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Sausage & White Bean Soup

Reviewed: Sep. 11, 2011
This is pretty much a keeper, though I made a couple of modifications. Like many suggested, I left out the prosciutto. Though I'm a big fan, I did not think the extra sodium and calories were called for when there's already (a LOT of) sausage in there. My other changes: 1. After browning the sausage (for a bit more than 5 minutes), I deglazed the pan with a little white wine. Then rather than using the same pan for the veggies (soup's got to go in a pot, no?) I did them in my dutch oven, and added the wine with good stuff from sausage pan with the oil. (I didn't use oil to heat the sausage...but did use it for the veggies). 2. I added a zucchini because I like lots of veggies in my soups. 3. I ended up using two cans of garbanzo beans and one can of cannellini (another name for the Northern whites) because that's what I had on hand. I didn't like the consistency of the beans when mashed with a fork, so I threw them into a food processor. I also felt there were already enough beans in the soup after adding one un-mashed can, so I pureed a second can as well. Finally, I used my immersion blender when the soup was all ready because I still felt it was too "chunky." I didn't blend a lot, just a tad, and ended up really liking the consistency. On the whole though, an excellent recipe with really good flavors that is light enough for a not-very-cold night but still very satisfying.
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4 users found this review helpful

Honey-Garlic Pork Ribs

Reviewed: Feb. 10, 2010
Fabulous recipe. I followed exactly, except that I used boneless pork ribs because that's what I had. If you go this route, you DEFINITELY need to cut the cooking time. I recommend: Cooking for 20-25 minutes with cover (I used foil), then 10-15 minutes without, checking after 10 (I also turned the pieces when I removed the cover, and basted with pan juices). I cut the ribs into approx. 2-inch strips. Super yummy, super easy. My husband said he'd love to do these on the grill and slow-cook them. I hope he does! I also think it would be wonderful with some chunks of pineapple, or perhaps strips of sweet red peppers, and with the boneless ribs would also make EXCELLENT kebabs. I served with jasmine rice and some veggies on the side. Daughter and husband both cleaned their plates!
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3 users found this review helpful

Laura's Quick Slow Cooker Turkey Chili

Reviewed: Jan. 20, 2010
Delicious. I made some modifications, not because anything was lacking in the recipe, but either because I didn't have the right thing on hand or just wanted to. First, I used leftover roasted turkey because that's why I was making chili in the first place -- to use that up. I just added it in once I had everything else in except the spices. I did sautee the onions, along with the zucchini I added. Like other reviewers, I subbed a can of tomatoes (with mild chiles in this case) for one of the cans of tomato soup. I used the juice from the tomatoes to make up for the lack of liquid, and it was just right. I added one diced zucchini just because I've developed a taste for zucchini in my chili and I wanted it. I NEVER measure spices so I don't know how much of everything I used. To my surprise and chagrin, I did not have any cumin powder. I put in some paprika instead. Not nearly the same thing, but it was fine. I put hot sauce on the table so my husband and I could each get the heat we wanted. I did not cook this for hours and hours, and I don't think it's necessary. Sure, it gives more time for the flavors to meld, but if you're in a rush you can eat this within two hours of your start time. I also used a dutch oven (Le Creuset) instead of a crock pot. That and sauteeing the onion and zucchini deepened the flavors. I'm looking forward to my leftovers today now that the flavors have had a chance to really settle in! Overall, a very nice recipe.
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0 users found this review helpful

Vegetable Medley I

Reviewed: Jun. 26, 2006
This is the dish that everyone always makes me bring to gatherings. It is so good, even people who rarely eat veggies will rave. Serve it with a risotto, such as asparagus risotto, for a wonderfully filling vegetarian meal (even if you're not a vegetarian -- I'm not). The leftovers can be thrown together and it tastes even better the next day, and can be used as a side dish with roasted chicken or some such. Fabulous, versatile dish.
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3 users found this review helpful

Cornmeal Strawberry Cake

Reviewed: Jun. 26, 2006
Made this last night with fresh strawberries at the peak of their season. It's light, not too sweet and oh-so-tasty. Even my husband, who normally won't eat strawberries, had only good things to say. I did not find it dry at all, it just tasted like cornmeal, as one would expect. As a side note, I used regular (i.e. bleached) flour and vanilla yogurt because that's what I had on hand, and these worked fine. Simply a perfect way to use those summer strawberries!
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14 users found this review helpful

Beef and Biscuit

Reviewed: Apr. 4, 2006
This is a fantastic comfort food recipe. Not only did my husband, who, like me, has grown accustomed to "gourmet" from living in San Francisco for 10 plus years, love it, so did my 16-month old daughter! (For her I removed the chiles that were already cooked in and it wasn't at all too spicy for her.) I added a tad more chili powder, and probably a touch more salt, and it was perfect. I did find it easier to leave the biscuits intact rather than trying to separate them in layers. Just stretch them out a bit to fit the pan, and they should be flat enough. All in all, delicious!
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1 user found this review helpful

Rustic Slow Cooker Stew

Reviewed: Jan. 26, 2005
I too found this to be a good basic recipe that improves with just a little doctoring. I took tips from other users and floured the meat before browning it, and also added extra corn starch. I don't think it has too much wine, but I do think it should cook longer than 4-6 hours for maximum flavor. Be sure to use a good meat, too! Also, I couldn't find consomme, so to get that intense flavor I added an extra can of beef stock (using a bit less water) and then threw in a boullion cube. Next time I will use more carrots and more potatoes, and add a little Worchesthire sauce, which I didn't have on hand, though I did use some balsamic vinegar. On the whole, though, this is a good, classic stew and very, very easy.
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22 users found this review helpful

Blue Cheese and Pear Tartlets

Reviewed: Apr. 2, 2004
I just took these out of the oven. They smell fantastic, but I wish I'd bought two packages of the phyllo shells. Either they were too small or my pear was too big -- or maybe I used too much cheese. Whatever the cause, in an effort to use all the filling, I overfilled some the cups and they've spilled over, causing the cups to crumble on one side. I'm hoping they don't completely fall apart when I take them off the baking sheet as there's cheese mixture everywhere. Next time I think I will use twice as many cups and not overfill them. I think the taste is going to be out of this world, though, and they were incredibly easy to put together.
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2 users found this review helpful

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