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Grilled Sweet Potatoes with Apples

Reviewed: May 26, 2014
I made this today with my grilled steaks for lunch. The recipe is kind of open ended, so it's hard to rate on the seasonings. After reading a couple reviews, I went with 1/2 tsp. cinnamon and I eyeballed the brown sugar. I used 2 tablespoons of butter in each pack and split the potatoes into 3 packets. I use 1 large Macintosh Apple and wished I had used 2. I started the packets in the oven because the grill was pretty full and only had the packets on the grill for about 10 minutes as the steaks came off. Overall a very nice change from the usual grill vegetables and very tasty. Thanks for the idea! Next time I want to grill longer to caramelize the sugar a bit more.
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Cooking Level: Expert

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

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Pico De Gallo

Reviewed: May 25, 2014
I make a variation on this using all of the ingredients here plus lime. Fresh garlic is best, but I have used the powder before. I think the more you refrigerate the pico, the better it is. I know a lot of people who absolutely hate cilantro. If you are one of them, leave it out. Add more or less of the main ingredients to make the recipe yours. Use the freshest ingredients available to impart the cleanest flavor.
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Cooking Level: Expert

Home Town: Saint Louis, Missouri, USA
Living In: Fort Worth, Texas, USA

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Chef John's Stuffed Peppers

Reviewed: May 25, 2014
My initial review is "just ok" but I need to try again to make sure. I prepared these as directed, but I froze them right after baking to use as lunches, so I didn't eat any fresh. When thawed, they were fine but bland and needed lots of salt and spaghetti sauce to give flavor. I have to try again to see of this was due to the freezing or the recipe. I do know that there wasn't enough sauce or cheese for my preference, so I will double the tomato sauce and add some extra cheese to the topping, probably mozzarella.
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Cooking Level: Expert

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

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Banana Banana Bread

Reviewed: May 17, 2014
So very good! I have made this numerous times as written and it never fails to be the best banana bread recipe out there! Today I used coconut oil in place of the butter and white-wheat flour (3/4 cup for every 1 cup all purpose flour). It was delicious!!! Thank you for a great recipe.
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Cooking Level: Expert

Home Town: Longview, Texas, USA
Living In: Saint Louis, Missouri, USA

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Stuffed Peppers

Reviewed: May 14, 2014
Absolutely delish! I made just a couple of changes: chopped onion, instead of onion powder and minced garlic, instead of garlic powder. The rest of the recipe was spot on. I might have added a pinch or two extra of something, but the base was perfect. Thank you BDEGER
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Cooking Level: Expert

Home Town: Brookhaven, Mississippi, USA
Living In: Saint Louis, Missouri, USA

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Old Fashioned Potato Salad

Reviewed: Apr. 29, 2014
I liked this and I was relatively easy since the pototes were boiled whole and cut up later. It was a little too much celery and not quite enough sweet relish for me. I also think it needs a little zing, maybe some vinegar to tang it up a bit. Very good, just like you remember it, old fashined style potato salad. Thanks for the recipe!
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Cooking Level: Expert

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

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Mongolian Beef and Spring Onions

Reviewed: Apr. 23, 2014
I made this recipe pretty much as written, as far as amounts go. I used some different variations on a couple of items. I used reduced-sodium soy sauce, I'm glad I did. I used a natural form of sugar called sucanat instead of brown sugar and used London Broil steak instead of flank steak. I tripled the recipe and it took me three times as long to make too. :-) My family loved it though. One commented that it tasted a lot like a Pei Wei dish. That's compliment enough I think. If I were to change anything next time, I might tenderize my meat beforehand; although it was mostly quite tender. If I made this for company, I think I could make the sauce and fry the meat earlier in the day and keep in the fridge. Then it wouldn't take long to complete the final steps of chopping the onions and mixing it all together in the end. This way I could clean up the big frying mess on the stove ahead of time. All in all, it was a big success.
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Cooking Level: Intermediate

Home Town: Saint Louis, Missouri, USA
Living In: Hillsboro, Missouri, USA

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Mom's Fabulous Chicken Pot Pie with Biscuit Crust

Reviewed: Apr. 7, 2014
I made this this weekend and it was really good. With the ingredients listed by # of items insead of cup measures, it's hard to be precise with measurements. I think my "3 celery ribs" must have been larger than the average, because mine was very celery heavy. Other than that, the filling was very creamy, homey, and tasty. I did add a few shakes of poultry seasoning when I tasted it before adding the biscuits to give it a little oommph. Also, I made a quick homemade stock with the rotisserie chicken parts after I picked the chicken for the meat and used that in place of chicken broth. Oh, and I skipped the egg wash (lazy). My biggest issue with this recipe should have been obvious before I started. I made the full recipe for my 4 person family and we had about 1/2 the dish left over. The biscuits would have disintegrated if I put it away all together. I had to remove the biscuits, scrape off the sauce, throw them in the cooling oven upside-down for a bit to dry up, and store them separately so the leftovers would be edible. How dumb am I? Next time I will either make a half batch for my light eating family OR just make the biscuits separately and pour the filling over "a la king" style. Oh, and I like some potatoes in my pot pie, so I'll probably add just a couple small cooked potatoes next time.
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Cooking Level: Expert

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

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Broccoli Casserole

Reviewed: Apr. 5, 2014
I made a half recipe (thank goodness) and used brown rice, but otherwise I followed the recipe as written, including the cheez whiz (because I remember that's what my Aunt used) and the frozen broccoli. It was bland. Not bland like a little salt will fix it (it didn't) just bland like there isn't anything going on. I think part of the problem was the frozen broccoli. Anything I ever make with frozen broccoli just doesn't taste right. I never use frozen broccoli unless a recipe specifically calls for it. I think I need to just stop. I'm up in the air on whether I will ever make this again, but I would 1) make a fresh cream sauce instead of using cream of mushroom soup 2) use more onion and 3) use fresh broccoli. I'm on the fence on the cheez whiz. That is what gives this recipe it's "kitsch". It's what takes you back to your childhood.
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Cooking Level: Expert

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

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Angel Chicken Pasta

Reviewed: Mar. 29, 2014
I was really happy with this recipe. I followed the recipe this first time and it turned out well. I think the 60 minute cook time may be high for chicken breasts. Mine were a little dry. Since you are pouring the sauce over raw chicken, though, it may be necessary to get the sauce hot enough to kill the cooties. The recipe did not specify covered or uncovered so I opted for uncovered. I used some leftover champagne that I had frozen for the wine and it was a great flavor. Pros: good sauce, I had plenty of sauce, chicken was tasty, prep was minimal. Cons: lots of processed ingredients, chicken a tiny bit overcooked, long cook time. I think next time I will try cutting up the chicken into bite sized pieces and use the skillet preparation method and see if the chicken stays juicier, but may lose some flavor in the chicken if I don't cook as long. Plus more time standing over the stove instead of letting it cook itself in the oven. I think I will also add a touch of cream to maybe cut a tiny bit of the "condensed soup" texture. A big batch of sautéed fresh mushrooms would also freshen this up a bit. Thanks for the recipe!
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Cooking Level: Expert

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

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Champagne Shrimp and Pasta

Reviewed: Mar. 23, 2014
This was good, really tasty. I followed the recipe except I used 1/2 lb shrimp since it was just for me. I did make the full recipe of sauce and I was glad I did. I unintentionally only used 1 plum tomato since one of mine was bad when I started cutting it. It was almost a little too much work but I enjoyed the end result. I think it needs a little something. It was really good but not over the top. I don't know, maybe more parmesan or a little bit of added herbs. I would make again. This one moves fast so have everything cut up, measured, and ready to go.
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Cooking Level: Expert

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

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Manicotti Alla Romana

Reviewed: Mar. 15, 2014
I think I will make this again. I split this into 2 casserole dishes and froze one. I didn't add the cream sauce to the frozen casserole until I had it thawed and ready to make. It's pretty easy to half that and I think it wouldn't freeze well. One kid loved it, one wouldn't touch it because of the "green stuff". Nice change from the regular lasagna, and I liked that it had plenty of meat.
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Cooking Level: Expert

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

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Buttermilk Hush Puppies

Reviewed: Mar. 10, 2014
WARNING: These cook VERY fast. I'm talking seconds. Keep them small so the insides cook without burning the outside. Also, cut back the sugar to about 1 tablespoon. Double the corn meal and flour. And allow the batter to sit while your oil heats up. It will thicken to more usable texture. The final taste was pretty good, what few that were not incinerated. That and the sweetness kept this from being a five star recipe.
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Cooking Level: Intermediate

Home Town: Breckenridge Hills, Missouri, USA
Living In: Saint Louis, Missouri, USA

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Moussaka

Reviewed: Mar. 4, 2014
Thank you for this recipe for a dish that was really popular in the 1960s and needs to be revived. I had continued to make it, but modernized it by microwaving the egg plant (5 minutes). I use fresh tomatoes when possible - two are enough. I have always topped the dish with a cup of Greek yoghurt rather than bechamel. I add a couple of eggs to the yoghurt, and it is probably good to whip the eggwhites though I never used to. I do not use any cheese - it is not necessary. I always use ground lamb for a more authentic flavor. You can also use left-over lamb roast if you chop it fairly small - it's a delicious option for leftovers! This dish can be very healthy and low fat (just omit the egg yolks).
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Cooking Level: Intermediate

Home Town: Copenhagen, Hovedstaden, Denmark
Living In: Saint Louis, Missouri, USA

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Amber's Sesame Chicken

Reviewed: Mar. 3, 2014
Not bad, but a bit bland.
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Cooking Level: Intermediate

Home Town: Breckenridge Hills, Missouri, USA
Living In: Saint Louis, Missouri, USA

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Clone of a Cinnabon - Alley's Version

Reviewed: Mar. 2, 2014
Delicious! The rolls were devoured by my family. Not a morsel was left. After reading a gazillion reviews on this recipe, here are the changes that I made, and will continue to make as this is THE perfect cinnamon roll recipe!... I made my dough in my bread maker. What I did different: 1.) I added about 1/2 of a package of instant vanilla pudding when I added the flour (evidently, this is the "secret" ingredient that Cinnabon uses, and using the pudding adds that extra specialness to the roll) 2.) I added 2 Tablespoons of flour to the cinnamon/brown sugar mixture to keep it from getting too "runny" - worked perfectly. 3.) After I got the rolls into the pan, I covered the pan with plastic wrap and put them in the refrigerator overnight. In the morning, I removed the plastic wrap and placed them in a cold oven - then turned the oven on to 375 degrees and baked for about 30 minutes. They rose beautifully. YUMMY!
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Cooking Level: Intermediate

Living In: Saint Louis, Missouri, USA

Torsk

Reviewed: Mar. 1, 2014
I have made this several times now, always with just one cod loin since I'm the only one in my family that will eat fish. When you scale to 1 serving, don't worry too much about the sugar water proportions. You will need the water to cover the fish, so just put in enough to cover then eyeball the sugar to get the ratio about the same as the recipe calls for. This is super easy to make for one person, it goes very quickly so I'm not slaving over 2 meals. It does NOT taste like lobster, but it does taste like very un-fishy, buttery, delicious fish. Before I serve, I usually flake the fish apart in the dish I broiled it in to pick up all the delicious browned butter from the pan. Really good, thanks for the recipe. I never would have come up with this one on my own!
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Cooking Level: Expert

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

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Mexican Lasagna - Karen's Version

Reviewed: Feb. 19, 2014
I liked this recipe, but my husband loved it! I think this is a good "husband" recipe because of large quantity of meat. :-) I made minor changes like adding half a can of refried black beans to the meat and using spicy canned tomatoes with green chiles like other reviewers suggested. I think when I make it again I will add another layer of corn tortillas as I think that the flavor of the corn tortillas really makes the dish. I would recommend against skipping these and using flour tortillas, corn is so flavorful and authentic tasting.
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Cooking Level: Expert

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

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Apple Crisp - Karen's Version

Reviewed: Feb. 19, 2014
I agree with other reviewers. As written, this is too sweet, but some of that depends on the apples you choose. I had golden delicious from a trip to the local orchard so my apples were too sweet for the amount of sugar specified. I will use Granny's next time and a little less sugar. I think the water was unnecessary, but I imagine that also depends on your apples. I had to use a paper towel to soak up some of the water after the first piece came out of the dish. I followed the recipe except I made an 8x8 casserole. I halved the filling but made the whole topping recipe as someone else suggested. The topping was good but I agree with another reviewer that some finely chopped nuts would be a good addition. Really good recipe, I will make again with some tweaks.
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Home Town: Peoria, Illinois, USA
Living In: Saint Louis, Missouri, USA

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Pork Chop and Rice Casserole - Karen's Version

Reviewed: Feb. 17, 2014
As written, I think this recipe was a little bland and greasy. It is a good base and the pork chops were definitely tender, but not a lot of flavor. This makes a TON of rice, so I would try to add one or two more pork chops in to help even out the leftovers. I would also do as some other reviewers have suggested and add some onion to the pan after you brown up the pork chops. For a recipe with such sodium heavy condensed soups, I'm sad to say that it needs salt to improve it. I would also cut the butter in half. Mine pooled up in areas and just seemed excessive. One other note; I didn't have instant rice so I used regular long grain. I checked the dish about half way through to make sure there was still enough liquid since regular rice absorbs more than instant. I had to add about a cup of water, but in retrospect, I would maybe add chicken stock instead and at the beginning if you are using regular rice to add more flavor. On a good note, my husband and 3 year old liked this as written, but they aren’t too adventurous.
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