SPARKLER8666 Recipe Reviews (Pg. 3) - Allrecipes.com (18354524)

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Taco Seasoning I

Reviewed: Oct. 27, 2008
This is an excellent recipe partly because it includes the oregano and many of the other recipes on the site don't. Like many others I tweak it. Well, actually I just use it as an "outline" and make the following changes every time I make it. (I actually don't make a taco seasoning per se, but tacos from scratch every time. This is about what you need for 1.5 to 2 pounds of ground beef.) First I omit the paprika and black pepper. I don't use "chili powder" and substitute 1.5 TBSP New Mexico chili powder and slightly increase the other spices. ("Chili powder" is powdered dry chilis mixed with a lot of these other ingredients that are in the recipe, while "New Mexico Chili Powder" is pure powdered "warm" chilis.) I use cayenne in varying amounts rather than pepper flakes because I can control the heat better with it and I like the flavor of cayenne a lot better than black pepper (I want Mexican, not cajun.) I use 1 tsp fresh garlic (the crushed stuff in a jar) and 1/4 cup of chopped onion (prechopped and frozen) not granulated. Just after draining the majority of the grease I add the onions and garlic in and saute for a few minutes until the onions are thawed and beginning to cook. Then I make a clear spot in the middle of the pan and add my spices, sauteing them in the little bit of hamburger fat for a minute or two at medium then add a TBSP of tomato paste for a couple of minutes and letting it mellow over the heat before I add the water. When I add the water I add a tsp or s
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Oven Fried Parmesan Chicken

Reviewed: Oct. 16, 2008
I just can't seem to please the kids with any of these baked nugget recipes. I liked them very well, but the kids just aren't satisfied with anything but the bland boring ones you buy in the freezer section premade. So I'm only giving it a four because I liked them very well, but was really hoping to please both myself and the kids this time.
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2 users found this review helpful

Baked Chicken Nuggets

Reviewed: Oct. 16, 2008
I liked them a lot, but the kids were less impressed. They like their nuggets very boring, the bland frozen kind. I keep trying to make them homemade to get them to eat a little more nutritiously, but no go. Still, I thought this recipe turned out pretty darn well.
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Mom's Cucumber Salad

Reviewed: Aug. 14, 2008
This was very good... I did make some modifications though. I had a huge cucumber from my garden so I peeled it and sliced it thin. Then when I made the dressing I decreased the sugar by half and added 2 packets of splenda and equal. I used half mayo and half sour cream and omitted the seasoned salt. Also used red wine vinegar instead of regular white vinegar. Increased the dill, about twice as much and had to add another big TBSP of mayo and sour cream because it was a little sweet for my taste. Next time I'll cut the sugar in half and mix in the rest of the ingredients, then taste for sweetness (before adding any artificial sweeteners if I even need them.) I also added a little thinly sliced red onion from my garden. Later I dipped sliced garden tomatoes and raw zucchini in the extra dressing left behind in the bowl, yummy!
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Fettuccini Carbonara

Reviewed: Jul. 12, 2008
Too much grease and oil, so with some modifications this was a 5 star recipe. I cut the bacon back by 1/3 and fried it first (set it aside.) Then I drained off more than half the grease and sauteed the onion in it. (Didn't have a shallot so skipped it.) When the onions were almost done added 3 crushed cloves of garlic and a couple tablespoons of chicken broth. Used 3 eggs instead of 4 egg yolks and whipped them into 1 and 1/2 cups of heavy cream. Then when pasta was done I tossed it with the onion/garlic mixture and added the cream/egg mixture to it, cooking and tossing until it started thickening. Then I added 1 cup of parmesan and 1/3 cup mozzarella and tossed. Then seasoned it with a little nutmeg, black and cayenne pepper, and salt.
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47 users found this review helpful

Ten Minute Enchilada Sauce

Reviewed: Jun. 11, 2008
Okay, I ended up with a pretty good enchilada sauce but I had to make some big modifications at the end to get there. At first I followed the recipe pretty much as written (the only sub I made was per another reviewer who recommended New Mexico or California Chile powder, and I had both so I went half and half.) I ended up with a very bitter tasting and way too thick mess. So, I added the following ingredients at the end to help thin it a bit and mellow it out... 1 tbsp sugar, another can of tomato sauce and about another cup and a half of water. I cooked that for awhile on a low simmer and the sauce mellowed into something with a little kick, a good flavor, and the right "saucy" consistency.
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3 users found this review helpful

Cottage Cheese Chicken Enchiladas

Reviewed: Jun. 10, 2008
This tasted really good, but I had to drain water out of the pan a couple of times after cooking. I wasn't sure if the cottage cheese seperated producing extra liguid or what, but I didn't want my tortillas to get too soggy. That was the only problem I had with the recipe. Amazingly even my 6 year old who complains "it's too spicy!" if I put black pepper in her food ate it (though I did douse hers thoroughly with sour cream which she loves.) I changed only 2 things. 1. I cooked some frozen sweet corn in the microwave and mixed it with the shredded chicken because I wanted corn flavor in the enchiladas and 2. I only had whole wheat flour tortillas not corn tortillas.
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Tangy Dill Potato Salad

Reviewed: Jun. 8, 2008
I followed the advice of several other reviewers and this turned out really well, except I had to add more dill to the mayo to get enough flavor going. Also it's a 4 out of 5 because it is an "adult" potato salad. The kids didn't like it at all. So here's what I did. I put the Italian dressing on the hot potatoes as suggested (this did make them very flavorful.) I added extra dill, a dash of cayenne and a bit of plain yogurt to give it a little extra creaminess with zip.
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Bone-In Ham Cooked in Beer

Reviewed: Apr. 7, 2008
My mom's secret to the best turkey and gravy ever was a can of beer. So I thought I'd give this a try, and it was pretty darn good. I used Black Butte Porter, and skipped the pineapple because my daughter is allergic. The kids asked for seconds with lots of pan drippings on top... Thanks!
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4 users found this review helpful

Mini Meatloaves

Reviewed: Jan. 14, 2008
I have tried several highly rated meatloaf recipes on this site, but this is my new favorite. It produces a tender and tasty meatloaf. I made the following modifications. I tripled the recipe and substituted 1 lb of ground lamb for 1 lb of ground beef. I made one batch of mini's in a muffin tin and instead of adding the cheese into the meat I formed the ball of meatloaf around a chunk of cojack cheese. Yummy, yummy! The other two loaves I mixed the cheddar cheese into and baked them regular size. Finally, I did not add the mustard to the topping; I don't like mustard. So I added a bit of onion powder and cut back on the sugar a bit. Anyway, awesome recipe!
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Chocolate Peanut Butter Bars IV

Reviewed: Jan. 14, 2008
I'm sure these are just as good the way the recipe it written, but I wanted to decrease the sugar a bit and "healthy" these up some more. So I used the whole box of my graham cracker crumbs instead of 2.5 cups... making it was closer to 4 cups, decreased the powdered sugar to 1 and 1/2 cups, and added extra peanut butter (I just eyeballed it and went by taste.) It was not quite gooey enough to hold together so I added a bit of corn syrup, which "stickied it right up." I also changed the chocolate topping a bit after hearing what the other reviewers said. I used half semi-sweet and half milk chocolate chips, and melted them in the microwave with 3 Tablespoons of butter. Stirred and added 1/4 cup of half and half. Anyway, even with all my changes it turned out great, and I felt better that my kids got a little less sugar and a little more wholegrain. Also the parchment idea from another reviewer worked like a dream!
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Chewy Coconut Bars

Reviewed: Jan. 10, 2008
Oh my word this recipe is so sweet! I only used 1 and 1/2 cups of sugar since I followed the recommendation by others to add more sweetened coconut and I was worried about too much sugar. And I had reason to be worried because the bars were overly sweet to my taste. Otherwise the texture and the taste were good... I followed the recipe other than than those two modifications.
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Cool Veggie Pizza

Reviewed: Dec. 22, 2007
I don't particularly care for the dill. I mix a little chili powder and canned fire-roasted mild green chili's into the cream cheese, no mayo needed. One of my favorite veggy toppings for this is the broccoli slaw they sell in a bag at the store. It is easy to eat and colorful (has carrot strips mixed in.) You have to press it into the cream cheese a bit though and not go overboard with the slaw or it gets everywhere. This "pizza" never fails to draw rave reviews at potlucks.
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6 users found this review helpful

Pork Roast with Thyme

Reviewed: Dec. 14, 2007
This makes a fabulous roast if you do it right. It is not for those skinny pork loin roasts and if you try to do it with one of those you'll need to cook it for a lot less time. I have made this many times and what makes this recipe special for me is the bay leaves! So I now use A LOT more bay leaves. I pretty much cover the bottom of the roast with them, then half way through I turn the roast over and pull off all the bay leaves and stick them under the side that is now facing down. That way the bay flavor infuses into the meat. I've seen lots of recipes with the garlic and I wouldn't skip that step, but the bay leaves mix with the garlic in an amazing way. Also, keep in mind, the vinegar smell may bother some people while it is cooking, but they won't complain about the flavor of the roast when it's done. I've tried using a number of different vinegars, but ultimately they'll have that smell no matter what you do when they're boiling off. I like either the cider vinegar or balsamic. (Though FYI: Bobby Flay recommends sherry vinegar in place of balsamic for recipes and I tried it and thought it was gross!) :) UPDATE: 12/14 I now use more bay leaves, I stick them to the roast all the way around (maybe four per side) and I use more garlic and more thyme. However, I now use half white balsamic vinegar and half vermouth. It cuts the vinegar smell a bit and the flavor is still awesome. My family loves this as sliced lunch meat after too. It's like an herbed deli meat.
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Chocolate Rum Mousse Pie

Reviewed: Oct. 20, 2007
OK, am I the only one who ran into problems here? The mousse was way, way too stiff and it was crunchy from the pudding powder. I added about 1 cup of half and half to compensate and then it wasn't chocolatey enough for me, so I added some Special Dark syrup. I still felt like there was a little too much crunchy texture from the pudding, so I heated the gelatin back to hot before adding it in as the last step. That helped a lot! The recipe was good in the end, with a little fixing up but not a 5 star. My favorite recipe for mousse is richer with melted dark chocolate and this recipe pales in comparison to it, so only 4, not 5.
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9 users found this review helpful

Caramelized Baked Chicken

Reviewed: Oct. 17, 2007
I modified this per other reviews and my own taste and it was finger licking good. It may be just as awesome without changes, but I'll tell you what I did in case you want to try. I increased the sauce by using 2/3 cup of low sodium soy/tamari sauce and tripling the catsup and garlic, but I didn't add the oil to the sauce. I used leg quarters with the bones in (4 pounds) and simmered them in the sauce covered on the stovetop for about 25 minutes, turning every few minutes. Then I put the chicken into an oiled baking pan (prettier side down,) sparingly poured a little of the sauce over top and baked at 425 degrees. While baking I added a corn starch/water mixture to the sauce to thicken it and brought it to a boil for a minute stirring constantly. It didn't need salt. I added a good dash of cayenne and it needed a little more zip so I added a few tablespoons of rice wine vinegar. It was about time to turn the chicken when this was done (about 10 minutes.) I turned the chicken and ladled a generous amount of sauce over each peice, but reserved about a cup for later. Baked it another 10 minutes. Ladled extra sauce over the top of each peice to serve. (Plain brown rice mixed with peas was an excellent side choice.)
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Almond-Topped Fish

Reviewed: Oct. 10, 2007
Excellent! It's very kid-friendly if you don't let them see the onions. I have made it so many times that I have now modified it slightly to exactly suit our tastes. First, I often use frozen chopped onions but if not I use sweet vidalia onions, and I ALWAYS put them back in the oven for a few minutes til transparent and stir before I put the fish on them. Then, after I squeeze the lemon juice I rub the fish with the spent lemon and sprinkle the fillets with dill weed before adding the topping. We don't do fat free mayo, so use regular or lowfat. I also double the sauce but not the lemon juice, and use a little extra high quality parmesan. I never use "seasoned salt", imho the mayo, parm and lemon have enough salt in them. I have made it with and without the nuts which I love, but the kids, not so much. I toast my almonds on the stovetop in a little butter and serve them on the side. The bed of onions seems to absorb any "fishiness" that may accompany less expensive fillets, and keeps the fish moist on the bottom. The topping keeps it moist on the other end, so it's creamy & lush in your mouth (kid/elder friendly, like mac n cheese.) I use frozen thawed Basa or Swai most of the time because they're inexpensive but don't have the muddy, earthy flavor that I hate in Tilapia and commercially or pond-grown trout. I've also tried this with salmon, removed the skin of course, and Dover sole and flounder. (With very thin fish I don't double the sauce.) It's always a yum!
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Chocolate Chip Banana Bread II

Reviewed: Sep. 23, 2007
This recipe has a lot going for it. The loaf is very moist, and the bread has a great slightly chewy but tender texture... but, I thought it was too sweet. I used the amount called for in the recipe, but subbed in brown sugar for part of the whitep; I didn't pack it tight and still it was just too sweet for me. And beware, if you are looking for a pretty presentation you may be disappointed as the middle sinks in. It doesn't look awful, but it doesn't form that perfectly rounded loaf top that people expect either. However, I am giving it 4 stars because I am the only one who tried it and thought this. All my other guinea pigs gave it rave reviews. So I may try it again and cut the sugar in half and just use brown sugar. Because the presentation doesn't matter to me, and the texture and moistness were superb.
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Zucchini Brownies

Reviewed: Aug. 16, 2007
Made this today with the cocoa this time, made it in a bundt cake pan for a birthday celebration. (I added 3 eggs, subbed the oil out for 1 stick melted butter and 1/4 cup applesauce, added 1/4 cup sour cream and 2/3 cup lightly floured chocolate chips. It turned out amazing. I even forgot the vanilla and it still got raves... my kids had seconds and wanted thirds. (OK, I did serve it with whipped cream, fresh blackberries and a fresh blackberry sauce I made. But it was great even without all the gourmet touches.)
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Tartar Sauce I

Reviewed: Aug. 14, 2007
I was looking at the top 100 recipes and came across this one for tartar sauce; it is the same basic recipe I've been making for years. Everyone has their own taste about proportions for this, but Diane's is pretty close to mine. The only differences are: I only use 1 TBSP of freshly squeezed lemon juice, I finely grate a TBSP of sweet onion (it is more subtle and kid friendly that way and unless you use fresh onion you are really missing out,) and I use a little more pickle relish than that. I also like to add a pinch or two of turmeric; it perks this up just a bit, by adding a little bite, richness and yellow color. Sometimes I make this without the pickle relish, but then I use freshly chopped dill or dried dill weed (if you use fresh it must sit for "awhile" to infuse,) a little grated lemon peel and then I DO use the full two tablespoons of lemon... you could add a bit of dill relish to the second version, but I don't like dill pickles very well so I don't. I don't like the turmeric with the dill, but it is great with the sweet pickle...
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