bowls

Prep time: 45 minutes

Total time: 1 hour 20 minutes

Makes: 6 to 8 servings

2 pounds skinless, boneless chicken thighs

2 garlic cloves, sliced

1 medium onion, sliced

1 teaspoon kosher salt

Black pepper, to taste

1¼ cups barbecue sauce, plus more for topping

1 cup quinoa

1 avocado, sliced

1 large mango, cut into small cubes

1 jalapeño pepper, thinly sliced (remove seeds for less heat)

4 radishes, thinly sliced

Chopped fresh cilantro, for topping

1.      Combine the chicken, garlic, onion, ½ teaspoon salt, a few grinds of pepper and ¼ cup water in a 6-quart Instant Pot. Pour in the barbecue sauce.

2.      Put on and lock the lid, making sure the steam valve is in the sealing position. Set the pot to pressure-cook on high for 15 minutes. When the time is up, let the pressure release naturally for 10 minutes. Carefully turn the steam valve to the venting position and release the remaining pressure. Unlock and remove the lid, being careful of any remaining steam.

3. Transfer the chicken to a large bowl and shred with two forks. Set the Instant Pot to sauté on high and cook the sauce until thickened, about 10 minutes. Add the sauce to the chicken and toss.

4. Meanwhile, bring 2¼ cups water to a boil in a medium saucepan. Add the quinoa, the remaining ½ teaspoon salt and a few grinds of pepper and return to a boil. Reduce the heat to low; simmer until the quinoa is tender and the water is absorbed, about 20 minutes.

5. Scoop ½ cup quinoa into each bowl. Top with the chicken, avocado, mango, jalapeño, radishes and cilantro. Drizzle with more barbecue sauce.

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