BelleoftheBalle Recipe Reviews (Pg. 1) - (10413475)

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Green Bean Stir-Fry

Reviewed: May 9, 2012
This actually ended up being quite good. I steamed the green beans since we like them tender, doubled the soy sauce, subbed 2 tsp. of sesame oil in lieu of 4.5 of veggie oil, and then cooked the green beans in the sauce mix with 3 garlic cloves for a few min. in a saucepan on medium. Then I added a heaping Tbsp. of dry toasted sesame seeds. My dad and I don't generally like green beans that much, but we enjoyed this as a way to use up the stash that came with our produce deliveries. I wouldn't buy green beans to make it, but I'll make it again until we're out of green beans. :)
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Banana Crumb Muffins

Reviewed: Jan. 29, 2012
These were so soft and DELICIOUS!!! I used white whole wheat flour (whole wheat made from an albino wheat, so it still has all the nutrients of whole wheat but tastes closer to white flour) in place of the all-purpose flour. I also followed the advice of other reviewers and cut the sugar to 1/2 cup, used 1/3 cup of canola oil in lieu of the butter, added a heaping teaspoon of cinnamon and heaping 1/2 tsp. of nutmeg (will add even more of each next time), and one full teaspoon of vanilla. For reference, the three bananas I used were huge. This made 12 very rounded muffins at 205 calories each. This seems like a wonderful base recipe to play with as well. Next time I am going to try applesauce in place of most of the butter or oil and add chopped walnuts and raisins. I also want to try adding cocoa and chocolate protein powder, and maybe some kind of bran or oats another time for more fiber. Thank you for sharing!!!!
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Spaghetti Squash I

Reviewed: Mar. 19, 2010
This was very, very good. The flavor was amazing, but next time I do want more tomato, olive, garlic, and perhaps a hint more onion. I couldn't taste the feta cheese mixed in as well as I wanted, but I loved the bites where it was sprinkled on top. Next time I'm going to mix some salt inside and put all of the cheese on top. My squash took over an hour to cook. I halved it and cooked it skin side down with a couple of cups of water poured inside the pan. When I realized it wasn't done or as soft as I wanted after over 45 min., I turned the halves up, forked the insides of the squash into big piles in the skin, and poured water inside, filling each to the top. This helped it cook and softened it some. I initially wrote a slightly more negative review, but really it was just that the texture of the squash takes some getting used to. Once you get past it, though, this is sooo delicious! Also, it made a total of four average sized ceramic bowls, if this helps at all in anyone's meal planing. It tastes as well reheated (covered in the microwave) as it does in the first place. Easy and delicious!
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Red Raspberry Vinaigrette

Reviewed: Mar. 16, 2010
This is delicious! Based on the reviews, I thought it would be good, but I didn't expect it to be nearly as good as it is. I measured out 1/8 cup of olive oil and 1/2 cup of apple cider vinegar into a 1 3/4 cup container and roughly filled the rest with berry jam. It's sweeter than most vinaigrettes are and would be perfect for a salad that has fruit in it. I used it on a mixed veggie salad and still liked it a lot, though. I tried to get away with just stirring it, but you do have to use the blender as called for. (Sometime I'm going to try it with a homeade fruit puree and honey in place of the jam to make it a bit healthier/more natural, but I know I'm just being picky!) Thanks for sharing!
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Sugar Cookies

Reviewed: Mar. 23, 2009
Wow! I don't even like sugar cookies, but these were great! I followed the recipe almost exactly (I forgot to cream the shortening with the butter and sugar, but I mixed it in right after, and I also added more vanilla) and they turned out very soft and tasty! Two points: 1) The dough is very moist and sticky, so be sure to flour your hands and tools well between each cookie, and/or refrigerate dough for a while before; 2) They puff up while baking, but turn out about the same thickness as they're pressed to, so press them about as tall as you want them to end up (they do widen, though). Thanks for a very enjoyable dessert!
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Green Bean and Portobello Mushroom Casserole

Reviewed: Nov. 28, 2008
This is the best green bean casserole I've had! I'm surprised it doesn't have five stars. I love the addition of the almonds, which gives it a great texture. I'm a vegetarian, so I don't add the bacon, but when I made it for my dad and I, I crumbled 3-4 cooked pieces into just his bowl and he kept "mmm"ing and saying how "bacony" it was. I've never added the cheese on top, because I like it so much without it, and I usually just use regular canned mushrooms, not Portobello. I also just use regular pepper. My tips: I buy almonds in the bulk section at my local store and dry roast them in a pan on low-medium, stirring semi-frequently, and they taste great in the casserole, as do the sugary, salted slivered ones you buy for snacking (Sunkist?). Also, get all of the water out of your green beans and mushrooms! I grab a small handful - less than half a can - and squeeze it as hard as I can, move it around in my hand, and repeat for about a full minute, letting the juice leave through my fingers. Otherwise the casserole, like any other, can get runny. Second, the kind of almonds and cream of mushroom soup you use seems to make the most difference in the taste (more than the green beans and mushrooms). I don't normally like Campbell's soup, and I hate to use brand names in my review, but so far I've found theirs to be the best. I don't find the amount to be 10 servings. I normally double it for just my dad and I to eat and have a good amount of leftovers with.
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Low-Fat Chocolate Cookies

Reviewed: Sep. 25, 2008
These are pretty good! My father had a stroke recently, and even though we already eat pretty healthily, I've been looking for healthier alternatives to some of our indulgences. I wasn't sure how much egg substitute would equal 3 egg whites, so I put one egg white in a 1/2 cup, saw it filled about 1/3 of it, and then filled the rest of the 1/2 cup with egg substitute. I couldn't justify using all of the sugar, so I replaced the granulated sugar with Splenda and kept the brown sugar as called for. The batter didn't taste as chocolatey as I wanted, so I dumped in extra cocoa (probably equal to a small 1/4 cup), and next time I'll use even more. For the chocolate chips, I cut up regular sized ones, some into fourths, and some into very small flakes, hoping this would add some 'real' chocolate taste to each bite (it did). I also used whole wheat flour instead of all purpose. It seems that, whether in dough or cookie form, these need to sit a while to taste their best. The first time I made them I let the dough sit in the fridge for only about an hour (1 1/2 tops) first and they didn't taste well about 10 min. out of the oven, but tasted better later that night and even better the next morning. The next day, after the dough had sat in the fridge overnight, they tasted pretty good right out of the oven and not quite as good after. I'll update when I figure out if this was just a fluke or not! Also, these puff up a LOT, so be sure to flatten them good first! Editing to add: I tried
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Easy Decadent Truffles

Reviewed: Jul. 23, 2008
I love these! They're a huge hit at my house. My family just raves about them! I add 1-2 Tbsp. cream (towards the end of mixing the cream cheese) per half batch. It gives them a wonderful taste and melt-in-your-mouth kind of texture, but it does seem to make them less firm and harder to work with. I've also tried them with semi-sweet chocolate chips (as the recipes states), with the 2 C milk chocolate chips & 2 C sugar that other reviewers' have suggested, and with 2 C milk chocolate chips and the same amount of sugar that the recipe calls for. Even though I usually don't like semisweet chocolate, I preferred the recipe as stated because it tastes more like a "true", rich truffle and it firmed up better. My dad preferred the milk chocolate/same sugar mix, and my sister the milk chocolate/less sugar mix. Go figure! I roll them in almond bark like another reviewer suggested, and this way they keep their shape. It makes them taste a little more like a candy and less like a truffle, but it is still so good that I don't care. I'm going to try it with regular melted chocolate topping next. Overall, definitely a keeper!
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Basic Crepes

Reviewed: Jun. 29, 2008
LOVE! The best crepes I've ever had, and so easy to make! Even when I make them too thick, they always cook completely in the middle and don't burn as easily as other crepes (no runny middles/burnt edges). I make a lower fat/calorie version by using skim milk instead of regular and reducing the water (by half) to 1/4 cup so the batter won't be too runny. I also omit the butter completely. I've tried the two versions - with and without butter - side by side, and neither myself nor my father, even when we tried, could tell the difference. They also turn out well using 1/2 cup of egg substitute instead of 2 real eggs, BUT most of the time I choose to use real eggs because I feel the noticeably richer flavor justifies the extra fat and calories. I dump all the ingredients in my stand mixer, add the whisk attachment, and let it run until all the lumps are gone. I spray the pan fairly lightly with cooking spray before beginning and never have to re-oil. Enjoy!
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