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Spicy Glazed Pecans

Reviewed: Dec. 17, 2014
Delicious, easy, and so addictive. Perfect for a holiday party. I used 2 teaspoons more water, added a pinch of cinnamon, simmered the leaves from a sprig of fresh rosemary with the sugar and water, and baked the nuts 10 minutes longer. Loved!
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Cooking Level: Professional

Living In: Des Moines, Iowa, USA

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The Best Swiss Cheese and Beer Fondue

Reviewed: Dec. 17, 2014
I used a mixture of Gruyere, Emmenthaler, and Raclette for the cheese and New Glarus Apple Ale for the beer. Mine was a smidge too bitter, but I might have simmered the beer a little too long while greeting guests. It was still tasty with bread, apples, pears, cauliflower, and pretty much everything we dipped in it. Thanks, ScandoGirl!
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Cooking Level: Professional

Living In: Des Moines, Iowa, USA

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Seasoned Crackers

Reviewed: Dec. 16, 2014
I used 2 - 12 oz packages of oyster crackers. I also added 1/4 tsp lemon pepper seasoning. I left the other measurements the same. My kids and are a gobbling these up as I write this review...very tasty! I think if you only used one package of crackers, it would be too oily with too much seasoning. I baked them in my big roasting pan for 15 minutes at 200...perfection!
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Cooking Level: Intermediate

Home Town: Corning, Iowa, USA
Living In: Des Moines, Iowa, USA

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Melt - In - Your - Mouth Shortbread

Reviewed: Dec. 14, 2014
Easy cookie to make...but it turned it a bit more crumbly than I like my shortbread to be. I used my small cookie scoop and got 18 cookies from this recipe.
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Cooking Level: Intermediate

Home Town: Corning, Iowa, USA
Living In: Des Moines, Iowa, USA

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World's Best Potato Soup

Reviewed: Dec. 10, 2014
So easy!!! I added corn for a veggie. The family was happy and so was I to be done so quickly :-) Thank you!
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Cooking Level: Intermediate

Living In: Des Moines, Iowa, USA

Chef John's Perfect Mashed Potatoes

Reviewed: Dec. 6, 2014
I tripled this recipe for our Thanksgiving dinner. The potatoes came out PERFECT. My husband was dubious that they would turn out without using our mixer to mash up the potatoes. However, I followed Chef John's instructions exactly and we were not disappointed! This will be our go-to recipe for mashed potatoes forevermore!
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Cooking Level: Intermediate

Home Town: Corning, Iowa, USA
Living In: Des Moines, Iowa, USA

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Chef John's Roast Turkey and Gravy

Reviewed: Dec. 6, 2014
The turkey came out moist and had nice flavor. Nothing spectacular, but it tasted good.
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Cooking Level: Intermediate

Home Town: Corning, Iowa, USA
Living In: Des Moines, Iowa, USA

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Green Beans

Reviewed: Dec. 6, 2014
I used fresh green beans instead of canned...I also partially cooked the bacon so that it would be nice and crisp once cooked. I wasn't sure if I should cover the pan before baking, so I didn't. The green beans came out very crisp. I think next time I make this I will cover the dish with aluminum foil so that the beans can steam. This probably wouldn't be a problem with canned beans, but I like the taste of fresh beans much more than canned.
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Cooking Level: Intermediate

Home Town: Corning, Iowa, USA
Living In: Des Moines, Iowa, USA

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Sweet Dinner Rolls

Reviewed: Dec. 6, 2014
This dough is sweet and chewy, but also very thick. I think it would be excellent for cinnamon rolls. I made it at Thanksgiving as cloverleaf rolls...while they were tasty, they weren't as light and fluffy as I like my dinner rolls to be.
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Cooking Level: Intermediate

Home Town: Corning, Iowa, USA
Living In: Des Moines, Iowa, USA

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Cranberry Salad II

Reviewed: Nov. 27, 2014
THE BEST CRANBERRY SALAD EVER!
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Cooking Level: Expert

Living In: Des Moines, Iowa, USA

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Beet Salad with Goat Cheese

Reviewed: Nov. 10, 2014
This is absolutely delicious. Great mix of flavors. I was pressed for time, so I used canned sliced beets. I'm sure roasted fresh beets would provide a better texture and flavor, but mine was still darn good. I have failed miserably at glazing nuts on many occasions, but this maple syrup method on the stovetop is so easy. Love it. Can't wait to eat it again!
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Cooking Level: Expert

Living In: Des Moines, Iowa, USA

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Caramel Shortbread Squares

Reviewed: Nov. 9, 2014
Made these today to take to church. Amazing they were gone in no time. You have to try these.
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Cooking Level: Intermediate

Home Town: Des Moines, Iowa, USA
Living In: Lucas, Iowa, USA

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Fluffy Biscuits

Reviewed: Nov. 2, 2014
I followed the suggestion of another reviewer and did half cold butter and half shortening. I made drop biscuits instead of rolling them out (the batter was far too moist), and they turned out deliciously!
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Cooking Level: Intermediate

Home Town: Corning, Iowa, USA
Living In: Des Moines, Iowa, USA

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Fluffy Pancakes

Reviewed: Nov. 2, 2014
Sometimes I don't bother to make the "buttermilk" and just use a whole cup of whole milk or half-and-half instead. I mad this as directed several times and it is good. However, I have tweaked it a few times since then and enjoyed the results even more. The last time I made this, I used a T of vegetable oil rather than the butter, and I added a tsp of vanilla to the batter. This seemed to yield the best results - a perfectly fluffy and just slightly sweet pancake. A good 5 - 10 minutes rest time prior to cooking is essential for this batter to make the fluffiest pancakes.
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Cooking Level: Intermediate

Home Town: Corning, Iowa, USA
Living In: Des Moines, Iowa, USA

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Irish Cream Liqueur II

Reviewed: Nov. 2, 2014
This was simple, yet delicious! I used 6 oz of milk chocolate and I think next time I'll only use 4. It was still very good, but a little more chocolatey than normal Irish cream tastes. I put the sweetened condensed milk and the chocolate into a medium sauce pan over medium-low heat and stirred until the chocolate melted. I poured all of the whiskey into a large bowl, then added the instant coffee granules so they would dissolve. Then I added the cream and evaporated milk. Finally I stirred in the chocolate/sweetened condensed milk mixture. I poured this into quart-sized mason jars and this filled three jars plus half of a fourth jar. We sampled some straight away and it was delicious! I'm not sure the rest of it will make the three week wait time!!! It was great over ice and great in coffee!
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Cooking Level: Intermediate

Home Town: Corning, Iowa, USA
Living In: Des Moines, Iowa, USA

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Baked Spaghetti I

Reviewed: Oct. 31, 2014
Yum!
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Cooking Level: Intermediate

Home Town: Des Moines, Iowa, USA

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Halloween Brain Dip

Reviewed: Oct. 27, 2014
I confess: I used premade guac for the filling. But I give 5 stars for the stellar presentation. I found it was easier to leave a few of the cauliflower stems in tact. You can't stuff the "brain" with as much filling, but the pieces hold together easier this way. The frontal lobe collapsed mid-party. I didn't have any toothpicks, so I broke off the prongs of a plastic fork and held the pieces together that way. It's an easy trick, if you're in a pinch.
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Cooking Level: Beginning

Home Town: Overland Park, Kansas, USA
Living In: Des Moines, Iowa, USA

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Brooke's Best Bombshell Brownies

Reviewed: Oct. 27, 2014
I made these brownies for a Halloween party last weekend. I like that there's no oil or baking soda/powder--it makes the brownie so much more fudgy and dreamy. Three cups of sugar seemed like a lot, so I halved it. My brownies ended up extra dark chocolatey and rich, which is what my friends and I love. Next time, I'll try baking them in a 9x9. I'd love to make these bad boys even thicker and chewier.
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Cooking Level: Beginning

Home Town: Overland Park, Kansas, USA
Living In: Des Moines, Iowa, USA

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Monster Cookies II

Reviewed: Oct. 13, 2014
I love this recipe, but I tweak a few things to make it a little healthier. I sub steel-cut oats for rolled ones (this makes the cookies a little chewier, but I like it that way) and nix the white sugar and corn syrup completely. This makes a hearty, filling cookie that isn't (half) bad for you. I chow on one of these bad boys with a cup of coffee for a super filling breakfast.
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Cooking Level: Beginning

Home Town: Overland Park, Kansas, USA
Living In: Des Moines, Iowa, USA

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Bacon and Parmesan Penne Pasta

Reviewed: Oct. 9, 2014
Such a yummy base recipe! My roommate and I stirred in peas and sundried tomatoes to up the nutritional value, but I could see this going well with broccoli, spinach, or even kale. For a little more zing, we sauteed a few cloves of garlic with the veggies and onion. We listened to SusieQ's advice and added a bit of bacon grease to the finished dish--boy, were we glad we did. Just a couple spoonfuls added tons of flavor. We'll definitely be making this again.
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Photo by lauren0926

Cooking Level: Beginning

Home Town: Overland Park, Kansas, USA
Living In: Des Moines, Iowa, USA

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