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Best Cream Of Broccoli Soup

Reviewed: Apr. 1, 2015
Great recipe! I made it vegetarian by substituting veggie broth and used almond milk (what I had on hand) instead of regular milk. I also had to simmer about 5 minutes longer to soften the broccoli. So tasty, my 8 year old asked for seconds!
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Photo by Christine Shiu

Cooking Level: Intermediate

Living In: Oakland, California, USA

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Chicken Chimichangas with Sour Cream Sauce

Reviewed: Mar. 4, 2015
Omg I'm in love. I just happened to stumble upon this recipe on Day 2 of owning a deep fryer and I though to myself, "the family loves burritos, and things that are deep fried" (in moderation, of course), after reading the reviews I was excited to say the least. My 4 foodie stepchildren were just as amped. I made the chicken per the recipe keeping in mind that some reviewers doubled the seasoning, so I made another batch of seasoning and kept it to the side. Before shredding the chicken I tasted and decided to add it, and as one reviewer said it wasn't overpowering at all. It was actually just right. I added 1 teaspoon of apple cider vinegar because...well just because I like it. The chicken turned out so good I'm tossing out my Lawry's Taco Seasoning...and rethinking my life. The sauce was amazing as well, I didn't feel the need to add salt or pepper and it complimented the chimis so well. The kids were already asking for me to prepare it again next week. Thank you sstrawder for sharing such a wonderful recipe!
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Photo by Vanessa Fregoso

Cooking Level: Expert

Home Town: Oakland, California, USA

Sesame Pasta Chicken Salad

Reviewed: Feb. 27, 2015
This reminds me of a pasta salad I used to love and go out of my way to get when I was in college. Its got a good balance of sweet, and tangy. I reduced the oil to 1/3 cup based on other reviewers, and would omit the toasted sesame seeds next time even though its "sesame pasta chicken salad", I didn't like it texturally. I did, however, use lots of crunchy veggies like red and green bell peppers, celery, and finely grated carrots for color mostly. The final touch was 2 diced ambrosia apples. Their flavor is light, not overly sweet or tart, a great vessel for the dressing and added a little extra "something". Loved it. My kids begged me to take the leftovers to school for lunch. Thank you for such a yummy and nostalgic recipe.
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Photo by Vanessa Fregoso

Cooking Level: Expert

Home Town: Oakland, California, USA

Baked Dijon Salmon

Reviewed: Feb. 9, 2015
I've tried this before, although I've never used Mustard or HONEY on it, but everything else YES!! I love it..I think I'll try it next time.. With a lot of mixed reviews, It couldn't hurt to try..
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Photo by RuthieEB

Cooking Level: Expert

Living In: Oakland, California, USA

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Creamy Au Gratin Potatoes

Reviewed: Feb. 6, 2015
My family of 7 and I love anything potatoes, and I jumped at the chance to never cringe at the ever rising price of boxed au gratin, which I have ot buy 3-4 of for just one dinner, and that's just one "side". This recipe knocked the boxed Au Gratin out of the park, I was so pleased hearing all my children's "mmm!"s and "ooh!"s I did follow the advice of other reviewers by mincing my onion, especially because my kids THINK they don't like onion. I added about a half cup more cheese and the roux is similar to mac n cheese sauce so in the similar fashion I slightly oversalted my sauce and it came out so wonderful. This would work with whatever your favorite cheese is provided that it melts well, and for people who say it's "bland" I do see that really depending on the kind of cheese you use. Try sharp tasting cheeses. This has earned a permanent place in my dinner repertoire, heck, I might even make it again tonight.
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Photo by Vanessa Fregoso

Cooking Level: Expert

Home Town: Oakland, California, USA

Berdean's Cube Steak

Reviewed: Jan. 19, 2015
This is so close to how my Mom makes her's. We add a little onions diced up to it, I like a little heat to mine, so I add a little crushed red peppers. it makes the gravy so good.
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Photo by RuthieEB

Cooking Level: Expert

Living In: Oakland, California, USA

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Decorator Frosting

Reviewed: Dec. 26, 2014
This recipe is awesome! It is super thick, so if you are going to use it in a "decorator bag", I would suggest thinning it out just a bit. I ended up popping 3 bags due to the thickness of the frosting. I ended up adding 1/4 tsp of milk to it to prevent the bag from popping.
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Photo by Lucy Strebel

Cooking Level: Expert

Living In: Oakland, California, USA

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Parmesan and Basil Chicken Salad

Reviewed: Dec. 19, 2014
I felt it needed some stronger flavors when I first tasted the result, but obviously that's my personal preference. To me it was a bit bland, so I chopped up a small onion and put some cucumber in. I also slipped a pinch of cayenne pepper just to give a little heat on the tail end. I didn't have anymore basil, otherwise I would've pureed more of that in the blender and added it.
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Photo by Osowoofy

Cooking Level: Beginning

Home Town: Louisville, Kentucky, USA
Living In: Oakland, California, USA

Zucchini Fritters with Fresh Mozzarella and Tomato

Reviewed: Dec. 16, 2014
I prepared this exactly as written and wouldn't change a thing. It's a little time-consuming as I was frying fritters for a long time. I got about 20 out of the recipe (so 2 per serving). However, the time investment was worthwhile. Straight out of the pan, these fritters are light-textured with a crisp outside and a creamy interior -- pure comfort food. I don't expect the crispness to last, but I'll see what reheating in the oven does for them. Regardless, the combination of seasonings is very good and gives these are great flavor. I'll definitely make again but would love to have a griddle on hand for my next attempt.
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Cooking Level: Intermediate

Home Town: Middletown, New York, USA
Living In: Oakland, California, USA

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Smoked Turkey Rice Soup

Reviewed: Nov. 29, 2014
Good soup, great way to use up left over turkey. I added some additional seasonings and cooked the rice on the side than added it in the last 30 minutes of cooking.
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Cooking Level: Expert

Home Town: Gulfport, Mississippi, USA
Living In: Oakland, California, USA

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Slow Cooker Zucchini Soup

Reviewed: Nov. 29, 2014
Meh. This soup just didn't excite me. It wasn't bad, but I found myself looking for excuses to eat something else. I always rate recipes as written, but I might add beans or pasta to this if I ever make it again as I felt like a flavor or texture was missing for me.
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Cooking Level: Intermediate

Home Town: Middletown, New York, USA
Living In: Oakland, California, USA

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Real homemade Macaroni and cheese

Reviewed: Nov. 27, 2014
Awesome!!!!!
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Photo by Allrecipes

Cooking Level: Intermediate

Home Town: Hayward, California, USA
Living In: Oakland, California, USA

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Double Layer Pumpkin Cheesecake

Reviewed: Oct. 19, 2014
I don't like pumpkin pie at all, so I was very hesitant to try this recipe. BUT...I'm extremely glad I did. My sister-in-law always has a large (20-26 people) family Thanksgiving and most everyone brings something. Since everyone who comes loves pumpkin pie, I thought I'd give this "kicked up a notch" recipe, a try. It was easy to make, and since it does require chilling, I was able to make another dish. When dinner was over, I went to collect my remaining dishes only to find the Cheesecake Pumpkin pie plate was empty! Off all the desserts that were brought, it was the only one which had NO left overs! Thanks Stephanie, I think! I would have liked a few bites to take home with me!
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Photo by LuAnne Connell Wood Johnson

Cooking Level: Expert

Home Town: Oakland, California, USA
Living In: Orange Park, Florida, USA

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Sorta Blackened Chile-Rubbed Pork

Reviewed: Oct. 1, 2014
Followed the recipe & this is a winner. I did not make any corrections or additions. I'll be making this one again
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Photo by Leland Pritchard

Cooking Level: Intermediate

Home Town: Oakland, California, USA
Living In: Hickory, North Carolina, USA

Roasted Portobello, Red Pepper, and Arugula Salad for One

Reviewed: Sep. 29, 2014
Great! I did a couple of things differently, some per pinkypink's recommendations. 1. I did a mix of half arugula and half spinach, and the mushrooms I was using were small, so I did three per entree-salad 2. I did a simple balsamic for the dressing; just vinegar, EVOO, salt, pepper, and a little honey 3. I used chèvre instead of romano 4. I used balsamic instead of red wine vinegar on the mushrooms. Thanks for the great recipe!
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Photo by Krista Anderson

Cooking Level: Intermediate

Home Town: Denver, Colorado, USA
Living In: Oakland, California, USA

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Monkey Bread I

Reviewed: Sep. 27, 2014
My stepkids and I spend a lot of time together, and one of the ways we do that is by cooking together. I decided to make this for my son's 8th birthday instead of the traditional birthday cake. There's a lot of kids in the family so I figured it would be a welcome change. We had so much fun making this. My 12 year old was on biscuit cutting duty, and my 10 and 8 year old were on sugaring and layering duty. It was fun and easy for all of us to make, and turned out pretty good too! I only ended up using 2 tubes of biscuits (where I live they come in 16 oz cans) and I was using a smaller bundt than usual. It turned out perfect and I don't think the sugar would have coated all three tubes it just coated the 2 perfectly (I did sub margarine for butter though simply because I didn't have any). I baked it for 35 minutes and nothing was raw, the top was kind of crunchy and I liked that. The kids thought it was good but after a day of pizza and birthday treats they were a bit burned out by the sweet processed taste of this treat. I'm not sure if we will make this again, making a cake myself would've been cheaper IMO, though I'm sure the variations are endless with the different kinds of biscuits (how about blueberry biscuits with blueberry syrup, or better yet, homemade biscuits) but if one of my kids asks for it I will probably do it just for them.
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Photo by Vanessa Fregoso

Cooking Level: Expert

Home Town: Oakland, California, USA

Chef John's Mushroom Gravy

Reviewed: Sep. 26, 2014
It was WAY too salty as written in the recipe. I was worried about that extra pinch of salt to help "draw out" the water from the mushrooms, which only made it worse when simmering down the broth and concentrating the flavors. Next time, I'd use either unsalted butter and/or low-sodium beef broth. I used it over mashed potatoes and buttermilk meatloaf, which paired perfectly with the gravy.
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Photo by Osowoofy

Cooking Level: Beginning

Home Town: Louisville, Kentucky, USA
Living In: Oakland, California, USA

Pancakes I

Reviewed: Sep. 21, 2014
In my search for my perfect pancake, I tried this recipe. The flavor was ok, my kids said they liked it, but in trying to rid my house of any bisquick I just couldn't trade my box for this scratch recipe. The pancakes were somewhat fluffy but they shriveled up after coming off the skillet and the centers were a little chewy. Maybe my standards for fluffy are skewed, I want International House of Pancakes fluffy, but this wasn't. They were not awful by any means, but just weren't for me. Thank you though.
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Photo by Vanessa Fregoso

Cooking Level: Expert

Home Town: Oakland, California, USA

Chef John's Buttermilk Biscuits

Reviewed: Sep. 17, 2014
These were wonderful. As someone who has never done a biscuit more complex than a Bisquick drop biscuit, I thought I was being ambitious by trying this homemade biscuit for the first time. I'm pretty experienced in the kitchen but recently trying to expand by doing things like my own pie crusts and now biscuits (things that can be ruined being overworked)...it turned out fantastic! My only word of advice it not to fear your dough being under-worked. Chef John's video is a wonderful guide. I always freeze half my butter when I buy it (Costco) and it works well when doing biscuits (AND pie crusts for that matter). They didn't seem to rise much but I made them pretty small, next time I will double the recipe and roll my dough out thicker. They were pretty flaky and the flavor was absolutely wonderful. I made them for the hubby, and my 10 month old daughter, and when my older kids tried them, they demanded more. Unfortunately we ate them all, haha these will be a hot commodity around my house. (*EDIT: Made them again, and this time I just made 6 large biscuits--I cut the dough with a knife ad just made square biscuits to eliminate having the leftover tough ones--and it was wonderful!)
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Photo by Vanessa Fregoso

Cooking Level: Expert

Home Town: Oakland, California, USA

French Silk Chocolate Pie

Reviewed: Sep. 14, 2014
I used to frequent a place called "Baker's Square" that made the most amazing French Silk Pies, so when they closed down all their shops I was in serious withdrawal. I always told myself that I would find a recipe that was just as good. While I can't say this recipe is a copycat because really the flavor depends on the type/brand of chocolate you use (I used Sees semisweet chocolate) omg it turned out absolutely amazing. I used only 1/2 cup of butter which was an accident though a fortunate one after reading some of the reviews. It still tasted buttery and atop of a flaky butter crust it was the perfect amount of flavor. I also used pasteurized egg product because I have several small children in the house, and had no immediate resources for pasteurized eggs themselves. You can't even tell! Make sure your tools are cold when trying to beat the finished product, if its too warm (like my California house in the summer) stick the mixing bowl with the pie filling in the freezer for about 20 minutes and try again, mine whipped up beautifully then after sitting in the fridge overnight was perfectly fluffy. Amazing. Thank you.
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Photo by Vanessa Fregoso

Cooking Level: Expert

Home Town: Oakland, California, USA

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