IvyMcAllister Recipe Reviews (Pg. 1) - Allrecipes.com (16705727)

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Split Pea Soup

Reviewed: Dec. 31, 2013
I, too, do not soak the peas overnight, but I usually start with hot water and cook it on High for the first 6 hours. The thickness of this can vary quite a lot. If it's getting near serving time and it seems too thin, I hit it with the immersion blender. If that doesn't do the trick, I add instant mashed potato flakes--plain or flavored (like loaded mashed potatoes, four cheese, or whatever). It thickens the mixture beautifully and doesn't hurt the flavor at all. If anything, the flavored kinds are actually pretty tasty add-ons. My father *loves* this recipe. Every time I cook a ham, the leftovers are inevitably destined for the crock pot.
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Slow Cooker Homemade Beans

Reviewed: Dec. 30, 2013
I second the reviews statin that the beans were still rather tough when soaked overnight and then mixed with the other ingredients for cooking. I had to both soak and then boil the beans before they were soft enough to go in the crock pot. I made some very minor changes to the ingredients: I used leftover Christmas ham instead of bacon, freeze dried onion instead of fresh, and Splenda brown sugar (1/2 cup, obviously, since it measures differently than real brown sugar). The sauce was excellent. I'm sure I'll make these again.
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Wine Baked Potato

Reviewed: Nov. 25, 2012
Pretty simple and very forgiving. I like to add extra onions to the bottom of the foil pouch so they caramelize in the sherry. Make them at least once a week. If I want a nicer presentation, I put them in an oval ramekin and seal it with foil--same effect without the effort required to plate the potato without messing up the accordion effect.
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Pesto Chicken Penne Casserole

Reviewed: Jan. 15, 2012
This was excellent. I did have to leave out the milk because I didn't have enough, so I filled the alfredo sauce jar half-full with water and shook it to get the least of the sauce out of the jar. I used that water/sauce mixture (about 8 oz) in place of the milk. One thing I learned was that my largest Pyrex bowl (a HUGE, yellow bowl from that classic four-color/four bowl set our grandmothers used) was only barely large enough to stir the sauce/chicken/spinach/cheese mixture. I ended up putting on latex gloves and working it together with my hands. I had to do the same thing when I added the sauce mixture to the cooked pasta, as the pot in which I cooked the pasta was barely large enough to hold the entire pasta/sauce mixture, let alone stir it. When I make this again, I will use my largest stainless steel bowl and a huge stock pot that I usually reserve for canning. That way, I know I'll have enough room to thoroughly mix the ingredients without making a mess or needing to use my hands. So, that's my advice. If you think the bowl you're using is large enough, pick one that is even larger before you start cooking. The entire mixture fit into 2 casserole dishes--one 9x13 and an 8x8, which I refrigerated (uncooked) and sent home with a guest, along with the recipe. This dish was flavorful, easy to serve, and needed no additions. Some people added some shredded Romano cheese and a bit of cracked black pepper, but others enjoyed it exactly as it was.
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Photo by IvyMcAllister

Stuffed Jack-O-Lantern Bell Peppers

Reviewed: Oct. 31, 2011
The concept is great, and they looked adorable! The BF actually suggested I photograph them before we stared eating, so I have uploaded the photo. (I used my usual recipe for the stuffing, so I can't comment on that part.) I also made cornbread as a side dish and served the jack-o-peppers with it cut into squares to look like hay bales. (I top my cornbread with shredded apples and Gruyere cheese, and then pop it under the broiler until the cheese *just* starts to brown.) This is a GREAT Halloween treat. Five-star idea! :)
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French Onion Soup Gratinee

Reviewed: May 31, 2011
This soup is brilliant. Wonderful. The better half said he would happily eat it every week. Even my über-critical parents liked it! I followed the recipe as-written as far as proportions are concerned, but I only had one red onion, so I used one red and three sweet. I sliced the onions as thin as my mandolin would allow (a bit less than 1/8 of an inch), as they seem to caramelize more evenly when they're the same thickness. I cut a piece of potato bread to fit the top of the soup crock and then toasted it, as I didn't have french bread. This was acceptable, but got soggy faster than french would have. Also used half chicken broth and half beef broth since that was what I had on hand the first time. My balsamic vinegar wasn't the best quality, and I bought a better, less astringent bottle for the next batch of soup (and for tomato, basil and mozzarella salads and sandwiches since tomato season is on its way).
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Gourmet Mushroom Risotto

Reviewed: May 25, 2011
I mainly followed the recipe as written, but I did increase the amount of rice & stock so that I could use an entire box of rice with no leftovers. I used low-fat/low-sodium chicken broth, mediterranean olive oil sread instead of butter, a mix of oyster, shitake, portabella and baby-bella mushrooms, and replaced the shallots with a bit of sweet onion (which I caramelized and set aside to add with the mushrooms). This recipe is excellent as-written and it's also incredibly easy to improvise with whatever you have on hand: fresh basil, garlic, asiago cheese, fresh pesto, etc. Lovely!
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Jalapeno Popper Grilled Cheese Sandwich

Reviewed: May 15, 2011
This sandwich is awesome. I didn't have sour cream, so I softened the cream cheese a bit in the microwave and went ahead with the recipe anyway. It was a total hit. Works with diced, fresh jalapenos, too.
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Loaded Baked Potato Soup

Reviewed: Jan. 30, 2011
I have to agree with a previous reviewer. I made this soup exactly as the recipe indicated, and it does, indeed, taste very strongly of instant mashed potatoes. Expecting restaurant-quality soup from potato flakes is just setting yourself up for disappointment. However, it definitely had potential, so I made it again using leftover homemade mashed potatoes instead of the flakes (adjusting the liquid accordingly) and it was divine. Try it this way and you'll be in potato-soup *heaven.* (I bet you could use a tub of pre-made real mashed potatoes from the refrigerated section in the grocery store, too.)
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