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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

Banana Pudding IV

Reviewed: Feb. 14, 2013
I made this for the first time 8/11/12, and realized I never rated it. I absolutely love this recipe; it is my favorite dessert. I'm making this for Valentines Day today. If you haven't tried it, you should! We call it "Banilla" in our house ... Banilla says it all!
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Photo by mints98

Cooking Level: Intermediate

Home Town: Palmer, Alaska, USA
Living In: Green Bay, Wisconsin, USA

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Paleo Chocolate Frosting

Reviewed: Jan. 27, 2013
I think this is such a neat way to make frosting while using healthier fats. When I made the recipe as is, there was a bit of bitter aftertaste that was just too strong for our tastes (plus I was trying to get this by 12 seven year olds for a birthday party and it did not pass my son's initial taste test). SO I added some powdered sugar until the bitterness was covered and voila! The cupcakes with this frosting were the hit of the party (we also had regular cupcakes with buttercream frosting available). The extra powdered sugar does not make this frosting extra healthier by any means but it was definitely very good. Thanks for the recipe!
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Photo by webbfam_moejoe

Cooking Level: Intermediate

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

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Garlic Crab Artichoke Dip

Reviewed: Jan. 17, 2013
wish i would have followed what other reviews had stated before dumping a whole packet of the soup mix in! it WOULD have been MUCH better with only HALF of the soup mix called for. but it just took over the dish and thats all we could taste. hubby ate it, agreed it was overpowering, but it just made me feel sick after a couple bites. the amount of crab called for is way too little, also. it got lost in the rest of the ingredients and tasted nothing like a crab dip to us. to salvage what would have been quite a waste of ingredients (half the dish was left since hubby was hungry and didn't want to wait for dinner), the following day i re-added full amounts of all ingredients WITHOUT any more soup mix to the half that was leftover, and also added in a little bit of cayenne pepper for a kick along with a pinch or two of onion powder. it reheated very well and was actually edible without the horrible overpowering flavor of too much soup mix. the recipe would have been more like a 4.5 star, but i highly recommend using ONLY 1/2 the amount of soup mix (maybe even a little less) and adding in a second can of crab meat and a bit of pepper & onion powder. written as is, this needs some work and tweaking, but i'm glad i modified and salvaged the half that was leftover from what wasn't the greatest. after confirmation the second round of making this & fixing it was much better, i would make it again using the adjustments & modifications. overall, it was ok, just needs some work.
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Photo by angelinamarie3

Cooking Level: Expert

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

Meatball Nirvana

Reviewed: Jan. 8, 2013
I can't give this less than a 5. Even though I thought the red pepper amount was a wee bit too much (& i LOVE spicy!), hubby is still raving over these & devouring... Total winner for a recipe! No complaint on his end... Perfect bake time, perfect taste- WILL be making these again! Only thing i did different was top w/ a bit of bbq sauce & broil for 3-5 min on lower heat after the sauce topping. Turned out PERFECT! Applause for the perfect meatball recipe!!! Many thanks... :)
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Photo by angelinamarie3

Cooking Level: Expert

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

Asian Lettuce Wraps

Reviewed: Dec. 30, 2012
I followed this recipe to the T. It was delicious and so easy! We ate it with white rice on the side, I'm sure you could use chicken or pork and it would taste nice as well.
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Photo by cakesnthings

Cooking Level: Intermediate

Home Town: Palmer, Alaska, USA
Living In: Idaho Falls, Idaho, USA

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Butternut Squash Pizzas with Rosemary

Reviewed: Dec. 23, 2012
A Delightful surprise for even my picky eaters!
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Photo by Sean Williams

Cooking Level: Intermediate

Home Town: Salinas, California, USA
Living In: Palmer, Alaska, USA

The Best Rolled Sugar Cookies

Reviewed: Dec. 22, 2012
nearly a disaster. i agree with the other 'less than positive' reviews! figured it would be awesome based on the high rating...NO. not only was the dough a horribly sticky consistency (had to use WAY too much flour to actually cut shapes and keep them from sticking) then half of them fell apart. it was a no win to work with the dough to cut any sort of shape aside from a round cookie. the cook time as stated made the first sheet i put in nearly burnt. and if you like cardboard, the second sheet i kept an eye on turned out to that consistency after baking. the third sheet i put in for 5 minutes- they looked great coming out- nice & soft... then after letting them set & cool, they are rock hard. gave up on the rest of the sheets and just made big ol' round cookies hoping to salvage the rest of the dough. no luck on any method. planned on bringing them to christmas gatherings... not anymore! would have been a total embarassment!! i think i'll stick to the recipe my mom gave me years back. it isn't perfect, but this surely holds nothing compared to it. sorry- this just was not a good cookie, looking for a softer, shaped sugar cookie for holiday decoration frosting. like others have said- i had to add nearly double the flour to get it "workable" and the taste was not what i would consider a good sugar cookie out of the batch i could actually salvage after baking. really bummed i wasted the ingredients & time. had high hopes for the high rating. i'll stick to my mom's original.
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Photo by angelinamarie3

Cooking Level: Expert

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

Roomali Roti

Reviewed: Dec. 21, 2012
Nearly perfect recipe! I do agree with other reviews, that WARM water should be used- easier to work with & a much better end result. Had no bread flour on hand, so I dissolved some yeast in the warm water & added that for a quick version with ingredients I had. I'm not sure why (and disagree) of some reviews saying this has no 'flavor' & were adding in additional spices... true roti does not contain an abundance of flavor or additional spices. It is meant to be eaten with other dishes containing the heavier spices & flavor. Every true middle-eastern cuisine roti I have ever tried does not contain spices, only the small amount of salt. I also divided the dough into 12 smaller balls to flatten and cook, just as a personal preference since it was being used for various dips as an appetizer. Guaged the cook time on when brownish spots began to form & the roti would start to 'bubble' up in a few areas. Great, fresh out of the pan & also great leftover- this can accompany such a variety of various appetizers, dips, or main dishes. It is best left as-is, no spices added & leaving all the flavor to whatever dish goes along with it. Much appreciation for sharing the recipe!
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Photo by angelinamarie3

Cooking Level: Expert

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

Hummus I

Reviewed: Dec. 21, 2012
This recipe was 'OK'. Good start but did need some major adjustments. I began with the recipe originally written, did the taste test & had to adjust from there. To start- when draining the beans, RESERVE the liquid & set aside. Do NOT add WATER! Instead, add the reserved liquid as needed until desired consistency is acquired. Water will do nothing for flavor! Skipped lemon zest- found it pointless. Used minced garlic out of a jar instead of cloves, & I can say I used about 1.5 Tbsp. so I'm not sure 2 cloves would be enough (depending on size). Parsley & green onion I added less of. Too much green was not doing much for a real hummus flavor & no good for aesthetic appeal. Also agree w/ other reviewers- NO olive oil or cumin?! Necessity for a true hummus! HAD to add about 1/3 Tbsp. of cumin & at least 1.5-2 Tbsp. of olive oil. Did need the salt & pepper, to really bring the flavor out. But I suggest starting w/ the recipe as originally written, doing the taste test, then adding more of each ingredient as needed until the desired flavor is acquired. Really did find myself having to add more of almost all the flavoring ingredients as hubby & myself were doing the taste test along the process. I still question why green onion or parsley should be included. Added onion powder to taste & that was perfect, without the parsley. Parsley would only be good as a 'garnish'. Good base- but really needs adjusting + the olive oil & cumin! Thanks for a good start.
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Photo by angelinamarie3

Cooking Level: Expert

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

Savory Pork Chops

Reviewed: Oct. 17, 2012
We were impressed with this recipe, different from how we'd usually make pork chops. However, the sauce was quite runny, even with simmering longer than 20 minutes. For the chops to be tender, I had to simmer for at least 30-45 minutes. I agree with other reviews that adding a bit of flour to the sauce would do well to thicken it up a bit so it isn't as runny. I did not have any marmalade (next time I will make sure I have it to try again), but they still turned out very tastey. I also added some garlic powder in with the other spices for coating- I felt it was missing something and that was a perfect compliment in flavor. We really liked the dish and are eager to try it again with marmalade and adding some flour to the sauce to thicken it up a bit. Only questionable issue was the cook time, which seems to vary based on reading other reviews. Overall, these turned out to be very good, and this is a dish I will make again.
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Photo by angelinamarie3

Cooking Level: Expert

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

Slow Cooker Buffalo Chicken Sandwiches

Reviewed: Sep. 9, 2012
I did forget to include the butter, and it was perfect without it; we topped our sandwiches with Hidden Valley light Ranch ... perfect! Thank you for an amazing sandwich recipe!
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Photo by mints98

Cooking Level: Intermediate

Home Town: Palmer, Alaska, USA
Living In: Green Bay, Wisconsin, USA

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Roasted Garlic

Reviewed: Aug. 20, 2012
this is a good start to the recipe, but it needs adjustments. i agree with other reviews on a few things. first, chopping the top of the head of garlic off so each clove is exposed (to let the olive oil & any other spices seep in) is a good idea. i usually season mine with some light pepper after drizzling the olive oil on it. also, this could be cooked two different ways. using a terra cotta garlic baking dish, bake it covered for 45 minutes, then remove the cover and let bake an additional 15 minutes so the garlic is tender. if using tinfoil on a baking sheet, wrap the garlic up in the foil and bake 45 minutes, then uncover and bake an additional 15 minutes to tender. i find this works better and enhances the flavor and tenderness. it is wonderful served with brie cheese on crackers or slices of a french baguette! great appetizer for any occasion... just have some mints on hand after, lol. (and on a side note- 400 can be too much heat depending on your oven. i can get away with 350-375 usually. sometimes 400 will blacken it.)
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Photo by angelinamarie3

Cooking Level: Expert

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

Tacos in Pasta Shells

Reviewed: Jul. 25, 2012
this was such a creative twist on tacos + stuffed shells! very easy to make, but i give it 4 stars because making it the first time, it lacked taco flavor. the second time around i added in taco seasoning to the meat & cream cheese mixture. i also recommend softening the cream cheese before adding it in with the ground beef. it isn't necessary to coat the shells in butter, so i also skipped that the second time around and they still came out great. another recommendation i would make (based on taste preferences) is to add some diced tomatos, olives, green onion, etc... to top them off. great twist on tacos and good, creative recipe!
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Photo by angelinamarie3

Cooking Level: Expert

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

Baked Dijon Salmon

Reviewed: Jul. 25, 2012
this recipe is a keeper! similar to another i have tried, but i liked how this one added bread crumbs to top the fliets. the pecans were also a nice touch! i had to add a tad bit more honey to my mixture because the mustard was really overpoweing it. but overall, this was pretty quick, simple and very delicious.
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Photo by angelinamarie3

Cooking Level: Expert

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

Easy Bake Fish

Reviewed: Jul. 25, 2012
AWESOME recipe! this was so quick & easy, everyone loved it. we eat a LOT of fish, especially salmon so this was a great new (and super convenient) way to prepare it. the second time around, i also added bread crumbs on top when i baked it and that was a nice, simple touch to a simple dish. i would also recommend putting a dash of garlic salt in with the sauce just to give it a tad more flavor.
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Photo by angelinamarie3

Cooking Level: Expert

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

Halibut Supreme

Reviewed: Jul. 25, 2012
great recipe! although it was a little rich, it was still very good. we eat a lot of halibut living in alaska, so this was a nice alternative to the usual way we'd make it. i'd just recommend adding a bit more spice to the mix. the cayenne was good, but didn't seem like it was enough spice-wise. regardless, with tweaking a little here and there and adding more spices, this is one that will be a repeat dinner in our house- thank you!
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Photo by angelinamarie3

Cooking Level: Expert

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

Best Baked Chicken

Reviewed: Jul. 25, 2012
this was a GREAT recipe... but HAD to be modified (i agree with other reviews about the salt issue). i completely omitted the celery salt. used bragg's liquid aminos instead of soy sauce (MUCH healthier) and used a a few dashes of the garlic salt. fat free sour cream is better, i think. and i used italian seasoned bread crumbs (easier). the butter isn't completely necessary- spraying with a mist of cooking spray will make it come out perfectly browned & just crispy enough. i loved the recipe and it was easy to modify for a diet that needs less salt and fat. thank you for sharing!
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Photo by angelinamarie3

Cooking Level: Expert

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

Janet's Rich Banana Bread

Reviewed: Jul. 25, 2012
this is one of the best banana breads i have tasted- it absolutely was devoured by my hubby and all his friends who were visiting. i ended up having to make this three times in one week! however, i can only give it 4 stars because i don't like the idea of slicing the bananas. from my mother's teachings as i grew up and would help her bake, the bananas that were starting to go bad would be put in the freezer and taken out, thawed then mashed to make banana bread. i think mashing them turns out much better so you aren't biting into one chunk of banana and instead get the flavor in the whole loaf by mashing them and mixing them in. so that is my suggestion- mash instead of slice. the sour cream makes a HUGE difference in how soft & moist the bread turns out. i did not use walnuts because a friend has allergies, but did add some chocolate chips. top the baked bread with some cream cheese and this is a total treat!
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Photo by angelinamarie3

Cooking Level: Expert

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

Pizza Pinwheels

Reviewed: Jul. 25, 2012
WAY easy, and super quick appetizer or quick side to take to a pot-luck or serve at home for hungry people that can't wait for the main dish, haha. this one is also easilly modified to suit anyone's taste. pizza is something you can add anything you prefer to. although i did not add any extra ingredients the first time (aside from extra cheese), next time around i am going to throw some diced onions, green peppers & olives in. i also used the "mini" pepperoni slices so it rolled easier. the bake time (maybe my oven isn't as hot or something) did not seem to get them cooked all the way through, so i had to throw them in again...just watch the bake time and make sure they don't end up doughy! but this is a cool twist on pizza-like appetizers and one i will continue to make.
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Photo by angelinamarie3

Cooking Level: Expert

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

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