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Spinach Stuffed Chicken Breasts

Reviewed: May 6, 2009
WOW! This is GOOD! I changed up the method a bit cause I wanted to use fresh spinach... I cooked the bacon about halfway in a frying pan and then sauteed the spinach in the grease, removed from heat and mixed in the other ingredients straight into the pan. Some had mentioned that the chicken itself was a little bland and I don't like plain chicken, so I marinated it in Newman's Oil & Vinegar salad dressing cause I thought the flavor of it would go well (and it did!). Let it soak for about an hour- wouldn't let it go much longer though cause the vinegar starts to break the chicken down, but 1 hour just perfectly tenderized and flavored the chicken. So anyhow, other than that, did as directed and the outcome was DE-LISH!
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Baked Asparagus with Balsamic Butter Sauce

Reviewed: May 6, 2009
SO GOOD!!! After reading reviews I did change it up a bit though... Did 1ts soy and 1tb balsamic. Also, browned the butter first as others did and this provided a much richer, nuttier butter flavor than just melted butter would've. If you're not used to doing a brown butter, all you have to do is put it in a saucepan over medium low (4 on my stove) for about 5 minutes or until it's nutty and brown. Then spoon off the milk fat (butter foam) and discard. What you're left with is a clear, rich brown butter. Because you lose a little volume by discarding the foam, I always do a little bit more butter than called for in the original recipe. And I personally don't think this recipe needs ANY added salt and actually think it would take away from the delicate balance of the flavors. SO YUMMY!
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Marinated Greek Chicken Kabobs

Reviewed: Apr. 27, 2009
AMAZING dish!!! Came together rather easily, and tasted wonderful even though I only marinated it 2 hours. I did run the marinade through the blender before pouring it over chicken and HIGHLY recommend doing this as it incorporated the feta flavor in better than I think it would've had I left it chunky. Made this with ARs Spinach and Rice (Spanakorizo) and it was a terrific Greek dinner. Definately a keeper!
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Spinach and Rice (Spanakorizo)

Reviewed: Apr. 27, 2009
This is so good! I made it exactly as written and it came out great! I did have to cook it a little longer fo the rice to be fully cooked (used Abrorio rice), more like 30 minutes, but it was well worth the wait. Made it with ARs Marinated Greek Chicken Kabobs and it was a FANTASTIC dinner! BF LOVED it! Will definately make this one again, and often. I know Greek's use this as a main dish, and I'll do that sometime too since it's so hearty and yummy. THANKS!!!
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Absolute Best Pancake Syrup

Reviewed: Apr. 26, 2009
OMG... SOOO GOOD!!! BF didn't like it as much as I did, he went with maple syrup on his 2nd piece of french toast, but I thought it was awesome! I did alter it a bit based on reviews and what I had on hand... I made a half batch, but did the full amt of cinnamon, also cut back the sugar by 1/8c. Didn't have buttermilk so I used heavy cream (considered using a buttermilk sub, but couldn't bring myself to add vinegar to this!). Also, some mentioned it being too thin so I added 1/4ts cornstarch+ a few drops of h2o and I thought it was still a tad bit thin so next time I'll try it with 1/2ts cornstarch (and buttermilk!). As it cooled, it did thicken up a bit though... I saved the leftovers and we'll have it with vanilla ice cream and bananas for dessert tonight...MMMMM!!!
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Scrambled Eggs Done Right

Reviewed: Apr. 25, 2009
This is THE recipe for perfect, fluffy, yellow (not browned!) scrambled eggs. Mayo is the key! I often put a splash of milk instead of h20, and don't measure so I may not be exact, but it's pretty hard to screw up scrambled eggs! I've tested so many different ways of making them over the years- in the grease from the bacon, with sour cream added in, just milk, seasoned, etc. but a glob of mayo and a splash of h2o/milk, cooked in butter, produces PERFECT scrambled eggs! And they're right about putting the salt & pepper on at the end, I always added it into the raw eggs, but I was doing it wrong! It's better just on the finished product. I'm a pretty darn good cook and never thought I'd need a recipe for something as simple as scrambled eggs, but I guess I've still got a few things to learn :) TIP: Whisk/fork the mayo and liquid (h2o or milk) together FIRST, then add the eggs... This results in a smoother, creamier mixture without the chunks of mayo.
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Best Lemonade Ever

Reviewed: Apr. 22, 2009
This really is the 'best lemonade ever'... Although home made lemonade is only 3 simple ingredients, this is just the right proportions... Sweet and tart, not too watery. My favorite is to use Meyer (sweet) lemons. Also, I've put sliced fresh strawberries with sugar, let sit in frige overnight or longer, then add to lemonade for the 'best strawberry lemonade ever'!
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Cherry Ham Glaze

Reviewed: Apr. 12, 2009
I think this is my new favorite way to glaze a ham! I baked the ham in a roasting bag (which keeps the ham SUPER moist) with 1 cup each pineapple juice and honey and the seasoning packet from the ham. Then, removed it from the bag and juice to glaze it for the last half hour. I got fancy French cherry preserves and used the ham juices in place of h2o and instead of the individual spices, I just used TJs pumpkin pie spice which has the spices called for in this as well as ginger and cardamom. The flavor of the glaze was out of this world, but I have to say my favorite part is the gorgeous color it provides. Dont skip the corn syrup! Corn syrup we buy in the store is NOT the same as High Fructose Corn Syrup (which is bad) and that's what gives it the nice shine you want from a glaze. Absolutely perfect!
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Microwave Caramel Popcorn

Reviewed: Apr. 11, 2009
Flavor on this, excellent, but for some reason mine was soft. Once fully cooled I put it in ziplocs, but it never did get crunchy. Next time, maybe I'll try pouring it out onto a greased cookie sheet and then toast it up in the oven for a few minutes, but I don't know if that would melt the caramel off and ruin the whole thing... Since it was so easy and still tasted so good, I still give it 4*s, but if the texture was crunchier I would've given it 5.
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Potatoes Au Gratin with Fennel and Bacon

Reviewed: Apr. 9, 2009
Pretty darn good... I was intrigued and leery about fennel, basil and nutmeg together in an au gratin, but it works! The fennel provides an almost root-y flavor that immediately made me think that this would be an excellent fall time dish, but no matter what time of year, it's good. I used the bacon grease for part of the fat in the roux and cut back on the cheese some. Added a little more seasoning, sprinkling the layers with seasoned salt, onion powder and pepper. Also put chopped red onion in with the fennel. I still like my old stand-by au gratin the best, but this one will definately be made again.
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Cha Cha's White Chicken Chili

Reviewed: Apr. 4, 2009
I did it in the slow cooker with 1 can of white beans subbed out for a can of mixed pinto, kidney and black. Put 2 frozen chicken breasts in, came back after 4 hours on low and cubed them and then returned the chicken to the crock and cranked it up to high for another hour or so. Also added about 1 cup of frozen corn for the last hour. It came out really good, but I would call it more of a soup than a chili. Maybe because I used an organic cream of chicken soup which is a little thinner than the icky red label kind. I ended up thickening it some with a roux and it resembled a white chili more after that. Good flavor as written, but I added a little seasoned salt and also a ts chili powder (it's not chili without chili powder!). I used fresh jalapenos rather than canned. Served it with a dallop of sour cream, fresh chopped parsley and we crunched up tortilla chips on top. I've been sick, and this stuff with a whole lot of tabasco is the only reason why I can actually breathe right now!
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Tzatziki Sauce I

Reviewed: Mar. 26, 2009
This came together really easily and was very good. I used Greek yogurt and after making it I tasted it and thought it was good, but missing something. I added onion powder and more fresh lemon juice and that did the trick... Perfect with AR's Sean's Falafels. I like that this doesn't have cucumbers in it because it will keep better that way and you can always add them into it if you want, but I didn't. Super good, easy and inexpensive. Thanks!
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Sean's Falafel and Cucumber Sauce

Reviewed: Mar. 26, 2009
This is a GREAT recipe for falafel! I followed the recipe to a T and it came out delicious! I think I made my patties a little too big though cause I only ended up with 6 and they fell apart a little while frying, but it didn't affect the flavor. Next time I'll make them a little smaller. I served them in pita halves with lettuce, cucumber and tomato slices, feta and tzatziki. Due to some of the not so great reviews of the 'cucumber sauce' I skipped it and made AR's Tzatziki Sauce I which went perfectly. I've been trying to make at least 3 meat-less meals a week lately and this one's definately going to be a regular! Cheap, easy and delicious, what more could you want?
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Eggplant Parmesan II

Reviewed: Mar. 25, 2009
I'd never made eggplant parm before and wasn't sure what to expect, but this came out great! I took other reviewers advice and sea salted the slices and 'sweated' them for 20 m (they really do sweat!) then rinsed, dried and proceeded witht the recipe. I baked the breaded slices on a broiler pan so it would crisp up more evenly and I wouldn't have to flip them, baked 20m, and I'm no eggplant expert, but I feel like 10 wouldn't be long enough. I used a romano/parm blend, thinly sliced mozzarella and leftover home-made red sauce. I have to say though, using a low quality sauce could easily ruin this dish, so make your own or buy a good one. I've been trying to make more meat-less meals lately and this makes me not even miss the meat! Healthy and hearty. I'm going to make this and AR's World Best Lasagna for a big Italian family dinner this weekend. Thanks!
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Sour Cream Frosting

Reviewed: Mar. 21, 2009
This is super easy and really good! The only reson I gave it 4 instead of 5 is that it's really more of an ICING than a FROSTING. That's what I wanted, so it worked out fine for me, but if I'd made this with the intention of 'frosting' a cake, I don't think it'd work at all. I put it on cinnamon rolls (Clone Of A Cinnabon...mmmm...) and it was absolutely perfect. Would be good for a bundt type cake or to drizzle over a coffee cake, but NOT a substitute for buttercream, etc. Has a nice tangy tartness to it that balances well with the sweetness. Very similar to a cream cheese icing. I made 1/2 batch and it was almost too much to put on 7 good sized cinnamon buns. Made it the night before, refrigerated, and then set it on top of the warm oven while they baked to soften it up. A really. really good ICING!
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Creamy Rice Pudding

Reviewed: Mar. 19, 2009
This is awesome! I just realized I forgot to put the butter in, but it didn't matter... still so good. I used 1-1/2 cup cooked day old rice. The only changes I made were to put the raisins in the 1st cooking to make them soft and plump (used regular, brown raisins). Also added about 1" vanilla bean, split & scraped in, and put the pod in the mix for the entire cooking time and then fished out the pod at the end (and skipped the vanilla extract). Also added a dash of cinnamon. This was so good warm and I think it'll be even better tomorrow cold with sliced banana for breakfast! On that note, in the past when I've made rice pudding with other recipes and then tried to reheat it in the microwave later it became a nasty consistency, I think the egg cooks in there and makes it weird, so just eat leftovers cold!
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Fruit Dip II

Reviewed: Mar. 18, 2009
I think this stuff is so good, but whenever I make it people barely touch it... I don't get it...? Maybe instead of putting it out as an appetizer I should use it for a light dessert instead? I think it's so yummy as written, but last time I sprinkled in some cinnamon and I think it was better that way. Might also be good mixed into an ambrosia type salad.
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Clone of a Cinnabon

Reviewed: Mar. 14, 2009
No bread machine, SO... 1 packet of instant yeast into warm milk for 10m. Added sugar, then melted butter, eggs, salt, mixed well, then added ap flour and kneaded by hand 5m. Lg ceramic bowl, coated the inside w/melted butter. Put the dough ball in there- turned it once so it was nice and greazy :) Covered w/a damp towel and set on top of warm oven. 1 hr later it was puffy, punched it down, let sit 10m, then cut dough ball in 1/2 and rolled out w/floured rolling pin on a floured cookie sheet- made it evenly shaped SO EASY! Buttered & sprinkled w/half of cinn/sug and 2/3c chopped pecans. Rolled and sliced, then repeated the process with the other 1/2. Ended up w/21 buns. Put 7/ea in 3 pans. Refrigerated one for next a.m. Froze the other 2 pans. Put frige ones in cold oven and they rose while it preheated, 15m later turned upside down on plate and iced. SO...FLIPPIN...GOOD... ******UPDATE: 1 week later, they froze well! Last night I left them frozen on counter a few hrs to defrost, they rose a tiny bit, then in frige overnight, put in cold oven, they puffed right up while it preheated. Oh, I didn't have cream cheese this time around so used the AR Sour Cream Frosting recipe (more of an icing really) and it was phenomenal with these- a little tangy-er than the cream cheese one- Not as Cinnabon-y, but still YUMMY!***2 WKS frozen, not so good :(
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Beef Tenderloin With Roasted Shallots

Reviewed: Mar. 9, 2009
DO believe the hype and DO try this recipe! Like the description says, this is something you can serve to guests and they will be impressed. It tastes like somthing that would be served in an upscale (read: expensive) restaurant. The thyme adds just the right amount of savory flavor to the meat to balance out the sweet, tangy shallot sauce- really just a PERFECT combination of flavors. I did have a few issues with it though, but it was probably me... My sauce came out quite salty, maybe because I used beef Better Than Bouillon + h20 for the broth part. Next time, I'll make it with less or use a low-sodium base. Also, I only ended up with about 2 drops of pan drippings (?), so I just added about 3/4C h2o in place of it, which was just fine since there was so much flavor in the reduction already. My only real complaint is how many dishes it uses to prepare! I tried to streamline and re-use them where I could, but by the end of it all, I still had a full sink (to match my full belly!). Make sure to take note of the time required for this as well- NOT something to make on a work/school night, but made an incredible Sunday dinner.
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Amish Macaroni Salad

Reviewed: Mar. 7, 2009
Look no further, this truly is the best macaroni salad! I've made this many times and just decided to change my old review- The 1st time I made it I thought it was too saucy, so then I'd make it w/ half the sauce, but I've since decided I think it's better as written- it really soaks it up over time. Because of this it's best the next day, I think. You can easily adjust, add or omit ingredients to suit your taste, but as written it's a perfect 'classic' macaroni salad... I like to use reduced fat mayo, add 1ts/ea. dry mustard and dry dill, and 1/2ts celery salt instead of seed, cut the sugar to 1/2 cup and use sweet relish, sometimes sub 2 finely chopped fresh jalapenos for red pepper. This is waaay better than the store bought deli kind and is a quick, simple, cheap side dish. Keeps well in the frige for a couple days, so make the full amount...
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