Ree Drummond Reveals Her Favorite Food On Big Bad Budget Battle - Exclusive

Despite running a mini-empire out of Pawhuska, Oklahoma, Ree Drummond is a "carpe diem" kind of person. Sometimes the attitude lands her in hot water — like when Drummond was working against deadlines to publish her first cookbook. No problem, The Pioneer Woman figured. "I didn't lose sleep, mind you, for I lived (and okay, still live) in the moment and figured it'd all work out in the end," she wrote on Facebook. But Drummond didn't get her act together on her own. Her friend, Hyacinth, launched an intervention, drove down to Drummond's ranch, and helped her finish "The Pioneer Woman Cooks." 

When it comes to enjoying food, on the other hand, Drummond's "live for the day" attitude is a blessing. The celebrated home cook and host of Food Network's new competition, "Big Bad Budget Battle," was genuinely hard-pressed to pick out her favorite meal on the show. "That's like asking me to choose my favorite child," Drummond exclusively told Mashed. "Whatever I'm eating at the moment is what I love."   

It's a frame of mind that makes the following revelation all the more meaningful: Drummond told Mashed that one contestant's dish did succeed in making a lasting impression. 

Ree Drummond's favorite Big Bad Budget Battle leftover challenge

Ree Drummond might cook cowboy fare, but her favorite "Big Bad Budget Battle" dish was Tex-Mex inspired. "One of my favorite challenges and one of my favorite shows in terms of the contestants is the [episode] that airs first. We gave them a leftover challenge," she revealed to Mashed. "There were three meals of leftovers. One was pork tenderloin, green beans, and mashed potatoes. Another one was a barbecue. Then there was a fajita leftover dinner. It was chicken and fajita vegetables and that sort of thing."

Baton Rouge's Katie Sample most impressed Drummond that night. "The cook turned the fajita dinner into this amazing, rich chicken tortilla soup," Drummond recounted to Mashed. "She made little dippers with tortillas, and refried beans and cheese. They were like refried bean quesadillas for this chicken tortilla soup. Both of them were Tex Mex meals, but it was great to watch them take the leftovers and reimagine them into something totally new." 

In fact, the contestants' creativity with leftovers was one of Drummond's favorite parts of filming "Big Bad Budget Battle." "That's a fun part of some of the challenges — a lot of times we love leftovers, but we just heat them up and eat them in the same way," Drummond reflected. "The whole idea of re-imagining leftovers and turning them into something totally different was super fun to watch."

Catch more leftover tips with every episode of "Big Bad Budget Battle," which premiered August 9 at 10:00 p.m. ET/PT with episodes streaming same day on discovery+. Fans can get Ree's top tips and recipes for saving time and money at Follow the competition on social media using #BigBadBudgetBattle and share your favorite budget-friendly dishes