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Cream Puffs

Reviewed: Oct. 9, 2006
This was a very good, easy recipe - my only gripe (therefore 4 stars) is that I had to read all the reviews to get it right b/c the instructions were somewhat lacking. I added about 2 tsp of vanilla and 1 tblsp of sugar to the puff batter, and reduced the eggs to 3 b/c of reviewer's comments about the puff pastry being too eggy. I think 4 eggs would've been fine, too - I don't mind them being eggy or a bit on the light side flavor-wise since the custard is so sweet. But it's ESSENTIAL to poke a hole the last couple of mins of baking the puffs so they don't collapse. It's also ESSENTIAL to let the dough cool before adding eggs, otherwise the eggs will start "cooking" in the dough & not mix in. Also ESSENTIAL to beat in as much air as possible when mixing the eggs until the dough is a sticky, elasticky, "chewy" consistency. Maybe Shellie could add these important instructions into the recipe? While experienced bakers may know this as "common knowledge," a lot of new bakers may not. I made big ones and bite sized ones - even the big ones cooked through in about 25-28 mins. Just gotta poke that hole. To cut back on calories in the filling, I just made the pudding recipe as is, with fat-free milk. Was still delicious. I plan on making it with heavy cream for guests later this week.
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2646 users found this review helpful

Easy Shake and Bake Chicken

Reviewed: Sep. 27, 2006
I actually left out the butter and didn't miss it - chicken was still juicy. Even used chicken breasts. While it does seem that the nutrition info is a bit high, for those questioning baked vs. fried, you should know that baking (with half a cup of butter!!!) does not mean it's healthier than frying. It's not JUST the method of cooking, but simply the amount of oil/butter you use. Look here for the nutritional info for 1 cup of butter: http://www.calorie-count.com/calories/item/1145.html Half a cup would be around 90 grams of fat and 800 calories, not including the chicken itself. For each serving, that's over 20 grams of fat in butter alone. Also, each serving here is 1 pound of chicken (not distinguishing white/dark meat)! That's a big serving of chicken. Dark meat also has significantly more fat & calories compared to breast meat (3-4 times more).
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737 users found this review helpful

Eclair Cake

Reviewed: Apr. 21, 2008
I'm giving this 4 stars b/c I thought it was ok, but my guests loved it. I had a version of this before that was absolutely delicious, but I don't think this recipe was as good. Part of it may be that it was barely fridged for 4 hours, so possibly if it had "sat" longer, it would've tasted better. I also used cinnamon graham crackers b/c that's all I had, and I personally didn't like the cinnamon flavor in the cake, but other people thought it was a great touch. I think some great variations would be to make it like tiramisu with some coffee flavoring, b/c overall it just tasted plain to me - sweet - but plain in flavor. The version I had eaten before had vanilla and chocolate layers. I may try that next time, maybe even add some coffee into the mix. UPDATE: I made a variation with chocolate graham crackers and Fat/sugar free cheesecake pudding w/ dark chocolate frosting. It was REALLY good. The tip to heat up the frosting is a must since it's SO much easier that way and you end up getting a nice smooth, shiny coating just like an eclair. Also, I would recommend making this in a big rectangular tupperware so that you can just snap the lid on top. I kept finding my saran wrap would "suction" itself to my frosting when I made it in a pan and not look as pretty. It's also essential to let the cake sit for at least overnight. This version sat for 2 days and the texture was just WAY better than the first one I made which barely sat for 4 hours as the recipe stated.
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347 users found this review helpful

Shredded Brussels Sprouts

Reviewed: Sep. 15, 2006
Really good. Not a fan of shredding them since it looks sloppy & overcooks easily that way, so I quartered/halved them. Turned out to be very tasty. I even used pre-crumbled, pre-drained bacon, so it was less greasy/fattening, but just as delicious!
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218 users found this review helpful

New York Cheesecake III

Reviewed: Sep. 24, 2007
Makes a lovely, dense, flavorful cheesecake. I didn't need a water bath or anything, and it was perfect; no cracks. I just left it in the oven until it totally cooled to room temp and then put it in the fridge. I also made a few adjustments: I used a combination of sugar and splenda (couldn't tell the difference), cut the total sugar down to 1.5 cups (plenty sweet), added vanilla as recommended by reviewers, and left out the extra 2 egg yolks. The egg yolks weren't missed - I don't like my cheesecakes eggy. I paired it with a homemade berry sauce: frozen strawberries, dethawed w/ the juice (these were home-frozen so no syrup); frozen berry mix from safeway; sugar; vanilla balsamic vinegar. Lightly boil for 10 minutes. Mix some cornstarch with a bit of water and mix into the berry mixture to thicken. Let cool. You can add some cinnamon/nutmeg for some spice, but it's a nice, naturally sweet and tart sauce to compliment the creamy sweetness of the cheesecake. I also sprayed my springform pan with PAM for baking and I didn't have to use a knife to separate the crust from the pan at all. It separated on its own beautifully.
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45 users found this review helpful
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Whipped Cream Filling

Reviewed: Oct. 13, 2006
I think this is a great base recipe. The texture was great, but I thought it could've been a tad sweeter. I probably added closer to 3 tablespoons of confectioner's sugar. I also made a green tea version and added a tablespoon of green tea powder - it was EXCELLENT! I felt it could've used slightly more gelatin to maintain its texture, especially if you are making a dessert ahead of time and not something that's eaten right away.
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35 users found this review helpful

Orange Chicken

Reviewed: Jan. 11, 2007
This chicken dish was quite interesting, & I enjoyed it very much. It was also easy to prepare. The orange taste was a more subtle than I expected, but that could be b/c I didn't measure the amt of orange juice or zest - I just fresh squeezed one orange and used its zest. I cut the butter by about half, and the chicken was still juicy. Instead of the method described in the recipe of flipping the chicken on top of the melted butter, I think I will mix the melted butter in with the egg and orange juice mixture next time. I felt the mixture was too watery anyway and flipping the chicken was hard to do without losing a lot of the breading. Instead of paprika I added freshly ground black pepper & I used shake n bake seasoned bread crumbs b/c that's what I had. I also baked at 400F for about 30 mins.
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27 users found this review helpful

Thai Green Curry Chicken

Reviewed: Jan. 20, 2009
This was my first attempt at making Thai green curry, and this recipe was a good base. I think it heavily depends on the curry paste you have, b/c they vary significantly by flavor and heat. My green curry paste was not very hot, but was flavorful, so even though I increased the amount of curry paste, the dish was missing heat for me. Next time I'll add Thai chili peppers with this particular curry paste. I added lemongrass (cut into large pieces so you can easily remove them before eating), Thai basil (totally essential!!), carrots, and red pepper. I also tried making coconut rice by putting coconut milk into the rice cooker. It was mildly fragrant with coconut, so I might tweak with that more. With the added ingredients I think the curry had a lot more dimension, texture, and flavor, but needed more spicy/heat boost to compare to the Thai curries I had in Thailand! Will add more curry paste and chili pepper next time... or try a different brand of curry paste.
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26 users found this review helpful

Snowballs II

Reviewed: Dec. 18, 2007
PERFECT!! I wouldn't change a thing. This cookie just melts in your mouth and it is SO easy to make. A little messy with the confectioner's sugar + candy cane powder, but once you establish a system, it's not as awkward. I felt it was easiest/cleanest to do it with tongs. I even made a batch with white whole wheat flour, and it tasted wonderful; just added to the nutty buttery taste but made it just a tad healthier! =P I found smaller balls baked more like balls. If the ball was too large, it would start to flatten slightly into a mound.
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26 users found this review helpful

Crab Stuffed Flounder

Reviewed: Aug. 14, 2007
3.5 stars. It was a very easy recipe, but I think it lacked some flavor. It's a good base recipe; I would use more worch. sauce, maybe even marinate the fillets in the sauce before. The crab topping was good (still lacking some spice), but the fish was pretty bland. I think it would work better if you baked it in a pan that was a bit too small, that way all the juices and sauce/juices don't run all over and instead get absorbed by the fish & topping.
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20 users found this review helpful

Amaretti

Reviewed: Mar. 27, 2007
My rating is not completely accurate since I didn't follow the recipe exactly. Instead of processing blanched almonds, I used Trader Joe's pure almond flour, 3 cups of it. B/c they weren't blanched, there were bits of brown skin, so it didn't turn out the smooth beige coloring in the picture. It was a little bit grainy/speckled, and the dough was really sticky for me, so I couldn't get rounded balls, they ended up looking more like coconut macroons. The flavor was really great, and I even cut down the sugar to 1 cup. I think if I use the almond flour again, I might mix a little bit of regular flour in, just to make the texture smoother. Also, I used a 1/2 tablespoon to make the cookies, which made 2 dozen, but I think it made them too big and "dense." Next time I will make them smaller, I think 1 teaspoon would be perfect. I'm still looking for a recipe similar to the AMAZING amaretti I had in Venice, Italy!! Flavor was there, but texture was not what I was looking for, but it was probably the adjustments I made. If you like the texture of coconut macroons, then this is it, but almond flavored!
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20 users found this review helpful

Penne Russo a la Vodka

Reviewed: Jan. 18, 2007
I can see myself making this dish on a regular basis; it so easy and the ingredients so simple. My only problem with this dish was adding the cheese at the end before mixing with the pasta. I found that the melting cheese made my toppings of proscuitto, basil, & mushrooms stick and clump together. So I had clumps of delicious toppings tossed with my pasta. Next time, I'll toss the pasta with the sauce and add the cheese while I'm tossing, so it melts onto the pasta, binding toppings with pasta, and not toppings with each other.
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16 users found this review helpful
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Rhubarb-Raspberry Crunch

Reviewed: Aug. 13, 2008
I made this today for a friend's bday picnic and it was a HIT! Gobbled up with no leftovers. I cut the sugar in half b/c I added very ripe, fragrant strawberries and blueberries instead of raspberries. I still found it VERY sweet. I probably could've added a third or quarter of the white sugar. I didn't have instant tapioca so I added 3 tablespoons of cornstarch, which turned out to be the perfect consistency. I modified the topping, doubling everything except the butter, which was a mistake. You need the butter in the topping to really make it crisp. Mine turned out kinda of soggy where there wasn't a pea-sized chunk of butter, b/c I guess the dry ingredients without sufficient butter would just "dissolve" into the wet filling. Tasted delicious, but didn't have the contrasting crunch texture from the sweet filling. I also added cinnamon to the topping, but I didn't really taste it.
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13 users found this review helpful

Almond-Crusted Halibut Crystal Symphony

Reviewed: Sep. 15, 2006
A complicated recipe with a lot of special ingredients, but definitely gourmet and very delicious. Good for a planned small dinner party, not something you'd cook up with what you have in the kitchen on a weeknight after work. I've made it with frozen halibut (very good) & with fresh salmon (EXCELLENT).
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7 users found this review helpful

Bake Sale Lemon Bars

Reviewed: Mar. 7, 2011
It is rather misleading to try a highly rated recipe when there have been so many changes. I followed the changes that apparently everyone said makes it a 5 star recipe. Way too much flour in the filling, and maybe even too many eggs. It was rubbery and pasty. I've had WAY better lemon bar recipes. And I'm not even sure whether to rate the original recipe poorly or the modifications. I figure if the modifications were supposed to make it better (and the modifications were not good), the original was worse? Again, just misleading.
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6 users found this review helpful
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Una's Cheddar Beer Bread (bread machine dough cycle)

Reviewed: Oct. 29, 2007
So I don't have a bread machine. And I used self-rising flour, so no yeast. My bread didn't rise that much, but it was really delicious. I basically just tossed in a bunch of leftover shredded cheeses that I had: mexican mix, parmesan, asiago, and romano. I topped it with some shredded asiago cheese. The crust was the best. It was a great dense, savory bread. Next time I will get yeast and see if I can make the bread "chewier." I personally liked the taste very much, but my coworkers thought it was ok.
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5 users found this review helpful

Banana Banana Bread

Reviewed: Jul. 4, 2007
Yummy and moist! I think I actually had more bananas (had 4 large overripe bananas) and since it was pretty moist, I cut out the butter completely. It wasn't missed! Everyone at my bbq loved it.
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4 users found this review helpful

Spaghetti Carbonara II

Reviewed: Jan. 11, 2007
I roughly scaled this recipe down for 2 people. My bf and I just returned from several weeks in Italy, and this was our first time attempting carbonara ever. Besides me undercooking the pasta slightly (I expected it to cook more as I mixed it with the meat and sauce), the flavor was really good. I used proscuitto instead of bacon, and prepared it the same way, although there wasn't much fat leftover, which didn't matter. I found that I didn't need to add any salt at all, since the proscuitto and cheese were salty enough and I had salted the water I boiled the pasta in. My only complaint is that it cooled very quickly as I was mixing the beaten eggs in. First they kinda started to cook b/c the pan was hot, so I stirred more vigorously to coat, but then when I ate the pasta, it was cooler than lukewarm. Any suggestions from people on how to mix in the beaten eggs without cooking them into scrambled-eggs-with-pasta without cooling the dish too much? I didn't add onion or white wine. It tasted fine without.
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4 users found this review helpful

Brown Sugar Meatloaf

Reviewed: Oct. 23, 2006
I was never a big fan of meatloaf (seems like it's just molded flavorful hamburger patties to me) but I thought with these reviews it might be different. The ginger gave it a nice flavor that was different, but I didn't like how the sugar/ketchup glaze was on the bottom. I couldn't find my loaf pan so I made it in a pie pan, which reduced the baking time and made it more like a meat pie. THe edges were the tastiest b/c the brown sugar carmelized. The rest of it was not as flavorful. Not too bad, but wasn't enough to convince me that meatloaf is anything more than seasoned hamburger.
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4 users found this review helpful

Baked Ziti II

Reviewed: Oct. 18, 2006
While definitely cheesy and creamy (I didn't even add a whole pound of mozz cheese and it was still cheesy), I think it needed some other ingredients, like a meat or vegetable to make it a complete meal. I added some chopped chicken breast and mushrooms, which was nice. Must use a flavorful sauce. I also used whole wheat pasta which added some more flavor.
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4 users found this review helpful

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