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Loaded Potato Soup I

Reviewed: Mar. 31, 2015
Tried this the first time per the recipe, even though I had some reservations about it (which turned out to be justified), and it was only okay. The second time I made it, I revised it and it was a hit. To begin with, don't substitute margarine or oil for butter. Butter and milk mix well together, but margarine/oil doesn't. DO NOT boil/microwave the potatoes. A loaded potato at a steakhouse is never going to be microwaved. EVER! Double the cheddar, and stir it in BEFORE you stir in the potatoes and onion. Save the sour cream for absolute last. Stir that in and only heat through, don't boil. It's not going to curdle if the soup is really hot. Has it ever curdled in your piping hot baked potato? Of course not! It's just that if it's cooked for a length of time, it will be strange. Add crumbled cooked bacon and some extra cheese on top when serving, along with some chopped chives. That adds a tremendous flavor to it. Finally, when we have baked potatoes earlier in the week for dinner, I simply make extra potatoes (I buy them by the bag and invariably there are a bunch of small ones, those are my soup potatoes), wrap them up and put them in the refrigerator until soup day. A cold baked potatoes is super easy to cube and the flavor is still fresh once it's heated in the soup. Just throw them in cold and heat the soup as directed. Trust me, this is the way to go. Happy Eating!
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Honey Mustard Sauce

Reviewed: Oct. 23, 2014
If you like really mayonnaisey sweet honey mustard, then this is for you. If you want the more tangy kind, look elsewhere. I like the kind that is similar to O'Charley's or Ken's Steakhouse's honey mustard sauce. I would suggest to decrease the mayo to 3/4 c. or 1 c. double the mustard and keep the honey the same or decrease to 1/3 c. I'll not be making this recipe again, but I might with my modifications. Oh and don't ruin it with Miracle Whip or similar dressings. Mayo is the only way to go.
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Real Strawberry Frosting

Reviewed: Aug. 15, 2014
Why would anyone want to add strawberry extract to anything?! Thank goodness this recipe doesn't need it. It was full of strawberry flavor. We made it last night and followed the recipe to the letter. No additives are needed. No red food coloring, no nonsensical strawberry extract. Nothing. It's the perfect easy recipe. Many thanks for sharing Candice!
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Pot Roast in Foil

Reviewed: Jan. 29, 2014
This is the recipe that I was raised on and in turn I raised my children on. My mother always made this and it is my go to for good 'ol fashioned comfort food. The only thing is that I strongly disagree with listening to others and doubling the soup. I tried it once and if you prefer boiled meat, then it's right for you. I prefer roasted and too much liquid boils it instead, making it rubbery. If you want more gravy, add the second can AFTER the roast is finished, not during the roast. I don't do the water sprinkling thing and here's a tip for one less dish: sprinkle the dried soup on the bottom, lay the roast on top, then top with the mushroom soup. They will mix on their own with all the meat juices and now you don't have to mix it beforehand, saving dishes! I always serve it with garlic mashed potatoes, seasoned green beans and hot yeast rolls. It's the ultimate family dinner.
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Colleen's Slow Cooker Jambalaya

Reviewed: Jul. 3, 2013
I've lived in "Cajunville" for years and this is very close to a recipe that I've also made for years. You don't cook the rice together with it, as someone said earlier, AND it's supposed to be spicy. You serve it over rice, instead. I don't use celery. Instead of broth I use a cup or so of condensed French onion soup, it gives it a rich flavor. I don't use Cayenne pepper but use pepper sauce. Authentic Jambalaya should have Tabasco sauce or Louisiana hot sauce (but admittedly I sometimes cheat and use 4 tsp of Frank's Red Hot Sauce simply because I love its flavor); Louisiana hot sauce is more mild than Tabasco's and Frank's. Also, you can throw in a packet of onion soup mix, if you want to stick with regular broth and fire-roasted diced tomatoes adds great flavor. If you can get it, instead of plain 'ol Andouille, get Conecuh sausage. It's what the locals use and is to die for. You can buy it online too. Warning though: once you go Conecuh, there will be no turning back... I guarantee it! ;)
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Homemade Apple Cider

Reviewed: Jun. 9, 2013
I think those that are saying it's too sweet are draining the water from the apples or are not using enough water. Also, larger apples are required, so if you're using small, you need to decrease the sugar. All in all this is a very basic recipe and is delicious. Many thanks for sharing.
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Chicken Gravy

Reviewed: Mar. 23, 2013
In the words of Billy Crystal, "This was mahvelous daughling, simply mahvelous!" I'm not sure why others have had trouble with this. I did modify it a bit. It's a great base to play around with. I boiled 1 cup of water with 1 heaping tbs of Herbox Sodium Free chicken bouillon powder (for those of you who like salt, you could use chicken broth or the regular bouillon granules and probably have enough sodium to taste, but you can always add more; just add more a little at a time), 1/4 tsp black pepper and a bit of sodium free homemade season all. I slowly stirred in 1 cup of cold milk into 3 tbs cornstarch, then whisked it as I poured it into the boiling water because cornstarch settles at the bottom quickly. After it began to boil it thickened up nicely. You can add whatever other flavors you like. It's very good and this is my go to gravy recipe.
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Hamburger Pie

Reviewed: Feb. 16, 2013
A classic recipe that my mother raised me on. It was one of my favorites growing up and one of my children's favorites and now they're grown. The only thing to do differently is that there is NO reason - whatsoever - to NOT cover the meat with mashed potatoes. We always have and it's divine. It does bubble up through potatoes sometimes, and perhaps that's why this person said not to, but who cares? It's about yummy goodness and the potatoes on top look beautiful. I'd recommend putting your baking dish on a lined baking sheet, just in case it does bubble up. Don't forget to add pepper either!
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Asian Ginger Dressing

Reviewed: Feb. 13, 2013
Pretty good. Just one serious FYI: if you make this as is, unless you only use a small amount, this does not make 20 servings. If you use only 2 tbs that's 16 servings. If you use more, it will be even less. That aside, I do like this recipe. Because I felt like it was missing something, I added about 2 tbs chopped onion and ran the whole thing through the blender. I used 1/2 olive oil and 1/2 sesame oil (which works out to about 1/3 cup each) due to my budget limits and decreased the soy to 1/4 cup. Oh and I also decreased the water to 2 tbs and added 2 tbs ketchup. That seemed to do the trick. Loved it that way and will keep that recipe.
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Hash Brown Casserole II

Reviewed: Feb. 13, 2013
I have to admit, I loved this, but I did change a few things. I too would prefer mushroom soup over chicken. I doubled the recipe and when I did, I doubled the cheese too. I used butter flavored cooking spray to grease my baking dish as well, which gave it a nice crispy-on-the-outside texture, and made cleaning a snap. I also followed the fried onions topping too. I didn't have any problems mixing it together, it just took a little time and I used a folding technique. I wonder if the quality of the frozen hash browns makes a difference? I'm thinking it does. My grocer was out of Ore-ida so I went with a slightly upper brand called Alexia Yukon Select Hashbrowns and man oh man. It was delicious and the potatoes didn't mash together. Those come in an odd weight and since I was doubling it anyway, I went with 3 bags. I hate to deliver the bad news to Cracker Barrel, but this one is clearly the winner. This is going to be my go to recipe for this type and it's clear that it will freeze beautifully. I can smell it on Christmas morning already! ;) I highly recommend it.
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English Muffins

Reviewed: Aug. 11, 2012
These were amazing! They are SO much better than store bought. I'm ruined now because I can never go back. It was very easy and I didn't have any problems at all. I'm not sure what the "nooks and crannies" is all about but if we're talking air bubbles or holes, I didn't have any of that. The only thing different I did was use the bread flour instead of all purpose. I see a lot of reviews saying not to handle the dough much after the first rise, but when I cut my muffins I had to knead it or stick the remaining dough back together to keep cutting until my dough was gone; waste not want not. It didn't appear to make any difference at all. They all came out wonderful! This is definitely going to be my recipe of choice, here on out. The only thing I would suggest to do different (besides the bread flour) is to use a 4-5 inch cutter. Mine was a 3-inch and was a bit small. They're still very good, but small.
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Creole Seasoning Blend

Reviewed: Apr. 28, 2012
This is a good, and pretty standard, recipe. I've made it this way for a long time, however I don't like salt and this is a no-salt eating family. Yet if you leave out 3 tbs of a zero hot ingredient, you'll get a bit more spicy, so to make up for that, I increase the garlic powder, onion powder and basil to 3 tbs each. That makes up the salt difference and it's really REALLY good that way.
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Margaritas

Reviewed: Apr. 27, 2012
If you're really intent on using the can for ease of purpose, then do it this way to get it right: fill the can full with tequila, dump that in and then fill it 1/3 full with triple sec. Tada! Instant recipe and the ratio really is good.
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Ten Minute Enchilada Sauce

Reviewed: Mar. 13, 2012
This was okay. The first time I made it, I followed the recipe. The second time, I made changes that improved it, in my opinion. I used 2 tbs. cheapo chili powder and 2 tbs ancho chili powder (which is actually much better than what is originally called for). I skipped the tomato sauce and used a 6-oz can of tomato paste with 1 1/2 c. broth. I doubled the ground cumin, skipped the onion salt (I hate salt) and used double the amount of onion powder and used minced garlic instead of garlic powder. To cut back on the fat, I used 2 tbs olive oil instead of the vegetable oil. I skipped the self-rising (it won't be any more fluffier) and used 4 tsp of all purpose flour. Oh, and I threw in a hint of oregano, just because I could. Yep, definite improvement.
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Fluffy French Toast

Reviewed: Jan. 14, 2012
This is pretty good, but I can't tell the difference between this and French Toast I (though I tweaked both, more on this one in a minute). Most importantly: it is NOT fluffy. Not sure where that comes from. Flour doesn't fluff. The truth is, most French Toast recipes are similar and it's all just a matter of taste. I've made it this way several times, I've made it without flour, I've made it with more egg and I've made it with less milk and so forth. For this though, I doubled the cinnamon and vanilla and put in about 3/4 tsp of nutmeg (which could go up to 1 tsp). You DO NOT need thick bread to make this either. It's great for your stale/old regular sandwich bread. I do however recommend that if you're using regular bread, and it isn't stale, to let it sit out for about an hour or so to stiffen up (maybe in the oven overnight too) - to prevent sogginess - and don't soak regular bread either. Just dip it in and shake it off. In my opinion, making it with regular bread has more flavor than with thick bread. I have a little jar that I've covered with NEW (right out of the container) cleaned screen (yep, regular window screening), and in it is my powdered sugar. If you're guests are pouring their own syrup, then add it before giving it to them. If you're pouring it on there then add it after you've added the syrup. It melts into the syrup so you want them to see the sugar.
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No Fail Pie Crust I

Reviewed: Nov. 21, 2011
This was very good and easy to do. That says a lot because though I am a good and experienced cook, pie crusts was an art I failed in over and over again. It was simply embarrassing. I've made this a couple of times and the only thing I decided to do differently was add a bit more salt, which is odd coming from me. If you read all my reviews, I usually say I eliminated the salt because I don't like it. It just had an odd flavor to it, and when I added 1/2-1 tsp it tasted much better. For meat pies anyway. I used this for a chicken pot pie recipe that is to die for and this crust is perfect for it. Thanks Lenn for sharing!
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Roast Sticky Chicken-Rotisserie Style

Reviewed: Nov. 21, 2011
Three cheers to Sue for an excellent, simple recipe! I'm not sure why we need to roast two at a time, but it divides in half well enough. Like another reviewer said, I also filled a shaker with the spice mix. That mix is now my house seasoning and I use it on most anything. I did eliminate the white pepper and substituted that with black pepper (making the total 1 1/2 tsp black pepper). I'm not sure about the logic for using both. It's usually one or the other, but not both. Also, I have trouble finding small 4 lb. chickens. I live in an area without much competition so I have to take what I can get, but even if it's a 5-6 lb chicken, this recipe works just as well. One IMPORTANT thing worth noting is that it is often ready much earlier than 5 hours. Begin checking it after 4 hours. Sooner if you have a small bird. Anyway, I am glad that she posted this. Again, many thanks Sue!
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Cream Soup Base

Reviewed: Aug. 30, 2011
This is just amazing. I've been using this for a couple of years now. I like the ratio here much better. This is my go to recipe for cream soups when recipes call for it. The only problem though is that this makes 2 cups, and a condensed soup can is only 1 1/4 cups. I managed to modify it to make exactly 1 1/4 cups and it does work just fine. Also I use sodium free bouillon so we have no salt in it whatsoever. In which case I disagree with Aneehs' assessment of it being too salty. Had she used sodium free, then it would have been fine AND the amount called for even with the salt is exactly correct. One cube per each cup of liquid is the proper amount. Either way, I use it all the time now and it only takes about 5 minutes or so. To make another short cut, I have made several batches of these and put them in the freezer. They reheat well enough. Sometimes (not always) the milk separates but when you taste it it's fine. It's just not company worthy or for eaters who have to have it look perfect. Anyway, many thanks to Nell for sharing this perfect no-fail recipe!
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Roasted Pork Loin

Reviewed: Aug. 28, 2011
Quite yummy! I didn't really follow the recipe by the letter. In a blender, I put some olive oil in the bottom of it. I have a large blender, but it was just enough to cover the blades, then I added about 2 tbs of minced garlic and I have fresh rosemary growing in my kitchen window, and I took two long sprigs and removed the leaves and tossed those in to. I used 1/2 tsp of pepper and we don't use salt in this house. I whirred it all up together until it was a green goo. It didn't look great, but it sure smelled great! I have a Deni 45 blade Meat Tenderizer (considerably cheaper than the one Alton Brown recommends), so I used that all over the pork. I thought at the time, "This is a great cut and won't need it." I was right, but the flavor it added! More on that in a minute. I then poured the green goo into a plastic bag, I put the heavily blade-punched pork in, squeezed out the air and kneaded it all over and stuck it in the refrigerator for about two hours. I took it out, placed it in a glass baking dish with only a smidgeon of water in the bottom and did nothing else. My roast was 3 1/2 lbs, and was ready in 1 1/2 hours (this came straight out of the refrigerator too, so the timing in the recipe is definitely off, but the blades could have influenced that change). One taste and WOW! That blade punch thingy spread that flavor throughout the meat. I didn't use the wine and I didn't make any gravy. It simply wasn't needed. My family LOVED it. It's a sure win!
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Homemade Biscuit Mix

Reviewed: Aug. 24, 2011
This is an okay recipe, but real biscuits never use oil (if you're limited on your diet, you can use it but they won't be great biscuits) and use shortening instead (or butter, but that one is tricky). Also this does NOT need refrigeration for storage, UNLESS you use butter. Remember that you buy flour, baking powder, sugar, salt and shortening unrefrigerated and none of those are required to be refrigerated after opening. Why start now? Come to think of it, you don't refrigerate Bisquick either! Using powdered buttermilk is a good idea to stir in before hand, but decrease your flour by the same amount and instead of using water (since you have powdered buttermilk in it already) use milk for the liquid. Finally, a lot of people have trouble with biscuits when you "roll it out on a lightly floured surface." If you do have trouble with that, or have trouble kneading, don't bother doing either. Just mix it up well in the bowl, lightly flour the surface (I use an actual body powder puff which was, obviously, never used for body powder) put it out on the surface, gently pat it out, cut it, and use a metal spatula to carefully peel it off. This will get you by until you're a biscuit expert. It sure helped me in my early years! Overworking the dough makes them tough. Finally, the recipe says store for up to 3 months, but I've stored it for much MUCH longer without issues. That varies due to the quality of the ingredients. Some baking powder will lose it's lift, etc.
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