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Best Ever Banana Bread

Reviewed: Jan. 21, 2011
The best banana bread I've ever made! Other than using half white and half brown sugar, I followed the recipe to the letter and it turned out perfect - we didn't think it was overly sweet at all. Beautiful color, crisp on the outside, moist and tender on the inside. This will be a keeper next time I have extra buttermilk (and overly ripe bananas!) to get rid of. Thanks so much for the great recipe!
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Elaine's Sweet and Tangy Loose Beef BBQ

Reviewed: Feb. 1, 2010
Had a chuck roast (3.5 lbs) thawed, so I threw it in the crockpot this AM covered with beef broth. Have definitely never heard of 7 lbs. of any cut of roast shredding after 2-4 hours in a crockpot on low (!!!), so I just planned on the standard 7-8 hours. Was fork tender/shredded easily at that point, so I drained some of the liquid out and made the sauce in a *separate* pan - those of you who don't like the taste, this is a good sauce base, but get creative and tweak it to your own preferences. More vinegar, add some other spices, more worcestershire, spice it up with crushed red pepper, honey vs. brown sugar, etc. (which is a good reason to make the sauce in a separate pan!). You really can't mess this up! After the sauce was done, I added it to the beef and cooked on low for another hour and it was perfect! Served on bakery-fresh toasted buns with homemade garlic cole slaw on the sandwiches (cole slaw on top of the bbq and under the top bun is essential in the south!) and thick cut oven fries. EXCELLENT and the kids tore it up! Regarding the sauce, for us it's kicked up with crushed red pepper, yellow mustard vs. dried, apple cider vinegar vs. white, a little juice from a jar of pepperocini peppers, and lots of McCormick Smokehouse ground black pepper. Just follow the base, and if it's not quite "there" for you, keep adding and tasting until you love it, THEN toss with the beef & it's the perfect (indoor anyway!) BBQ beef for sandwiches. Thanks for the great recipe!
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27 users found this review helpful

Beth's Spicy Oatmeal Raisin Cookies

Reviewed: Jan. 17, 2010
The perfect cookie! Crisp on the outside and awesomely soft and chewy on the inside! My kids don't like raisins in cookies so we substituted butterscotch chips, which were terrific with the oatmeal. I, too, left out the cloves (too strong of a taste for us) and sub'd fresh grated nutmeg in its place. YUM! Will definitely be my go-to oatmeal cookie recipe from now on!
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0 users found this review helpful

Oriental Sesame Slaw

Reviewed: Jan. 15, 2009
Awesome dressing in this slaw recipe! Just a tip: If you don't have sesame oil, don't even bother making this until you can get your hands on some. Sesame oil is super-packed with a nutty flavor (a little goes a long way) and without it, the dressing will be entirely different (i.e. bland!) than intended and will have virtually no Asian flavor at all. Great with a handful of toasted almonds tossed in!
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44 users found this review helpful

Best Toffee Ever - Super Easy

Reviewed: Dec. 22, 2008
This will result in PERFECT toffee every time if you just follow some of the guidelines. The best tip is stirring constantly until it comes to a boil, but then only VERY occasionally after it comes to a boil (this prevents separation). Also, cook to exactly 300 degrees (anything under 300 will result in WAY too soft toffee), then pull it off the burner and immediately pour it onto a prepared pan, lined with wax paper sprinkled with your choice of nuts (the weight of the liquid toffee will "press" the nuts into it, leaving the opposite side for the chocolate). After a couple of minutes, add your chocolate to the top, wait a few minutes, then spread with the back of a large spoon until even, and pop in the fridge until set. This is the absolute best toffee recipe ever - yeilding a flaky, but crunchy, toffee that is crisp, but easy to chew and doesn't stick to your teeth...the hallmark of the most expensive toffees out there! I'd recommend investing in a $3 candy thermometer...takes the guess work and stress out of the process at the last minute! ONE OTHER TIP: It's not a bad idea to spray your wax paper lightly with non-stick spray as an extra precaution. I have had toffee stick to wax paper and have had to peel it off, which is no fun at all. :-( Thanks for the great recipe!!
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37 users found this review helpful

The Whole Jar of Peanut Butter Cookies

Reviewed: Mar. 8, 2008
I was searching for an exceptional PB cookie for a special treat for the kids and gave these a try based on the reviews. Unfortunately, these didn't work out for us. Followed the recipe precisely, but the cooking time seemed to be way too long, so we only left them in the oven for about 9 minutes (by appearance/texture). Even so, they were still really dry/crumbly (not the moist/chewy PB cookie we're used to), *VERY VERY* greasy (definitely not a cookie to just walk around with without a napkin! lol) and not very "peanut-buttery" at all. We tried another batch after chilling in the fridge overnight, but ended up with the same result. We'll go back to our "regular" tried and true from now on. Thanks for the recipe, though...always nice to try something new!
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2 users found this review helpful

Baked Teriyaki Chicken

Reviewed: Feb. 29, 2008
Excellent Teriyaki sauce! Followed the recipe exactly (alert the media!), but doubled the sauce recipe and marinated the chicken pieces in some of it for about an hour. Instead of cooking in the oven, we threw the chicken thighs outside on the grill and slow-cooked them, basting every 10 minutes with the sauce until they were done. Awesome flavor and gives a great carmelization on an outdoor grill! The next time I make this, I might toss in a few crushed red pepper flakes for a little extra kick to see how that turns out...can't wait to try basting burgers and ribs on the grill with this! This was a pleasant surprise - I have to admit that the vinegar smell was pretty strong throughout the house while it simmered, but there was no overly strong vinegar flavor at all in the end. Just sweet, tangy perfection!
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1 user found this review helpful

Peanut Butter Chip Chocolate Cookies

Reviewed: Feb. 26, 2008
I've been looking for a good chocolate cookie base recipe and finally found it with this! I substituted the peanut butter chips for coarsley chopped Andes Mints candies (I've been looking for an excuse to use them) and they were to die for! Followed the rest of the recipe just about exactly (other than cutting back on the sugar just slightly). I baked them for 9 minutes, then finished with my "perfect cookie trick" by removing them from the oven, then dropping the pan from about 8" in the air onto the hard countertop (Seriously! Try this!), and letting them continue-cook on the hot cookie sheet for another 2 minutes before removing them to a wire rack to cool. They were crispy on the outside, moist, chewy and decadent on the inside and all-around cookie perfection! The best part of this cookie recipe is that all of the cookies turn out exactly the same size, shape and texture. These freeze beautifully in a ziplock bag to extend the "life" of that fresh-baked cookie taste, and my whole family just loved them. Just a note: Don't ruin this great cookie by using stick margarine in place of the butter (that stick margarine stuff is so hydrogenated, it's one molecule away from a plastic! lol) - much, much better with the real thing. Can't wait to try other "chips" with this recipe in the future. Thanks for the great find!
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118 users found this review helpful

Soft Sugar Cookies IV

Reviewed: Feb. 15, 2008
I made these for my kids for a Valentine's Day after-school snack, and they are wonderful! I used all butter vs. shortening (I'm not a fan of that "shortening" taste) and didn't bother with rolling them in sugar, but I did flatten them slightly before baking. I found the dough very easy to work with, and only baked mine for about 9 minutes, then removed from the oven and let them sit on the hot cookie sheet for about 3 to finish doing their thing. This made for a perfectly soft/chewy center with a slightly crisp outside. Once cooled, we frosted them with a basic buttercream icing (just find a good basic butter/powdered sugar/milk/vanilla recipe..takes 3 seconds to whip up!), and they were gone in no time! For those of you who found these to be bland, sugar cookies, in our experience, aren't necessarily supposed to be bursting with flavor by themselves...it's what you put on top of them that really brings out the yummy, buttery flavor of cookie! Thanks so much for this recipe - we've been looking for a SOFT sugar cookie recipe that doesn't have to be rolled out for a while now, and this one is just perfection!
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2 users found this review helpful

Chicken Marsala

Reviewed: Jan. 26, 2008
Love this recipe! I only make a couple of modifications; I add a lot more mushrooms, cut back a little on the butter/olive oil (8 tblspns isn't necessary if you're using a good non-stick pan), and I season my flour a little more heavily than the recipe calls for (more salt, garlic powder, onion powder, paprika). To help the breading stay on the chicken, be sure to let the chicken breasts sit in the flour mixture for about 30 minutes in the fridge, then shake off the excess and fry them initially at a higher temp to brown before turning the heat down to simmer. We love the sauce light and clear just as written (although doubled for us!) - adding cream just wouldn't be the same marsala we love. :-) I serve this over whole grain angel hair and finely sliced green onions on top. Thanks so much for this SUPER easy and much-loved recipe that's definitely on our rotation!
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5 users found this review helpful

Honey Crunch Cookies

Reviewed: Jan. 25, 2008
I really wanted to like this recipe...the idea of honey vs. sugar was really appealing to me! I don't know if I did something wrong, but when the cookies actually baked, something happened to the rice krispies (there are a LOT of rice krispies in this dough!!!) that made them absorb the moisture and turn really hard and chewy, to the point of being inedible (somewhat akin to stale hard candy). My kids (major cookie lovers!) each took two bites, then spent the next few minutes picking rock-hard krispies out of their teeth and ended up throwing the rest out. I had to agree with them, and tossed the remainder of the dough after one batch because no one wouldn't go near another one - a first for me with home baked cookies! I had high hopes because the dough itself before baking tasted FABULOUS (usually a sign of a good cookie recipe!), but the krispies just didn't hold up with the baking process for us. I hope others have better luck than we did with the end result, because the concept of the recipe is great!
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4 users found this review helpful

Pepperoni Stuffed Mushrooms

Reviewed: Jan. 13, 2008
Wow, these were great! Even two of my mushroom-hating kids tore them up! The only changes I made was substituting the cracker crumbs for Parmesan flavored bread crumbs since that's what I had on hand, and topping each mushroom with a torn slice of mozzarella cheese the last few seconds of baking, then hiking the temp up to broil to get some cheese bubbling action going. Just my little tip with stuffed mushrooms: I always saute the whole mushroom caps on both sides for a few minutes, then drain hollowed side down on paper towels for at least 10 minutes prior to stuffing. This softens the mushrooms a little for a more tender texture, and draws some of the natural water out of them so you can avoid a soggy, wet mushroom. Also reduces baking time for the finished product, and they always turn out perfectly tender and sog-free! :-) Thanks so much for the recipe...can't wait to serve these at the Superbowl party. I might even try a little marinara sauce on the side for dipping!
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174 users found this review helpful

Cheesy Potato and Corn Chowder

Reviewed: Nov. 14, 2007
Great (and SUPER easy!) chowder! The gravy mix as a thickener is a great idea - lots of extra flavor there! We added matchstick carrots, and threw in some diced up smoked ham which gave it a nice smoky flavor. Also, if you have picky little eaters in the house who boycott all things green (lol) and are tempted to skip the green chilis, definitely drain the liquid from the can into the soup at the very least - it gives it a great little kick without any excessive spiciness. The only other minor adjustment we made other than those above was substituting the milk for fat-free evaporated milk (only took 1/2 the amount) for a creamier, richer texture, and added an extra can of broth to compensate. The whole family (green haters included!) loved it! Will definitely be on our Winter soup/stew agenda from now on. Also, just a tip: Remove from heat immediately after serving, as the potatoes cubes will continue to "melt" as it heats and thicken the soup considerably. Thanks for the recipe!
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2 users found this review helpful

Garlic Mashed Red Potatoes

Reviewed: Oct. 6, 2007
Loved these potatoes! I used 7 cloves of garlic (we're garlic lovers!) and cut each in half before adding to the boiling water and potatoes to "release" more of their flavor. I don't know why it never occurred to me to boil garlic cloves with potatoes - much simpler than roasting them and the garlic flavor infused the potatoes this way while boiling them. I did have to adjust the seasonings (salt) a little higher to taste, but all in all, this is a fabulous (and simple!) dish that everyone loved. Thanks so much for the recipe!
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Marinated Pork Strips

Reviewed: Oct. 3, 2007
I used this marinade on center-cut boneless butterfly chops, since that's what I had on hand. Wow, what an awesome marinade for pork chops! I let them sit in the marinade in the fridge for about 8-9 hours, then grilled them outside. Excellent flavor, not too salty/overwhelming and if you're lucky, some of the sesame seeds will stick to the meat and get nice and toasted during the grilling process! I substituted brown sugar for the white, which gave a nice carmelization, and served with Thai peanut noodles and steamed broccoli. We discarded the marinade vs. boiling and serving it, as I decided that condensing it during the boiling process would have made it way too salty, but the marinade on the pork chops themselves was perfect! Thanks so much for the recipe...this will be our standard marinade for chops from now on!
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Too Much Chocolate Cake

Reviewed: Oct. 1, 2007
This cake was just "okay," in my opinion...tasted pretty good, very chocolately, good consistency, but lacking a little in sweetness and flavor. Without the addition of the chocolate chips in the batter to sweeten it up and moisten the cake, it would have been thumbs down for me. Even with all of the other ingredients, it definitely had that boxed-cake flavor (which is fine if that's what you're anticipating!) in the end and not what I was expecting based on the reviews. Even so, everyone gobbled it up and it was a hit for the most part. Just a note - this cake definitely doesn't need a full cup of oil! I decided to save some fat and calories and use half of that, which is plenty - I also substituted 3/4 cup of *very* strong coffee in place of the 1/2 cup of water and it worked out well, giving a little more of a flavor dimension than water alone. Thank you for the recipe - a good base that I might try to jazz up in the future with some other more interesting ingredients. :-)
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Squash Casserole II

Reviewed: Sep. 12, 2007
Exactly what we were looking for - a simple, classic squash casserole without a lot of unnecessary "frills" that cover up the wonderful flavor of the squash. Great flavors, and we loved the sliced green onions in this! The only cheese I had on hand was provolone, so I used it in place of the cheddar and it was wonderful. This will definitely become a keeper...thanks for the recipe!
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Clark's Quiche

Reviewed: Sep. 11, 2007
This is a wonderful quiche recipe! I used 2 9" deep dish crusts and had exactly enough, down to the last drop! Instead of mixing the spinach with the sour cream layer, I substituted some finely sliced fresh chives in the sour cream for a little extra onion flavor (we love onions) and just mixed the spinach into the egg batter. I also prebaked my crusts for about 4-5 minutes before filling to take the "rawness" out of the bottom layer of dough. Both quiches came out picture perfect and the flavors were wonderful! Just a tip for some of the reviewers who are commenting that their quiche came out runny: If you follow the recipe and (most importantly!)preheat your oven well as directed, there is no reason that you should have to bake the quiche longer than 45 minutes. The crucial part of quiche is to let it set for at least 10 minutes before slicing, as it continues to "carry over cook" as it cools/sets. Thanks so much for the great recipe, Clark! It's now our new favorite quiche dish and we can't wait to have leftovers for breakfast!
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Avocado Pie

Reviewed: May 19, 2007
This was surprisingly amazing! I took the suggestion of other reviewers and added a block of reduced fat cream cheese, and also substituted fresh lime juice for the lemon because it made more sense with the avacados. I increased the amount of condensed milk to about 10-12 ozs. based on similar recipes I've found (many other recipes like this call for a full 15 oz. can), and everything fit perfectly into a 9" pie crust. Definitely chill this for at least 6-8 hour if not overnight for the best set/flavor, and look for good quality, ripe avocados as this is the KEY to this recipe. Still can't get over how fresh and unique these ingredients taste together - wouldn't have expected it! Thanks so much for the recipe...this will be a new summertime favorite! :-)
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90 users found this review helpful

Strawberry Spinach Salad I

Reviewed: May 14, 2007
Finally made this for Mother's Day and it was a great salad with a few adjustments. First, like many other reviewers have noted, don't use all of the sugar! I cut it to about 2 tablespoons and it was plenty sweet! I used a mixture of white wine and apple cider vinegar and cut the olive oil back to a little less than a 1/3 of a cup. The dressing seemed a little thin and on the bland side when it was done, so I took a leap and added a tablespoon of dijon mustard...gave it a little kick that was *really* great with the rest of the flavors and it helped coat the spinach well! Also, toasted sesame seeds are a *must* in this dressing! They give a great nutty flavor that's subtle and goes great with the strawberries! I also added a full tub of crumbled gorgonzola as some suggested and it was the perfect touch. Finally, don't dump all of the dressing onto this salad at once. In my opinion, the recipe made way too much dressing, so you're better off drizzling it a little at a time and tossing as you go until it's all coated to your taste. My salad would have been drowning in the dressing had I added all of it! I will definitely make this again and again, particularly in the summer time as it's a great dish to bring to outdoor gatherings (no mayo, sour cream, etc. to spoil in the sun!), not to mention beautiful to look at! :-) Thanks so much for the recipe!
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5 users found this review helpful

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