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Best Spinach Dip Ever

Reviewed: Nov. 30, 2013
Very good! I love spinach dip and have always made it with Knorr vegetable mix but using the leek soup mix was equally delicious! Other than using the whole package of spinach, I made no significant changes. My only regret is not serving this the traditional way, in a Hawaiian bread bowl. Although the sourdough was tasty, I really missed the Hawaiian bread. :( My Thanksgiving guests didn't seem to mind, so I guess it's really a matter of personal preference. If you're crunched for time, give this quick appetizer a try. I promise, no one will be disappointed! :-)
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Photo by Chef Mickey (aka Mickey)

Cooking Level: Intermediate

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

Pumpkin Butter I

Reviewed: Nov. 30, 2013
Yum! This was soooo good!!! Although a little more work than I planned for, I'm glad to have given this a try! Making the pumpkin butter is SUPER easy, but canning it is a little work. The good news is that this makes enough for sharing so I had a ready-made Thanksgiving gift! My neighbors were very happy to receive a festive Kraft bag filled with pumpkin butter and orange scones! NOTE: I used pint size Ball jars for canning (16 oz. each) and was only able to fill two of them. This is supposed to yield five half pint sized jars (40 oz. worth), but I don't see how.... Nonetheless, I'm glad to have stumbled upon this gem. I will be making this again for sure! :-)
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Photo by Chef Mickey (aka Mickey)

Cooking Level: Intermediate

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

Cheese Ravioli with Fresh Tomato and Artichoke Sauce

Reviewed: Nov. 22, 2013
Oh yum! This was excellent!!! Even my artichoke-hating hubby ate this right up! Other than opting to not peel my tomatoes (no need to, IMHO), I made no real changes. I usually tinker with every new recipe I try, but this is the one rare time I didn't. This is simply perfect as is! A touch of fresh chopped basil MADE this dish (try it!). Thanks SO much for sharing your recipe, Cathy. I'll be turning to this often for sure! :-)
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Photo by Chef Mickey (aka Mickey)

Cooking Level: Intermediate

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

Rempel Family Meatloaf

Reviewed: Nov. 10, 2013
This is the BEST meatloaf I have EVER made EVER!!!!!! My husband loooooooves it.... making it tonight as a matter of fact!!!!
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Photo by Allrecipes

Cooking Level: Expert

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

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Cindy's Awesome Clam Chowder

Reviewed: Nov. 4, 2013
Oh My! This recipe ROCKS!!!!! Even my chowder-hating husband liked this (and that's saying a LOT!!!). Other than there being too many potatoes for my liking, this was SPOT on. The size of your potatoes really does matter. I used five good-sized potatoes and my soup was VERY chunky! I think using five SMALLISH or three large potatoes is what I'll do next time. As recipe submitter Cindy suggested, I subbed two bottles of clam juice (in addition to the juice from my canned clams) for the water called for and chopped clams instead of minced ones. I also added a large stalk of chopped celery to my soup. Sourdough bread bowls and seasoned oyster crackers made this a truly memorable meal. All I can say is WOW! This is absolutely fantastic and a must repeat at my house! Thanks for sharing your family recipe, Cindy! :-)
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Photo by Chef Mickey (aka Mickey)

Cooking Level: Intermediate

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

Japanese-Style Sesame Green Beans

Reviewed: Nov. 4, 2013
UPDATE: MADE THIS WITH ASPARAGUS THIS TIME AND ALTHOUGH YUMMY, I PREFER USING GREEN BEANS. Yum! These were really good! Even my picky hubs liked these but did point out that he could do without the sesame seeds.... As Naples34102 did, I also drizzled my beans with a bit of additional sesame oil and didn't find the combination of oil and sesame seeds overwhelming in the least (but I LOVE sesame anything!!!). If you're looking for a quick side, look no farther. This is simply deeelish! Thanks for sharing your MIL's famous recipe, Cooking_Muse. I can't wait to try this with asparagus next time! :-)
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Photo by Chef Mickey (aka Mickey)

Cooking Level: Intermediate

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

Grilled Salmon I

Reviewed: Nov. 4, 2013
UPDATE: I NEEDED AN EASY MEAL TO SERVE GUESTS (MY PARENTS). MY HUBS AND I HAD A BUSY DAY AND TIME IN THE KITCHEN WAS LIMITED. THIS FIT THE BILL PERFECTLY. FYI, AS OTHERS HAVE ADVISED, GRILL YOUR FISH SKIN SIDE UP FIRST. IT MAKES ALL THE DIFFERENCE! I wouldn't say this is the BEST salmon I've ever had (it's decent...), but it's quick to prepare (marinating aside) and made for a fuss-free, satisfying dinner. It took less than 15 minutes for my husband to grill our fish and for me to assemble our sides (steamed jasmine rice and Cooking_Muse's Japanese-style green beans). While there are other salmon recipes I've enjoyed much more flavor-wise, it's nice to have a quick option to turn to when life gets a little hectic! I can see this becoming a staple just for that. :) Thanks for sharing your recipe, tinamenia!
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Photo by Chef Mickey (aka Mickey)

Cooking Level: Intermediate

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

Authentic Mexican Enchiladas

Reviewed: Nov. 3, 2013
Yum! A co-worker of mine is of Mexican descent and he shared a secret with me. As many others have done, try subbing Queso Chihuahua cheese for the "guts" of your enchiladas. This cheese melts extremely well, but you need to pop your rolled enchiladas in the oven for a few minutes to get the melty, ooey-gooey effect. Now, about the recipe. It's a little vague. I too was confused about the sauce. I ended up adding the full 3/4 c. of water called for to my pot of chiles (de arbol) and simmering as directed. I covered my pan to help minimize evaporation and then added all of the liquid, chiles, salt and garlic to my blender (FYI, this sauce is perfect as is - there's no need to add anything else to it). NOTE: I did not find it messy or difficult to fry my sauce dipped tortillas and am glad I didn't wait until they were fried to dip them. I did have to fry for a tad longer than called for, but it all worked out in the end. My only regret is that I didn't have any sauce left to drizzle over my enchiladas (it was THAT good!). :( Topping these babies with Queso Fresco Mexican crema, lettuce, (chopped) tomato and green onion really hit the spot. Mexican rice and refried beans rounded out our authentic meal. All I can say is this was one FANTASTIC meal. Thanks for sharing your MIL's recipe, Becky! :-)
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Photo by Chef Mickey (aka Mickey)

Cooking Level: Intermediate

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

Black Bean and Corn Quesadillas

Reviewed: Nov. 3, 2013
These were pretty good. I was expecting a little heat and a little sweet, but I tasted more sweetness than anything else. I think the corn makes these a tad too sweet. I would have liked these much more had I subbed a spicy corn blend for canned sweet corn (my grocer is now selling three different varieties of Mexicorn, chipotle being one of them). Other than halving this and using 10 in. tortillas instead of 8 in. ones (my quesadilla maker requires the larger tortillas), I made no changes. Shredded lettuce, pico de gallo and sour cream complemented our quesadillas nicely. Mexican rice and margaritas completed our simple weeknight meal. All in all, these were decent but I need to play around with the ingredients a bit to suit my tastes. Thanks for sharing, EFasse. :-)
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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 Lemon Pepper Linguini

Reviewed: Nov. 3, 2013
Ohmigosh! This was SOOOO good!!! Not only was this SUPER easy to prepare, it packed a MAJOR flavor punch! Sometimes less is more and this fantastic recipe is proof of that! Other than subbing bowtie pasta for linguini (personal preference), I made no changes. This is simply superb as is - the amount of lemon and pepper are spot on and complement each other nicely, IMHO. I'm regretting that this sat in my recipe box for so long. Rest assured, it will be a repeat many times over at my house! Thanks for sharing, skini. :-)
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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 Beef Soup

Reviewed: Nov. 3, 2013
Neither my hubs or I cared for this at all (sorry!). I was expecting a somewhat spicy soup, but what I ended up with was FAR from that. This soup was SUPER bland! My husband added hot sauce to his bowl and he said that seemed to help somewhat. Other than subbing a frozen mixed veggie blend for canned veggies (i.e. green beans, peas, corn and carrots), I made no changes to this recipe. If I am to ever make this again, I'll definitely need to up the spice factor to suit our tastes. Maybe this will float your boat, but it did nothing for us. Thanks anyways, Kim.
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Photo by Chef Mickey (aka Mickey)

Cooking Level: Intermediate

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

Old Fashioned Mac and Cheese

Reviewed: Nov. 3, 2013
Meh. This was just alright. My husband didn't care for the onion in this and complained that it overpowered every bite. I didn't mind the onion (I actually enjoyed it quite a bit), but hated the bechamel sauce. I've tried quite a few mac & cheese recipes on here and this certainly is not one of my favorites. Mouse's version is MUCH better, IMHO. While I appreciate the opportunity to try something new, I think I'll stick with what I know we like from now on. Thanks anyways, JAYDE.
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Photo by Chef Mickey (aka Mickey)

Cooking Level: Intermediate

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

Downeast Maine Pumpkin Bread

Reviewed: Oct. 27, 2013
I made this Pumpkin Bread today. One thing I love about the recipe is that it uses the entire 15 ounce can of pumpkin. I made mine in one loaf pan, one small bundt style pan, and 9 medium muffins. The recipe has a wonderful flavor. The only change I made was to add a cup of chopped walnuts. It is excellent.
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Home Town: Elgin, Illinois, USA

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Baked Paprika-Parmesan Chicken

Reviewed: Oct. 18, 2013
This was good but not WOW good as the majority of reviews imply. I really think the success of this dish depends on the quality of ingredients used. Smoked paprika and freshly grated cheese are key, IMHO. NOTE: If you bake your chicken long enough for it to soak up all of the butter / crisp up, it will dry out. There's a very fine line between the two and despite my cooking prowess, I crossed that line. :( A side of spaetzle tossed with butter and fresh parsley and steamed garlic green beans rounded out our meal. All said and done, this was decent but nothing to write home about. Thanks anyways, Renae.
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Photo by Chef Mickey (aka Mickey)

Cooking Level: Intermediate

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

Baja Style Fish Tacos

Reviewed: Oct. 14, 2013
YUM! I am a sucker for all things Mexican and this didn't let me down! Although not my favorite (I prefer BREESE's fish tacos a tad better), these were mighty tasty nonetheless. I especially enjoyed the Ranch slaw and homemade pico! My husband couldn't find Shore Lunch brand batter, so he picked up Drake's brand (which worked just fine). HINT: You'll need to fry your fish in batches. To keep already fried fish warm, stick it in a 200 degree F oven. It will retain its heat and be just as crisp at is was out of the deep fryer! Mexican rice, tortilla chips, guacamole and sangria rounded out our festive meal. Thank you Allrecipes for featuring this gem in Allrecipes magazine! :-)
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Photo by Chef Mickey (aka Mickey)

Cooking Level: Intermediate

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

Taco Salad I

Reviewed: Oct. 14, 2013
This was one of the first recipes I learned to make in home economics class! I absolutely loved it then and still do today! I knew this wouldn't keep well, so I halved everything and had NO leftovers (between myself, my husband and my parents, the bowl was licked CLEAN!!!)! As many others have done, I also made a few changes. To add a little zip, I substituted nacho flavored Doritos for plain tortilla chips, added a few handfuls of chopped scallions and cut way back on the dressing. I prepared my meat per the directions on the back of my taco seasoning packet and added the dressing LAST. All I can say is WOW! Thanks so much for sharing your recipe, Denise. It brought back many fond memories for sure! :-)
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Photo by Chef Mickey (aka Mickey)

Cooking Level: Intermediate

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

Rosemary Lemon Margarita

Reviewed: Oct. 14, 2013
Neither my hubs or I liked this at ALL!!! This was mouth-puckering tart and the rosemary flavor was nonexistent, even after sitting in the fridge overnight. I agree that a simple syrup infused with rosemary is the way to go, but I didn't have time for that. If a recipe can't stand on its own without major modifications, it is not star worthy IMHO. I am a margarita enthusiast, but this did absolutely nothing for me. Thanks anyways.
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Photo by Chef Mickey (aka Mickey)

Cooking Level: Intermediate

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

Italian Sausage Soup

Reviewed: Oct. 14, 2013
Not bad. This is a mildly flavored soup but you can add whatever spices you like to suit your tastes. I added a teaspoon of Italian seasoning to mine. NOTE: This makes a TON of soup and doesn't really reheat well.... The zucchini turn to mush so keep that in mind if you add it to your soup. All in all, this was decent, but not one of the best recipes for Italian soup on this site. Thanks anyways, SALLYJUN.
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Photo by Chef Mickey (aka Mickey)

Cooking Level: Intermediate

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

Baked Dijon Salmon

Reviewed: Oct. 13, 2013
I did not care for this at all. My hubs thought this was "OK," but didn't like the pecans at all. I agree and think it was the pecans that turned me off most (they are totally out of place IMHO). The glaze is also a tad too mustard-y for my liking. I pretty much followed Esmee's directions to the letter but had to improvise because I misread part of them. I forgot to add my melted butter to my honey mustard mixture, so I added it to my breadcrumb / pecan mixture instead. I think this really helped the topping crisp up nicely (the highlight of this meal). All in all, I'm glad to have given this a try, but this is just not for me (sorry!). Thanks anyways, Esmee.
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Photo by Chef Mickey (aka Mickey)

Cooking Level: Intermediate

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

Chipotle Chicken Soup

Reviewed: Sep. 28, 2013
Although tasty, this just didn't wow me. In all fairness, I did make quite a few changes (hence my 4 star rating). As lateacher did, I also made this in my slow cooker. Where I went terribly wrong was following her advice to add the ENTIRE can of chipotle peppers to my soup. My husband commented that the soup itself was spicier than the sauce I made with the onion, garlic and reserved peppers! There was certainly NO need to add any of it to our soup! Thankfully, the cilantro and a hefty squirt of lime tamed most of the heat. Without them, we would have had to order pizza for dinner. :( I usually follow a new recipe to the letter (or only make slight changes to it) and am regretting I didn't this time. All in all, this was good but I'd bet it would be even better as written. Thanks for sharing your recipe, Rhayc! :-)
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Photo by Chef Mickey (aka Mickey)

Cooking Level: Intermediate

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

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