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

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Affy Tapple Salad

Reviewed: May 25, 2005
I love, love, love this salad. My kids love it too (but I have to make a bowl with peanuts for me and without for them.) I make it with all granny smith apples to get a contrasting tartness to the sweetness, and good unsalted peanuts are hard to come by, so I go ahead and use salted and it comes out really good anyway. Also, I use about double the pineapple and extra creamy cool whip...
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15 users found this review helpful

Apple Muffins

Reviewed: Nov. 12, 2010
I think these muffins are quite good, but they are traditional muffins. Nowadays we're used to the supersweet "cake" muffins at the grocery store, so we want to add sugar and/or toppings. Don't expect these to taste like grocery store muffins, think more like the homemade ones your great-grandma made... I really liked them when my grandma made them, and I like them now. I didn't modify these too much, but I did use whole wheat white flour which bakes up slightly heavier than white all-purpose. For that reason and due to the fact that my batter was mixing on the dry side (flour can be drier or moister depending on the humidity in the air) I added about 1/2 cup of applesauce. As a rule I use grapeseed oil instead of vegetable oil for almost everything these days as it is better for you and tastes great in just about every application I have tried. I also followed the advice of several other reviewers and doubled the apple ratio (I used Michigan Ida Reds) and "spiced it up" though I used 1/2 tsp of pumpkin pie spice and only about 1/2 tsp of cinnamon. I did NOT add more sugar, and I did not add a topping. I did add nuts to the second batch and walnuts taste totally yummy in these, if you like walnuts of course.
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3 users found this review helpful

Chicken and Dumplings III

Reviewed: Apr. 26, 2009
I didn't make the whole recipe exactly as is, but it took very well to substitutions. I had turkey thighs instead of chicken breasts, I started by sauteeing a frozen mire poix mix from my grocery store, I used grapeseed oil in the dumplings and pulled them off heat after 15 minutes, then removed them to a serving platter while I added back in the meat and some frozen peas and let the liquid part simmer for minute. I seasoned it to my own taste with garlic, pepper and onion powder, then poured the meat, veggies and gravy over the dumplings. Perfection! Anyway, this recipe deserves the 5 stars because: 1. Most of the recipes for dumplings on this site resort to "canned" biscuits but this one gives you an excellent and easy dumpling recipe. 2. The method of covering the dumplings right away is correct... most recipes say to leave the lid off for the first 10 minutes but I've always found that produces disintegrated loose dumplings. 3. I think the chicken dumpling broth is greatly improved by thickening and extra "chickeny" flavor, so the cream of chicken soup is a good call. (Though you could also throw in a bullion cube and thicken with a little cornstarch at the end if necessary.) 4. It is a great BASIC recipe that you can modify A LOT and still get a good result.
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1 user found this review helpful

Split Pea Soup

Reviewed: Mar. 7, 2009
This is a terrific "basic" pea soup recipe. Here are some modifications you might want to try to get "beyond basic" to "golden." 1. Use a honeybaked hambone for a delicate, slightly sweet flavor and plenty of meat. 2. Simmer the hambone with a cup of chopped onions, 3 bay leaves, 1.5 tsp basil, the marjoram, double the black pepper, 1/2 tsp thyme and 1/4 tsp oregano in a mixture of water and chicken stock for only 20 minutes. Then take hambone out and let it cool... remove meat and replace hambone in still simmering pot. (The meat will become tasteless if you cook it too long so just remove the fat then chop and reserve.) 3. Brown (there should be crispy browned edges to the veggies) a mire poix mix in a tiny bit of butter then stir in 2 Tbsp broth and 2 tsp crushed garlic at the end just for a minute. 4. Add the mire poix, split peas, and a cup of sliced carrots to pot. I use yellow split peas because they look more attractive, "golden." Simmer until the peas begin to change (about 20-30 min.) 5. Remove hambone and add 1 large baked potato diced small. Simmer, stirring often (likes to stick and burn at this point) until potatoes are cooked through and soup is thickened (about 12 min, just add a little more stock or water if it is too thick.) 4. Stir ham back in one minute before serving and remove bay leaves.
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33 users found this review helpful

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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7 users found this review helpful

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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1 user 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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46 users found this review helpful

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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2 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? 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!) :)
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4 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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3 users found this review helpful

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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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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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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24 users found this review helpful

Zucchini Cobbler

Reviewed: Jul. 30, 2007
This cobbler is terrific! It fools everyone. I think you could saute/braise the zucchini in lemon like this and use it in almost any apple pie or bar-like recipe and it would turn out great. I did peel it and scoop out the seeds as suggested, and cut it into apple-like wedges. A few things to note: The lemon juice dried/soaked up before the zucchini was soft enough so at that point I sprinkled a little more on and added just a tidge of butter to keep it cooking without browning or sticking. Oh, and I didn't use as much nutmeg as the recipe called for (just a pinch) plus I used all brown sugar in the filling, and reduced the sugar in the crust by 1/3 cup. UPDATE: 8/2012 I have continued to love this recipe, though rarely do it as "cobbler" but use it in a pie crust with a dutch apple crumb topping. My kids are older and the jig is up, but they actually like this pie as well as any apple pie we've ever had. I don't know why some reviewers say the zucchini is bitter, they must not have very good zucchini. I grow a golden variety in my garden and they get to be 16 inches long sometimes when my back is turned and the overgrown ones are the ones I use for this recipe. Nobody has ever complained that my pie tastes bitter or like zucchini.
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4 users found this review helpful

Chocolate-Zucchini Cupcakes

Reviewed: Jul. 30, 2007
Absolutely terrific! Per the other reviews I doubled the chocolate and reduced the oil to 3/4 cup (didn't need to add any applesauce to make up for it, but there is additional fat in the extra 2 squares of chocolate.) I grated golden zucchini with the skin on and used white whole wheat flour because I try to get as much fiber in as I can for my kids. I used white chocolate chips instead of nuts because my kids won't eat nuts. They turned out GREAT! Oh, and get this, I was gonna' make frosting, but my 11 year old son (who normally thinks frosting is the best part,) told me not to. I made a batch of mini-muffins with the batter first and sprinkled them with powdered sugar because the kids were hungry and I was running out of time. My son had one and said the powdered sugar was perfect, and frosting them wouldn't make them any better! Try them; you'll like them.
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72 users found this review helpful

Stovetop Granola

Reviewed: May 23, 2007
This tastes a lot better to me than most granolas. My kids really like it, and one of them is really not thrilled with oats generally. It is also easy to make. I added a little bit of vanilla to the honey and brown sugar... Also, just an FYI - it is a bit oily. But I think that is why the kids really liked it; it is rich and tasty because of that oil. I am going to try substituting coconut oil for the olive oil and adding a little coconut to the mixture. (Did the coconut thing! MMMMMN - GOOD!)
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33 users found this review helpful

Grilled Peanut Butter Apple Sandwiches

Reviewed: Nov. 12, 2010
I really loved these, but I did modify a bit so... I am sure it would taste good the way it is written, but I am of a creative mind and like to experiment. Here's what I did, just in case you want to try some of my modifications. First of all I always melt my butter for grilled sandwiches so I can use less. I only made two sandwiches, so 4 slices of bread, but I only used about 1.5 TBSP of butter (salted), by brushing it on the outsides of the bread with a silicon brush. I did this before spreading peanut butter on the other sides of the bread. Second, though I only made 2 sandwiches I used almost all of the apple. Thirdly, I precooked the apple for 30 seconds in the microwave with the cinnamon and sugar sprinkled on them. (I was afraid that the bread I was using wouldn't allow the heat to penetrate enough to cook the apple at all... I think this made a big difference. Yum!) Finally, I had this great apple cranberry whole grain bread laying around that sounded like it would be terrific with this recipe, and it was! My 95 year old grandma and my 9 year old daughter both liked the sandwiches very much. It was quite filling too.
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5 users found this review helpful

German Pancake

Reviewed: Nov. 28, 2010
I am rating only the pancake portion as I did not try making the buttermilk syrup. This pancake turned out much better than many I have tried, mostly because the butter did not brown the edges too much, so they weren't leathery and too brown/dry. HOWEVER, I did change a few things that might have influenced that. 1. Since I was using a nonstick dark baking pan I turned the oven down 25 degrees from the recommended temperature. 2. Because I've made this kind of pancake before I was surprised it didn't tell you to melt the butter in the pan, getting the pan hot. I did put the pan in the oven but cut the butter into little pieces and pulled it out pretty quickly so the butter didn't have a chance to brown. Then I swirled it over the surface, and immediately poured the batter in and set it back in the oven on the middle rack. (I liked that though this was a large recipe it didn't call for a huge amount of butter.) I topped mine with strawberries that I macerated in sugar (while it was in the oven) so there was a bit of sticky juice to pour about. Then I topped each serving with a dollop of whipped cream. It was a hit with everyone in the family, even the child who doesn't really like pancakes (of any kind) very much. (I'll try the buttermilk syrup next time but didn't have any buttermilk today.)
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7 users found this review helpful

Cranberry Gelatin Salad

Reviewed: Dec. 5, 2010
This rating is with modifications. I wanted to use up a can of jellied cranberry sauce and I wanted to make a frozen dessert. I used this recipe as a template only, but it stood up great to the modifications so it's getting 5 stars. If it didn't work I wouldn't have rated it at all since my modifications were pretty major. I only had a 3 oz package of sugar free peach jello so I used that and mixed with 3/4 c of hot water, not the 2 cups the recipe called for. I drained and pressed all the juice off a 14 oz can of pineapple, used a can of mandarin oranges (well drained) instead of cherries, and added an 8 oz package of cream cheese I melted in the microwave (and stirred smooth before adding to the fruit/jello/cranberry sauce mixture.) Then I stirred in 1/2 cup sweetened shredded coconut. After pouring the mixture into a pan sprayed with Pam, I crushed some walnuts over half of it and patted them in (only some of us like nuts. I marked the nut end of the pan with a marker on the handle for reference.) Then I put the pan in the freezer for several hours and topped it with cool whip before serving. Everyone in my house liked it, but we all like coconut a lot. It was creamy but chunky and had that frozen dessert texture I love.
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3 users found this review helpful

Maple Salmon

Reviewed: Dec. 10, 2010
This is really good, but if you want the true sweetness of maple syrup to shine through, you'll need to go a bit further than the recipe takes you. I had planned to do what DESIDERATAGRACEFULLY did, reducing the marinade at the end, because I knew it wasn't going to be quite sweet enough for my taste. Unfortunately even though I packed it in foil, the juices ran out (I probably should've used more foil, lol) and they burned at the bottom of the pie plate. So when the salmon was done I tasted it and found I was right about the sweetness level so I drizzled a generous tablespoon of my favorite maple syrup over it to finish and for a hint of spice I oh so lightly dusted cayenne pepper over that, then it was perfect. (TIP: My favorite real maple syrup is really thick, they use invert maple syrup to thicken it up, Shady Maple Farms organic thick and rich is the brand.) I did also use the fresh garlic DESIDERATAGRACEFULLY recommended and some ginger because I love that flavor with maple. Anyway, I loved it when I was done, and I think it's my personal tastes for sweet and spicy that needed to revise the recipe, so I'm rating it a 5.
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