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Erin's Cheesy Broccoli Soup

Reviewed: Oct. 23, 2013
I made some modifications and certainly, feel with those it's a 5-star. First, I melted the butter in a large pan, then sauted onion, minced celery, grated carrot, garlic and shallot, as I think this was the main reason for the flavor, without it, I think it would be lacking. I then added some white pepper and salt. After the veggies softened, I added only about 2 or 2 1/2 T flour, which ended up being plenty to thicken this. I like the idea of dry mustard, but did not have any on hand or would have added it. I whisked in the milk, slowly till well combined. I then added in the cooked broccoli that I had cooked in vegetable stock. I then pureed this a bit with an immersion blender. I then added the softened (room temp) cream cheese (only used about 4 oz) and whisked that in. I added the cheddar cheese (more like 1 1/2 cups) and stirred to melt it. I had reserved a bit of the cooked broccoli and chopped it small, to add some texture to the soup, which was really nice. I served this in mini bread bowl, big hit with the kids, for fun-factor! The base idea of this recipe is really good, mostly because it does not call for process cheese food or to add a can of 'cream of something' soup, but is much more HOMEMADE.
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Slow Cooker Beef Stroganoff I

Reviewed: Oct. 14, 2013
I used a chuck roast that I cut up. I floured and browned the meat slightly (in vegetable oil) before adding to the slow cooker. I used 2 cans of the soup and added a good 1 cup of beef broth instead of water. I used cream cheese and sour cream at the end. I also added some fresh mushrooms (without saute first) to the last hour of cooking and they added nicely to the dish.
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Italian Sausage Soup with Tortellini

Reviewed: Oct. 14, 2013
Used Chicken sausage and fresh spinach and fresh mushrooms since I didn't have a zucchini on hand. Used vegetable broth instead of beef. Added one small can of diced tomatoes in place of the fresh ones and omitted the tomato sauce to have a more 'broth' consistency. Also added fresh garlic and skipped the red wine, just added a little water instead. Soup was very tasty served with some grated pecorino cheese. Easy and quick to make and very hearty meal!
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Mom's Apple Fritters

Reviewed: Oct. 14, 2013
I used slightly less apple than called for, as this is what I had on hand and it was plenty. (used approx 2 1/2 cups, finely diced apple) Next time I would grate the apple, to avoid the 'chunky' look of the fritter. I added approx 1 t cinnamon to the batter and 1/4 t nutmeg. I agree that 350 is hot enough for the oil. They must get quite brown to be fully cooked. I had a few that were not fully cooked in center. This recipe makes a LOT of batter. After frying about 1/2 the batter, I had 18 fritters. I took the other 1/2 of the batter and made 6 quick muffins. Just put the extra batter into muffin papers and baked at 400 for about 22 minutes. Next time I'll make only a 1/2 recipe of the batter and maybe even cut back the apple portion to 2 cups.
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Five Spice Muffins

Reviewed: Sep. 11, 2013
Made this recipe yesterday. I only had white whole wheat flour on hand, so used that. Replaced sunflower seeds with chopped pecans (personal preference). Cut sugar back to about 1 cup, mixed together white and brown sugar. Used cinnamon, nutmeg and allspice, as these were the spices I had on hand. Cut the salt back to just about 1/8 t, the recipe amount called for seemed like much too much? Added some fresh lemon zest to the batter. As others mentioned, my batter was a bit too dry, so I had some heavy whipping cream on hand (why not??) and stirred in, just a drizzle of it, till the batter seemed moist enough. I had to bake this in a 9x9 in pan, as I could not find my muffin form. We ended up with kind of a cake or Zucchini Bread. But, it was just a bit dry. Great flavor though. It may have been the reduction of sugar AND the whole wheat flour that contributed to the dryness. So, next time, I think I'll increase the amount of shredded zucchini or even add some shredded carrot as others did, to get the moisture level up, but still keep it healthy.
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Overnight Blueberry French Toast

Reviewed: Apr. 26, 2013
I contemplated giving this only 3 stars, as the taste was not as great as I expected, but it is a great recipe idea. I used a baguette, which was a great suggestion to not get a soggy mess. I only used 1 pk cream cheese as others suggested (and thinned it out with milk). I added more blueberries than called for, as 1 cup didn't fully cover the bread and I thought one must have blueberry in every bite! I sprinkled the layers of bread with cinnamon as others suggested, but it wasn't enough, next time I'd add more. I could not taste the maple syrup at all, which would have been great. Maybe I'll increase that next time, as I also thought this could be a little sweeter, even though I'm not a super-sweet eater. The blueberry sauce was a bit off... I think it was too much cornstarch, it was so thick, it got globby. I will try this again, but I need to add more flavor to it!
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Apple Crisp II

Reviewed: Mar. 8, 2013
This was yummy and I'll definitely make it again. Because I needed to make it ahead and bake later, I tossed the apples in fresh lemon juice. I did not use nearly 1 cup of white sugar, I just kind of sprinkled it over the apples and MAYBE used 1/4 cup at most and it was PLENTY! I added some nutmeg as well. I also added 1/2 cup chopped pecans to the topping which was really good. I did not use 1/2 cup water, thought it would be too soupy, so used about 1/4 cup. Also - I cut cold butter into the topping, rather than melted. In the end, I felt it was still a bit too sweet and might consider cutting back the brown sugar and leaving the white sugar out all together. As the apples bake, they do sweeten up a bit (compared to a raw apple), so I don't think quite that much sugar is needed. Also I used Braeburn and pink lady - a mix, hoping for sweet/ tart and that worked out pretty good, except all of the apples seemed a bit too soft, will research a more 'sturdy' apple to use next time. Also, will leave out the water all-together as that might have contributed to making them too soft.
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Quinoa and Black Bean Chili

Reviewed: Mar. 4, 2013
I decided to make this just from what I had in my pantry, so that said... it differs a bit from the original, but turned out really, really good! I also cooked my quinoa in vegetable broth rather than water, for extra flavor. I added 1/2 t smoked paprika to the spices. I cut back the chili powder & cumin to approx. 1/2 T each, as it seemed like it would be too much. I used the diced tomatoes that have green chilies in them and just 14 oz (all I had on hand). I supplemented the rest of the tomato with about 16 oz of vegetable (V8) juice. I used 1 can kidney and 1 can black beans. I had no green bell pepper, so only used red. Had no zucchini on hand, so left it out. Had no jalapeno or peppers in adobe sauce on hand, but did have a jar of medium heat salsa verde, so put in about 1/2 cup of that to get some spice. We topped ours with sour cream and cheddar cheese... Considering I did this completely with what I had on hand, it turned out great and the recipe gave me the inspiration to make a great dish!
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Beefy Baked Ravioli

Reviewed: Feb. 27, 2013
Slightly changed. Had some extra time today, so made my own sauce, but used the same amount (in ounces) as stated in recipe. Since I was making my own sauce, I took advantage of the opportunity to add some fresh veggies: Mushrooms, garlic, onion, minced carrot & celery. I seasoned my sauce with Italian seasoning blend, garlic powder & salt and Pepper. I used much less cheese than what was called for (about 1/2) and it was cheesy - used cheese ravioli as well. I loved the combo of mozzarella, monterey jack and Parmesan cheeses! I dabbed the top of mine with ricotta as well. I wanted to drizzle it with creme fraiche, but forgot before I put it in the oven! (next time!) - that said, yes will make again. Was a great alternative to Lasagne and the work it takes for that. That said... one could make this like a Lasagne and add a layer of ricotta with some spinach stirred in or a layer of thin sliced roasted zucchini. For the ones who stated this is "not homemade" or whatever... then MAKE it homemade, that is fine. But, the idea behind the basic recipe here is Genius! Make it your own thing... that's cool.
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Carrot Cupcakes with White Chocolate Cream Cheese Icing

Reviewed: Feb. 18, 2013
The cake was very moist! I did not put the white chocolate or orange extract in the frosting, didn't have them on hand. Also reduced the powdered sugar by about 1/2.. just didn't want it that sweet. Therefore, only needed a splash of milk (didn't have cream), to thin it... rather than 2 T. I subbed the pineapple for applesauce (just don't like pineapple in my carrot cake). Used pecans instead of walnuts. I also used more like 2 1/2 -3 cups shredded carrots. They were tasty and everyone really like them!
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No Fuss Shredded Beef Tacos

Reviewed: Feb. 7, 2013
Cooked the meat about 9 hours and it just fell apart... so moist and tender. I did not add the beef broth, to cut back on liquid. It definitely makes a LOT of 'juice' as it's cooking. I decided to ladle out the juice at about 8 hours and strain and simmer on the stovetop to get an enchilada sauce. I wrapped the beef, shredded cheddar and fresh cilantro in corn tortillas and placed in baking dish, topped with the sauce and ended up with pretty good beef enchiladas! I still have 1/2 the meat left (we are only a family of 4 and this was 2-3 meals of meat for us)... will make shredded beef tacos with the rest in a day or two. Or, might dice it up and make a "Chili Colorado".. that would be fast and easy with this meat! In any case, this recipe opens possibilities for all types of meals. I also added smoked paprika to mine and left the jalapenos out, was a nice flavor for us.
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Beef Stew VI

Reviewed: Jan. 30, 2013
Great recipe. Did make a few changes. As others did, I tossed the beef cubes in flour before browning in pan. I used fresh rosemary because I had it on hand. I also added 2 T tomato paste for flavor and thickening. I added about 2 t worcestershire sauce. I also added 1 clove garlic and 1 minced shallot as well as 1 T Italian seasoning to add flavor. The recipe alone sounded too bland to me, but with these additions it was delicious. Giving it a 5 because the main concept of this dish works really well. At last 1/2 hour, I decided to add 1/2 cup each frozen peas and corn to add some color. I cooked this on the stovetop, then kept it warm in a 250 F oven for about another hour which seemed to be perfect as I don't know that the original 2 hour cooking time was quite enough.
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Tamra's Lemon Artichoke Pesto

Reviewed: Jan. 23, 2013
I changed up the recipe quite a bit, but it turned out delicious! I threw everything in the food processor including the artichokes, then stirred the parm cheese in at end. I had no lemon juice, but would have liked to add it and will next time. I also used ONLY Olive oil. I used only 1 garlic clove and it was PLENTY. as many have mentioned, 8 sounds like it would overpower everything. I also added 5 sun dried tomatoes to the food processor... yum! I had no walnuts, so used pine nuts and left out the cayenne for the kids. Used jared artichokes and they were fine. Also added a good bit black pepper. I felt the cilantro got lost, didn't taste it, so next time think I will add more and/or try with fresh Basil instead. I served this over pasta. I did add about 1 cup of pasta water to the pesto to thin it out, so it would nicely coat the pasta. Husband and both kids (age 6 &4) loved it! I have a small amount of the pesto that I set aside that I might use today as a spread or in a cold pasta salad. It's very versatile! Great recipe idea!
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Gingerbread Men Cookies

Reviewed: Dec. 20, 2012
This dough turned out perfect. Once I got all ingredients together, I worried for a minute because the dough seemed a bit dry/crumbly. I just worked it a few seconds with my hands and the flour finished absorbing and it was great! Did cut outs (rolled thicker than recipe suggests to get a thick, soft cookie) then rolled some in balls, then in sugar and baked into soft "ginger snaps". Next time I might add a bit more ginger as I personally like a good zing to these cookies!
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Peanut Butter Cup Cookies

Reviewed: Dec. 20, 2012
Full-proof recipe. Be sure to let the cookies remain in the pan till completely cooled or they might fall apart!
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Easy Morning Glory Muffins

Reviewed: Dec. 10, 2012
I've made this recipe many, many times, but changed it up quite a bit from the start. I use 1/2 white flour and 1/2 whole wheat. I use only 1/3 cup of sugar and like brown sugar. With all the other stuff in here, it's all the sugar you need to get sweetness. I also reduce the oil to only 1/4 cup, then add 1/4 cup pumpkin puree, apple sauce or even a mashed banana for the rest of the moisture - and this also adds a bit of sweetness, therefore not needing the extra added sugar. The recipe as originally states makes well more than 12 muffins. I can cut this recipe in 1/2 and still get 11 or 12 small/medium sized muffins.
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Pebber Nodder (Danish Christmas Cookies)

Reviewed: Nov. 15, 2012
I think the recipe is great. That said, I did make a few changes that other reviewers suggested... such as additional spice. I added 1/4 t white pepper, some allspice, ginger and cloves and upped the cardamom to 1 1/2 t. They were 'too' spicy for my 6 year old... so maybe next time I'll tone that back a bit. Normally he loves cinnamon and other Christmas spices, but it was a bit much. (not for me, just for him) I think a tab more flour is needed as my cookies flattened out very quickly and got crusty edges on some. I did roll some of them in sugar, just to see the results and did like the little outer crunch it gave as well as making them look pretty. So, when I do these for Christmas, I think I'll do them with the sugar. I imagine some colored sugar on there would work well too and be very pretty.
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Fluffy Carrot Muffins with Cream Cheese Frosting

Reviewed: Nov. 10, 2012
The muffins were very delicious! That said, I reduced the sugar from 1 cup to just 3/4 cup and next time will try 1/2 cup and still think they will be plenty sweet. Also reduced the sugar in the icing by nearly 1/2 and was more than sweet enough. oh and think I had a bit over 2 cups of grated carrots, shredded what I had and think it came to more like 2 1/2 cups. Otherwise followed recipe as stated. Was skeptical when I saw the very thin/runny batter, but it baked very nicely and truly was 'fluffy' and light. Will make again... loved by the kids and adults alike!
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Famous No Coffee Pumpkin Latte

Reviewed: Oct. 24, 2012
I didn't want a large qty of this, so made a single serving with 1/4 c pumpkin puree (canned), 3/4 C milk, 2 t sugar, 1/2 t pumpkin pie spice and 1/2 t vanilla. Turned out great! Was a little more 'texture' than I wanted, but the flavor was wonderful and I think others suggested straining it to get a smoother texture and I am sure that would make a very smooth result. I have tried pumpkin latte recipes before, this is the best so far! p.s. -- I "had" to add a shot of espresso to mine... coffee lover here! - without the shot, I'd maybe increase the milk to 1 C for a single serving.
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Pumpkin Oatmeal

Reviewed: Oct. 24, 2012
This was rich and creamy and really tasty, especially on a chilly morning! That said, I must add that I used regular milk (we don't drink soy milk), regular honey, pecans instead of walnuts... personal preference, but was really tasty and used Pumpkin Pie Spice mixture instead of just cinnamon. Also, amount of honey was not sweet enough for me, so I added more (I have a sweet tongue). Next time I might try a sprinkle of brown sugar and/or fresh maple syrup! Was skeptical about this, but it turned out great, will make many, many times again.
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