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Spring Vegetable Soup

Reviewed: Apr. 9, 2014
Very easy to make. And great if you want to clean out your vegetable drawer. I would suggest preparing all of your vegetables the day before you plan to make the soup. As another reviewer suggested, you really don't need noodles, potatoes, and beans. I used one can of white kidney beans. If you enjoy soup, and want to add lots of vegetables to your diet, this is a great recipe.
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Home Town: Elgin, Illinois, USA

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Penne with Shrimp

Reviewed: Apr. 8, 2014
Neither my hubs or I were all that impressed with this. No doubt, the quality of tomatoes you use makes a HUGE difference. I purchased a can of Italian-seasoned tomatoes from Wal-Mart (value brand) and really regret doing so. They were SOOO sweet! I've purchased other store brand tomatoes that were less sweet, but having never tried the Wal-Mart brand, I had no idea what to expect. If I were to ever make this again, I would definitely use a name brand to ensure a better outcome. All in all, this was "OK" but nothing to write home about. Maybe this will float your boat, but it didn't do much for me. Thanks anyways, GILSDORF.
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Photo by Chef Mickey (aka Mickey)

Cooking Level: Intermediate

Home Town: De Soto, Missouri, USA
Living In: Elgin, Illinois, USA

Simple Sweet and Spicy Chicken Wraps

Reviewed: Apr. 8, 2014
I'm not sure why my reviews are being edited considering my opinions are always fair and non judgmental. Some recipes are winners and some aren't. So, here's my second attempt at writing an HONEST review. Aside from all of the glowing reviews, I did not care for this at all. I personally felt the cayenne was overpowering, at least in the sauce (the heat level was spot on, but cayenne was all I could taste). I also think the cook time on the chicken was a little much... Mine was quite dry, but I blame myself for that (I should have watched it more closely). Maybe this will knock your socks off, but this did nothing for me. Thanks anyways, Nuclear Rich.
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Photo by Chef Mickey (aka Mickey)

Cooking Level: Intermediate

Home Town: De Soto, Missouri, USA
Living In: Elgin, Illinois, USA

Southwest Chicken

Reviewed: Apr. 3, 2014
Tasty! My hubs and I liked this quite a bit, albeit with a bit of doctoring on my part. :) I felt this would be pretty bleh as written, so to add a little pizzaz, I seasoned my chicken (which I cubed) with 1/4 teaspoon each of chipotle chili powder, cumin and salt. I also sautéed a small chopped onion and minced garlic clove in a little EVOO BEFORE browning my chicken. I then proceeded as directed. Because I was only serving two adults, I halved everything (which was easy to do since I already had a half can of beans in my fridge and was measuring the corn from a bag in my freezer). Serving this over brown rice with cubed avocado, a dollop of sour cream and fresh lime was a fantastic (and yummy!) idea. Thanks for sharing your healthy recipe, Tamcattt. With a little tweaking, this wasn't bland in the least! :-)
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Photo by Chef Mickey (aka Mickey)

Cooking Level: Intermediate

Home Town: De Soto, Missouri, USA
Living In: Elgin, Illinois, USA

Pan Seared Lemon Tilapia with Parmesan Pasta

Reviewed: Apr. 2, 2014
SO yummy!!! While my hubby felt the fish itself was a little bland, he REALLY enjoyed the pasta! On the contrary, I liked both the fish AND pasta (what does the hubs know anyway lol???). Having said this, you DO need to double the spices on the fish to get even the slightest flavor, but that's just my $.02. I think I'd even go as far as suggesting that the spices (sans the s&p) be tripled or quadrupled. Other than tinkering with the spice blend, this is super yummy - a light yet filling healthful meal. A side of steamed broccoli drizzled with a bit of lemon juice complemented this nicely. Thanks for sharing this hidden gem on here, vo0do0. Mucho deliciosio! :)
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Photo by Chef Mickey (aka Mickey)

Cooking Level: Intermediate

Home Town: De Soto, Missouri, USA
Living In: Elgin, Illinois, USA

Hobo Dinner

Reviewed: Apr. 2, 2014
YUM! Both my hubs and I REALLY enjoyed this!!! Although the concept isn't foreign to me (thanks to my time as a Girl Scout!), I've never made a hobo-style meal myself. Not only is this simple, stick-to-your ribs fare, it's flexible, frugal and easy to prepare. I do suggest a few alterations, however. Adding a packet of dry onion soup mix to your beef gives it incredible flavor. A generous splash of Worcestershire sauce and s&p (to taste) also goes a long way. My only gripe is that my beef patties were slightly overcooked at the hour mark. The veggies were perfectly tender tho, so I think I'll just pop them in the oven first and then add the meat (on top of the veggies) half way thru the cooking time. FYI, if you want to use baby carrots instead, you'll need about 16-20 of them. Thanks SO much for sharing your genius recipe, Debbie. This halved easily to accommodate my small family and tasted delicious. I can't wait to try this on the grill (in individual foil packets) this summer! :)
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Photo by Chef Mickey (aka Mickey)

Cooking Level: Intermediate

Home Town: De Soto, Missouri, USA
Living In: Elgin, Illinois, USA

Shrimp and Crab Enchiladas

Reviewed: Apr. 2, 2014
Holy wowza!!! This was sooooo delsih! As long as you can get past the appearance (my enchiladas were no where NEAR as photogenic as Traci's Kitchen's photo...), you'll be in for a REAL treat. :) My hubs was on the fence, but he's not much of an enchilada fan anyways. I really think the quality of green sauce you use makes a HUGE difference here. I used slightly less than what was needed for halving this recipe - an 8 oz. pouch of Rick Bayless's green enchilada sauce (it's a little pricy but so worth it!). I used an entire can of lump crabmeat and am glad I did. I strongly suggest doubling the amount of crab if you make all twelve enchiladas. One final change I made was to smear a scant amount of sauce on the bottom of my baking dish and on each tortilla before rolling up. With the suggested garnishes (a must, IMHO), these were perfecto! Mexican rice and margaritas rounded out this insanely easy meal. Thanks SO much for sharing your fantastic recipe, ChristyJ! :-)
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Photo by Chef Mickey (aka Mickey)

Cooking Level: Intermediate

Home Town: De Soto, Missouri, USA
Living In: Elgin, Illinois, USA

Texas Ranch Potato Salad

Reviewed: Apr. 2, 2014
Not bad! I'll forever be a sucker for Donna's red skinned potato salad-turned loaded baked potato salad (compliments of a fellow reviewer's inspiration!), but this is a close second. I did have to make a few changes to get the WOW factor tho.... I started by cubing my potatoes into large chunks (I basically quartered medium-sized red potatoes), boiled for 8 short minutes and chilled as directed. I then mixed equal parts lite mayo / sour cream instead of using all mayo. My final change was to add a couple small chopped celery ribs and a generous handful of shredded sharp cheddar cheese (I wouldn't add the celery next time, but that's just me). NOTE: I halved this and ended up using the full amount of dressing called for. My potatoes seemed a tad dry without it but of course, this could be because I added a few extras. :) Since eight servings was far too much for my small family to consume, I gave a "to-go" container to my neighbor (she loves Ranch ANYTHING!!!). I was right. She absolutely loooved this and begged me for the recipe! Thanks for making me look like a cooking goddess, 8BREAK. :-)
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Photo by Chef Mickey (aka Mickey)

Cooking Level: Intermediate

Home Town: De Soto, Missouri, USA
Living In: Elgin, Illinois, USA

Simple Pasta Salad

Reviewed: Apr. 2, 2014
Pretty good! While I prefer my Pampered Chef Italian pasta salad recipe, this wasn't half bad considering it was made from bottled Italian dressing. My recipe calls for a homemade vinaigrette and a generous bounty of fresh veggies (i.e. broccoli, zucchini, cherry tomatoes, etc.) and that sets it above any pasta salad made from convenience items, IMHO. Having said this, I think I would have enjoyed this a bit more if it were made with different veggies. I think a mix of bell peppers and red onion would have been more to my liking. The tomatoes kinda broke down after sitting in the fridge overnight and the cucumber, although tasty, overwhelmed everything else. All in all this was decent, but I'll need to make a few changes in order to better suit my tastes. Thanks for sharing your recipe, Katzen! :)
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Photo by Chef Mickey (aka Mickey)

Cooking Level: Intermediate

Home Town: De Soto, Missouri, USA
Living In: Elgin, Illinois, USA

Edamame Bean Salad

Reviewed: Mar. 28, 2014
This is a great healthy recipe with great flavor that could be used as an appetizer with chips, a salad, or an entrée (add grilled meats). I am not crazy about jarred roasted red pepper so I just cut up some peppers and threw it in.
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Cooking Level: Intermediate

Home Town: Elgin, Illinois, USA
Living In: Herndon, Virginia, USA

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Carrot, Potato, and Cabbage Soup

Reviewed: Mar. 28, 2014
There is absolutely no reason to blend this beautiful soup. It's lovely just the way it is before the blend. I also buy a rotisserie chicken and pull the meat an add to the soup about 30 minutes before its done. Best when summered about an hour to an hour and a half.
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Photo by Christina

Cooking Level: Intermediate

Home Town: Elgin, Illinois, USA
Living In: Riverview, Florida, USA

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Yummy Lemon Coconut Loaf

Reviewed: Mar. 23, 2014
Don't miss this recipe. If you enjoy the flavor of lemon and coconut, you will love this. I followed the recipe closely but used skim milk instead of whole milk. I usually do not buy whole milk anymore. The other thing I did was a bit of a mistake. I buttered my baking dish instead of using baking spray. The bottom of my loaf browned a little more than I would like. This is a wonderful recipe!
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Home Town: Elgin, Illinois, USA

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Best Cream Of Broccoli Soup

Reviewed: Mar. 10, 2014
I just made this soup. It is outstanding. I followed the recipe closely but not exactly. I used skim milk as that is the only milk I buy now. I used fresh broccoli including most of the stalks. I just cooked the broccoli a little longer to soften the tougher parts. I cut off the really fibrous thick ends. I will never buy another can of commercially made cream of broccoli soup. This was very easy to make, inexpensive, and contains great nutrients. Thanks go to Jessie and to all who made the recipe, reviewed it, and gave their suggestions.
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Home Town: Elgin, Illinois, USA

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Baked Denver Omelet

Reviewed: Mar. 9, 2014
This is excellent for breakfast or brunch or any time you want a light meal. I baked mine in a nine inch square, glass baking dish. I like that it can be easily cut into 9 squares. Based on what others have written, it seems easy to add in the vegetables or leftover items or other additions that you like. I did not add any extra salt. I used ham in mine. And the ham was already salty enough. Also, I think this would make a perfect breakfast sandwich and be much better than what you can get from a fast food place. Save your money, save your time, and know what is really in your meal!
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Home Town: Elgin, Illinois, USA

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Healthier Potato and Cauliflower Soup

Reviewed: Mar. 1, 2014
I like this recipe a lot. It was easy to prepare and it's very tasty. I added a little bit crushed red pepper to mine for a little kick. I thought this was a little garlicky for my taste. So, next time I will use a little less garlic. I'm really wondering about the calorie count. If it's accurate, this is very good and nutritious for those of us who are trying to watch our daily calorie count.
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Home Town: Elgin, Illinois, USA

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Bucket of Margaritas

Reviewed: Feb. 27, 2014
SOOOO good!!! Both my hubs and I really enjoyed these margaritas! While I prefer my go-to beer margarita recipe a tad better, this was a nice change of pace from the usual fare at our house. I did find this a bit difficult to drink tho... A quick zap in the microwave (~ 20 seconds on full power) was the ticket and what gave this the drinkable, slush-like consistency I was looking for. As is, this is a perfect, grown-up treat to enjoy on hot summer days (think of Italian ice, but with a Mexican twist!), but not really not the right consistency for drinking (unless you tinker with it a bit). However you choose to enjoy, rest assured you'll not want to stop with one glassful! Thanks for sharing your unique recipe, CRAZY4SUSHI!!! :-)
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Photo by Chef Mickey (aka Mickey)

Cooking Level: Intermediate

Home Town: De Soto, Missouri, USA
Living In: Elgin, Illinois, USA

Shrimp Fettuccine Alfredo

Reviewed: Feb. 25, 2014
Delish! While I did find it necessary to make a couple of minor changes, this was nearly perfect without them!!! As others have noted, instead of using a whole pound of pasta you really only need half a box. Heeding to this advice, I made the full amount of sauce but cut the amount of pasta in half. I also added a tiny bit more half-half to my sauce (maybe 1/2 - 1 T) and used 1 1/2 T butter because my 12 oz. worth of medium sized shrimp didn't seem to be well coated with the 1 T called for. I cooked my shrimp separately and then added them to my pasta and sauce right before serving. I can't imagine how overcooked my shrimp would have been if I cooked them in the sauce. On that note, my sauce thickened up rather quickly (in less than five minutes), so don't fret over it. If you're looking for an easy and tasty weeknight meal, this is it. I will be making this often for sure. Thanks for sharing, MAMATIFF! :-)
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Photo by Chef Mickey (aka Mickey)

Cooking Level: Intermediate

Home Town: De Soto, Missouri, USA
Living In: Elgin, Illinois, USA

Cream of Chicken Breasts

Reviewed: Feb. 23, 2014
I made this tonight. I had a pound of boneless chicken breast, and a can of cream of broccoli soup. I added a can of milk, a half cup of rice, a half cup of water, and a half cup of shredded cheddar. I baked it for an hour. It was a nice, warm, comforting casserole. I also sliced up two carrots and threw them in. It's a very flexible recipe. Use any canned soup that you like and use any vegetables that you have on hand. Add seasoning to your taste.
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Home Town: Elgin, Illinois, USA

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Ranch Dressing II

Reviewed: Feb. 9, 2014
Thanks for an excellent recipe. Like many other home cooks, I am increasingly reluctant to buy commercially prepared, shelf stable products because of the use of chemicals and preservatives. I'm even beginning to experiment with making my own mayo. This ranch recipe is tasty and is so easy to prepare.
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Home Town: Elgin, Illinois, USA

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Peach Blueberry Pie

Reviewed: Feb. 9, 2014
Make sure that you are using quick-cooking tapioca. The pie is done when it bubbles through the slits in the top crust. Follow this rule rather than a strict baking time.
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Cooking Level: Intermediate

Home Town: Elgin, Illinois, USA
Living In: Herndon, Virginia, USA

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