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King Ranch Chicken Casserole

Reviewed: Mar. 24, 2014
This is a pretty good version of a truly ubiquitous dish of Texas. Sort of an "inside joke"--the King Ranch is one of the biggest ranches in the world. They raise CATTLE, not CHICKENS! So it really has nothing to do with the King Ranch, per se. Here's a tip. Don't worry about finding or using fresh corn tortillas. I always have those on hand, but King Ranch Casserole is best made with tortilla chips. Yep--Tostitos, Santitos, even Doritos! They will soften up in the sauce & provide a good corn flavor. I've never, ever used actual tortillas. If you do decide to use actual tortillas rather than the preferred chips, be sure they are corn. Never use flour tortillas for King Ranch Casserole or enchiladas. Flour tortillas + sauce/liquid = gluey mess.
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Chili Rellenos Casserole

Reviewed: Mar. 1, 2013
I usually make regular chiles relleno, with NM long green chiles or poblanos. It's labor-intensive but delicious. I've always heard of this casserole, but have been hesitant to try it instead of my usual method. Finally gave it a try, & it was great! I used some NM green chile I had frozen, but canned whole chiles would work fine here. I actually made two layers of chile, cheese, & some picadillo had had leftover from tacos (chiles relleno often contain meat--don't know why previous viewer seemed unsure about that). I used the Mexican cheese blend from Kraft. I also omitted the extra milk, using just the 5 oz can of evap milk. I even subbed Bisquick for the flour. It helped to make the topping lighter & puffier. Instead of tomato sauce, I used a small can of green chile enchilada sauce. I cooked this in a deep 8 inch casserole dish, & after the first 25 minutes, when I added the sauce, it took an hour or so, rather than 15 minutes, to get done. In fact, I poked a few holes in the topping to let some of the sauce run down into the dish. It turned out just beautifully, with a puffy green topping. With my alterations, I give this 5 stars. You can make this as spicy as you like. Top with some black olives, sour cream or crema, & enjoy!
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Honey Roasted Red Potatoes

Reviewed: Feb. 20, 2013
Great jumping off point that can easily go up to five stars with a few adjustments. After reading the reviews, I decided to increase the "sauce". I used about 6 TB olive oil instead of butter, & increased the dry mustard & honey to taste. Also used a good amount of onion powder instead of fresh onion. I had a 1 1/2 lb bag of fingerlings, which I boiled for about 10 minutes. Then I broke them up a little (like Smashed potatoes), & put them, warm, into a bowl of the prepared sauce. After letting them marinate a while, I poured them out onto the foiled/oiled baking sheet & seasoned with lots of salt & pepper. At this point, they were pretty much done (husband kept stealing them off the sheet!), but I went ahead & roasted @ 450 for around 20 minutes. Next time I think I'll just broil them instead, to crisp them up a little. I think dressing the potatoes while they're warm makes all the difference. That's how I do my potato salad, & warm potatoes just drink the dressing right up. Great recipe idea--thanks!
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World's Best Pasta Sauce!

Reviewed: Jan. 23, 2013
I've been making this one for years, now. For spaghetti, lasagna, everything. Maybe a modification here or there, but this is the master recipe. If I want a smoother textured sauce, I sometimes use an immersion blender to get it where I want. Truly the best!
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2 users found this review helpful

Beet, Walnut and Prune Salad

Reviewed: Nov. 13, 2012
I had roasted some golden beets and was looking for something different from the usual beet recipe. I thought that combining garlic with beets would be bizarre, but it was delicious! I skipped the prunes (husband not a fan), and used toasted black walnuts. Adding this to the beet repertoire!
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1 user found this review helpful

Frogmore Stew

Reviewed: Oct. 1, 2012
I've always thought this sounded like a fun idea--yes--I know it's not a "stew". Sorta like knowing New Orleans BBQ shrimp is not "BBQ", lol! I sized this down to four servings, but used 1/4 cup of Old Bay, along with a quartered onion, several cloves of smashed garlic, and a bag of shrimp/crab boil. I even added a bottle of beer, per another recipe, for a total of 4 quarts liquid. I cook fresh shrimp all the time, since we can get wonderful wild Texas gulf shrimp easily, and we like to try recipes from different parts of the country. Maybe we're just accustomed to more assertive flavors, but I was expecting a lot more from this. I used red hot link sausages, which are pretty spicy as well. But the flavor was just not there. The potatoes were bland, corn was like it was boiled in plain water, and the shrimp were good, but just normal boiled shrimp. Next time I'll just boil shrimp in a couple of bags of crab boil and be done. Maybe a crowd of people and cold adult beverages are needed to put this recipe over the top. Should've just drank the beer!
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Baingan Bharta (Eggplant Curry)

Reviewed: Aug. 18, 2012
Really good! Per other reviews, used garam masala instead of curry, & used a can of Ro-tel for the tomatoes/chiles. I might actually use more egg plant next time. One roasted to mush (lol) & one cubed & sautéed. Plain 2% Greek yogurt worked fine for me. I find ginger/garlic paste at the Indian grocery.
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Porcini Pork Tenderloin

Reviewed: Feb. 6, 2012
This review is for the sauce only. I had prepared my tenderloins sous vide, and was looking for a sauce to complement the pork. I followed the recipe, with the exception of using a little milk in lieu of cream. This was exceptionally bland for us. I had to increase seasoning--I even added a packet of Herb-Ox No Sodium Beef bouillon, as well as salt and multiple grinds of pepper. I used the juice of an entire lemon, and used the honey as directed. Still not enough. I had used very high quality dried porcinis, and put the rehydrating liquid through a coffee filter to remove any grit. I used Hennessey for the Cognac, as well as good quality unsalted European style butter. After a LOT of tweaking of this recipe, it did finally come together. But not without huge alterations, finally including a generous dose of sambal oelek. I give 2 stars, just for the initial idea of a few ingredients. Without my adjustments, we would not have eaten this at all.
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Cajun Cabbage with Rice

Reviewed: Jan. 28, 2012
I also have had bad experiences with adding raw rice, LOL, so I precooked the 1/2 cup rice with 1 cup water, and blanched the cabbage first. I also used about a TBSP of Tony's, and added a little more to taste, rather than using the spice mix. A little more garlic, and sharp cheddar. Of course, I had to add a couple of ribs of celery (you have to have the "trinity" ). I had actually just had an email recipe of a similar dish by a restaurant chef, so I followed his directions and mixed everything all together rather than layering. His recipe included some cream, but I just used a splash of milk instead. It turned out wonderfully, but I think it might be even better if I not only added the cheese in the mix, but topped it with cheese, as well. Served with some garlic bread--can't wait for the leftovers! I can see using lower fat ingredients--ground chicken or turkey, or low fat cheese (or even omitting it) You could even add crawfish tails or andouille. There is so much potential to vary this! Oh--I baked it @ 365, covered with foil, for the first 30 minutes. I then baked it uncovered, for another 15 or so. There looked like a lot of liquid in the dish, but after letting it sit for about 15 minutes, it was all absorbed.
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Traditional Indiana Breaded Tenderloin Sandwich

Reviewed: Jan. 26, 2012
Excellent! Like a previous reviewer, I only heard of this sandwich on "Man vs Food". Living on the Mexican border, we like to try lots of "foreign" food (lol). This must be the Indiana version of our Texas CFS (chicken fried steak), a schnitzel derivative. I used a pork tenderloin that I butterflied and pounded to about 1/4 inch. I pretty much stuck to the recipe, and we really did enjoy the sandwiches! I cooked the pork for about 2-3 minutes per side in a cast iron skillet--be careful and watch the browning. Fortunately, the FDA has determined that we don't have to cook pork well done, so it's fine to leave it a little pinkish on the interior. We used mustard and mayonnaise, as well as lettuce, tomato, and thinly sliced onions. I prepped everything up early in the day, and was able to have dinner on the table in little more than 5 minutes when DH came home from work. I served a fresh green salad as a side dish. Thanks for a new meal idea!
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4 users found this review helpful

Slow Cooker Butter Chicken

Reviewed: Jan. 16, 2012
Wonderful! I used half a package of 3 1/2 lb boneless, skinless thighs. I also doubled the garlic, and used tandoori paste, since I didn't have the tandoori masala. I was surprised to find out I was out of tomato paste, so I subbed about half a small can of sodium free tomato sauce. I used Thai Kitchen red curry paste, as well as Greek yogurt (added at the beginning and had no curdling issues). Otherwise, used the recipe completely. It wasn't quite spicy enough, so I put in some crushed red pepper to taste. I didn't thread the cardamom pods--I used cheesecloth to make a "bouquet garni". After cooking this in the crockpot for about 4 hours on high, I threw in a chiffonaded bunch of Swiss chard (needed to use it from my CSA!). Turned down to low for another hour, and thickened the sauce with a little bit of sauce thickener. Delicious! I served with some jasmine rice and roasted, shredded beet salad (seasoned with a little green onions, lemon, & tiny amount of cumin). After tasting this, I think the addition of a little fresh ginger would put it over the top.
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14 users found this review helpful

Cucumber Tomato Salad

Reviewed: Sep. 12, 2011
My mama used to make something like this many years ago. I used a whole package of those little baby hothouse cukes, 3 medium tomatoes, and some thinly sliced sweet onion instead of green onion. I also skipped the water, and added the vinegar with some olive oil. Tasty and refreshing! Thanks!
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3 users found this review helpful

Southern Pimento Cheese

Reviewed: Sep. 9, 2011
Fantastic! I've never been a fan of PC, since all we had when I grew up was the premade stuff from the grocery store. As a result, I never bothered to make it from scratch, and my husband always doctored up the store-bought stuff with jalapenos & green olives, they way his Mama always made it from scratch. So after 20 years of marriage, I decided to give it a shot! This recipe is wonderful! So easy--I didn't bother using the mixer, it was just as easy to mix it up with a spoon and a bowl. I try to avoid pre-shredded cheese as much as possible, so made this with a combo of Black Diamond Aged Cheddar and Cabot Classic Vermont White Cheddar, shredded on the smallish holes of a box grater, as well as the cream cheese. I always keep pickled jalapenos on hand, and usually have sliced and minced versions. So I added about a couple teaspoons of the minced to the cheese, along with about 5 finely minced green olives. Definitely a keeper. I will be making this on a regular basis. No more of that fakey orange stuff in this house! Thanks!
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9 users found this review helpful

German Red Cabbage

Reviewed: Sep. 8, 2011
Very good--I've never had any German red cabbage before, so I trust all the other reviews as to its authenticity. I used granny smith apples, and they did just melt into the cabbage. It might be a good idea to add another diced apple halfway through cooking, so you do get some cooked apple texture. I did add a little extra butter, and I used some chicken stock in lieu of water. Other than that, made just as written. Thanks for a delicious side dish (I plan on throwing in a few sausages next time for a one pot meal!)
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Savory Garlic Marinated Steaks

Reviewed: Sep. 5, 2011
Very good! I used everything as written, except for the balsamic. The one I have is very expensive, comes in 8oz bottles, and I couldn't see using half a bottle for a marinade, lol! I used a good splash (probably 1 T) of some sherry vinegar instead. I used the marinade (24hrs)on some cheap-o ribeyes from Sam's. I always marinate things in zip-lock bags rather than a glass dish (just me!). They turned out wonderful! I cook mine in an iron skillet (Alton Brown method), and the sweetness in this marinade helped to make a gorgeous, caramelized sear on the steaks. DH, who is normally vehemently opposed to marinating/flavoring a steak with anything other than salt and pepper loved this marinade. I think I might even let them marinate longer next time. Thanks!
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Deb's Scallops Florentine

Reviewed: Aug. 1, 2011
Don't precook the scallops. I used fat-free half & half, and added about a tsp of low-sodium Old Bay to the sauce. I think a little Cajun or Creole seasoning might be substituted for the Old Bay. I also added the spinach to the sauce. I skipped the mozzarella, and used panko with a little parm as a topping. I also spritzed it with a little olive oil, and sprinkled a littled paprika on it for color. 20 minutes cooked it perfectly. I think I might use some shucked oysters, cook for about 10 minutes, and have a faux oysters Rockefeller casserole.
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9 users found this review helpful

Caesar Salad Supreme

Reviewed: Aug. 1, 2011
I made this exactly by the recipe. It seemed like it needed something else. So I ended up adding an entire (2 oz) can of anchovies, juice of 1 lemon, and upped the mustard and Worcestershire. I used 1 cup of mayo. With these adjustments, it tasted wonderful. I then added extra virgin olive oil until it reached my preferred consistancy. Fabulous! I think you just have to adjust it to your own taste. This is a fantastic recipe. If you have time, let it sit in the fridge for a few hours before serving. I think if you cut back on the oil, it would be a wonderful aioli to use on sandwiches--grilled chicken with romaine on brioche--mmmmm!
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7 users found this review helpful

Chicken Noodle Soup

Reviewed: Jun. 22, 2011
Wonderful! I used a couple of huge leg quarters, 2 quarts of low sodium chick broth + 2 cups water, and a heaping spoonful of low sodium Chicken Better than Bouillon. Didn't have any marjoram, but used a bundle of fresh thyme instead. Everything else I kept the same, S & P to taste--did add 2 cans of low sodium cream of chicken soup & a huge minced garlic clove. So flavorful! We had this with a grilled cheese (Point Reyes Farmstead Cheese)sandwich, to celebrate our first real rain in Deep South Texas since September 2010 (yes--9 months!). Yee hah!!!!! Thanks for the recipe--I had everything on hand.
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5 users found this review helpful

Rice Balls a la Tim

Reviewed: May 11, 2011
I used half ground chuck/half Italian sausage, and seasoned with lots of garlic, onion, and Italian seasoning. I even cooked the rice with seasoning, so it would be flavored all the way through. I assembled this early in the day, and had to stop myself from "tasting for seasoning", lest I wouldn't have enough left for dinner! I left the mixture refrigerated for a couple of hours, then made the meatballs. I then left them in the fridge and just had to bread and bake them. These could easily be made a day ahead of time-- & with a few modifications to the master recipe--5-star delicious!
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10 users found this review helpful

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