SPARKLER8666 Recipe Reviews (Pg. 1) - Allrecipes.com (18354524)

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Scones

Reviewed: Feb. 5, 2014
These were good, but just a little too crunchy on the exterior and a bit chewy overall for me to give them a 5, probably from the excess butter on the crunch and the addition of the egg for the "chew". Some recipes call for letting the dough rest before baking, and if I try this recipe again I will do that and see if that makes them more tender. The upside however, is that they were super moist in the interior, and the butter lent good flavor. However, I like to mix in "stuff" for flavor anyway, my favorite additions are coconut and chocolate chips, but if I don't have those on hand I add little nuggets of dried fruit (apricot chunks, dried cranberries, pineapple chunks) and nuts. So, for me the "extra" buttery-ness and excess sugar are overkill. I usually only add 2-3 Tbsp of sugar not a half cup. I went ahead and put in a 1/3 of a cup, but knew it would be way too sweet with the coconut if I added the full half cup. I also liked the quantity, I divided the dough in half and got 16 decent sized scones. So, overall they were good, but still not nearly as good as James Beard's recipe that he got from his mother. With only 5 ingredients (no butter and no egg,) it produces a moist, rich, a tender crumb, and soft lovely scone with very little effort. (You can look it up online using a search engine.)
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Mushroom Orzo

Reviewed: Dec. 27, 2013
I made this tonight as a side dish for country style ribs. It was a very friendly and forgiving recipe, as I didn't have the wine or fresh parsley or pearl onions. I also changed up the order, sauteing the mushrooms until done b4 adding the orzo. Some reviewers said it took a lot more time and liquid, but I didn't find that to be true. Could the brand of orzo make a difference? In any case, I used 16 oz of orzo, but kept the amount of butter the same (less fat.) I used about 1 c. of diced frozen onion and a low sodium chicken stock concentrate mixed with the water instead of wine. I added a cube of frozen chopped basil to sub for the parsley, 2 fresh frozen garlic cubes instead of dried, a whole package of sliced mushrooms, and a container of shredded grand cru instead of parmesan. I added 3 cups of water (since I doubled the pasta) and put a lid on the skillet, letting it simmer on low for about 5 minutes while I made cole slaw and threw some frozen steamer peas into the microwave. It was sticking badly when I got back to it so I added another cup of water and managed to scrape it off and keep going. After that I left the lid off and stirred pretty constantly for no more than 5 more minutes, tested the pasta and found it done. Added fresh ground black pepper with the cheese, and voila! It wasn't a spectacular flavor but it was yummy, creamy, comfort food, a great foil for the bbq ribs. I am adding this to our regular rotation! Quick and easy. :)
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fruity sweet and sour sauce

Reviewed: Nov. 27, 2013
This sauce is NOT the ketchup-y sauce. This is a fruity sauce, like a plum sauce only now I can't find a plum sauce that doesn't taste like green peppers. I stand by this sauce as a good replica of the less common fruity sweet and sour sauces that I prefer over the ketchup-y ones.
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Cauliflower Au Gratin

Reviewed: Oct. 2, 2013
This is an excellent basic recipe to riff on, which really are the best kind. It is flexible, stands up to changes and substitutions. The results are creamy, cheesylicious cauliflower that you might even get your picky eaters to try. Here are the changes I made, just to give you an idea of what can be done. I had a huge head of cauliflower (purchased for $1 at produce stand) and 3 smallish heads of broccoli veronica. Seemed like I needed more cheese sauce as a result, so I increased the sauce by 1/2 (3 Tbsp Butter, 3 Tbsp flour, 1 and 1/2 c. of milk, etc.) I had only scallions so I chopped up 1 and 1/2 c. of them. I had only 1/2 c. sharp cheddar so I subbed in colbyjack (obviously used more of that as well.) I love nutmeg in my cream sauce so I tripled the pinch of nutmeg and ground some fresh black pepper in there (definitely more than a few pinches.) This recipe is fairly low sodium, a little too low sodium for my tastes so I added about 1/2 tsp sea salt. So I followed the steps for the white sauce and kept the proportions except for seasoning, followed the cooking instructions including steaming until veggies were tender and baked it off with extra cheese on top. It was beautiful, tasted wonderful, and I got no complaints at all from the 18 year old, 12 year old, 98 year old, hubby or myself. (Do you know how rare it is to find a recipe they all like? lol, good job Amy W.)
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No Bake Cookies III

Reviewed: Apr. 3, 2013
This recipe works well as is, but I make a bunch of modifications to suit my own tastes and needs. I like my cookies very fudgy and almost gooey; I want them to have more chocolate flavor but not lose the peanut butter and finally, I want them to pack a slightly healthier punch. So... if you don't want yours like that, you can move on to the next review, if you do, here's how I modify them. 1. decrease sugar by 1/3 cup. 2. decrease milk by a couple of tbs and use 2 pinches of sea salt. 3. increase peanut butter to a full cup. 4. use 9 tbsp of Hershey's Special Dark Cocoa instead of 3 of regular. 5. use real butter, it's healthier than margarine. 6. use old fashioned oats and add them right after the peanut butter, then add back in those 2 tbsp of milk to help soften them a bit (don't worry, it'll set because of the chocolate chips, keep reading.) 7. add 2 Tbsp Ground Golden Flax Seed with the oats. 8. add 1/3 c. of special dark chocolate chips. 9. after adding the peanut butter, oats, vanilla, flax seed, and chocolate chips, stir slowly over low heat until the chocolate chips are melted and then scoop out onto the wax paper. For the nutritionally inclined chocoholic who wants a decadent dark chocolate treat that still has some redeeming qualities, these are SOOOOO yummy!
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Our Favorite Balsamic Vinaigrette

Reviewed: Mar. 31, 2013
I loved it, but... I did modify it a bit to suit my own tastes. Balsamic vinegar can vary so much and the one I have right now is kind of strong and raw tasting, so I reduced it by half and subbed balsamic glaze for the rest. It is probably a bit sweeter because of that, but I wanted it to be sweet because I was dressing an avocado, spinach and watermelon salad (with walnuts, which sounds really crazy, but it was awesome, and I do credit this dressing as being part of it's success.) Also, I did not use the shallots because the ones I bought were so strong that chopping just one of them had the tears streaming down my face much worse than if I had chopped a regular yellow onion. SO, I just used elephant garlic and added a little onion powder. It was yummy! :)
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Waffles I

Reviewed: Jan. 28, 2013
I tried this recipe to use batter thru the week instead of cooking up all the batter & freezing the extra waffles. I disagree with whipping the white separately to create a lighter airier product. These waffles are exactly what I want; a little dense, creamy & soft in the middle, a little crisp on the exterior, lots of flavor & a little chew. If you want light waffles, then go ahead. But I want my waffle to stick to my ribs, not need a lot of sweet syrup, but satisfy my appetite (not tempt me to eat more.) Modifications: I used half whole wheat white & half white flour & added about 1/2 tsp of yeast per another reviewer to give it that yeasty flavor. I also used melted butter rather than oil, & Splenda Brown instead of white sugar for more flavor. Plus I used the classic method of combining all the wet & dry ingredients first (except I crumbled and mixed the Splenda with the wet to dissolve it) then poured the wet in a well in the dry. I did not "beat" but gently incorporated the two with a rubber spatula & broke up big lumps with a whisk (not beating, just mashing out lumps.) Tiny lumps bake out. Laid plastic on batter & used it 1, 3, & 6 days later. Did NOT stir the bubbles out; they made it better! Day 6 the top was grey like sourdough starter so I wondered if my yeast hurt it. But it tasted wonderful! (Also added chopped walnuts once b4 closing the waffle iron; yum!) Topped it with 1/2 tsp butter & 1 tsp homemade jam or fresh berries mixed with a little jam or karo. :)
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Pecan Pie Bars I

Reviewed: Nov. 14, 2012
Made Substitutions. I baked it on a 10 x 13 cookie sheet with sides & it barely fit when I pressed the crust really hard in the middle and sides to make a well for the pecan filling. Per other reviewers, I lined my pan with the new nonstick foil before pressing the crust in & it worked perfectly! I used 3 C. of pecan halves instead of 2.5 C. chopped, used half brown sugar instead of white (in both the crust and topping) & 1/2 cup of Thick n Rich real maple syrup (hard to get a hold of, but they use invert maple sugar which makes it almost as thick as corn syrup)to replace 1/2 cup of corn syrup. (You could probably get away with regular real maple syrup but I used Splenda brown for the brown sugar in the filling and was afraid I might not have enough stickiness if I used thin syrup.) I had watched a Test Kitchen episode where their final product contained maple syrup and brown sugar, hence my substitutions. I'm diabetic so that's why I replaced some of the sugar with Splenda. Anyway, I baked it about 45 minutes in a cooler (325 degree) oven until it was no longer jiggly. However, I did take it immediately to a super-cold surface in the garage (which serves as our secondary refrigerator in the winter.) It was about 40 degrees out there, so it didn't continue to cook much. Once cooled I stored it in the house at room temp because if you served it cold you might crack a tooth! :) The flavor was excellent! The flavor, texture and appearance were all quite lovely.
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Fluffy Pancakes

Reviewed: Oct. 20, 2012
I subbed half white whole wheat and half unbleached all purpose flour. Because of that I added about 1/4 cup extra milk (the white whole wheat tends to suck up more moisture.) It didn't say what kind of vinegar to use, and the one negative review talked about aftertaste from the 2 Tbsp of lemon juice she used to sour the milk (though of course lemon juice has a higher ph than vinegar, so this is not unusual) but just to be on the safe side I used rice vinegar that is one of the milder vinegars. Anyhow, they turned out terrific, yummy and very fluffy as promised. And everyone was right about them actually serving only 2-3 people. My yield was six 5 inch pancakes, which was just about right for 3 female eaters, a 97 year old, a 46 year old and an 11 year old.
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Pumpkin Gingerbread

Reviewed: Sep. 26, 2012
I've made this twice now. It is an excellent recipe, turning out great even with some ingredient substitutions. My first batch I subbed whole wheat flour for white and mostly Splenda brown for the white sugar, to make it heavier, more like the James Beard version. (He says, “Many people consider gingerbread to be a cake, but it was originally meant to be a bread served at lunch or dinner with sweet butter.”) Anyway I spread it in a 13x9 cake pan, cut it into squares while warm and served it with barely sweetened whipped cream. It got raves. Today I made it and only went half white whole wheat and half unbleached all purpose flour, and used mostly a white Splenda sugar blend, but a half c. of Splenda brown. Then I added dark chocolate chips & split the batch in half. Half went into a muffin tin & the other half into a bread pan. Still turned out amazing! Confession time; I didn't use pumpkin. I used homegrown roasted mashed butternut squash leftover from dinner, buttered & seasoned. So I cut the salt back by about 1 tsp also. Since I really like it good and spicy, I used 2 and 1/2 tsp ginger, 2/3 tsp allspice, 2 heaping tsp cinnamon, 1/8 tsp ground star anise, 1/4 tsp ground cloves, a couple of grinds of fresh nutmeg and 1/2 tsp pumpkin pie spice. (If I weren't serving it to my grandma and daughter I would've put a little snap into it with a bit of cayenne, and/or possibly subbed in some candied ginger for the chocolate chips.) Anyway, great recipe Frosty, thanks!
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Simple BBQ Ribs

Reviewed: Sep. 15, 2012
This is an excellent basic methodology for cooking tender, succulent ribs. Good job Lloyd on giving only basic seasoning and cooking technique in the recipe. The truth is "different strokes for different folks" when it comes to the barbeque sauce and/or additional seasoning. So by not going there you've left your recipe open to many more "personalized interpretations." My husband likes ribs to burn his lips and the following is how I achieve extra spiciness for him. In the boiling water I use a couple of teaspoons of garlic and onion juice (you can purchase in the spice aisle of the grocery store) in addition to sea salt and fresh ground black pepper. As soon as I remove the ribs from the water, while they're still damp I give them a light sprinkle of cayenne pepper and use a silicone brush to gently rub it in. Of course you could use ground chipotle if you like its smoky flavor (I hate too much smoke flavor and would never use liquid smoke like so many are recommending... only real smoke from the grill for me please.) Then I baste with a cup of my favorite bbq sauce, bake and repeat basting with another cup of sauce a few minutes before removing from grill or oven (I like Open Pit Original because there's no fake smoke in it.) If the ribs are looking too wet in the oven I'll turn the broiler on for a few minutes and watch carefully until caramelized. You could add the cayenne to the bbq sauce, but I think getting it right on the meat directly makes a difference. Enjoy!
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Cabbage Roll Casserole

Reviewed: Jul. 31, 2012
This is a good basic recipe, but it is kind of bland. On the other hand, everyone in my family was willing to eat it which is nothing short of a minor miracle. The kids aren't really into cabbage, so the fact that they ate it and said it was good... Now, I did spice it up and make a substitution or two. I used only 1 pound of ground lean turkey. I fried some frozen onions in a little grapeseed oil, added the ground turkey and cooked until it was browned. I like a little white wine to flavor my onion and ground turkey, so added a good splash of vermouth and let it reduce to almost nothing while I chopped the cabbage. Instead of tomato sauce I used crushed tomatoes and I used instant brown rice. To spice it up I added a tsp of crushed garlic, 1/8 tsp thyme, and "a bit" of freshly ground black pepper. I let it simmer covered on the stovetop for 30 minutes so everything got well cooked. Then I tasted it and added about 1.5 cups of sour cream. I served it with Emeril's Essence on the side so we could all add it to our own taste. In every other way I pretty much followed the recipe proportions and ingredients.
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Caramelized Chicken Wings

Reviewed: Jul. 21, 2012
The flavor is lovely and everyone in my family of 5 liked these. I will try them again with thighs and tenderloins. The sauce got kind of watery for awhile, but then it thickened up nicely at the end. (NOTE: I did cut the sugar to a couple of TBSP, used a bit of splenda, and cornstarch from the start per the other reviewers and the fact that I'm diabetic so too much sugar is not a good thing and it still turned out really wonderful. Also, I used a bit more vinegar because I only had rice wine vinegar which has a lower acidity than regular wine vinegar, and heaping tablespoons of peanut butter.)
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Magic Cookie Bars I

Reviewed: Jun. 1, 2012
Excellent! Have made these many times for years, but just wanted a refresher on the amount of graham crackers and coconut, etc. I remembered that I always add more graham cracker crumbs, about a half cup additional with a bit more butter and just a few Tbsp sugar. Then if you press it down firmly it actually sticks together. Also I use different nuts, today macadamia nuts and pecans... it turned out extraordinarily well. And finally, I do use a bit more coconut and a bit more chocolate chips. But I use a combination of bittersweet and semisweet, it cuts the sugar a little and you end up with a lot more chocolate flavor. Even though I add extra ingredients, the pan size and 1 can of sweetened condensed milk is plenty. So, this is a great basic recipe that can be modified to personal taste without any ill effects. :) That's my favorite kind of recipe!
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Lebanese-Style Red Lentil Soup

Reviewed: Apr. 28, 2012
I am giving the recipe 5 stars because it is a great basic recipe from which many variations are possible. As written I am sure it is delicious, but I completely went rogue on this one and did my own thing just using the recipe only as a guideline. I wanted something a little heartier so... I browned lean ground turkey in a little oil and added a chopped red onion near the end. Added the spices (3x as much cumin and and equal amount of ground coriander) after the onion got soft. Deglazed with some vermouth and reduced. Added the garlic and heated that through. I subbed black pepper for the cayenne and added a finely chopped potato and some chopped celery leaves. My red lentils were pre-split so they cooked quickly in the chicken stock, but I also added a 15 oz can of tomato puree and a can of petite diced tomatoes with onions and all the juice from it. I squeezed 1/3 of a lemon into the pot and wedged the rest of it and served it, the cilantro and some finely chopped fresh cherry tomatoes on the side. It turned out beautifully and was very filling.
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Pumpkin Pie Squares

Reviewed: Mar. 8, 2012
This was good... The filling spice didn't taste right to me. I don't like cloves much and that is probably why. Next time I'll use pumpkin pie spice and extra cinnamon which will cut back on the cloves and add in some nutmeg which I prefer. Also I think I'll try adding some cinnamon to the nut mixture. I did add a bit of golden flax seed (ground) to the crust, doubled the amount of oats, and added a bit of grapeseed oil to make it moist enough to pack into the pan. I did this because there wouldn't have been enough crust otherwise. As it was, it was barely enough. I also added just a pinch of sea salt to the crust. If I were just rating the crust and the walnut topping I'd have given the recipe 5 stars, but as I stated earlier the filling was more like a 3 for me... just okay-ish. Plus I did have to modify to get enough crust, so four stars is a pretty fair assessment. However, I will say that I do prefer these squares to the lighter dryer pumpkin (cake-like) bars with loads of cream cheese frosting that are more common. They have more personality and texture than that and are not as cloyingly sweet.
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Peanut Butter Cocoa No-Bake Cookies

Reviewed: Nov. 18, 2011
This is a good recipe, and I modified it per other people's suggestions and my own preferences. I doubled it, used only 1.75 cups white sugar and .5 cups of Splenda brown. I put in a bit of extra peanut butter, and followed the suggestion of cooking the first 4 ingredients for a minute once they reached boiling and then adding peanut butter and cooking for another minute. Then I after I added the oats I also added half of a bag of dark chocolate chips (used special dark cocoa too.) What can I say, I'm a chocolate nut and I love the creamier texture you get by adding some real chocolate as well as cocoa. Turned out awesome!
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E-Z Drop Biscuits

Reviewed: Sep. 12, 2011
I followed the recommendations of others and deleted the cream of tartar. However I also substituted 1 cup of the all purpose flour for a cup of whole wheat white flour and in my experience you need a little extra leavening when you do that, so I added about 1/3 of a tsp more of baking powder. I dropped teaspoonfuls of the dough over a homemade simmering berry/apple compote to make berries and dumplings. I left the lid off for a few minutes to promote lightness then put the lid on, turned it down to very low and simmered for about 12 minutes. (You check them with a fork to see if the insides are cooked yet.) Mmmmm, they turned out great! (Drop biscuits generally make fabulous dumplings. I use them for chicken and dumplings too, but today we wanted something sweet.) I wasn't sure about the melted butter thing, but I was in a hurry to feed the kids before school so I tried it and I'm glad I did. Oh, and I baked up about 1/3 of the dough as biscuits because I didn't need it all for the dumplings. They also were lovely. TIP: if you smooth over the bumpy lumpies on the drop biscuits before baking with a silicone brush dipped in melted butter, people won't even know you used a drop biscuit recipe AND the butter makes the outsides crust up a teeny bit and sooo yummy!
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Actually Delicious Turkey Burgers

Reviewed: Aug. 24, 2011
They were okay for turkey burgers. I added some of the zippy things others recommended and still found them just so so, but they were fine for a halfway healthy burger.
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Baked Ham and Cheese Party Sandwiches

Reviewed: Aug. 23, 2011
First of all I modified the recipe greatly because I didn't have a few of the ingredients and I had eaten a sweeter version of these in the past and loved them. I also didn't want all that butter, so I used 1/3 cup of butter, 1 tbsp dijon (I'd add a little more next time), no worcestershire, no poppy seeds, but added 1 tsp of splenda brown a sprinkle or two of tarragon and a pinch of onion powder. I used honey maple ham and muenster cheese and only 16 tea rolls. The tea rolls were great because they were stuck together so I cut all of them in half as one block and assembled the sandwiches in one great square. I put the ham down first, then the cheese and spread a thin layer of may on the top inside so it would melt into the cheese. Then I sliced through them and placed them 1/2" apart on a foil lined pan. I drizzled each one with a scant tablespoon of the sauce and covered them lightly in with foil because I wanted the rolls to steam a bit. It turned out amazing! The rolls were nicely browned on top and slightly crunchy on the edges and bottom. The sauce flavor was slightly sweet and tangy but not overly rich, perfect! So feel free to reduce the butter :)
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