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Vegan Black Bean Quesadillas

Reviewed: Sep. 6, 2013
This review is for the 'cheese' spread only. I had some corn chips and salsa leftover from a recent trip to the Mexican restaurant. I wanted something a little different to serve with them and found this recipe for the 'cheese' spread. It made the spread as written except left out the cayenne. It was fast and simple to put together. I would not say that it was cheesy tasting at all but it was ok and made a good dip with chips and salsa. The four rating is an average of '3' for flavor and '5' for ease of preparation.
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Summer Squash Bread

Reviewed: Sep. 1, 2013
I had an overabundance of yellow squash in my garden this year and needed a way to use it up. I have made zucchini bread before but never tried yellow squash in the same way. This recipe was simple to put together. The only change I made was to substitute half the oil for applesauce to cut some calories and fat. Unfortunately the flavor of this cake/bread was really bland. I think it needed salt and something else to bump up the flavor. This would be a good dessert for kids or anyone who doesn't like veggies though. You can't taste the squash at all and because it is yellow and not green like zucchini, you wouldn't know there were veggies in it.
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Asian Cucumber Salad

Reviewed: Jul. 18, 2013
I was looking for a salad that used primarily cucumbers since I have an abundance in my garden. I made this before work so I didn't have the hour to salt and let the cukes sit to drain. I did it for 20 minutes and nothing really happened but the salad was still really good so maybe it's an optional step. I cut the amount of salt and sugar in half and it was still plenty seasoned and sweet for my taste. I didn't have any peppers on hand so I used a carrot which I cut in matchsticks instead. The amount of dressing was a more than needed to cover the veggies but it was good so that was ok. Will definitely be making this again and will try it with the peppers next time.
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Seitan in Peanut Sauce or Vegetarian Gai Tua

Reviewed: Jun. 27, 2013
This was simple to make and fast to put together especially using the pre-made seitan. I made the sauce per the recipe, except that I used agave syrup instead of sugar and used only half the amount called for since I think coconut milk is sweet enough as it is. It was pretty good as is but the only flavors I could really pick out were the peanut butter and coconut milk so I doubled the seasoning elements (red curry paste, chili sauce and oyster sauce) and that helped a lot. I wasn't sure about the spinach but it added a nice color to the dish and blended in well with the other flavors. I served this over whole wheat spaghetti. Will make this again with my changes.
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Seitan Makhani (Vegan-Style Indian Butter Chicken)

Reviewed: Dec. 23, 2012
I made the sauce part as written with the addition of a cut up tomato. The spices were subtle but good. I found that it needed a touch of sweetness so I added about two teaspoons of agave syrup. That was just right. I made my own seitan from scratch. Because my seitan was firmer than store bought, I didn't bother with frying it. I just added it to the sauce and let it heat through. I thought the sauce was just the right consistency as is so I didn't add the cornstarch. This was not the best makhani I've ever had but it was pretty good and I'm sure I'll be making it again, with a few minor tweaks.
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Shrimp with Broccoli in Garlic Sauce

Reviewed: Dec. 14, 2012
I chose this recipe because it used ingredients I had on hand. The only change I made was to substitute chopped celery for the water chestnuts. Although this was quick and easy to make it was very bland. The amount of soy sauce and oyster sauce was far too little to have any impact. These ingredients should be doubled or tripled.
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13 users found this review helpful

Curried Butternut Squash and Pear Soup

Reviewed: Nov. 25, 2012
I had a bumper crop of butternut squash from my garden this year. I was looking for something different to make with it and came across this recipe. To make this vegan, I used oil instead of the butter, vegetable broth instead of the chicken broth and coconut milk instead of the dairy milk. I also added a small pinch of red pepper flakes when sauteing the onions. It was simple to make and had a nice flavor. I liked the sweetness added from the pears. Even though this seemed like a sufficient amount of curry powder it wasn't very pronounced. If I make this again I will add more.
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Quick Shrimp Lo Mein

Reviewed: Nov. 15, 2012
had veggies in the fridge to use up so I decided to make a stirfry. The sauce to this one sounded good so I decided to give it a try. I used tofu instead of shrimp and bean sprouts instead of snap peas. The amount of cornstarch called for was too much in comparison to the amount of liquid. The sauce immediately seized up when it hit the hot pan. I had to add another 1/2 cup or so of water to loosen it back up again. This watered down the flavor a little but it was still tasty. I will make this again but adjust the sauce ingredients.
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Grilled Mongolian Pork Chops

Reviewed: Jun. 2, 2012
My rating is for the marinade only since I didn't make the sauce. Since I only used two small boneless pork chops I reduced the amount of ingredients by 1/4 and made modifictions based on what I had on hand and the short (less than an hour) marinating time I had. I substituted powdered garlic and ginger for the fresh since they pack more of a punch in short marinating times. I substituted apple cider vinegar for the combo as written and I used agave instead of sugar because it has a less sweet taste. I eliminated the pepper since I thought the other ingredients added enough flavor. I don't have an outdoor grill so I cooked these on my electric countertop grill for about 8 minutes. These were very tasty and moist. I served this with a saute of green beans, mushrooms and garlic topped with toasted sesame seeds to continue the Asian theme. Will definitely use this marinade again and try it with chicken and tofu as well.
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8 users found this review helpful

Avery's Brownies

Reviewed: Apr. 15, 2012
This was very quick to put together and though I appreciate that the recipe was very low fat compared to a traditional brownie, that lack of fat meant that the richness of a brownie was missing. It was chocolatey but the cocoa powder was not enough to bring home the brownie flavor. It also had the lighter texture of a cake rather than a brownie. I don't usually like a frosted brownie so I didn't make the frosting, but after this was done (which took 30 minutes instead of the 25 the recipe stated) it was not quite as flavorful as I hoped it would be so I put about 1 cup of dairy free chocolate chips on top and put it back in the turned off oven, which was still warm, and after 5 minutes took the pan out and spread the softened chocolate chips out ot make a frosting of sorts. That helped and though these were good, they weren't wow. I'm giving this four stars because although they weren't the best vegan brownies I've ever had they were very fast to put together and would be ok for a quick weeknight dessert cake.
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1 user found this review helpful

Thumbprint Cookies I

Reviewed: Apr. 5, 2012
I've made these twice now. The first time I made the recipe as written. There were some issues with the wetness, the cooking time/ temperature and I didn't care for the molasses flavor of the brown sugar in a shortbread cookie. The second time I made them I made a few modifications: I used only 6 tbls of margarine instead of 8, I substituted white sugar for brown and I used almonds instead of walnuts. Reducing the fat in the recipe helped the dough be less wet. I baked the cookies at 325° (up from 300) which helped them bake a little firmer and get a little bit of color. I baked for 8 minutes then put in the indentation and jam then baked another 6 minutes. This only made 9 cookies using ay 2 tbl portioner. The flavor was good and I will probably make these again using my adjustments.
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4 users found this review helpful

Hawaiian-Style Meatballs

Reviewed: Mar. 26, 2012
I had some vegetarian meatballs leftover from a batch I made earlier this week and wanted a quick recipe to use them up. This one caught my interest because I had all the ingredients on hand. Since I didn't need to make the meatballs, I added the soy sauce, onion and garlic powders to the preserves and cider. I skipped the sugar since I figured it would already be sweet enough. I didn't have quite enough apricot preserves so I substituted the rest with orange marmalade. I heated the sauce on the stovetop until it was somewhat liquid then added the meatless balls and heated through. I served this over rice. Yummy and quick.
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2 users found this review helpful

Maple Apple Crisp

Reviewed: Mar. 26, 2012
I thought the maple flavor would be a nice complement to the apples but the syrup just added to the juice the apples let off and made a soupy mess in the bottom of the casserole dish. This was ok but nothing special.
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1 user found this review helpful

Microwave Popcorn

Reviewed: Feb. 17, 2012
Finally decided to try popping corn from scratch instead of one of those commercial microwave popcorns. I couldn't believe how simple this was. And so much healthier since there wasn't much oil at all. I thought 1/2 tsp salt might be too much but it was just right. I also added 1/4 tsp garlic powder with the salt and oil. Yum. This little bit of popcorn actually burst through the bag because it made so much. After 2-1/2 minutes my corn was still popping but I could smell burning so I stopped the cooking. I'll never buy microwave popcorn again.
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Quinoa Chard Pilaf

Reviewed: Jan. 1, 2012
I opened a can of lentils by mistake the other day and needed a recipe to use them, plus some mushrooms and kale I had sitting in the fridge. This recipe fit the bill. I made half the recipe except I used a whole can of lentils. I steamed my kale for a few minutes before adding to the quinoa mix since it doesn't wilt as fast as chard. This was simple to make and tasty though it needed salt not called for in the recipe. I topped this will toasted almonds for some texture and served with cornbread.
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3 users found this review helpful

Sarah's Rice Pilaf

Reviewed: Dec. 28, 2011
This was really delicious and very simple to make. I found I needed to add some salt (none called for in the recipe) and a 1/2 cup of water part way through cooking because the orzo was absorbing the liquid faster than the rice but otherwise I followed the recipe as is. Will definitely make this again.
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3 users found this review helpful

Chicken Seitan

Reviewed: Oct. 15, 2011
I've made seitan a few different ways (baked, steamed and wrapped in cheesecloth then simmered) but I've never made it by dropping it directly in simmering broth as in this recipe and I don't think I will again. I knew seitan expanded as it cooked but this absolutely exploded in size. There was already too much liquid in the dough itself. As I was needing it I squeezed out at least 1/4 cup. Then the simmering added even more liquid to the chunks. I wasn't crazy about the spongy texture once it was done cooking so I squeezed out as much liquid as I could. It came to almost 2 cups. And even though I added extra seasoning and some vegetarian chicken broth powder to both the dough and broth it was still very bland in flavor. I didn't add the kombu (not available around here) but I can't imagine that would have improved the flavor that much. I will use the seitan I made but I don't think I will make this recipe again.
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12 users found this review helpful

Dairy Free Chocolate Pudding

Reviewed: Sep. 26, 2011
Chocolate pudding is my hubby's favorite dessert but since I found out I had a dairy intolerance several months ago we had to give it up. I was excited to see a veagn alternative with this recipe. I used chocolate soy milk to amp up the chocolate flavor. It was easy to make and the consistency was good once chilled but it just wasn't the same as dairy pudding. It wasn't very sweet and it was missing the creaminess. It was ok but not wonderful. I also think the recipe could have included how long to cook the pudding for once it started boiling.
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5 users found this review helpful

Mexican Bean and Rice Salad

Reviewed: Aug. 9, 2011
I made some minor changes to suit our tastes. I used parsley instead of cilantro and skipped the onion. I used granulated garlic instead of the fresh and used only one jalapeno. I added some fresh tomatoes and black olives for more color and taste. The lime juice wasn't quite enough flavor for the dressing so I added some olive oil and extra cumin. That pulled everything together into a delicious and healthy dish.
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6 users found this review helpful

Applesauce

Reviewed: May 10, 2011
You can't get any simpler than this recipe. It was so fast and easy to make. I used a combo of Granny Smith and Pink Lady apples. I used a hand blender to puree my cooked apples, leaving it a little chunky. I added just 1/4 cup of sugar and that was plenty of sweetness for my taste. I think the one cup the recipe called for would make a sickeningly sweet sauce (hence the 4 stars instead of 5). When you make your applesauce, start with a small amount, taste and add a bit at a time until your desired sweetness level. I served these with latkes.
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8 users found this review helpful

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