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French Buttercream Frosting

Reviewed: Nov. 13, 2010
I really wasn't happy with this frosting. I assume the flour is added to give structure in light of there not being enough sugar for the large amount of butter/shortening. The lack of sugar, butter/shortening overload, and funky flour texture/taste, combined with the half cup of cream, makes this super soft, very greasy, and not nearly sweet enough (I have zero sweet tooth, so if I'm saying it's not sweet enough, there's a problem). And not to be nitpicky, but French buttercream is made by beating a sugar syrup into egg yolks, then adding softened butter. This isn't it.
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16 users found this review helpful

Jen's Heavenly Egg Salad

Reviewed: Nov. 11, 2010
Nice! I really loved the freshness of the lemon juice (I used 2 tbsp. juice,). I'm funny about raw onion in salads and didn't have an green onions on hand, so I used 1 1/2 tablespoons of very finely minced sweet onion. Delicous on whole wheat bread.
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5 users found this review helpful

Creamy Frosting

Reviewed: Nov. 7, 2010
To the reviewer below me: I've tried several variations of this recipe today and found it to be great. Using the exact ingredients in the recipe are key to getting it right. Use real butter (I've had success with using 1/2 cup butter and 1/2 cup shortening, but I wouldn't recommend margarine AT ALL if maybe that's what you've been trying). Also, use at least 2% milk; whole milk would probably work best, and I haven't had luck using lower-fat milks. Also, after adding the milk mixture to the butter mixture, beat it for at least 5-10 minutes to give the sugar crystals time to dissolve (a stand mixer really is best for this recipes, if you have one). Keep trying.. it really is a fantastic frosting!
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8 users found this review helpful

Mom's Buttercream Frosting

Reviewed: Nov. 7, 2010
Oh, my.. this is amazing frosting. I've made classic egg-based buttercreams before, but always found them too buttery. And I'm not a fan of powdered sugar/butter/shortening frostings personally. This recipe was the perfect medium between the egg-based and American buttercreams: incredibly silky texture, not too sweet, nice and buttery but without tasting like sweetened butter (I've tried this recipe both as written and using all butter, and I actually prefer it as written). The only things I would recommend specifically are: 1) Use a stand mixer; 2) Cream your butter, shortening, and sugar together for at least 5 minutes before adding the milk mixture; 3) Add a pinch of salt; 4) After adding the milk mixture, beat the frosting for at least 5-10 minutes to give the sugar crystals time to dissolve, otherwise you'll have gritty frosting.
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44 users found this review helpful

Wisconsin Cheese Soup II

Reviewed: Nov. 1, 2010
Ah, when company shows up unnanounced and you scramble to make something delicious out of pantry/fridge staples. :) This simple recipe is great without revisions. As I do with nearly all cheese dishes, I added about 2 tbsp. hot sauce - LOVE the flavor of hot sauce with extra-sharp cheddar. I also love that this recipes uses real cheese instead of processed. If there are concerns about texture breakdown, whisking the cheese in gradually instead of adding all at once ensures a perfectly smooth texture.
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13 users found this review helpful

Apple Cranberry Bread

Reviewed: Oct. 31, 2010
I honestly didn't expect great things from this recipe, only because I used it on a whim after another recipe failed me at 3:00 this morning and I just wanted to throw something together and GO TO BED. This was flawless - not too sweet and super-moist. I'm not a huge fan of fresh cranberries in baked goods, but they're delicious here; next time I'll add closer to 2 cups. The batter IS super-thick, but don't add extra liquid! I cut the amount of cinnamon in half and added the zest of 1/2 lemon, then topped it with a streusel topping: 3/4 cup each flour and brown sugar, 1/2 tsp. cinnamon, and 1/3 cup cold butter. I had to bake it for closer to 75 minutes, and my toothpick still wasn't coming out completely clean, but it was perfectly done. Definitely a keeper!!
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23 users found this review helpful

Simple Caramel Apple Pork Chops

Reviewed: Oct. 26, 2010
Well.. I read this recipe and thought, "It sounds like plain pork chops with plain cooked apples on top." And that's nearly what it was like. I made it again and tweaked it quite a bit. I salted and peppered the pork chops before browning them, which boosted their flavor. I also wasn't crazy about the texture of the chops right against the apples with no buffer, so I ended up topping the chops with a quick bread stuffing (sweat 1/4 cup each minced onion and celery in 2/3 stick butter, add 1 torn loaf cuban bread, 1/2 tsp. thyme and rosemary, and 1 cup chicken stock), then topped the chops AND stuffing with apples and pecans. As written, I just wasn't crazy about the recipe (sorry!), but I would make it again with these tweaks.
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32 users found this review helpful

Good Old Fashioned Pancakes

Reviewed: Oct. 25, 2010
As I read through the reviews, I noticed that many people were upset with the "overly baking-soda-y taste." Take note: The recipe calls for baking POWDER, not soda.. might account for many of the flavor/texture difficulties. This is a great recipe, my go-to pancake recipe. The only change I make is to reduce the salt by a bit more than half (a full teaspoon really is way too much). Other than that, these are perfect - light and fluffy, rich, and flavorful.
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22 users found this review helpful

Lemon Lush

Reviewed: Oct. 3, 2010
This recipe isn't something I would have prepared for myself, because I don't like lemon pudding mix or Cool Whip, but I made it for my great-uncle who loves both. It was a huge hit with him. I'm not sure why people bother to make recipes full of ingredients they don't like, then write negative reviews. Create your own versions using ingredients you like, and then submit them for publication. This recipe is simple, inexpensive, and works great for people who enjoy the ingredients.
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46 users found this review helpful

Best Ever Banana Bread

Reviewed: Sep. 7, 2010
This is really good. I found it a little more firm and dry than I like, but it was perfect for heating a slice in the microwave and slathering it with butter. I added 1 tsp. vanilla and topped it with a streusel topping: 1/4 cup cold butter, 1/4 cup brown sugar, 1/2 cup flour, and 1 tsp. cinnamon.
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11 users found this review helpful

Butter Flaky Pie Crust

Reviewed: Aug. 26, 2010
Fantastic! So flaky and tender. I put the flour in a bowl, then the diced butter on top of the flour, and put the whole thing in the freezer for about 15 minutes. I had to break up/flatten the butter chunks with my fingers (just moved, and all of my utensils are packed!), but the cold flour helped keep the butter from getting too soft. I even had to roll it out using a drinking glass, but it handled perfectly and is absolutely delicious.
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13 users found this review helpful

Quick and Easy Chicken Noodle Soup

Reviewed: Aug. 25, 2010
I didn't follow the recipe exactly, but I still give it five stars because it's so versatile. I used a little more butter and thickened the soup with about 2 tbsp. flour, used an undrained can of sliced carrots (to save time and to replace the veggie broth), and seasoned it with rosemary because that's what I had on hand. I also cubed raw chicken breasts and cooked them directly in the soup. Yum!
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5 users found this review helpful

No Bake Peanut Butter Pie

Reviewed: Aug. 19, 2010
Delicious! I've just moved and had to bring a dessert to a function, but had NO utensils to work with. This took me about five minutes to throw together. I halved the recipe to make only one pie. I used 1/2 cup crunchy peanut butter and really liked the added texture, but I think next time I'll use around 3/4 cup as the peanut butter flavor wasn't quite strong enough for me. I reserved 1 cup of whipped topping to spread over the top, then drizzled with melted chocolate. I'm not a huge fan of Cool Whip, but its flavor didn't dominate, and it contributed a really nice texture. YUM YUM YUM.
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11 users found this review helpful

Pineapple Cake III

Reviewed: Apr. 13, 2010
This is a nice recipe. After reading previous reviews about the cake's heavy texture, I beat my eggs for about 4 minutes until they were thickened, and added 1 tsp. baking powder in addition to the soda; the resulting texture was fluffy and very moist. I reduced the sugar a bit, but next time I'll use the full amount. I would recommend adding a teaspoon of vanilla, and also a tablespoon or two of lemon juice to brighten up the pineapple flavor. A keeper recipe!
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31 users found this review helpful

Sausage Hash With Apples & Sage

Reviewed: Apr. 13, 2010
Normally something like this is right up my alley as I love sweet/savory combos. Nobody in our home liked this. It was very sausage-heavy (could have been better with half the sausage) and was greasy, even after draining the sausage. The sauce was better than I expected, but it was a dry hash. We ate this with over-easy eggs and, like a previous commenter, I found that the yolk added a LOT to this.. All the individual elements would have come together much better if there was more of a sauce to bind it. As is, I wouldn't make it again.
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7 users found this review helpful

Classic Macaroni and Cheese

Reviewed: Aug. 23, 2009
To me, there's two kinds of mac and cheese: the firm, drier kind, and the creamy kind. When I tried this recipe, I got a firm, drier result. That's fine, but I wish I'd read the reviews first - it definitely needs more cheese and a lower baking temperature. Mine is extremely crisp on the top and sides, but the middle is moist and firm. I might try this again, but I'll probably use one can of evaporated milk, then a can of regular milk.. and I'll double the cheese and use half sharp/half medium cheddar. It could also use a bit of onion. It's easy enough that it's worth messing around with.
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10 users found this review helpful

Homemade Flour Tortillas

Reviewed: Aug. 7, 2009
These are GREAT. I used them for flatbread so I left them a bit thicker. For me, it worked better to cook them over high heat for about 20 seconds per side; when I cooked them over medium-high heat, the edges crisped more than I wanted. I also substituted shortening for the lard with no problem. I will DEFINITELY use this from now on instead of storebought flatbread! **Edit: I made these a few times as classic tortillas and found this to be helpful: Sometimes the tortillas seem a little hard/crunchy/inflexible when they come out of the pan. Just lay them on a plate and keep them sealed tightly with plastic wrap. I guess they steam a bit under the plastic so that they're soft and floppy within 30 minutes or so. :)
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10 users found this review helpful

Monte Cristo Sandwich - the Real One

Reviewed: Jun. 21, 2009
I know it sounds nasty, but if you want to avoid a "fried" flavor, fry the sandwiches in shortening. There won't be any trace of oily/fried taste (and it won't stink up your house). We made two sandwiches and needed more batter than the recipe made, so we had to whip up more while the second batch of sandwich quarters were frying. I was a little concerned that the bread or batter would absorb a lot of oil, but they barely absorbed any as long as the temperature was maintained (we fried ours at around 380 degrees). This was AWESOME as an occasional treat, really close to the restaurant version.
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2 users found this review helpful

Bread Pudding II

Reviewed: Jun. 19, 2009
The flavor is outstanding. But it was very "wet," whereas I prefer a drier bread pudding. I picked some off the top but couldn't really eat a bowl of it because it was so custardy. I would definitely try this again, but maybe add an extra egg and decrease the milk a bit.
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5 users found this review helpful

Pineapple Filling

Reviewed: Jun. 17, 2009
To me, this was a good starting point. The texture is really nice. But the recipe as written is all sweet and not enough tart... really cloying and not a very bright flavor. If I didn't know it was a pineapple filling, I'd have to take a second to figure out the flavor; I imagine that when I use it to fill my cake, the flavor will get kind of "lost" because it's so dull. I added 1 tbsp. lemon juice to the filling, which helped a little. I usually make a pineapple filling with nearly-pureed pineapple, and I think the next time I make this, I'll treat the pineapple this way instead of just chopping it. I'll also cut the sugar in half. And definitely use lemon juice, maybe as much as 2 tbsp.
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29 users found this review helpful

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