Random Musings, Uncategorized

Recipe reviews

In the last few months, I’ve been trying to make one new recipe every two weeks. Some have turned out great and some not so much. Some of the recipes have been so great that I want to share them with anyone who likes to cook.

The biggest disappointment, I think, was a chicken and Italian sausage recipe from a gourmet cookbook. I have since given the cookbook away because I hadn’t used it yet in four years of marriage, so I don’t remember what the title of the recipe was. It just didn’t turn out looking anything like the picture, and the flavoring was really weird. Also, it used dark-meat chicken, which I don’t prefer. Needless to say, I won’t be providing this recipe for you.

Pasta in Bolognese Sauce

If you have the Better Homes and Gardens cookbook, look this one up in the pasta section. I highly recommend it because it didn’t require any very weird ingredients, it went together quickly, it tasted great, and it provided a nice variation from your standard pasta and marinara sauce. The sauce is essentially a marinara, but with Italian sausage, beef broth, whipping cream, and green peppers. It’s hearty but not heartburn-inducing. I did use mild Italian sausage instead of the hot that it called for. Grade: B+.

Pepper Lime Chicken

Another BHG cookbook recipe. I’ve made this one twice now, which I guess vouches for its tastiness. The recipe calls for a semi-complicated broiling method in the oven, so the second time, I tried doing it on the stovetop. I think it worked out pretty well there too, but I did have some trouble with the sugar from the lime juice getting too dark. Next time, I might brown the chicken and then add the lime glaze just before the chicken is done. Jon Boy really liked this recipe, though. Grade: A–.

Orange Beef

This one was okay, but it would need somewhat of an overhaul to be good. I used half as much honey as was called for, and it was still too sweet with too strong of a honey flavor. The orange flavor, however, was almost imperceptible. I made the recipe with different vegetables, but I often do that with Asian recipes. I can’t remember now if it was too spicy or not spicy enough or just not flavorful enough. If I decide to do an orange beef recipe in the future, it won’t be this one. Grade: C–.

TOPH Apple Pancake

Wow. If you want to know what to make for the last meal of your life, you have my recommendation for this. The Original Pancake House is a restaurant chain that only serves breakfast—very good breakfast—and closes at 2:00 p.m. each day. We’ve eaten there twice or three times now and loved it each time. Their biscuits and gravy are better than I thought biscuits and gravy could be. This recipe is for one of their signature dishes, the Apple Pancake. Really, it’s a puffed German pancake, and it will pretty much kill you. (Don’t look at the nutrition facts!) I did use more apples than the recipe called for, and next time I would cut down the sugar because I think I could do that without harming the tastiness of the recipe. Lego, Jon Boy, and I couldn’t finish it, even though we all loved it. Grade: A+.

Chicken and Sweet Potato Caribbean Stew

This was definitely interesting. I will make it again, but probably not on a regular basis. It’s not that it wasn’t good; it’s just that it’s unusual enough that I have to be in the right mood for it. I’m not usually a huge fan of sweet potatoes, but the thyme and cayenne pepper in the recipe acted as a lovely counterpoint to the sweet starchiness of the sweet potatoes. It was hearty and satisfying and extremely healthy. Plus, making it made me feel somewhat closer to my brother, who is on a mission in the West Indies right now. The picture on Recipezaar is mine, by the way. Grade: A–.

Thai Masaman Curry

Ambrosia and Bawb came over Saturday night to cook, and we made this along with an amazing chocolate brownie cake with caramel peanut topping. I’d made Thai curry before, but never this authentic, and never this delicious. 🙂 This recipe also got me to an Asian market for the first time ever, which was a really fun experience that I will repeat when I can. I was very proud of how the curry turned out, and I think everyone—including Lego—really enjoyed it. I will use slightly less lime juice and more masaman curry paste if I am brave enough to do it again. Oh, and have I ever mentioned how divine Jasmine rice is? It really puts regular white rice to shame. Grade: A. (For the curry, not the rice.)

Chicken with Tarragon Cream Sauce

This tasted good, but the title is a bit of a misnomer. You would have to double the sauce ingredients to actually have something that resembled a sauce; otherwise, there’s barely enough to coat the chicken. Also, my “sauce” was more like a slightly creamy chicken gravy than a cream sauce, and the tarragon flavor was very, very subtle. I will definitely be making this again (what else am I going to do with fresh tarragon?), but I will double the lemon juice, add milk, and maybe even add some chicken broth. I will also use a bit more tarragon. The chicken turned out nice and tender, though, and the whole dish had a nice flavor. Grade: B, with the potential to be an A with revision.


  1. Mmmm. Biscuits and gravy. That has to be my favorite breakfast ever. Oh, to be by the Creamery again. Hot biscuits and gravy.

    Also, the curry sounds great as does the apple pancake.

    Can you tell it’s getting to be close to lunch for me?

  2. Creamery biscuits and gravy were an abomination compared to the ones at the Original Pancake House. Just sayin’. Too bad I can’t find a copycat recipe online.

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