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Texas Cowboy Stew

Reviewed: Nov. 11, 2013
I made a few minor changes -- halved the recipe, but used a whole onion and 12 oz bag of mixed veggies, 1-1/2 tsp each of cumin and chili powder, substituted black beans for pintos. I used Rotel Hot tomatoes for more kick. The end result was quite spicy, surprisingly. I drained the beans and corn and only used a cup of water to cook in a slow cooker for 6 hours (but browned the beef and sausage and cooked the onion in the meat until transparent). I'm not sure what the point would be of cooking the full recipe unless you're feeding a crowd -- this was a packed crockpot at half a recipe.
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Spiced Holiday Sugar Cookies

Reviewed: Dec. 9, 2012
The cookies TASTES great -- however, as a dough to use for cookie cutters, it's a loser. I didn't have problems working the dough after 2.5 hours -- you want a dough that's very stiff when you first start working it, because it softens quickly as you gather and reshape it (just start cutting in the middle the first rollout, no problem) -- but this dough spreads and completely loses its shape as it cooks, so nothing looks like what it is supposed to look like. The cookie gets too crisp and breaks if it's dropped on a counter -- make sure not to roll it out thin or let it get too brown, but it's still too breakable. This might be fine as a sliced cookie roll, maybe even add some mini chocolate chips or M&Ms. However, I'm dreading the decorating.
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Torrejon Oatmeal Bread

Reviewed: Oct. 29, 2012
I made this by hand and got a lovely not-too-dense loaf with a great flavor. I used instant yeast (Red Star Platinum) so my technique was different. I cooked the oatmeal as directed, but only let it cool 10 minutes or so, just cool enough to handle. I added half the flour, worked it a bit, then added the rest -- it wasn't quite dough yet, but I turned it out and worked it until it formed, then added enough extra water to make a good moist dough (oatmeal bread dough will be quite sticky until you've worked it enough, but it's important that the dough not be dry or you'll end up with a brick. A dough scraper is a great tool to have). I let it rise twice, then baked in dark pans at 325 degrees for 40 minutes. To make it fabulous, I rubbed the heck out of the top crust with a stick of butter as soon as I took it out of the oven.
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Slow Cooker Carrot Cake Steel Cut Oats

Reviewed: Oct. 8, 2012
I halved the recipe (and it's still a ton of cereal), but used a full 8-oz can of crushed pineapple and a cup of raisins as others suggested -- otherwise followed it exactly. The only thing I would change next time would be to chop up the carrot shreds some before adding. Add some chopped walnuts before serving for added nutrition and more carrot-cake fantasy...if someone finds a way to incorporate cream cheese, we might have breakfast nirvana here!
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2 users found this review helpful

Daria's Slow Cooker Beef Stroganoff

Reviewed: Sep. 29, 2012
I followed the suggestions that Sara made -- the flavor was fantastic, but it was so watery I couldn't serve it as it was. I added 6 ounces of rotini for the last 45 minutes (after adding a full 16 oz of sour cream, cuz just like garlic there's no such thing as too much sour cream in my universe) and that took care of the problem and turned it into something my teenaged son adored, but I really would have preferred noodles on the side. I do think the fresh mushrooms give it a lot (I used sliced baby bellos), but next time I'll try sauteing them before adding to cut back on the liquid and not add any water at all. Also, I recommend giving it a stir at the beginning and somewhere in-between.
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Ginger Collard Greens

Reviewed: Sep. 15, 2012
I was really surprised at how good the flavors were together -- a great alternative to the neverending pork-flavored collard greens. I used a 1-lb bag of prewashed and chopped collards, and a single can of chicken broth instead of all of the water and bouillon, stuffed into a 4-qt pot and stirred after about 5 minutes when it had time to wilt some. Twenty minutes was plenty of cooking time, leaving the collards a beautiful green and still intact, but not at all tough. Using less liquid made the flavors more intense, and I'm sure a whole lot less salty than 6 bouillon cubes! My teenager actually scraped his plate.
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4 users found this review helpful

Sweet Potato, Carrot, Apple, and Red Lentil Soup

Reviewed: Nov. 12, 2011
The sweetness of the apple pushed it over the top -- fantastic! The only changes I made were using green lentils instead of red (can be hard to find), and using half butter/half olive oil. I agree with treating it as a stew rather than pureeing it. Try using plain Greek-style yogurt as a topping, nowhere near as runny when it was put on the hot stew/soup.
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1 user found this review helpful

Easy Stovetop Chicken Teriyaki in Orange Ginger Garlic Sauce

Reviewed: Feb. 21, 2010
My son would have given it 5+ stars, very much a kid-friendly recipe. It was really too sweet for me, and I wondered if orange juice and some rind rather than marmalade might have worked better (you really have to use cornstarch anyway). I left out the water, added orange pepper and zucchini slices (red would have looked better), a few red pepper flakes, and used a tbsp of cornstarch at the end (the sauce was already thin, but the zucchini added to it), and sauteed the chicken with half-canola, half-sesame oils. I'm not sure how much the wine added to it. I served it with brown rice, just drizzled the orange sauce over it. I'll definitely do it again if only for my son's sake, but I do want to try to cut down on the sweetness next time.
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8 users found this review helpful

Black Bean and Corn Quesadillas

Reviewed: Oct. 2, 2009
The filling was good, but messy as a quesadilla. I tried the leftovers as burritos, and it was great -- and less fattening!
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Chicken Tetrazzini IV

Reviewed: Sep. 16, 2009
This is one of my favorite dishes, and this recipe is close to the one I work from. I use half a store-bought rotisserie chicken, fresh portabello sliced mushrooms (just add to the sauce for a minute or two before boiling), only 2 tbsp of butter and skim milk to reduce the fat content. I also use whole wheat blend spaghetti (Healthy Harvest). My kids love this stuff. But I really think this is more like 5-6 servings even with the calorie reduction -- and we're not tiny people.
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Easy Fruit Cobbler

Reviewed: Sep. 4, 2009
I have this recipe from another source and have used it as-is for a long time. Try mixing the fruits -- some peaches and berries, or using strawberries to dot the corners to make a pretty dessert. This is a good learn-to-cook recipe for kids.
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1 user found this review helpful

Zesty Lemon Potatoes

Reviewed: Aug. 6, 2009
At first I thought, "wow, it's awfully lemony." But then the lemony goodness grew on me. I might cut back slightly on the lemon juice next time, but otherwise it worked great with a tomato/orange-based chicken dish.
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Mexican Green Chile Stew

Reviewed: Jul. 31, 2009
I really liked this recipe very much. The suggestion to drop the cloves and use 1/4 lime and more garlic instead and add some onion worked great -- I wish I had thought to get some cilantro instead of parsley, which would have been even better. I served it with jalapeno/cheese cornbread (and the rest of the red wine!).
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11 users found this review helpful

Banana Crumb Muffins

Reviewed: May 29, 2009
Really terrific! I should have read the recipe closer before starting -- I added all of the sugar, white and brown, to the batter. No problem -- I just added the cinnamon to the batter. Much less messy and time-consuming than crumb topping, and very good!
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Spaetzle and Chicken Soup

Reviewed: Jul. 14, 2008
I REALLY recommend going to Youtube and researching how spaetzle is done (if nothing else than to see what it's supposed to look like) before doing this recipe, if you're not familiar with it. I followed the instructions as I understood them here, and ended up with something that looked like boiled mini-baguettes.... After looking into it, leaving the dough relatively thin and wet, and working it through a colander or maybe a cheese grater, might be the way to go. I kept adding flour trying to get it to form a ball per the directions, which was a big mistake. The soup's flavor is good, and I'm going to try to rescue what's left somehow....
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Sweet Potatoes with Sausage and Peppers

Reviewed: Jun. 26, 2008
This was really surprisingly tasty! I used plain ol' bulk sausage (Jimmy Dean), browned it and then just added the veggies at that point rather than removing the sausage or adding additional oil. I 1/2" diced both the sweet potatoes and two LARGE red bell peppers, and boiled the potatoes 10 minutes -- anything more would have been mush. It makes a lot more than 4 servings in my opinion. Pita bread worked well with it, and I could see leftovers rolled in whole wheat tortillas as well. I might try a veggie sausage next time as this is so close to being a very healthy vegetarian recipe.
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24 users found this review helpful

Brown Sugar Chops

Reviewed: Jun. 23, 2008
I followed a lot of the other suggestions -- preparing the glaze in a saucepan, adding Worcestershire sauce and onion soup mix, and turning the chops over for the last few minutes. I also added some white potatoes to the baking dish (had to microwave those for a few minutes in the end). The taste was terrific, but the meat was overcooked. I'll try this again, but I might do it in a saute pan and cook the chops for a much shorter time (and cook a separate side dish).
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Beefy Cabbage Stew

Reviewed: Jun. 23, 2008
I love earthy healthy recipes like this! Very simple, very good. I made a "greek seasoning" mix of 2 parts each oregano and onion powder; 1 part each garlic powder, black pepper, and cornstarch; and 1/2 part each cinnamon and nutmeg (you can also add salt and beef bouillion granules). I used 2 tsps of that and around 1 tsp of salt, decreased water to 1 cup and increased tomato juice to 2 cups. I also used 1-1/2 cups of locally-grown shoepeg corn instead of canned, which gave it a nice sweet crispness. I might try using something like Morningstar veggie crumbles next time to make this a vegetarian recipe.
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44 users found this review helpful

Slow Cooker Lemon and Thyme Chicken

Reviewed: Jun. 5, 2008
I was rather disappointed with this -- much too wet and the flavors were diluted.
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38 users found this review helpful

 
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