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Cajun Shrimp

Reviewed: Jan. 25, 2015
Husband gives it a 5 star. Me ... a 3 star b/c the oregano and thyme overpowered the taste (maybe that's what Cajun spice is supposed to taste like?).
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Cooking Level: Intermediate

Home Town: Peoria, Illinois, USA
Living In: Crossville, Tennessee, USA

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Wazzu Tailgate Chili

Reviewed: Jan. 19, 2015
This makes a TON of chili with a lot of meat. I'm not used to such a meaty chili but my husband likes it. I swapped the 1 lb pork with 1 lb lean ground turkey and followed the submitter's suggestion to liberally season the meat while cooking. To make clean up easier, I drained the meat out of the pan with a spoon into a paper towel lined bowl, then I used the leftover fat and seasonings in the pan to cook the veggies. I have small kids so I used 1 fresh jalapeno and about 1/4 c. diced pickled jalapeno. It was still pretty spicy with the cayenne and jalapeno, so I may cut more next time for the kiddos. I cut the beans to 2 cans instead of 3. Otherwise followed all directions. It does have a beer aftertaste that I am not totally sold on. Next time I may cut the beer in half and add beef broth to make up the lost liquid. I would also probably add a little more tomato sauce and maybe 1 1/2 lb. meat instead of 2 to get a little more "soup" and a little less meat. Overall a good chili with good flavor, nothing bland about it.
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Cooking Level: Expert

Home Town: Peoria, Illinois, USA
Living In: Saint Louis, Missouri, USA

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Mom's Favorite Baked Mac and Cheese

Reviewed: Jan. 14, 2015
This was great! I used onion fakes1tbsp instead of fresh onion. This will be my go to recipe for Mac n cheese!
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Cooking Level: Intermediate

Living In: Peoria, Illinois, USA

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Old-Fashioned Chicken and Noodles

Reviewed: Jan. 14, 2015
Made this last night. Delicious! However, my noodles did not turn out, which greatly disappointed me. Like others said, the dough was way too sticky. I had run out of flour to try to even add more. So I used Reame's frozen noodles. They were fantastic & so easy, I am not sure I will ever bother trying to make my own again, lol. But if I did, maybe do 1/2 cup water then add a little at a time to get the right dough consistency. Oh, I used 3 lbs skin on, bone in thighs because the whole chickens were all too big. Skinning & boning the thighs was super easy. The flavor given by skin on , bone in chicken cannot be made by skinless, boneless chicken. Yum!!
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Cooking Level: Intermediate

Living In: Peoria, Illinois, USA

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Fruit Salad in Seconds

Reviewed: Jan. 12, 2015
It's kind of silly how easy this is, but a great idea doesn't have to be complicated. I made this for my daughter's kid birthday party. I used one big bag frozen strawberries and a small bag each of blackberries and raspberries, then I addd in some fresh green and red grapes so all the fruit wouldn't be frozen. Used low fat strawberry yogurt. The kids ate it up. It tasted like a smoothie. So easy it's crazy.
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Cooking Level: Expert

Home Town: Peoria, Illinois, USA
Living In: Saint Louis, Missouri, USA

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Mexican Cream Cheese Rollups

Reviewed: Jan. 3, 2015
I left out the mayo. This is also good with a small amount of thin sliced sandwich salami chopped up and added in the cream cheese.
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Cooking Level: Expert

Home Town: Peoria, Illinois, USA
Living In: Saint Louis, Missouri, USA

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Creamy Taco Roll-Ups

Reviewed: Jan. 3, 2015
I prefer these with a smaller amount of onion, but it is a taste issue, and I don't care for black olives so I left these out. I like the addition of the sour cream to make it easier to spread but I think the ratio is a little high. I also prefer less taco seasoning. I added adds about 2 c. finely shredded cheddar cheese and served with picante sauce for dipping (salsa is too watery and hard to get on the rolls).
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Cooking Level: Expert

Home Town: Peoria, Illinois, USA
Living In: Saint Louis, Missouri, USA

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Classic Italian Pasta Salad

Reviewed: Jan. 3, 2015
This is my regular recipe except the cheese and the olives. Sometimes simple is just the best, and I've never found a home made dressing that has just the right flavor for this. Wish bone really is the best for pasta salad. I always make this a day ahead to let the pasta and the veggies absorb the dressing, then add another big squirt right before serving.
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Cooking Level: Expert

Home Town: Peoria, Illinois, USA
Living In: Saint Louis, Missouri, USA

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Slow Cooker Tomato and Cream Cheese Dip - Get Crocked

Reviewed: Jan. 3, 2015
Half batch is plenty. It was a little bland so I added about 4 ounces of velveeta to give more flavor. Try making this ahead a day, it tasted better as leftover.
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Cooking Level: Expert

Home Town: Peoria, Illinois, USA
Living In: Saint Louis, Missouri, USA

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Chicken and Rice Casserole II

Reviewed: Dec. 30, 2014
I used the basic concept of this recipe but used leftover chicken breasts and leftover uncle ben's chicken flavored wild rice blend for the rice (rinsed to remove the extra seasonings). Half this recipe was more than enough for my family of 4. Since I had leftover chicken, I decided to keep the celery and onion and just sautéed them in some butter with salt and pepper until they were soft. I added the butter and flour to the onions and celery and just proceeded with the cheese sauce in the same pan, then added the chicken and rice. I think either the rice ratio is a little off or my leftover rice "blend" with wild rice, white rice, and orzo, just didn't pick up the cheese sauce like straight rice would. I would not double the rice, but maybe just add another 1/4 c each time until I got the right ratio. I left out the mushrooms due to taste preference of my family. I thought it looked a little boring without a topping so I crushed up some ritz crackers to add a topping. This was really cheesy and delicious, a nice change from a canned cream soup based casserole. It was so easy too! It will go in the rotation AND I will tinker to make different casseroles with the same basic concept.
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Cooking Level: Expert

Home Town: Peoria, Illinois, USA
Living In: Saint Louis, Missouri, USA

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Horseradish Sauce

Reviewed: Dec. 28, 2014
I have made this twice now and I really like it. I used all ingredients except for the red pepper. It was too vague for me (cayenne pepper, paprika, red pepper, chili pepper, what?) AND because after I mixed up the other ingredients I decided it didn't need it. I made it in the exact proportions the recipe called for and let it sit overnight, and I decided it needed about another teaspoon of horseradish for my taste. It was a little thin but tasty. I will make again but I will try some kind of thickener to make it a stiffer sauce.
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Cooking Level: Expert

Home Town: Peoria, Illinois, USA
Living In: Saint Louis, Missouri, USA

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Turkey Bread

Reviewed: Dec. 24, 2014
This is delicious!
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Cooking Level: Intermediate

Living In: Peoria, Illinois, USA

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Sausage Balls

Reviewed: Dec. 22, 2014
I got this recipe when I was a child from an older southern lady at my church. She made these up in huge batches and kept them in the freezer for when guests came by. You never left that house without a sausage ball! I like to make them with hot sausage (I like Jimmy Dean) and just a little less cheese, maybe 12 oz. DO NOT cook the sausage! It takes a while to get it all incorporated, but start with room temp. sausage and just get in there with your hands. The heat from your hands helps everything to combine.
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Cooking Level: Expert

Home Town: Peoria, Illinois, USA
Living In: Saint Louis, Missouri, USA

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Cinnamon Roasted Sweet Potatoes

Reviewed: Dec. 14, 2014
Too much oil. I actually had closer to 3 lbs of sweet potatoes (4 regular potatoes). I cut them into thick rings and followed the directions, although I used a little less cinnamon. The oil was completely overdone. I would suggest maybe just tossing the potato slices in a couple of tablespoons of oil in a mixing bowl, then baking at 10 min, stir, 10 min, stir, add sugar mix, 10 min schedule. A good mix of sweet and salt and pretty easy, I will make again with much less oil and maybe a little more salt. Oh yeah, since I don't keep fresh lime juice on hand, I skipped that bit.
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Cooking Level: Expert

Home Town: Peoria, Illinois, USA
Living In: Saint Louis, Missouri, USA

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Oreo® Balls

Reviewed: Dec. 13, 2014
A co-worker made these and brought them to work - everyone LOVED them. The white chocolate on the outside and ooie-oreo goodness on the inside! Glad I came across this recipe and can make them myself now.
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Cooking Level: Intermediate

Home Town: Peoria, Illinois, USA
Living In: Crossville, Tennessee, USA

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Mom's Best Peanut Brittle

Reviewed: Dec. 8, 2014
SIMPLY THE BEST, i'VE BEEN USING THIS RECIPE FOR YEARS, GO CRAZY WHEN i CAN'T FIND IT. lOVE IT. wON'T USE ANY OTHER.
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Cooking Level: Intermediate

Home Town: Peoria, Illinois, USA
Living In: Dothan, Alabama, USA

Country Fried Steak and Milk Gravy

Reviewed: Dec. 2, 2014
I like a little more salt and pepper on the meat before coating in flour, but this is really tasty. I sometimes make this with just the flour (skipping the eggs) for a quicker, lighter dish. "Lard" is a scary word. I just use vegetable oil.
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Cooking Level: Expert

Home Town: Peoria, Illinois, USA
Living In: Saint Louis, Missouri, USA

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My Meatloaf

Reviewed: Dec. 2, 2014
change bread crumbs to 1/2 c.
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Cooking Level: Expert

Home Town: Peoria, Illinois, USA
Living In: Saint Louis, Missouri, USA

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Delicious Egg Salad for Sandwiches

Reviewed: Nov. 18, 2014
Loved this basic recipe as is. Might try some additions next time just for a little more kick. However, hubby and I loved it as is. No problems with it getting runny....
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Cooking Level: Intermediate

Living In: Peoria, Illinois, USA

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Baked Spaghetti Squash with Beef and Veggies

Reviewed: Nov. 16, 2014
I thought this was really good. My family, however, was not impressed. My husband did not like the fact that I was passing off squash as spaghetti (he's a real meat and potatoes kind of guy) and my kids thought there was too much hamburger. I didn't tell them it was squash but they did ask me what kind of spaghetti it was. I could tell that they weren't sure what to do because they really like spaghetti and I TOLD them it was spaghetti, lol. I followed the recipe for the meat (swapping green pepper for red) but when I saw the massive amount of meat, I put half of it in a container to freeze and just used half the amount called for. It was STILL too meaty for my family. I used Italian diced tomatoes but I threw them in the food processor to pulse the chunks out. I also thought the addition of the cheddar cheese was strange given that the rest of the flavors were so Italian, so I swapped the cheddar for mozzarella and parmesan. I honestly really liked the beef and tomato topping, I think it would make a good spaghetti sauce on its own or topping other vegetables like zucchini or stuffed peppers. I did follow another reviewer's advice and squeezed some water out of my cooked squash before using it in the casserole and it was still a little wet, but nothing that a little wadded up paper towel couldn't handle. I have a bunch of great leftovers for my lunch but I probably won't make this again due to the reception my family gave it.
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