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Beef and Barley Soup III

Reviewed: Mar. 8, 2015
This was a great recipe! I did make a couple of changes. First, I used mushrooms (baby bella) instead of potatoes, since I figured they would taste very good with the soup and since barley already provides enough starch. Secondly, I used raw sirloin. After sauteeing the vegetables, I added the cabbage and sauteed it with them. Then, I removed the vegetables from the pan and added just the meat. I browned the meat and added the mushrooms, then I deglazed the pan with the wine. After that, I added the vegetables back to the soup, and finally added the broth and the barley. This soup was amazingly good, and I will definitely make it again and again!
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Cooking Level: Intermediate

Home Town: Plover, Wisconsin, USA
Living In: Grand Junction, Colorado, USA

Chef John's Chicken Tikka Masala

Reviewed: Mar. 5, 2015
Pretty authentic Indian dish. I left out the cayenne pepper & pepper flakes because the kids don't like spicy. I also left out the tomatoes because husband doesn't like tomatoes. I cut the chicken into 1 inch cubes & marinated it in the spices for a few hours before cooking it. I also left out the chicken broth, but added a little cream & plain yogurt to make it creamier. I also added a splash of lemon juice. The kids said it tasted just like what we get at the local Indian restaurant. I served it over jasmine rice.
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Photo by Jennifer

Cooking Level: Intermediate

Living In: Grand Junction, Colorado, USA

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ECU Tailgate Wings

Reviewed: Jan. 24, 2015
This recipe is simply superb! I did make a few changes, but 1) I don't think they are necessary and they won't suit all people, and 2) One of the changes was due to laziness and the marinade would have been better, not worse, if I had followed instructions. In other words, I give 5 stars for the recipe *as written* despite my changes. First, I decided to bake the wings rather than grill them since it's winter and I don't have a grill. I lined a baking sheet with foil and cooking spray and baked the wings at 350 degrees for 35 minutes. Second, I got lazy and used dry ginger instead of fresh (big mistake). Third, after tasting the marinade, it seemed a little bland, so after laying the wings out on the baking sheet, I sprinkled them with a little black pepper and cayenne pepper (actually Penzeys' Black and Red seasoning). I also used less sugar. I'm glad I made both of those changes. I happen to really like strong flavors, so in the future, I plan to replace the water with increased amounts of the liquid ingredients. The best part about these wings was that even though I baked them in the oven, they still came out extremely tender AND crispy without having to use the broiler. This is definitely a keeper!
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Cooking Level: Intermediate

Home Town: Plover, Wisconsin, USA
Living In: Grand Junction, Colorado, USA

Succulent Pork Chops

Reviewed: Jan. 17, 2015
This was a great recipe! I think the grilling option is probably better than the skillet option. I did it in the skillet and I had a lot of splattering and smoke. It got done a lot faster than the instructions, too (5 minutes on side 1 and 3 minutes on side 2). I used Football Forever's suggestion about the ginger paste, but with rice wine vinegar instead of cider vinegar: 1/4 tsp. dried ginger and 1/4 tsp. rice wine vinegar. Otherwise, I followed the recipe exactly. In the future I would make more marinade (it just barely covered the pork) and marinate it for a longer time (the marinade flavor was very subtle). I am also going to try SCC's suggestion and broil them in my mini-oven to reduce the smoke and splattering, but I don't know if I will still get the wonderful seared top and bottom. This method really made even boneless pork chops juicy and, as the name states, succulent. I haven't ever had boneless pork chops this wonderful: they are always boring and bland, which is why I usually use bone-in pork chops instead. Finally, it was extremely easy to make! There are absolutely no cons with the recipe other than the smoke and splattering, and those would definitely not occur on the grill. Thanks for the great recipe!
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Cooking Level: Intermediate

Home Town: Plover, Wisconsin, USA
Living In: Grand Junction, Colorado, USA

Chocolate Chip Pie III

Reviewed: Jan. 4, 2015
Add vanilla and instant coffee, delightful!
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Photo by kye

Cooking Level: Intermediate

Home Town: Newport, Rhode Island, USA
Living In: Grand Junction, Colorado, USA

Slow Cooker Butter Chicken

Reviewed: Jan. 3, 2015
This needs double the amount of spices & more tomato paste. It was a little bland compared to what I've had at Indian restaurants. The recipe is a good starting point, but needs tweaked with regard to flavor. 2/13/15 - I made this again using 1.5 times the amount of spices & chili paste it calls for & it was much better - 4 stars now. I also found that for some reason, I prefer the green chili paste over the red chili paste in this recipe.
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Photo by Jennifer

Cooking Level: Intermediate

Living In: Grand Junction, Colorado, USA

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Death by Chocolate Mousse

Reviewed: Jan. 3, 2015
This is definitely a 5 star recipe. Very chocolaty & rich, yet still light & fluffy. Also, very easy to make. My 9 year old son picked this to make for dessert on the night he was in charge of making dinner & he needed minimal help from me. We skipped the homemade whipped cream for on top & just used spray whipped cream from a can - had to cut calories somewhere! May try it with mint Oreos for the crust next time & if I can find them, dark chocolate Hershey chips.
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Photo by Jennifer

Cooking Level: Intermediate

Living In: Grand Junction, Colorado, USA

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Bacon Mushroom Swiss Meatloaf

Reviewed: Nov. 20, 2014
I added garlic salt, pepper, & worchestershire sauce & it was still bland. If I make it again, I will add a box of herb stuffing mix instead of cornflakes to give it some flavor. Also, instead of frying up bacon, I may add precooked bacon bits.
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Photo by Jennifer

Cooking Level: Intermediate

Living In: Grand Junction, Colorado, USA

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Vegan Brownies

Reviewed: Oct. 19, 2014
One of the guys I work with is vegan & he requests these brownies every year for his birthday. I cut back the oil to 1/2 cup & use grape seed oil & replace the other 1/2 cup of oil with unsweetened applesauce. I've used Dutch processes cocoa, but the best cocoa to use is Hershey's Special Dark cocoa. Very rich & chocolaty. The texture is a little odd since there are no eggs, but everyone seems to like them. I, however, still prefer non-vegan brownies!
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Photo by Jennifer

Cooking Level: Intermediate

Living In: Grand Junction, Colorado, USA

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Nina's Texas Chili

Reviewed: Sep. 14, 2014
I used hot Italian sausage and added some additional spices for depth and complexity, but overall, this was a great chili recipe. As others mentioned, I did not add beans, since this is TEXAS chili (and also because the reason I was looking for a Texas chili recipe is that I don't actually like beans all that much). It was great with the hot sausage, but I think it would be just as good with mild or sweet, as indicated in the recipe, and I'm pretty sure I'll try it that way in the future. This is, for me, the perfect chili to use as a base for all my variations. Thank you for the great recipe!
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Cooking Level: Intermediate

Home Town: Plover, Wisconsin, USA
Living In: Grand Junction, Colorado, USA

Spicy Fish Tacos with Fresh Lime Sauce

Reviewed: Sep. 8, 2014
The fish was kind of bland & I sprinkled it with garlic salt & the taco seasoning. The creamy coleslaw was a nice twist. I think I may marinate the fish next time.
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Photo by Jennifer

Cooking Level: Intermediate

Living In: Grand Junction, Colorado, USA

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Grilled Sausage with Potatoes and Green Beans

Reviewed: Aug. 29, 2014
I made this with the following adaptations. Preheat the oven to 425. Meanwhile, cut the potatoes & add to a 13x9 pan. Sear the sausage in some Worcestershire sauce, add to the potatoes. Throw onions in skillet until the start to soften, then add to the 13x9 pan. In skillet, add a teaspoon of olive oil, clove of minced garlic and sauté green beans. Add to the 13x9 pan. Drizzle with olive oil. Sprinkle with seasoned salt, regular salt and pepper. Toss to coat. Add 1/3 cup water. Cover with aluminum foil and bake for 30 minutes. Test potatoes for doneness.
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Photo by Cat

Cooking Level: Expert

Home Town: Springfield, Illinois, USA
Living In: Grand Junction, Colorado, USA

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Beer Brined Pork Chops

Reviewed: Aug. 24, 2014
Super easy & very yummy. I only marinated it for 5 hours & will definitely marinate it for 24 hours next time. Also, I cut the pepper back to 1 teaspoon & will probably add more salt next time. I also used spicy brown mustard & maple syrup in place of the corn syrup.
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Photo by Jennifer

Cooking Level: Intermediate

Living In: Grand Junction, Colorado, USA

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Sturdy Whipped Cream Frosting

Reviewed: Aug. 19, 2014
Best frosting EVER. I used it to ice chocolate cupcakes. Can't wait to try it on Red Velvet Cake. Light & not too sweet.
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Photo by Jennifer

Cooking Level: Intermediate

Living In: Grand Junction, Colorado, USA

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Citrus Turkey Brine

Reviewed: Aug. 16, 2014
My whole family loves this recipe. We've used it for chicken, turkey & Cornish game hens. We've also added sage & juniper berries for variety. I definitely recommend it.
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Photo by Jennifer

Cooking Level: Intermediate

Living In: Grand Junction, Colorado, USA

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Original Ranch Pork Chops

Reviewed: Aug. 14, 2014
These were a little bland. Super easy, but they need more flavor.
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Photo by Jennifer

Cooking Level: Intermediate

Living In: Grand Junction, Colorado, USA

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Lemony Chicken

Reviewed: Aug. 12, 2014
I used butter flavored olive oil & did not add the extra butter. I also left out the capers. My whole family really liked it. Very lemony. If I make it again, I may add some cream and corn starch to thicken the sauce.
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Photo by Jennifer

Cooking Level: Intermediate

Living In: Grand Junction, Colorado, USA

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Mom's Zucchini Bread

Reviewed: Jul. 25, 2014
awesome! super moist and delicious! But just a little helpful hint, add about a fourth cup more zucchini into the batter. the first time I made this I followed the directions exactly. But I found out that 2 cups is actually not enough. So the next time I made this I used 2 and 1 fourth cups and it was fantastic! I really love this recipe! I also added more cinnamon but that is just a personal preference. 5 stars!
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Cooking Level: Expert

Living In: Grand Junction, Colorado, USA

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Sesame Beef

Reviewed: Jun. 14, 2014
This was pretty good, and I liked how easy it was. I did add in some sesame oil, as the description suggests (though I would have preferred it mentioned directly in the recipe, since it wasn't on my printed version, and I don't take my computer to my kitchen to cook). I cut the sugar in half, which was the right sweetness for me (I don't like overly sweet main dishes), but the marinade was too salty, even using low-sodium soy sauce. Some may argue that adding the correct amount of sugar would have remedied this, but so far, the only thing I've found that successfully lowers saltiness when the salt has already been added is marjoram (NOT sugar), and I didn't think marjoram would go very well with the rest of the flavors. Overall, I liked it, but if I made it again, I'd alter it quite a bit.
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Cooking Level: Intermediate

Home Town: Plover, Wisconsin, USA
Living In: Grand Junction, Colorado, USA

Sam's Famous Carrot Cake

Reviewed: Jun. 3, 2014
This is the best!I made this for my father and he said it rivaled my great-grandmothers. The recipe is perfect and I didn't have to change it at all.Ii is great with cream cheese icing on top.
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Cooking Level: Expert

Living In: Grand Junction, Colorado, USA

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