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Cake Mix Cookies IV

Reviewed: Dec. 31, 2013
Cake mixes bought with the best of intentions have been sitting in our cabinet for far too long -- and then I ran across this recipe yesterday. 20 minutes later, I had 2 dozen great cookies. My edges were a little thin and crisp, but that was MY FAULT; I didn't follow the directions and roll the dough into little balls, but just dropped the dough onto the pan. I will be more diligent next time. A cookie recipe really can't get any simpler than this and still be any good. NOTE that most of the reviewers who gave this recipe less than 5 Stars had *changed* the recipe. My advice is to follow the recipe exactly (2 eggs and 1/2 cup of oil with an 18.25 ounce box of cake mix) without adding, subtracting, or changing anything -- then get creative on the next go-round, if you like. That way you KNOW if your changes improved on the original or not. Just for kicks, I made a frosting mix and topped some of the cookies with it. That was good, too. I think the real beauty of this recipe is that it is SO simple, yet results in good cookies. That said, a little imagination (or just checking out what other reviewers added) can give you a wide variety of cookies with just a simple addition or two. Have fun!
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Chicken Parmesan

Reviewed: Sep. 1, 2013
This recipe stands on its own, just the way it is. That said, I recommend using only 2 cups of panko. Why use $2 worth of crumbs when $1 worth will do? I breaded the chicken twice, following the instructions -- and 2 cups of panko mixed in with 1/2 cup of Parmesan were plenty. I deviated only slightly in a couple of other ways, which I'll share, just in case you're thinking of trying something similar. First of all, being the penny-pinching cook that I am, I used only one egg and more than doubled the volume by adding it to a about 2 to 3 ounces of whole milk and beating/mixing them together with a fork. The milk/egg mixture performed admirably in getting the breading to stick to the chicken. Instead of frying the chicken in a pan of olive oil, I used my deep fryer, which always stands at the ready with peanut oil. Using tongs, I gently lowered the chicken into the oil and cooked it at 375° F, one piece at a time for about 2 to 3 minutes each, until it turned a deep golden color. By frying only one piece at a time, the chicken remained relatively flat and cooked nice and evenly. (I will try olive oil someday just to see how the flavor changes, but the peanut oil worked well.) I didn't have fresh basil, so I used dry basil and that was okay, but I think fresh would have been better. Note: this recipe is all about the crispy breading. Covering chicken in foil while baking, as some do, will result in softer breading; if you like that, use cheaper (than panko) crumbs.
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BBQ Chuck Roast

Reviewed: Sep. 4, 2012
With most recipes, I'm tempted to make a change or two right off the bat - not so with this one. I followed it the best I could. I don't have a rotisserie, so I used a roasting rack in a pan and flipped the roast over after an hour. The Teriyaki sauce I had in the cupboard was a "Ginger Teriyaki" sauce that was a bit strong on the ginger already, so I didn't add the fresh ginger. Next time I make it, it will be with a more traditional Teriyaki sauce and add the fresh ginger root, as called for in the recipe here. Obviously, there is a WIDE range of barbecue sauces from which to choose. I used Open Pit Thick 'n' Tangy Brown Sugar & Spice because that's what I had on hand; it gave the dish a nice zip. The genius of this recipe is the simplicity of preparation and the basic, easy-to-find ingredients - resulting in a nicely balanced flavor. I would strongly recommend following the recipe exactly at it is before changing anything. If you're like me, you will probably end up experimenting with it, but this is one of those rare recipes that works wonderfully just the way it is. My hat's off to you, Sue. Outstanding job!
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1 user found this review helpful

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