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Chef John's Ham and Potato Soup

Reviewed: Nov. 6, 2013
Amazing!!!
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Photo by Shirley Boyer

Cooking Level: Expert

Living In: Palmer, Alaska, USA

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Bacon and Potato Soup

Reviewed: Nov. 6, 2013
Incredible taste!! best soup I've made in a long time!
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Photo by Shirley Boyer

Cooking Level: Expert

Living In: Palmer, Alaska, USA

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Yummy Honey Mustard Dipping Sauce

Reviewed: Oct. 22, 2013
This is NEARLY spot-on to what you find at a restaurant! I have been searching for a while to find one that matches perfect. You won't find this in your local grocery store. I give it a 4.5 (just short of a 5 star) based on the following: Only thing with my taste preferences- too much honey in this recipe! Start with 1 Tbsp! I found I had to add more mustard(s) & mayo to keep it from being TOO sweet. I'd say this is an absolute keeper- just start with 1 Tbsp. of honey & add more as needed for desired taste. THANK YOU!!! I am SO happy to have found the recipe for my favorite dipping sauce! :)
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Photo by angelinamarie3

Cooking Level: Expert

Home Town: Palmer, Alaska, USA
Living In: Wasilla, Alaska, USA
Photo by Demara

Bloody Broken Glass Cupcakes

Reviewed: Oct. 21, 2013
These got rave reviews at my Halloween themed Bunco party! (and it was hard keeping the kids out of them before hand!) It was very easy, but the glass is time consuming. I ended up cooking the sugar too quickly (though it certainly didn't feel like it) and my glass had a bit of a yellow tint. Next time I'll slow it down and be prepared to invest more time in the process. I do have a candy thermometer and can't imagine trying to do it without one. I ended up with a ton of left over glass - next time I will cut that in half and still pour into a jelly roll pan - it ended up a tad thicker than I would have liked so I think it you cut down on the amount it'll end up more like the thickness of a drinking glass. Great recipe - thanks for sharing!! :)
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Photo by Demara

Cooking Level: Intermediate

Home Town: Wasilla, Alaska, USA
Living In: Palmer, Alaska, USA
Photo by angelinamarie3

Cheese and Sausage Stuffed Zucchini

Reviewed: Aug. 28, 2013
First time trying stuffed zucchini- GREAT recipe! Only 4 out of 5 stars because of two small preferences. You don't need to pre-cook the zucchini in the microwave- add another 10-15 min. onto baking time (nuke it to about 450 degrees during that time) will make it perfect. It did not overcook or alter the stuffing at all. Granted, there was only two of us & we used half of a large zucchini (13"Lx4"Wx3"D) & that was enough for 2 of us, & a lunch left for tomorrow. (Plus, any leftover stuffing can be baked, too, perfect for a side or leftovers for breakfast w/ toast the following morning!)Hollow out a generous portion. Don't layer- mix ALL stuffing ingredients together- MUCH better! We also added in some of the "guts" of what we scraped out to the stuffing... SO good! Be generous with seasonings. Tofu or ground beef would also work very well in place of sausage. During the last 5-10 minutes (on broil), top with some bread crumbs & a bit more shredded cheese... PERFECT! A bit of marinara sauce is also quite a compliment for serving. This was an excellent recipe, & VERY good! Just adjust some things here & there to taste, I really recommend mixing all stuffing ingredients instead of layering... this will be a repeat in our house, especially with the fresh zucchini out of the garden! thank you! :)
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Photo by angelinamarie3

Cooking Level: Expert

Home Town: Palmer, Alaska, USA
Living In: Wasilla, Alaska, USA

Mom's Stovetop Pork Ribs

Reviewed: Aug. 22, 2013
My hubby requests this again and again! All the family love, even the grandkids! It's so easy and so delicious!
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Photo by Shirley Boyer

Cooking Level: Expert

Living In: Palmer, Alaska, USA

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Fast and Friendly Meatballs

Reviewed: Aug. 21, 2013
Can't give this more than 3 stars- this is only decent as a BASE. Sorry. It lacks a LOT of FLAVOR!!! But, I am skilled enough in the kitchen to know this needed LOTS of doctoring/ingredients to make them appetizing. To start- only use the ground turkey if you are looking for a very lean meat. For a good, savory & hearty meatball, use ground beef! Even w/ the Italian seasoned breadcrumbs, this still needs MORE spices/flavor. I added in (all to taste) minced garlic, minced onion, a dash of garlic powder, onion powder, cayenne, oregano, parsley, sage, pepper, a pinch of cumin & salt. A dash of Worcestershire & hot sauce gives it a boost. Making mine for spaghetti, I added in a bit of parmesan. Also added some EVOO to avoid them turning out dry. Don't use an ice cream scoop. Get your hands in there to mix & form the balls- they turn out MUCH better. I covered a baking sheet with foil & a coat of cooking spray to prevent them sticking. Cooking time of 20-25 min. is on par, but you don't really need to turn them in the last 5 min. Its a hassle & if they are sticking to the sheet/dish, it makes a mess & rips them apart. Overall- an 'ok' base recipe to ADD YOUR OWN FLAVORING INDREDIENTS. Unless you are looking for a very bland, dry meatball, you'll want to tweak this w/ seasonings to suit your flavor palate. A big plus, once you tweak this to taste, they freeze well for making larger batches to save for later!
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Photo by angelinamarie3

Cooking Level: Expert

Home Town: Palmer, Alaska, USA
Living In: Wasilla, Alaska, USA
Photo by angelinamarie3

Toasted Garlic Bread

Reviewed: Aug. 21, 2013
Delicious! Instead of cutting it into individual slices, I halved the loaf lengthwise & cut each half into quarters, for a total of 8 pieces... a bit easier than a bunch of smaller rounds.I followed ingredients, but not exact measurements (eyeballed most & added all to taste). The olive oil, however, does not add a lot, so I barely added any of it. The butter already has enough oil in it, & even though 2 tsp. is not a whole lot of olive oil, I just didn't feel it was necessary- & the bread still came out very tasty! For the garlic, I added a bit of minced garlic out of a jar w/ a bit of the liquid & also a pinch of garlic powder. I had no mozzarella on hand, so I substituted grated parmesan & sprinkled that on before broiling, so I didn't have to remove the bread to add cheese & place it back in another 2-3 minutes to finish; an easy one-time broil keeping an eye on it & took it out as the top & sides began to turn golden-brown. The flavor of all the ingredients combined turned out delicious... Fresh out of the over was the perfect compliment to our spaghetti dinner! Will definitely make this again, but next time I'll use the fresh, grated mozzarella instead of the parmesan. Thanks for the quick, easy & flavorful recipe! SO much better than store-bought!!!
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Photo by angelinamarie3

Cooking Level: Expert

Home Town: Palmer, Alaska, USA
Living In: Wasilla, Alaska, USA

Divine Hard-Boiled Eggs

Reviewed: Aug. 10, 2013
This is a so-so way for the perfect boiled egg(s). First KEY ingredient that is missing- SALT! Adding salt to the water for boiling will make the shells MUCH easier to peel after they cool (and it does NOT make the eggs salty at all, unless a shell cracks during the boil process). Another reviewer is right- never boil more than 12 eggs at a time (using a large pot). And it must be a ROLLING boil, NOT a full boil- they will not cook proper! Also, you MUST start with the eggs at room temp! Cold eggs do not boil well, or peel easy. Cold eggs is also what can cause discoloration (the green) to the yolk after hard boiling. Set the eggs out to reach room temp, add a bit of salt to the water, then follow directions from there... much better outcome! This is also kind of a lengthy process. Placing salt in the water w/ room temp. eggs, bring to a boil for 10 minutes (or as needed), letting the water cool, then rinsing the eggs in cold water before peeling usually works the best.
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Photo by angelinamarie3

Cooking Level: Expert

Home Town: Palmer, Alaska, USA
Living In: Wasilla, Alaska, USA

Slow Cooker Beef Stew I

Reviewed: Aug. 2, 2013
I LOVE this beef stew. My kids like it too. I have often substituted beef boullion cubes for the beef broth. I have used 2-3 and sometimes more. I am gluten intolerant, so I use gluten free flour and it is works fine. I can be guaranteed my boys will get their veggies with this recipe. Since we live in Alaska, sometimes I will throw other veggies into the mix like turnips and other squash. The squash I throw in at the very end.
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Photo by Allrecipes

Cooking Level: Intermediate

Home Town: Columbia, Maryland, USA
Living In: Palmer, Alaska, USA

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Bob's Awesome Lasagna

Reviewed: Jul. 19, 2013
this was a good recipe. I will make again, but definatly add more meat and add more seasonings to spice it up a bit. It was just cheese cheese cheese. I mixed a tub of ricotta with the cottage cheese, adding an egg as a binder, also added parmesean cheese into the cheese mixture.
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Photo by AlaskaMama

Cooking Level: Intermediate

Home Town: Tucson, Arizona, USA
Living In: Palmer, Alaska, USA

Campbell's® Green Bean Casserole

Reviewed: May 24, 2013
This recipe is awesome- it is a classic and there is nothing to complain about, AT ALL! I did do one or two things different... first, I have had this before with fresh cut green beans, and honestly, we prefer canned. The texture and formation after baking comes out a lot better and more edible. Something about fresh cut and cooked green beans makes it taste funny, so I recommend canned. We also really dislike mushrooms, so we use either cream of chicken or cream of celery soup- both work very well if you are not a mushroom fan. What totally makes the dish, besides the creamy inside, is the French fried onions for a crispy topping. DO NOT skip out on those! Be generous and coat it up!! I've also added in bacon bits to the filling in the past- YUM!!! Classic dish, you really can't go wrong with this one. (I should learn to take a photo to post before serving some of the dishes I review on here... seems by the time I want to review and post a photo- there is virtually NO leftovers or even crumbs to photograph! Now, THAT is when you know you have a keeper for a recipe!)
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Photo by angelinamarie3

Cooking Level: Expert

Home Town: Palmer, Alaska, USA
Living In: Wasilla, Alaska, USA

Garlic Chicken

Reviewed: May 20, 2013
I really wanted to give this more than 3 stars... but it REALLY LACKS IN FLAVOR! (And the bake temp is TOO HIGH!!) As is, it is pretty dry & bland. I even took the advice of another review & coated the chicken in Italian dressing instead of olive oil. The dressing idea worked well- I'm sure it turned out better than what it would have been using the oil. But I REALLY wish I would have added some additional seasonings to this dish. More garlic (in powder form), some onion powder, SALT, pepper, etc... is IDEAL to mix in w/ the bread crumbs to coat the chicken. I also liked the suggestion of other reviews to use the very finely grated, nearly powder parmesan (like the Kraft green bottle). I left the fresh grated to sprinkle on top just before baking. I also mixed half regular bread crumbs & half panko... the coating result w/ those adjustments was AMAZING! (If only the dish had more flavor & less of a bake temp...) So when it comes to baking temp- 425 is TOO HIGH! Yes, the dish may cook a bit faster, but it was EXTREMELY dry. Not moist & tender. Next time will try 350-375. Dryness + lack of flavor left us resorting to ranch & honey mustard for a dipping sauce. Will make again, but w/ some major adjustments & less of a bake temp. Definitely read some of the more critical reviews & follow advice if making this! A good base- but needs a LOT more flavor & a few adjustments.
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Photo by angelinamarie3

Cooking Level: Expert

Home Town: Palmer, Alaska, USA
Living In: Wasilla, Alaska, USA

Chef John's Sausage & Shrimp Jambalaya

Reviewed: Apr. 23, 2013
Well, i looked at more than one recipe- this one seemed to be key w/ ingredients... But i also followed advice of other reviewers. Came out WONDERFUL... with a few adjustments... First- ADD GARLIC! 1-2 cloves minced is perfect. I did use white rice as a preference in taste & time- minute rice added (cooked) in when adding shrimp is perfect!! Can't really place brown rice on this one- jumbalaya is a more hearty dish & brown instead of white rice makes me feel it would not fit well. Due to spice preferences- i also added a wee bit more cayenne & pepper. Adjustments to the salt are definitely as stated! Adjust salt & peppers to taste! You don't want a salty dish (the sausage has enough salt) and you dont want a dish too spicy to eat! Adjust everything to preference. That is key to a great recipe like this. Thanks to Chef John! This is a keeper- just needs adaptation for each cook's preferences. :)
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Photo by angelinamarie3

Cooking Level: Expert

Home Town: Palmer, Alaska, USA
Living In: Wasilla, Alaska, USA
Photo by angelinamarie3

Classic Macaroni Salad

Reviewed: Apr. 22, 2013
The recipe is a real good one... Until it came down to the sugar. Macaroni salad should NOT have that amount of sugar!! I only made half the recipe- every other ingredient as called for. From there I added 1/2 Tbs. sugar as needed to aquire desired taste. DO NOT add the full amount of sugar called for unless you want a sickeningly SWEET mac salad! I think its nearly a better alternative to skip sugar all together & use some sweet relish. Otherwise, a good, decent mac salad... I also diced up some cheddar cheese & threw it in for a personal preference- turned out wonderful & I wish I had made the full amount after seeing how fast it was devoured!! Will absolutely make again- just no sugar. Substituting with sweet relish is a better, more appetizing option. Or just leave out the sugar- it really does not need it (especially if you are using Miracle Whip which is on the sweeter side). UPDATE: after making this several more times, everyone has agreed the sugar called for is outrageous. We start with 1Tbsp. and add more as needed. Also, adding in 3-4 hard boiled eggs is a very nice twist! And we substituted peas for the celery while leaving out green bell pepper. This is a dish that always disappears, and very popular. Just needs some minor changes.
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Photo by angelinamarie3

Cooking Level: Expert

Home Town: Palmer, Alaska, USA
Living In: Wasilla, Alaska, USA

Kim's Macaroni Salad

Reviewed: Apr. 16, 2013
I made this cut in half to start... but GREAT! only thing I don't agree with is adding sugar. I am not a fan of a SWEET macaroni salad (adding sweet relish would be good enough in place of sugar). so I skipped the sugar. everything else came out wonderful! only other changes I made- I added the sauce ingredients to taste (the mayo seemed off, like it was not measured right...). I also added a pinch more pepper, and a pinch of paprika. what I LOVE in a good macaroni salad is diced cheddar cheese... so I diced up about 1/2 - 3/4 cup cheddar and threw that in- YUM! also, no jalapenos for this one. just doesn't fit. I diced up 1/2 a green bell and that worked well, along with some shredded carrot. also used black pepper instead of white. but the pepper is still needed. great recipe, but just needs a little TLC to fit personal preferences/tastes.
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Photo by angelinamarie3

Cooking Level: Expert

Home Town: Palmer, Alaska, USA
Living In: Wasilla, Alaska, USA

Red Skinned Potato Salad

Reviewed: Apr. 16, 2013
although I did not use red potatoes- this recipe was NOT the best, and it DID lack in a LOT of ways... good BASE... but not much more. to start- making it easier is to chop the potatoes into chunks and then boil. definitely cool... CRUCIAL! the eggs were on par, but I already had some boiled. BUT... THE EGG COUNT IS TOOOO MUCH! even making half the recipe- TOO MANY EGGS! Start with 1-3 and add more as needed. I would also recommend adding the rest of the 'dressing/seasoning' ingredients as needed. the full amount of some is terribly overpowering! there is also NO paprika mentioned... a TRUE potato salad has paprika... AND MUSTARD. add in a little bit of chopped green onion for a kick, but this is just a standard recipe that lacks what a REAL potato salad with what ensures people say, "WOW- THAT WAS GOOD!" I added a bit of mustard, a touch of garlic powder, a small bit of diced sweet(or dill) pickles, less egg, less mayo, more pepper, some paprika and a bit of shredded carrot & pimentos, diced. if you want it simple- skip the garnish and just add the mayo, mustard & seasonings to desired taste. add extra garnish for a kick. but this is NOT a 5 star... this needs work and not just the basic ingredients. sorry. I had to modify this to meet expectations. the recipe, as written, is the equality of less than store-bought value.
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Photo by angelinamarie3

Cooking Level: Expert

Home Town: Palmer, Alaska, USA
Living In: Wasilla, Alaska, USA

Boneless Buffalo Wings

Reviewed: Feb. 27, 2013
AWESOME! i have been searching for a great buffalo wing recipe... and this is it (nearly)! after trying another one with a rating for who knows why it was so high... this one was almost SPOT ON! the one small issue (nearly not one at all) was that the cook time was too low for me. i had 1"x1"x1/2" cuts and they took about 10-11 minutes to get golden brown & done- maybe it is my deep dryer?? but the only thing i can suggest is just to watch the deep fryer, otherwise, this recipe is nearly perfect! adjust hot sauce & butter ratio to your liking and this is soooo close to what you would find served at a restaurant. thank you for a great recipe, BETTYCOOK! :)
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Photo by angelinamarie3

Cooking Level: Expert

Home Town: Palmer, Alaska, USA
Living In: Wasilla, Alaska, USA

Restaurant-Style Buffalo Chicken Wings

Reviewed: Feb. 25, 2013
for the firs time making buffalo wings- this was a great start! i am not at all unhappy with how these turned out. i'll attempt them again, because cooking them any longer than stated will make them tough (oops... i am new at the deep fryer!). only reason this is a 4/5 for me- the butter to hot sauce ratio was off. i only used 1/8 cup butter and that was PLENTY! any more, and butter would have overpowered the hot sauce and made it more greasy/taste funny. not sure why so many reviews kept saying the wings didn't have enough flavor spice-wise... most of the flavor comes from the sauce, and how can you taste any other spices if you've added the full amount of butter & hot sauce?! i also disagree with everyone who is complaining with how these 'aren't the real thing'... obviously, the only way you are going to get the restaurant wings is to go to the actual restaurant and buy them!! if you don't feel like doing that, then keep trying and adjusting this or different recipes until you find something similar and close enough. sorry- but you aren't going to get what the restaurant's tastes like unless you've worked there and know the exact recipe and process... don't complain because what you made didn't match! this recipe was a really good one and i personally find homemade better than what you'd get anywhere else- you can adjust and make it your own to your own taste preferences! thanks for the share! this is a keeper. :)
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Photo by angelinamarie3

Cooking Level: Expert

Home Town: Palmer, Alaska, USA
Living In: Wasilla, Alaska, USA

Chef John's French Fries

Reviewed: Feb. 20, 2013
I am quite the newbie at fried foods. I REALLY like to stick to the baked version, but baked just isn't the same sometimes. This is a GREAT recipe- but I seemed to have a bit of difficulty with it...maybe it was just me?? Soaking the spuds before frying is a MUST! Takes most of the starch out & allows for the taters to seep up the oil (which is unhealthy, but yummy)! Double frying seems to be the key- wonderful the first round on a lower temp, but I ran into problems on the phase 2 of frying on 350 degree is... the alloted time noted by the chef was 5-6 min. on 350 degrees. I had mine in there at that temp for only 3-4 minutes and they were already turniing crispy & VERY brown (maybe I cut too thin since we like shoestring fires?). I was looking for fried you'd see more at one of the deep fried fast food resteraunts- so if you are looking for that, I suggesst more of a frying time on the 1st round, less on the second & keeping an eye on it to make sure it isn't turnng CRISPY/BROWN deep brown. All recipes can be "perfect" by trial & error. this one, needs more time on the phase 1 of frying and less time on the phase 2 at a higher temp, keeping a close eye. But, thank you, Chef John! Great one to start (and maybe my deep fryer is different than what was suggested??) Just TRY it! Doesn't hurt to try- trial & error makes perfection. :)
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Photo by angelinamarie3

Cooking Level: Expert

Home Town: Palmer, Alaska, USA
Living In: Wasilla, Alaska, USA

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