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Hash Brown Casserole II

Reviewed: Nov. 13, 2006
Made both as written and with a small change. I like the cream of mushroom soup better than the chicken. I also omit the topping, just because I never seem to have crushed cornflakes, and it is perfectly fine w/o. Here's a tip on how to get it to mix better. Make sure hash browns are thawed as per recipe instructions. Pour melted butter/margarine over the potatoes and mix. Then add the cheese and mix. Lastly add the rest of the ingredients. It seems to mix faster and better for me this way. It does need the full hour to cook or your onions will be crunchy. I usually divide this in half between 2 smaller casseroles, eat one for dinner and freeze the other. Thanks for the great recipe! Update: 15/02/07 - Tried the suggestion of putting french fried onions on top instead of the cornflakes - absolutely awesome! Don't put in at the start though...put in last 10-15 min and cook uncovered (watch as they burn easily), I sprinkled some extra cheese on top with the onions and it was really good!
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1018 users found this review helpful

Mashed Potato Cakes

Reviewed: Jun. 23, 2008
I've learned a few tips making these - for those of you whose patties didn't stay together - it's probably because your mashed potatoes are too creamy. You have to have mashed potatoes that are on the stiffer side or they won't hold their shape. I've tried to add more flour in the past to rectify this but it just made them gummy. Also, I wouldn't add the water that this recipe calls for - just makes the mixture that much more wet. For flavor - I use seasoning salt instead of regular salt. This recipe also does call for lots of onion - which I love - but kids aren't too fond of it - so I divide my batch in half - add the onion to the "adults" one and put onion powder in the "kids" one. Adding parsley flakes makes it look a little more fancy if you have company. And, frying in butter gives good flavor but it does brown quite fast and it will affect the taste of your cakes. Pam works like a charm but is not as flavorful (I use butter flavoerd Pam). Hope these help!
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124 users found this review helpful

Death by Chocolate

Reviewed: Jan. 7, 2007
My 2 teenagers love this cake, have made it in place of birthday cakes even. I don't care for German chocolate cake so I use devil's food. If I am in a super hurry, sometimes I'll just by the McCain's frozen cakes (2) and scrape off the icing. If you don't have a Skor, you can use packaged toffee bits in a pinch, but DON'T try to substitute another chocolate bar, I've tried that and it is not pleasing to bite into big chunks of chocolate. Drizzling Kaluha over the cake pieces is also good. Update: If you want to make this toddler friendly (ie. for a birthday, potluck, etc), you can buy clear plastic cups, and layer the cake, pudding, Skor Bar, and end with whipped cream, put some chocolate curls on top, and you have little individual cake cups. A family member brought this to our reunion and it was the best idea ever for the kids.
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123 users found this review helpful

Wonderful Banana Cake

Reviewed: Jan. 6, 2008
Definitely worth the 5 stars! I always have leftover bananas (my kids won't eat them if they have even one spot!) and don't have time for a long complicated recipe. This really fits the bill, and I was pleasantly surprised how good it came out. It smells wonderful while cooking. I pre-heated the oven and baked for 40 minutes which was perfect. I did add 1 tsp cinnamon and 1 cup choc chips. I agree with another reviewer, I don't think it needs the chocolate chips, so I won't be doing that again. It is sweet enough to not need a frosting but is really good with also. I am so glad I found this recipe and highly recommend it. We couldn't wait for it to cool in the fridge, we ate it warm from the oven :) Update: I made this with a Butter Pecan cake mix and it was just as good, if not better. Tip: if you're short on bananas, you can throw in one of those little applesauce cups (I've done this when I've only had 2 bananas, makes the batter thinner but the cake still turns out great in the end, very moist).
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101 users found this review helpful

Real Poutine

Reviewed: Jan. 13, 2006
Love this recipe! You can use mozzarella cheese if you can't find cheese curds, and packaged gravy mix if you can't find canned gravy.
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86 users found this review helpful

Microwave Baked Potato

Reviewed: Jul. 4, 2008
This is good in a time crunch - I use the Perfect Baked Potato recipe from this site for the oven style (brush olive oil after pricking and sprinkle with salt) so I do this step for the microwave too. For those of you who are following that tip to wrap in plastic wrap - beware, chemicals from the plastic wrap will leach into your potato if you do this. I would only use those plastic bags that are designed for the microwave otherwise you are putting your health at risk. Thanks for the great recipe.
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58 users found this review helpful

Pan Pierogies

Reviewed: Dec. 7, 2006
This recipe as written is kind of bland. Here's my tips to spruce it up. The key to this recipe is the POTATOES. Don't use the instant! Make the potatoes exactly like you would to make your regular perogies (add the cheese directly to the potatoes and whatever seasonings). My family is Ukranian and we serve perogies with fried bacon and onions, so that is what I put on the top. When you cut into this to serve, what you are going to taste ultimately is the potatoes, so if you're expecting it to taste like perogies, you have to make the potatoes like you would if you were doing it the old fashioned way. This is a good way to get that taste without all the work!
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58 users found this review helpful

Mashed Potato Quesadilla

Reviewed: Jul. 12, 2008
OMG - these are SO good! I am on Weight Watchers, and it is not that hard to pare it down in calories and fat. I followed the recipe exact except for using the smaller, lower fat tortillas and just sprinkling the cheese on each one. I used bacon pieces and they are only 35 calories per tbsp. I don't make my mashed potatoes that fattening so that helps also. I served with tomato soup so that you don't have to keep eating them to get satisfied (kind of like eating tomato soup and grilled cheese). To cook, I used my Cusinart Griddler with the flat plates on 400 degrees, so it only took 2 minutes to cook total (because I didn't have to flip). With my own tortilla I used butter flavored spray rather than real butter, and I also didn't add any cheese to mine. It still tasted really good and definitely reminicent of perogies. Tips: you will be tempted to pile on the potatoes, but use a little restraint - the potatoes will seep out if using a grill press like I did. It doesn't affect the taste, just looks a little messy and may run over onto your griddle. Also, heat up your mashed potatoes first for easier mixing. THANKS a million for this awesome recipe, this has to be the BEST way to use up leftover mashed potatoes!
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54 users found this review helpful

Hamburger Vegetable Soup

Reviewed: Mar. 30, 2007
Followed the recipe to a T, even though I was apprehensive about using chicken broth in a beef soup. Glad I did as it had a pleasant taste. As I was cooking this I thought it might have too much water until I added the macaroni and of course it used up some of the liquid (I like a thick soup). Once the macaroni was cooked it was the perfect consistency. Could perhaps use a touch more seasoning of some sort, but overall a good stick to your ribs soup. Will make this again. Update: I adapted this recipe for the slow cooker...I used 4 cans of chicken broth and no water. Added a can of niblet corn with the juice. Added a small can of V8 and 2 packets of low salt beef bouillon. Everything else was the same, except for I did not add the macaroni until the end (boiled separate and added to soup so it wouldn't take up all the liquid). It tasted really good. I still like the original recipe because it's quicker but if you want to use your slow cooker it works good for that too. The only thing about my slow cooker method is that next time I think I will add some water as the macaroni still sucked up the broth even though I added it at the end.
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47 users found this review helpful

Sweet and Sour Spareribs

Reviewed: Dec. 27, 2007
I'm rating this a 4 but only for the sauce. The method is not good -my spareribs turned out tough. If you were using this method for baby back ribs (which are more tender), then I think it would be alright (I believe in the picture those are baby backs, not spareribs). I was hesitant to not cover these but I wanted to follow the recipe exactly, and I was right. As for the sauce, it tastes very similar to the sauce in Chinese food restaurants (the red sauce on their sweet and sours). It is pleasant tasting, but I think for me personally, I'll reduce the vinegar to 1/2 cup next time, it was just a little to vinegary for me. I usually follow the recipe out of Company's coming for s&s sauce and this is very different from that one due to the cider vinegar. All in all, very easy and tasty, just use a different method of cooking.
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41 users found this review helpful

Gourmet Chicken Pizza

Reviewed: Sep. 6, 2006
I was excited to try this recipe as we all use Ranch dressing as a "dip" for our regular pizza. It was so good and a very nice change to regular pizza! I think the key here is: 1)Use a good thick ranch dressing, and rather than measuring it, I just spread it on like I would pizza sauce; 2) A thick pizza crust is key, couldn't see this on a thin crust at all; 3) Make sure your chicken is seasoned how you like it or it will be bland. Another tip is use lots of chicken, mine seemed to disappear when the cheese melted, so I'm going to use more next time. I used the canned tomatoes that were tiny chopped and seasoned and it worked great. I added chopped bacon pieces to half and it was good also. I think I'll try salsa next time. I've also made this with the chicken sauteed in BBQ sauce first, which was a nice change but not as good as the original.
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41 users found this review helpful

Oven Beef Stew

Reviewed: Mar. 3, 2006
I had 2 lbs of stew meat so I doubled the recipe. I omitted the French onion soup and used 1 pkg of dry onion soup mix, along with 1 can of beef broth like the other reviewers suggested. I also only used 1 cup of water. It turned out better than I expected. The meat was tender, and I liked the fact that I didn't have to brown it first. The only thing I would say is that it does need some extra seasoning, maybe next time I will tweak it and add some extra spices to it. Overall good recipe, nice and quick prep, took the whole 5 hours to cook. Update: I make this all the time. I have a large family so I still double the recipe. I don't use the french onion soup at all. I use 2 cans mushroom soup, 1 pkg onion soup mix, and 1 cup low sodium beef broth, no additional water - I think that is what makes it bland. Extra seasonings I add are pepper, Maggi, and Worcestershire sauce. I also add an onion (but we really like onions!). Turns out tasty for me every time. I sometimes cook this on 300 for 4 hours to save time, although it is better to cook it as the original recipe states.
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38 users found this review helpful

Easy Ice Cream Cake

Reviewed: May 13, 2007
This was a HUGE hit at our Mother's Day get-together. I would give it 10 stars if I could! Made as written except I drizzled some caramel on top as per suggestion from other reviewers. They all said "Who needs Dairy Queen!" I will definitely make this my signature dessert. I had to use 23 ice cream sandwiches. For those who said it was too rich perhaps try another hot fudge sauce, remember, you are using a whole can on this! Thanks so much for the excellent recipe! UPDATE: June 02/06 - Don't share this recipe with anyone, I have our local grocery store talking about it now, and now I can't buy any ice cream sandwiches because they're all sold out ;)
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37 users found this review helpful

Garlic Mashed Red Potatoes

Reviewed: Oct. 23, 2006
These are very good! We've also used minced roasted garlic for a nice change. Love the addition of the parmesan! We didn't leave the skin on though. Also used the tip on this site of adding milk before butter and that works great
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31 users found this review helpful

Baked French Fries I

Reviewed: Jun. 26, 2008
These ROCK!!! I cut mine with a french fry cutter so they were smaller than wedges. I took the advice of another reviewer and was generous with the seasonings (I used heaping rather than regular teaspoons). I added the same amount of seasoning salt and a generous sprinkling of pepper. The Ziploc bag trick worked like a charm. I baked at 425 for 30 minutes (450 is too high - the olive oil will burn!)- turned at 15 minutes. I put my fries on foil and they stuck a little, even with them being coated in olive oil. Since the olive oil has a lower smoking point, the foil turned a little black at the end. No problem with taste though - they were nice and crispy and spicy! I am so happy I found this recipe - a great alternative to people trying to eat healthier. Next time - I will use Release foil so they don't stick. I would definitely say that if you like crispy fries - cut them smaller, don't do the wedges. I had no problem with these being bland. The chili powder MAKES this recipe for sure. Don't be shy with the spices and you'll love this recipe. Update: for those of you who are saying this is bland, perhaps replace your chili powder with some fresh stuff...I noticed a huge difference when I replaced mine.
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29 users found this review helpful

Mashed Potato Soup

Reviewed: Jul. 8, 2008
I agree with the other reviewers - a great way to use up leftover mashed potatoes! I tried as written first and found it too be a little thin so I added an extra 1/2 cup mashed potatoes. I tasted it again and found it to be slightly bland...so I added a small envelope of low salt chicken bouillon. It was awesome. I garnished it with grated cheese and bacon pieces but it is super good on it's own. Don't omit the celery salt...it needs it. The soup is hearty and filling. Kid friendly too as my toddler ate it up and so did my teenagers. Thanks for the recipe! Here's a tip: Using a whisk is a must - to make your soup smooth and to make sure the milk doesn't burn on the bottom while heating it up.
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27 users found this review helpful

Caramel Apple Crisp

Reviewed: Jan. 2, 2007
This was really good! I never made apple crisp in a microwave before so I was a little skeptical, but it was fine. The caramel was a nice touch, although my daughter and husband didn't even know it was in there until I told them. Don't expect it to look exactly like oven baked apple crisp, I am used to it being bubbly and only the edges were on mine, although the topping was plently crispy enough for us. It was nice to have this in 20 minutes rather than the hour it takes by oven! Thanks for the recipe, I'll definitely use it again! P.S. Next time I may try using the caramel ice cream topping instead, may be easier and more of a prominent caramel taste than the candies.
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26 users found this review helpful

Russian Cabbage Borscht

Reviewed: Jun. 1, 2008
For those of you who have trouble with your beets still being hard, try grating the beets for the soup rather than dicing them, that's how my Baba did it.
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24 users found this review helpful

Easy Mushroom Rice

Reviewed: Jan. 17, 2007
I have to say, the smell of the onion soup was kinda gross, but the end result was really good! Prep couldn't be easier! Also from Canada and had to really look for the French Onion soup, just found "Onion" soup by Campbells and it worked fine. Used Uncle Ben's converted rice and was done in exactly an hour as promised. This recipe will go into my regular rotation, thanks! Update: Aug/30/07 - DO NOT try and use Minute Rice as it is a disaster! I also have tried this with mushroom soup and with chicken broth instead of the french onion soup. The mushroom soup is my favorite.
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23 users found this review helpful

Roast Beef and Gravy

Reviewed: Nov. 11, 2006
The flavor on this is so awesome, however, I am only rating it a 4 because it was a bit salty. Perhaps next time I could try using reduced sodium products or throwing a raw potato in the liquid while it is cooking (I know this works for stew but not sure how it would work with a roast). Otherwise very tasty and fork tender.
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22 users found this review helpful

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