chibi chef Recipe Reviews (Pg. 1) - Allrecipes.com (18833297)

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Butter Flaky Pie Crust

Reviewed: Jul. 2, 2006
Excellent crust! I've made this crust many times, and I finally mastered the techniques to make it flaky (not recipe's fault but b/c inexperience). Previously, I over-worked the dough, used too much water, and/or didn't keep the dough cold enough, which made the crust tough and soggy. Tips: keep it cold & work it sparingly. Chill water in the freezer until ice crystals begin to form. Cut very cold UNSALTED butter into cubes & cut it in the flour & salt with a pastry blender (or pulse in food processor) until it resembles coarse crumbs. Transfer to large bowl & gently toss water into crumbs 1 tsp at a time with a fork. Do not use food processor to incorporate water - it's too easy to overwork the dough. The dough should have small bits of butter - this makes the crust flaky. Cool off hands under cold water, pat dry, gather the crumbs into a flattened ball, wrap in plastic, and refrigerate. Refrigeration is necessary b/c it allows the gluten to relax and prevent shrinkage. You may need to roll out the dough twice. First roll out is usually crumbly, uneven, and has large breaks. Gently gather in edges to form another ball, flip it smooth side up, and roll out again. Smooth, round, even crust should be easier the second roll out. See pics of the process.
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Easy Broccoli Quiche

Reviewed: May 18, 2008
Most people who gave this recipe a high rating did so with significant changes. The recipe as written has many flaws. Even though I used fresh broccoli, mine came out soggy. One onion is too over powering -- 1/2 an onion is plenty. Plus, 30 minutes was much too short. I needed to bake it for 50 minutes for the middle to set and for the crust to get flaky. The "Quiche" recipe on this site does not have any of these problems and can be modified to add broccoli. I will not be making this again.
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Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Muffins

Reviewed: Nov. 9, 2004
I also thought muffins came out rather bland so I made a few alterations. I would recommend substituting the white sugar with packed light brown sugar; increasing the spices to 1 1/4 tsp cinnamon, 3/4 tsp ground ginger, and 1/2 tsp nutmeg (I did not have any pumpkin spice or ground cloves); and increasing the pumpkin puree to 1 cup. These changes produced more flavorful muffins.
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Downeast Maine Pumpkin Bread

Reviewed: Oct. 15, 2007
Untweaked recipe gets 5 stars, and healthy version gets 5 stars too! Healthy version: (1)100% whole white wheat (it is not as heavy as regular whole wheat), (2)substituted half the oil with applesauce, (3) 1 C brown sugar and 1/2 C white sugar, (4) used apple juice instead of water, (5) doubled the ginger, (6) and added 3 Tbsp flax seed. It was so good, the two of us finished the bread (half recipe) in 24 hours. My husband immediately requested that I make more. (Cal. 184.6, Fat 6.7g, Carb. 29.2g, Fiber 2.8g, Sugars 14.8g, Protein 3.8g)***Recently made this again. Goes great spread with sweetened cream cheese.
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Chicken Makhani (Indian Butter Chicken)

Reviewed: Jan. 2, 2008
This dish is SO good, my hubby requests it often. Even though I modified the recipe to make it healthier, I still gave 5 stars because the original tastes good too. My changes: I followed others' advice and added ground cashews instead of cornstarch. The nuts make ALL the difference. To make it healthier, I used smartbalance light spread instead of butter. *HUGE TIME SAVER: Instead of cooking the sauce first and then the chicken, have them both going at the same time. By the time the sauce is finished, the chicken is browned and ready to be combined with the sauce. ** UPDATE** I substituted fat free buttermilk for the half&half, yogurt, and lemon (cuts way down on the fat and ingredients). While the sauce was simmering, I ground the cashews in a blender and then added the sauce (minus the bay leaf) to the blender to puree all the onion pieces and cashews into a smooth and creamy sauce. Otherwise, you'll end up with small bits of onion and nuts - not bad, but better smooth. I then poured the sauce onto the chicken and simmered with the bay leaf until cooked. Other lower fat options for half&half are light cream and nonfat evaporated milk, but I liked the nonfat buttermilk the best because it did not separate when heated.
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Blueberry Pie

Reviewed: Jul. 4, 2006
I can't believe how incredibly easy it was to make this pie! I used fresh blueberries, a squeeze of lemon, and the flakey butter pie crust recipe. I agree with the recommendation for 4T cornstarch rather than 5T. The first time I made this, I used 5T and it came out a bit rubbery - 4T is perfect. I then brushed the top crust with milk, sprinkled sugar, and baked at 400F. To keep the edges from burning, I covered them with foil and removed for the last 15 min. The pie came out beautiful. I couldn't help myself and had a piece after just an hour of cooling, but it was still pretty runny. I had to let it sit an additional hour and it set perfectly. I already had 2 slices (one at 10 am), and I can't wait to polish off the rest!
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Wheat Germ Whole-Wheat Buttermilk Pancakes

Reviewed: Feb. 16, 2007
These pancakes turned out so delicious, we've decided to make them a tradition/treat for Sunday morning breakfast. I'd choose these pancakes over any made from a boxed mix or at a restaurant. I don't keep WW pastery flour so I just use regular WW or sometimes white WW. I've made it with both regular eggs and just egg whites and discovered that while the original recipe is good and fluffy, the pancakes are a bit lighter when I use only egg whites. If you run out of buttermilk, this substitute works in a pinch: measure 2 Tbsp lemon into a large measuring glass, add enough milk to make it 2 cups, and let it sit for 5 min before using.
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Peanut Butter Cup Cookies

Reviewed: Dec. 28, 2006
I used whole wheat white flour (it's lighter in texture and naturally sweeter than regular whole wheat) and all natural PB. Husband couldn't tell these cookies were 100% whole grain and gobbled them right up. I chilled the dough for a few hours, and instead of forming balls, I just used a medium cookie scoop to get uniform-sized rounded mounds in the fraction of the time. I dropped the mounds into regular muffin tins because that's all I had, but they still came out looking great. I did have to cook them 3 min longer though because I made them larger than what the recipe called for. Don't make the mistake of cooking them too long (recipe is right on unless you make your cookies bigger). The dough should be soft when you take it out. The first time I made this, I baked them too long (waited for them to turn golden), and they were dry.
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Sturdy Whipped Cream Frosting

Reviewed: Dec. 1, 2008
Easy, great flavor, and fairly sturdy. It didn't melt, but it wasn't the best for piping. When piped, the details didn't come out as sharply as buttercream. I had to add a package of whipped cream stabilizer to stiffen it up some more. However, this would work fine as is for regular icing. I also wouldn't let this sit out for hours because it still has cream cheese and cream, which can spoil if left out too long.
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Korean BBQ Chicken Marinade

Reviewed: Oct. 11, 2006
I served chicken with this marinade to my Korean parents for dinner. My mom, who said she wasn't hungry before we started eating, ended up going back for seconds and exclaimed that it was delicious. The only changes I made was to decrease the sugar by 1/3 C(trying to make it healthier), and add minced garlic and a touch of sesame oil. Gotta have garlic when you're making Korean!
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Beef Stew IV

Reviewed: Dec. 28, 2006
I've been making this recipe for several years, and it is great as is, but I always tweak recipes because my hubby and I love dishes with lots of flavor. I add cumin, garlic powder, fresh ground pepper, and paprika to the flour before dredging the beef. Instead of shortening, I use butter and olive oil. I also substitute 2 beef bouillion cubes for the salt and add 1/4 C ketchup, 1 tsp oregano, and an extra bay leaf. This is a perfect fall or winter meal with homemade bread...definitely one of my favorite comfort foods! This can easily be made in the crockpot so it can be ready when you come home from work. Just brown the beef before adding to the crockpot, add all the rest of the ingredients, and cook on low for 6 hours. Before serving, add the 1/4 C flour paste and heat on high for 15 min to thicken.
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BBQ Chicken Pizza

Reviewed: Jun. 25, 2006
Many of the reviews seemed to take issue with the ingredient amounts so I used my cook's intuition and eye-balled everything. I omitted the pepperocinis (better served on the side like Papa Johns), approx. doubled the chicken, kept the rest of the measurements approx. the same, and made TWO medium pizza crusts with the ingredients instead of just one. The key to keeping the chicken moist and flavorful is mixing a few TBSP of BBQ sauce into the cubed chicken before topping the pizza. Otherwise, the edges tend to dry out while cooking. Also, slice the onions super thin so they will cook more quickly. If you have the time, I would definitely recommend making Jay's signature pizza crust over using a store-bought kind -- it turned out crispy on the outside and chewy on the inside. Homemade crust is surprisingly easy to make, tastes fresher, and saves a lot of money. This pizza tastes great (very close to CPK) but I gave 4 stars because of the modifications. This recipe will probably taste great with some pineapples too (similar to Davd & Buster's BBQ hawaiian pizza that seems to have disappeared off the menu).
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Creamy Smoked Salmon Pasta

Reviewed: Oct. 28, 2008
While I appreciate the submitter's attempts to make the cream sauce lighter by using skim milk and thickening with flour, I don't think it achieved the same effect as the real stuff. Hubby couldn't eat more than a couple bites. I thought the sauce's taste and texture was a bit too floury. Light cream would probably have been better suited for this dish. It also needed fresh cracked pepper and minced garlic instead of garlic powder. I also only used half the butter.
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Grilled Peanut Chicken

Reviewed: Jan. 20, 2007
The sauce is VERY thick. I added another tbsp of soy sauce plus some water to thin it out enough to baste the chicken. What a different cooking method makes! The first time I made this, I baked it and it came out pretty good. Recently, I followed the recipe and grilled it. The grill roasts the peanut butter and gives it a carmelized flavor that baking just cannot replicate. While the chicken was grilling, I made a douple recipe of the sauce, added 1 1/2 tsp sugar and more water, and brought it to a boil in a sauce pan. I served the chicken over whole wheat pasta and topped with the extra sauce.
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Chantal's New York Cheesecake

Reviewed: Jan. 28, 2008
After reading the reviews, I was concerned about the flour and milk. I researched other cheesecake recipes, and sure enough, none of them called for either. So I simply left out both the milk and the flour, and I'm very glad I did. The texture was very smooth and creamy. I'm convinced milk and flour do not add to the flavor or the texture, and they are better omitted. I also followed the advice of other reviewers (don't you love being able to consult the reviews?) and added ground almonds, sugar, and cinnamon to the crust and increased the butter to 1/4 cup. This really elevated the crust from blah to extraordinary. I baked in a water bath at 325F for 1 hr and 15 min, and let it cool in a closed oven. The lower temperature prevented the cheesecake from browning, and it set perfectly without cracks after refridgration. (After I started using a crockpot liner instead of foil to cover the bottom, I've never had a problem with water leaking into my cheesecake. Just make sure to tie the excess into a knot so it is tight around the pan and doesn't fall flat into the water or into the cheesecake.) With these modifications, my husband and I would rate this cheesecake is the BEST we've ever tasted. Thanks to the previous reviewers about the tips on room temp ingredients and not overmixing! This is the first time my cheesecase has not cracked and had such lovely texture!
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Apple Walnut Salad with Cranberry Vinaigrette

Reviewed: Dec. 28, 2006
5 stars for the salad but only 2 for the dressing. I must have made the dressing incorrectly because others seemed to have loved it. Even though I used 1/3 C onion, it came out super thick and didn't look very appetizing. Next time, I think I will just run the cranberries through the processor and then wisk the rest of the ingredients by hand. The salad on the other hand, was fabulous! I coated the walnuts in a cinnamon sugar glaze (approx. 1/4 sugar, 1/4 tsp cinnamon, 1 T water) and then toasted them. This really created depth to the walnuts. I'm usually not a fan of walnuts, but I couldn't stop munching on these! I also threw in a handful of dried cranberries and topped with feta.
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Mandarin Orange Chicken

Reviewed: Aug. 25, 2006
After reading the reviews, I modified this because my husband is a "texture" guy and I didn't think he would like chunks of oranges. Instead of the mandarin oranges and orange juice, I added orange zest (approx. 1 tsp) and then squeezed 2/3 C juice from the oranges and added that to the sauce. This added the perfect amount of orange flavor without the extra calories of the orange marmalade alternative. I also cooked the chicken in olive oil and sesame oil instead of butter for a more asian flavor. I tossed in some broccoli toward the end and let the sauce thicken. It tastes better than takeout! You might want to toss in the cashews right before serving (or if reheating in the microwave, add after nuking) because they lose their crunchiness if they get cooked too long or microwaved.
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Rosemary Ranch Chicken Kabobs

Reviewed: Jun. 3, 2008
The vinegar and lemon juice really tenderizes the meat, and the flavors go very well together. Trader Joes has the best ranch dressing I have found so far (no affiliation). It's organic, all natural ingredients, uses real buttermilk, has no high fructose corn syrup, has less fat than regular ranch, super creamy, and tastes great.
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Jay's Signature Pizza Crust

Reviewed: Jun. 21, 2006
*update* I've made this several times and this makes a top-notch pizza crust with a crispy crust and chewy center. I double the sugar and increase the salt to 1 1/2 tsp because it’s a tad bland as written. I recently substituted 1 C flour for whole wheat flour and found it did not alter the texture. 100% whole wheat made the dough gummy and hard to roll out. Kneading was difficult and messy the first time. I recently tried doing most of the kneading in my stand mixer with a dough hook and then kneaded the rest by hand. This made the dough much more manageable. In the end, I added an extra 3/4 cup of flour (1/2 C flour in the stand mixer & 1/4 C while kneading by hand) but it still came out tender. I baked it on the bottom rack on a preheated baking stone to get the bottom crispy and used corn meal to transfer from the peel instead of flour (a la Pizza Hut vs. Dominos). Made 2 crusts.
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Honey Curried Roasted Chicken and Vegetables

Reviewed: Nov. 6, 2007
*Revised* Note: vegetables should be roasted at 400 degrees, not 350 (no preboiling - it saps flavor and prevents carmelization). Because of the different cooking temperatures, I roast the veggies and chicken separately. (If you only have 1 oven, preroast the veggies first, set them aside, and then cook the chicken. When chicken is done, let it rest under foil, increase the oven temp, and finish roasting veggies. That way, by the time the juices have settled back in the chicken, the veggies are hot and done.) I find that adding a little water to the glaze SIGNIFICANTLY improves the color and texture. Otherwise it will be too thick when cooked. Also, to avoid burning the glaze, pour over chicken 15 minutes before the timer ends instead of 20 min. You'll definitely want to make extra sauce to serve on the side.
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