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No-Peek Beef Stew

Reviewed: Oct. 1, 2011
Okay, as the recipe reads it is a good beef stew if you want basic beef stew and have 5 minutes to prep--and some days, that's just fine. Here are my adjustments to kick it up a notch or two (and these add about 10-15 minutes of prep time): 1. Brown the beef in a non-stick skillet on medium-high heat. 2. While the beef is browning, cut up 3-4 carrots and place in bottom of slow cooker. 3. When beef is browned well, pour the 1/2 cup of red wine into the skillet to deglaze it; cook a few minutes to reduce (makes a lovely dark brown gravy). Pour beef and gravy into slow cooker. 4. Put the pan back on the burner and add 8-16 oz. sliced fresh mushrooms (subbing these for the canned mushrooms; I like baby bellas, but any mushroom is fine). 5. While the mushrooms saute, pour 1 envelope of dried onion soup mix over the beef. Add the can of French onion soup and 1 can of GOLDEN MUSHROOM soup (subbing this for the cream of mushroom soup). Add garlic powder to your preference. 6. When the mushrooms are slightly browned, add another glug of the red wine to the pan. Continue cooking another minute or two more to reduce wine; pour mushrooms and cooking liquid into slow cooker. 7. Cook as stated; serve over buttered noodles. For an extra 10-15 minutes, you can have a more flavorful, richer-colored beef stew. However, on days when you have 5 minutes or less, the original recipe is just fine.
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Strawberry Spinach Salad I

Reviewed: Apr. 24, 2011
This is my go-to item to bring to potlucks, showers, you name it, and I always get rave reviews. I did take some reviews into account, and use red onion for the dressing and salad instead of white onion, adding a handful of blue cheese crumbles, and reducing the sugar to 1/4 cup. My special touches include using candied pecans for the nuts and using 2 tablespoons of balsamic vinegar plus 2 tablespoons of RASPBERRY WINE VINEGAR instead of white vinegar. The berry vinegar balances the balsamic, and complements the strawberries perfectly. It's do-ahead-able, portable, healthy and delicious--a perfect recipe!
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10 users found this review helpful

Tomato Chicken Parmesan

Reviewed: Mar. 3, 2011
One of my favorites and a go-to for taking supper to someone. My tip: After we have pretzels, chips, crackers, etc. that go stale, we throw them all into the food processor and grind them into crumbs. I keep them in the freezer, then use 2 handfuls of these "breadcrumbs" to 1 handful of parmesan cheese plus 1 palmful of both dried oregano and basil for my seasoned bread crumb mixture. That, and I make sure to use a cheesy pasta sauce (often Wegmans' four-cheese pasta sauce). Ho. Lee. Cow: SO good!
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3 users found this review helpful

Mini Ham Quiches

Reviewed: Apr. 22, 2012
These were DELICIOUS. I doubled the recipe for 2 dozen, used 3 eggs and 3 whites, skim milk instead of half and half (just as good, really!), chipotle hot sauce (thanks to a previous reviewer), a bit of garlic powder and used a little prepared brown mustard as I didn't have ground. A. MA.ZING. I used leftover fresh spinach (finely chopped), leftover chopped green onion, leftover shredded cheese, leftover baking mix, leftover Easter ham . . . who knew leftovers would taste SO GOOD?!? Light, fluffy yumminess that wowed all of my weekend guests AND me. Thanks Marilou!!!
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