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Cake Mix Cookies VIII

Reviewed: Dec. 22, 2011
Five stars based on the rave reviews I received. I made these for Christmas, so I used dark chocolate fudge cake mix and mixed in a whole package of Nestle mint & dark chocolate chips. I followed other reviewers suggestions and added 2T of oil and 1t of vanilla; however, mine spread quite a bit in the oven and ended up pretty thin. Perhaps my butter was too soft? In any case, they looked pretty and smelled delicious and everyone told me they tasted great. I would definitely try this with gluten-free cake mix so I can eat it next time!
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Photo by Andrea

Cooking Level: Intermediate

Home Town: Lake Villa, Illinois, USA
Living In: Grayslake, Illinois, USA

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Spanish Rice Original

Reviewed: Dec. 19, 2011
Very yummy. I used a can of southwest style chopped tomatoes instead of the plain chopped tomatoes. I also left out the bell peppers and olives because of personal preference. I also added some cumin. I'll probably add some garlic and possibly some diced potatoes next time I make this. Great recipe - thanks!
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Photo by Andrea

Cooking Level: Intermediate

Home Town: Lake Villa, Illinois, USA
Living In: Grayslake, Illinois, USA

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Citrus Chicken and Pepper Fajitas

Reviewed: Dec. 19, 2011
These turned out really well. I doubled the recipe - if you double the recipe, double all the ingredients but keep the onion and lime juice amounts the same. Don't worry, the lime flavor isn't overwhelming - it's actually quite delicious. My cook time was much longer than 20 minutes for a double batch, but I also wanted to give the lime juice time to reduce a little. Overall, a nice, tasty dish.
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Photo by Andrea

Cooking Level: Intermediate

Home Town: Lake Villa, Illinois, USA
Living In: Grayslake, Illinois, USA

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Savory Deviled Eggs

Reviewed: Nov. 28, 2011
WOW! These were absolutely amazing. Hands down the best deviled eggs I've ever had. I followed the recipe exactly, except I garnished with a sprinkle of dill weed as I didn't have dill sprigs. Not only are they delicious, but they're pretty too!
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Photo by Andrea

Cooking Level: Intermediate

Home Town: Lake Villa, Illinois, USA
Living In: Grayslake, Illinois, USA

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Brown Sugar Meatloaf

Reviewed: Nov. 21, 2011
I never thought I'd be giving a meatloaf recipe five stars!!! I was a bit apprehensive about this because of the brown sugar and ketchup on the bottom, but don't worry! The brown sugar melts and bubbles up around the loaf as it's cooking to form a delicious sweet glaze. Just be sure to use super lean ground beef. To make it gluten-free, we tried GF cracker crumbs in place of the saltines, but they didn't absorb much of anything - I'm still new to GF cooking. :) So we ended up adding a bunch of GF bread crumbs, which worked better. Despite those complications, the loaf had a very nice texture and was so surprisingly good! Hubby said he'd definitely have this again. If you have any doubts, just try it! You'll be so happy you did! Thanks for such a great recipe!
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Photo by Andrea

Cooking Level: Intermediate

Home Town: Lake Villa, Illinois, USA
Living In: Grayslake, Illinois, USA

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Suzy's Mashed Red Potatoes

Reviewed: Nov. 21, 2011
These were yummy and oh so creamy. I used a bunch of garlic salt in place of regular salt and added a little more sour cream than called for (love sour cream in my taters). Unfortunately, my hubby doesn't like it when I keep the skins on the potatoes, so I had to peel them. I think the texture of the skins would have added something nice, but without the skins, they are extra creamy and delicious. Tip: If you have a stand mixer, dump the cooked potatoes in there and mix in all the ingredients using the paddle attachment. They come out smooth and fluffy, and you don't have to do near as much work!
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Photo by Andrea

Cooking Level: Intermediate

Home Town: Lake Villa, Illinois, USA
Living In: Grayslake, Illinois, USA

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Chicken Florentine Casserole

Reviewed: Nov. 18, 2011
I basically used this recipe for the sauce because I didn't have spinach or mozzarella cheese. I used diluted gluten-free creamy mushroom soup, which I thickened by adding cornstarch to the milk before stirring it in. I also took another reviewer's suggestion and fried up some bacon, cut up the chicken, and cooked it in the bacon fat. I served the creamy chicken mixture over brown rice topped with crumbled bacon and it was fantastic. My only complaint is there was a bit too much Italian seasoning for my liking, and I only used two teaspoons.
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Photo by Andrea

Cooking Level: Intermediate

Home Town: Lake Villa, Illinois, USA
Living In: Grayslake, Illinois, USA

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Ed Zieba's Famous Family Pork Chops

Reviewed: Nov. 14, 2011
All the high reviews promised a lot, so I had my hopes up high for these chops. Maybe that's why I was so disappointed. I used two bone-in chops that were almost an inch thick and, with the exception of adding pepper and garlic powder, I followed the recipe exactly. They were cooked through and moist, but they certainly weren't fall-of-the-bone tender. I still needed a steak knife to cut them up. Maybe that was due to the thickness...? The juices in the pan after cooking weren't really appetizing, so I didn't do anything with them. They tasted alright though, but I do have to say that the best thing about this dish is the onions, which, after being cooked for so long, were deliciously sweet and tender. I wish I had put more on top of my chop. We served these with potato pancakes and applesauce - a classic combo. I'd like to try a variation of this again to get the moist chop, but I'm not sure what I could do to make it better. Maybe a broth instead of water...?
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Photo by Andrea

Cooking Level: Intermediate

Home Town: Lake Villa, Illinois, USA
Living In: Grayslake, Illinois, USA

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Paul's Pumpkin Bars

Reviewed: Oct. 31, 2011
OMG these turned out SO good! In hopes of making them more brownie-like, I only used 3 eggs and 1 teaspoon of baking powder. To help with the flavor, I used half white sugar and half brown (decreased it slightly to 1 1/2 cups) and used pumpkin pie spice instead of cinnamon. These are phenomenal. They're so moist and delicious. Oh, and the cream cheese frosting was perfect - don't mess with success! Make these now. Seriously.
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Photo by Andrea

Cooking Level: Intermediate

Home Town: Lake Villa, Illinois, USA
Living In: Grayslake, Illinois, USA

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One Bowl Brownies

Reviewed: Oct. 25, 2011
This is a recipe from the inside of the Baker's Unsweetened Baking Chocolate box. I had a lot on hand, so I decided to give this recipe a whirl. They were fudgy and yummy. The best part was how easy they were to make. I don't like nuts in my brownies, so I felt that they were missing a little something - especially since they're not as super-sweet as a boxed mix. Next time I'll try adding peanut butter chips or marshmallows, or spreading some kind of frosting on top.
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Photo by Andrea

Cooking Level: Intermediate

Home Town: Lake Villa, Illinois, USA
Living In: Grayslake, Illinois, USA

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Pumpkin Pie Bread

Reviewed: Oct. 18, 2011
This was really good! I only have one loaf pan, so I halved the recipe. The only change I made was using brown sugar in place of some of the white sugar. Oh, and I snuck in a little extra pumpkin and pumpkin pie spice. It turned out super moist and dense and flavorful. Perfect for these chilly Autumn days. :-) Thanks Tanja!
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Photo by Andrea

Cooking Level: Intermediate

Home Town: Lake Villa, Illinois, USA
Living In: Grayslake, Illinois, USA

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Chicken a la Creme

Reviewed: Oct. 18, 2011
This was incredibly delicious for something so quick and simple! I used two smaller chicken breasts instead of the tenderloins, and I added a bit of parmesan cheese and some garlic powder to the cream. I served the sauce over the chicken on a bed of brown rice and broccoli - it was delicious! My husband and I all but licked our plates clean. If you're serving more than two or three people, I'd suggest doubling the sauce. Yes, it's that yummy. :-) Thanks, Patty!
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Photo by Andrea

Cooking Level: Intermediate

Home Town: Lake Villa, Illinois, USA
Living In: Grayslake, Illinois, USA

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South-of-the-Border Beef Stew

Reviewed: Oct. 18, 2011
pretty good SOUP recipe, I wouldn't really call it a stew. Instead of chili pepper I used 1/4 c McCormicks taco season mix and 1 t creole season for spice. Good base, could easily add more veggies or maybe black beans to make it heartier. More than likely will make again.
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Photo by kim77

Cooking Level: Intermediate

Home Town: Chicago, Illinois, USA
Living In: Grayslake, Illinois, USA

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Pasta with Peas and Sausage

Reviewed: Oct. 17, 2011
Five stars with a few personal modifications to lower the fat content a bit and add more flavor. I still used 1lb bulk pork Italian sausage, next time I may try italian turkey sausage. After browning the sausage and draining the fat I added 2 tablespoonsful flour before adding 1&1/2 cups fat free half &half, along with the peas. This allowed the sauce to have a slightly thicker consistancy. I also added 1/2 t Tony Cachere's creole season, 1 t fresh cracked pepper and salt. Skipped the addition of butter, didnt feel it was necessary and it wasnt missed. Finally I added the parmesean to the sauce as well as a little more on top. Delicious and will defiantely make again. Nice and easy recipe for a week night or nice enough for gatherings and holidays since so easy to double.
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Photo by kim77

Cooking Level: Intermediate

Home Town: Chicago, Illinois, USA
Living In: Grayslake, Illinois, USA

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Quick and Easy Chicken, Broccoli and Brown Rice

Reviewed: Sep. 26, 2011
In order to avoid undercooked rice, I changed up the preparation a little - I cooked the rice in chicken broth before adding it to the soup mixture in my skillet. I should have pre-cooked the broccoli too - it took a while to cook through in the sauce mixture. I used a little bit of chicken broth instead of water in the sauce mix, and I seasoned the chicken breasts with salt, pepper, and garlic powder before cooking in garlic-infused olive oil (yum!). The overall result was pretty good. I'd do this again because it certainly was quick & easy, but I'll have to play around with the prep a little more.
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Photo by Andrea

Cooking Level: Intermediate

Home Town: Lake Villa, Illinois, USA
Living In: Grayslake, Illinois, USA

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Yankee-Doodle Sirloin Roast

Reviewed: Aug. 5, 2011
I agree with another reviewer: I wouldn't waste this wonderful marinade on a sirloin roast. I'd use it for a better and smaller cut of meat. It honestly just tasted like regular pot roast to me - and I even marinated it for almost two whole days hoping the flavors would penetrate more. Maybe it's because I made it in the crock pot instead of the oven? I didn't think it would make too much of a difference...oh well.
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Photo by Andrea

Cooking Level: Intermediate

Home Town: Lake Villa, Illinois, USA
Living In: Grayslake, Illinois, USA

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Marshmallow Brownies

Reviewed: Jul. 31, 2011
Delicious! These were soft, gooey, moist, sweet, and so yummy. The butterscotch flavor wasn't too overwhelming and the marshmallows added that extra sticky sweet touch. I took a shortcut by microwaving the butterscotch chips and the butter in my mixing bowl rather than on the stove. I had a hard time combining them that way, but they ended up melting and combined with the dry ingredients just fine. I would definitely make these again!
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Photo by Andrea

Cooking Level: Intermediate

Home Town: Lake Villa, Illinois, USA
Living In: Grayslake, Illinois, USA

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Garlic Chicken

Reviewed: Jul. 23, 2011
Absolutely delicious! I made fresh breadcrumbs in my food processor and pulsed in the parmesan. The only change I made was adding some Italian seasonings, salt, and pepper to jazz up the breadcrumbs. I baked two lean breasts at 400 for 30 minutes and they were perfect. The breading was so delicious and perfectly golden. The chicken, despite being very lean, turned out extremely tender and juicy. It didn't taste greasy at all. This recipe is DEFINITELY a keeper! Thanks Carol!
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Photo by Andrea

Cooking Level: Intermediate

Home Town: Lake Villa, Illinois, USA
Living In: Grayslake, Illinois, USA

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Anniversary Chicken I

Reviewed: Jul. 15, 2011
I had marinade on hand so I used that in place of the ter. baste. This was a wonderful change from same old recipes. Thanks for sharing.
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Photo by Peggy Jane

Cooking Level: Intermediate

Home Town: Milwaukee, Wisconsin, USA
Living In: Grayslake, Illinois, USA

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Cheese Blintzes

Reviewed: Jul. 13, 2011
Great recipe for young children to help with. I add one egg and 1/4 cup sugar to filling. Always a hit wherever I take them.
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Photo by Peggy Jane

Cooking Level: Intermediate

Home Town: Milwaukee, Wisconsin, USA
Living In: Grayslake, Illinois, USA

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