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Microwave Oven Peanut Brittle

Reviewed: Nov. 2, 2009
I'm just rating the microwave method since I used cajun seasoned pumpkin seeds instead of peanuts- it came out sweet and spicy and SO good!!! I will definitely do again with peanuts! I've had mixed results with candy making, but this is fool proof! Just have to adjust time to your micro wattage, and keep an eye on it THE WHOLE TIME. I did the whole thing in my big pyrex measuring cup, easy to measure and micro in one container, it's easy to watch since it's clear, plus the handle doesn't get hot. My microwave is 1600w... full power, I did sugar + syrup for 3.5 mins, stirred in pumpkin seeds and micro 2.5 mins more, added butter and vanilla micro 2.5 mins, then removed and stirred in baking soda. Took the advice to spread out onto the back side of a buttered cookie sheet and this worked great! Let sit 5 mins, then in frige for 5 more and broke it up. The hardest part about this recipe is not eating it all in one sitting!
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Chicken Wild Rice Soup

Reviewed: Oct. 27, 2009
This is such a good fall soup!!! I used a rotisserie chicken from the grocery store, which made it super easy and delicious having breast & leg meat. Also subbed a frozen Dorot garlic cube (TJs) for garlic powder... LOVE those things! I realized as I was serving it up that I'd forgotten to add the can of soup! HAD planned on using an organic cream of chicken soup... don't like condensed red-label kind... icky, and chock full of sodium and msg! But it was PERFECT without it, so I don't even know if it's necessary. I like very flavorful food, and was worried I would need to spice this up a bit when I read the simplicity of the ingredients in the recipe, but the combination of it all produces a wonderful, flavorful, hearty soup that is perfect as is! Next time I think I'll cook the veg 20 mins instead of 30 though. In fall/winter I make a vat of soup/stew/chili once a week and we eat it for 2-3 days... This one's gonna be a regular for sure!!!
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Buttermilk Pancakes II

Reviewed: Oct. 11, 2009
PERFECT!!! I did as another reviewer suggested and mixed it all up the night before and left it in the frige overnight. So much easier than mixing it in the a.m.! Made with sausage links and it all came out super yummy, BF is a pancake connisuer and declared them THE BEST! I keep the done ones on a plate in a 225 degree oven to keep them warm while doing the rest so we can sit down and eat all together rather than serving one at a time. Scaled it down to 8 and ended up with 10 good sized pancakes, froze 4 with waxed paper between them for next Sunday =)
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Autumn Glazed Pork Chops

Reviewed: Oct. 7, 2009
Very good and super quick, easy and inexpensive! I did sprinkly the chops liberally with salt, pepper and onion powder before cooking, then followed the recipe as written. The only thing I would suggest is letting them rest a few minutes before serving. Will definitely make again! Went GREAT with homemeade sausage, apple, golden raisin stuffing... Nice alternative to the same old pork chops and applesauce!
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Homesteader Cornbread

Reviewed: Aug. 27, 2009
PERFECT!!! Based on preference and reviews, I used a mixture of ap flour, cake flour and masa. Also, used honey for 1/4 of the sugar. Brushed muffin tin with melted honey butter and brushed the tops as well before baking for 18 mins. Halved the recipe and got 9 good sized muffins. Hands down, the best corn bread I've ever made... A touch sweet, but not overly, good corn flavor (but I subbed part masa which adds more cornyness), no bitter aftertaste, wonderful crispy outside (honey butter helped!) soft moist inside, not at all mealy or too dry and crumbly. Might try adding some whole kernels next time, and/or a sprinkle of smoked paprika, and next time I won't halve the recipe now that I know how good it is! UPDATE: This freezes vey well. Made an extra loaf, froze it wrapped in foil, then a couple weeks later thawed it and threw it in a 350 oven (still wrapped in foil) for about 30m. It was so moist and delicious!!! Next I'm gonna try cubing it and baking the cubes to make 'croutons' to use in stuffing =)
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Zucchini and Potato Bake

Reviewed: Aug. 17, 2009
This is so simple and so good, easily modified to add different veg based on what you have on hand, or for me, what you want to use up! The only reason I docked it a star is because I don't think zucchini should go the whole hour... 40 mins MAX, 30 would be better. I did chopped potato, golden beets, carrots, onion tossed in oil & seasoning for 20 minutes, then added the zucchini and an orange pepper, stirred and baked the remaining 40 mins. Next time I'll add after 30 mins, cause it was still a little soft for my taste. Planned to add romano cheese as several reviewers suggested, but I was out, which I didn't realize til right after I returned from the store (of course!) so left that part out, but would have been so much better with it! Leftovers were yummy for lunch today too. A most delicious way to clean out the veg drawer :)
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Baked Mac and Cheese for One

Reviewed: Aug. 14, 2009
Awesome! I get a hankering for mac and cheese every once in a while, and BF detests it (what's wrong with him?!?!) so I can never make it for dinner. I make this for myself for lunch now to cure my craving. Any pasta will do really, penne/ziti is actually my fave, but I use whatever's on hand. I adjust if a bit by adding a sprinkle of smoked paprika, and prefer to use a non-vinegary hot sauce, not tabasco for this one. Instead of breadcrumbs I sprinkle french fried onions on top, then the cheese and bake... SO GOOD!!! Be sure, as with any roux based sauce, that you let it thicken properly (before adding the cheese), otherwise you will end up with it 'soupy' as one reviewer described... Use the 2 minutes as a guideline, but if it's still thin, give it another minute or 2 til it looks right. Would definately scale this up and serve to guests, especially around the holidays! UPDATE: I now use the cheesy sauce (double amts) in my tuna casserole and it's AWESOME... try it! DOUBLE UPDATE: I don't suggest making this ahead of time... I scaled it up and made it an hour or so before baking and it wasn't as smooth as it is when you bake it right away, the sauce kind of starts to coagulate... I did however adapt the recipe to be gluten free for a friend with celiacs by using brown rice macaroni and white rice flour (just know that a gluten free roux is thinner, but it bakes up ok in the end). She said it was really good and hadn't been able to have mac N cheese for a looong time.
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CCRyder's Smoker Rib Rub

Reviewed: Jul. 17, 2009
AWESOME!!! Made a few adjustments based on preference and what I had in my spice cabinet... VERY forgiving :) Instead of ancho chile powder (only had regular), I put a large whole dried ancho chile, used fresh rosemary, cut nutmeg and allspice to 1 TS (instead of 1 TB) each and added 1 TS corriander... Not sure why thyme's listed twice...? I just put the 1st amt since too much thyme can be overpowering, maybe the 2nd was supposed to say oregano??? Anyhow, just skipped that part... everything else according to recipe. Blended it all in the food processor til it was even, makes A LOT! I only used 1/2 of it on a full rack of ribs; peeled membrane, soaked 30 mins in apple cider vinegar + worcestershire + splash of liquid smoke (DO THIS! makes ribs super tender and juicy!), then patted dry and rubbed GENEROUSLY. Wrapped in foil, only marinated 4 hours, will do overnight next time! Baked them at 200 for 2 hours (meaty side down!), removed from foil and finished off on the grill with a bourbon molasses glaze and it was SO GOOD!!! LOVE the herbiness of the rosemary & thyme with the sweet of the sugars and glaze... GREAT alternative to standard BBQ ribs. Thanks CC Ryder!!!
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Rosemary Ranch Chicken Kabobs

Reviewed: Jun. 29, 2009
AWESOME!!! Super easy, uses ingredients typically on hand and YUMMY! I prefer brown sugar for the (optional) white, it caramellizes better on the grill. I now also increase ranch 1/4 cup and do as another reviewer suggested, make 2 separate batches and marinate chicken in one, and for the other, I micro 2 red potatoes 2.5 mins each, cut in about 2"chunks, marinate with onion chunks and whole mushrooms. If you do this, do chicken and veg on separate skewers cause the veg ones are done a few minutes quicker and 'shrooms would be burnt if it was all skewered together. This is now one of my absolute FAVORITE dinners! THANKS SO MUCH!!! ****UPDATE: Did the veg kabobs as mentioned above, but this time added squash and cherry tomatoes... OMG! I've made this at least once a week for the last 2 mos and NEVER repeat recipes with that kind of regularity, can't get enough of this meal!!! SO MUCH better with fresh rosemary, but dried is good too in a pinch :)
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Grilled Peaches and Cream

Reviewed: Jun. 2, 2009
AWESOME!!! I did 2 peaches, skipped the oil but sprinkled w/cinnamon sugar and pumpkin pie spice and refrigerated about an hour before grilling. Had about 1/4 tub of lo-fat cream cheese... poured honey into tub, micro 30 sec, poured chopped pecans in and it all mixed easily with a fork, then refrigerated an hour. It came out FANTASTIC! On hot summer days I try to make as many full meals as I can without turning on the stove or oven and this was the perfect ender. Will make again FOR SURE!
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Southwestern Burgers

Reviewed: Jun. 2, 2009
I hate to be the one dissenter, but these were just OK for us... I liked them better than the BF did... He later refered to them as 'nasty' but I think that was a bit harsh, but have you ever heard of a burger a man didn't devour? This one went over like a lead balloon. I do however think this recipe could be salvaged, but don't know if I'll try again, might not be worth the comments from the peanut gallery =) Anyhow, I think the main problem I had with it is WAY too much cumin in the sauce... And cumin is one of my FAVE spices, so if I'm saying that, the flavor is WAY strong... I kind of had my doubts about the proportions when I was making it but thought for once in my life I'd make something as written with no adjustments... Next time I'll trust my gut... Did, however, turn the sauce into a loveley SW vinagrette for a great salad the next night, so it wasn't a complete failure =)
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Cajun Spice Seasoning Mix in a Jar

Reviewed: Jun. 1, 2009
OK, this is HOT!!! And I love super hot food, but man, is this HOT! Halfed it, but made as written except for I did add oregano, as a lot of cajun sesonings contain it and I like the herby flavor it adds. Used it in jambalaya- That was SO GOOD but borderline too hot... BF actually broke a sweat and had to add sour cream and drink milk to calm it down. Used it again on my Breakfast Hot Potatoes instead of my own seasoning blend, but used more sparingly now that I knew what fire power I was dealing with, they were fantastic. Then rubbed it on flank steak (again sparingly) that had soake 30m in apple cider vinegar and liquid smoke, cooked on the grill with corn and baked potato, made a salad... AWESOME dinner and I never turned the stove or oven on! Makes A LOT... we'll be using this for weeks to months... Good thing it's so yummy and versatile! UPDATE: Used this on my pumpkin seeds after carving this year... Oh my goodness, they are TASTY... didn't rinse just removed chunks/strings from about 3 cups seeds, tossed in 3-4 good shakes worcestershire, 1 tb melted butter, about a TB of this seasonong mix and baked spread out on a cookie sheet 50 mins 325 tossing every 10-15... SO GOOD!!! Tastes like spicy chex mix in punkin seed form if that makes any sense...
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Shiitake Angel Hair Pasta

Reviewed: May 29, 2009
This was just ok for me... Wanted to make it a main dish meal so I did add broccoli to the first part and shrimp at the very end, but those were actually the best parts. I don't know what I did wrong, but the sauce got kinda curdley and separated looking...? Once I mixed it all together it didn't look half bad, and the flavor was pretty good... BF liked it better than I did. Probably won't make again...
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Scott Hibb's Amazing Whisky Grilled Baby Back Ribs

Reviewed: May 23, 2009
THE BEST RIBS I'VE EVER HAD IN MY LIFE! Started them the night before by peeling off the membrane, rubbing them down with 1/4 cup apple cider vinegar + 1 ts liquid smoke... This really tenderizes your rib meat. Then rubbed them down with AR's Wally's Rib Rub (with a few personal modifications), double wrapped them in foil, frige overnight. Then picked up with this recipe... The only things I changed were to use 1/4c apple cider and 1/4c white vinegar, and I upped it to 2 tb whiskey... Didn't seem enough to me. Simmered about 2 hrs... This sauce is PERFECT rib sauce- since it's tomato PASTE based (rather than a tomato sauce/ketchup based sauce) it gets thick and coats to the ribs PERFECTLY. And it caramelizes on the grill... SO GOOD! For an 'everyday' BBQ sauce, I prefer AR's Big Al's KC Sauce, but I've got to give it up to this one for grilling ribs. I've tried MANY methods and sauces for ribs, slow cooker, oven, grill, and this is THE ONE. I will NEVER cook ribs another way! Quality of meat makes a HUGE difference when it comes to ribs though, so be picky... And wear a bib =) ***UPDATE: Did the exact same method (Wally's Rub, Scott's sauce + oven/grill) on a pork loin and it was FANTASTIC! Not AS good as the ribs, but not much is! Healthier though... Gonna do it with chicken breast tonight... That makes 3 nights in a row using this method/sauce, it's that good!
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Wally's Rib Rub

Reviewed: May 23, 2009
AWESOME!!! I did cut the paprika and salt down to 1/8c each, just seemed too much to me. And I did 3/4c brown and 1/4c white sugar. Rubbed on flank steak 20 mins before grilling last night and it was sooo good. Prepped ribs by peeling membrane, rubbed with 1/4c apple cider vinegar and 1ts liquid smoke... This really tenderizes the ribs. Then, rubbed GENEROUSLY with Wally's Rib Rub, double wrapped in foil, in frige overnight. Cooked according to AR's Scott Hibb's Amazing Whisky Grilled Baby Back Ribs from this point on. BEST RIBS I'VE EVER HAD IN MY ENTIRE LIFE!!! I'm gonna repeat the process exactly tonight with a pork loin for tomorrow's Sunday family dinner... I have no doubt it too will be extraordinary =) ***UPDATE: Pork loin came out GREAT! Did everything exactly the same (Wally's Rub, then Scott Hibb's sauce and method). Gonna do it again tonight with chicken breast. That makes 4 nights in a row we've used this rub! Steak, Ribs, Pork Loin, and now Chicken... Maybe Salmon tomorrow...? =) P.S. ONE batch has sustained us all of these meals.
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Chicken Cordon Bleu II

Reviewed: May 13, 2009
SO GOOD! I scaled it down to 2 servings. Due to some of the reviews of the chicken itself being a bit bland, I marinated it for about 4 hrs in apx. 1Tb Goulden's Spicy Brown Mustard, 1Tb Apricot preserves, 1/2c half and half, 1ts corriander, mixed well, coated pounded chicken. Rolled a Havarti slice in a Black Forest Ham, proceeded with recipe as written. Since they were quite big, I just served it with a green salad and crusty baguette. I actually got up from the table and returned with the pan so we could sop up the sauce with our bread! This one's gonna be a regular around here for sure.
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Carol's Arroz Con Pollo

Reviewed: May 11, 2009
I could tell by reading this that it was going to be too bland for our taste, but a VERY GOOD jumping off point! For people who like more plain food, you will like this as written. I added 1/2ts each onion powder, cumin and chili powder and 1/4ts cayenne. Also, chopped up a stalk of celery, a whole vidalia onion, mushrooms. Threw it all in the slow cooker on high for 4 hours total. Halfway in I added a drained can of black beans and 1c frozen corn. Mixed 1tb Masa into 3/4c heavy cream and stirred it in. Served with sour cream, chopped avocado, tomato, squeezed lime juice over, salt and pepper... FABULOUS!!!
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Hummingbird Cake III

Reviewed: May 11, 2009
Made this cake for Mom's day and it was a big hit! Made it 2-9" rounds for a layer cake... Those instructions puzzled me...??? Did 3/4c oil and 3/4c applesauce and I could tell it would've been better with all oil, but healthier and still quite moist with the substitution. Did ARs Whipped Cream Cream Cheese Frosting and it was GREAT with this cake. So much lighter than ones that use butter. I got the bigger can of crushed pineapple, mixed 1 cup into batter, drained the rest and mixed it into 1/3 of the frosting for the filling... That part was THE BEST. Next time I'll put a thicker layer of that. Coated the whole thing in sweetened shredded coconut and stuck a little hummingbird I got at the craft store in the center. Made the cakes and frosting the night before, assembled in the a.m. so it was pretty easy. BFs Mom was impressed and she's a world class cooker & baker =)
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Whipped Cream Cream Cheese Frosting

Reviewed: May 10, 2009
We haven't eaten the Hummingbird Cake I made for Mom's day yet, but this frosting is AMAZING!!! I am SO GLAD that I found it and that I read the reviews ahead of time so I was able to heed their advice. Definately whip the heavy cream until it's practically butter, about 5 mins on hi speed, scraping the sides. Get it as thick as you can. And whip the sugar/cream cheese part for about 5 mins as well, med-hi until the sugar granules have fully disolved. And although it says to fold them together, I used the mixer, on med-lo to get it nice and evenly smooth. I mixed crushed pineapple into 1/3 of it for the cake's filling and I could eat that with a spoon! Left covered in the frige overnight and it was so easy to frost in the a.m. I LOVE cream cheese frosting, but not the heavy, butter-ladden ones, This one is light, perfectly sweet and cream cheesy. I will NEVER use another cream cheese frosting recipe ever again!!! Could easily be made (almost) healthy with FF cool whip and cream cheese too.
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Szechwan Shrimp

Reviewed: May 9, 2009
I was looking to try and re-create a dish I had in NYC recently (best shrimp I've ever had!) and this sounded pretty close, except that one was creamy so I subbed heavy cream for the h2o and although it wasn't the dish I was looking for, it came out VERY good! I doubled all of the sauce ingredients except oil and used garlic powder cause I wanted a smooth creamy sauce (left green onions out too). Only did 1t cornstarch though cause the cream made it thick already. BF loved it! Served with bok choy and white rice and it was a super yummy meal... Will definately make again...
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