Vanessa Rene Carlson

I'm a wife and mom of 3 young redheads. I'm going back to school after a long time and have one more science class to go before I can apply to nursing school.
Shredded Pork Filling
Rating: Unrated
Vanessa Rene Carlson's rating

I used pork shoulder, so the recipe took a little longer, but it was VERY easy and once the meat is shredded, you can put it in the fridge and put it all together in the last 15 minutes. My 3-year-old won't try anything new, but I think that an older child would like it. It was mildly spicy, not at all too hot. I'll make it again! We made burritos with the meat and added cheese. Yum!

Whole Wheat Beer Bread
Rating: Unrated
Vanessa Rene Carlson's rating

Very easy, very good. I added 1/4 of melted butter on top of the batter before baking (a trick I picked up from another beer bread recipe). You can add up to 1/2 a cup if you like, but use real butter! YUM!

Chicken Noodle Soup II
Rating: Unrated
Vanessa Rene Carlson's rating

This is a good chicken soup recipe, although for the time involved I think it should have been better. The time is this recipe's only shortcoming, I think. Other than that, I would recommend making your own stock (I cooked 2 large chicken breast halves with some celery, carrot, salt, and pepper --simmer for 40 minutes, remove chicken, simmer 20 mintues more, strain. Be sure to skim while simmering. The chicken I then shredded to use in the recipe). Using the resulting stock, plus 2 cans of chicken stock and about 2 more cups of water made a nice soup base, not too salty or greasy, as I feel canned stock alone can sometimes be. I also found that I had to add about 4 more cups of water while the soup was cooking in order to keep the water level up. If you like chewy noodles,(not necessarily a bad thing) then go ahead and roll out to the suggested 1/8 inch thick, but if you don't like to have to cut your noodles when eating soup, then make the noodles paper thin when rolling out. I also added different spices which I think really added flavor--a touch of ground ginger (maybe 1/2 teaspoon) plus 4 teaspoons of Old World Seasoning blend by Penzey's Spices. This in particular was a great addition! Overall, try this soup, especially if it's a cold, dreary day and you have nothing better to do.

Best Ever Corn Muffins
Rating: Unrated
Vanessa Rene Carlson's rating

I've made this recipe many times following it as written, and it always tastes great! It's sweet, but that's sometimes the way I like it. Tonight, however, I was out of baking mix, so this is what I did: in place of mix, add 1 1/2 cups of flour, 1 1/4 Tbs of baking powder, and 1/4 tsp. salt. I also for the first time used only 6 Tbs sugar. It turned out great! Not quite as light as the original (which some may find a plus) but definitely a keeper. My kids eat 2 each (they're 5 and 2 years old) and usually there's a couple leftover, but they get eaten by the next morning!

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Italian Meatball Sandwich Casserole
Rating: Unrated
Vanessa Rene Carlson's rating

This was yummy, although, I hate to say it, I did change it a little. I didn't have french bread so I used sour dough, and might try it again since we like sour dough. I also didn't use the onion since I don't like onion in my meatballs. I found the meatballs really yummy and will probably make them again whenever I make meatballs. The one thing I didn't like was the soggy bread--I'll try toasting it if I make it again. Also, I had problems spreading the cream cheese mixture on the cubes--there has to be another way! I may try this: toasting bread, spreading each slice with cream cheese, then layering slices in dish, NOT cutting into cubes.

Four Cheese Macaroni
Rating: Unrated
Vanessa Rene Carlson's rating

Finally! A homemade mac-n-cheese my kids loved! My 7 and 4 year olds had three helpings for dinner, then actually cheered when the next day I said we were having the leftovers for lunch. The one year old loved it too. I did use the cheeses I had on hand, however, but I don't think it would make a difference. I used: sharp cheddar, American, colby/jack, and mozzerella and then sprinkled parmesan over top. I also used non-fat half and half. It was bland for me,(that's why only 4 stars) but some pepper and tobasco at the table will fix that. It's worth it to see my kids eating mac-n-cheese that's not bright orange!

Megan's Granola
Rating: Unrated
Vanessa Rene Carlson's rating

It seems unfair to rate a recipe I've changed, but it's SOOO good, I wanted to add my 5 stars. To start, I only changed the recipe because I didn't have a few of the ingredients, like the oat bran, sunflower seed, almonds, and wheat germ. I will add at least some of those ingredients the next time I make it for the added health benefits. I added extra walnuts (to make up for the lack of almonds) and coconut per other's reviews. I also cut back on the oil, using 3/4 cup of canola (what I always have on hand). I think I'll cut back on the honey the next time, too, just to try and have less sugar. The recipe is great the way it is, but I think you could use less sweetener and it would still be good. I baked mine at 300, since other readers mentioned problems burning (and I know that would be me to forget about it!) It took almost 30 minutes at 300. Whatever temperature you use, WATCH it in the last 10 minutes or so, it gets toasty looking really fast! In all, a GREAT recipe the way it is, and it's even BETTER because of all the creativity you can have with it!

Chickpea Curry
Rating: Unrated
Vanessa Rene Carlson's rating

I'd give this a 4.5, really. It was very good, even my hubby ate it, and he's most definitely NOT into beans of any sort. I served it over Jasmine rice, since that's what I had on hand. (Basmati rice would be more authentic). I did have to change the spices, since I didn't have all of them. So, I skipped the seasonings from the ginger on down, and used about 2 Tbs. of Rogan Josh seasoning from Penzey's Spices. (check them out!!) It's a blend of paprika, garlic, ginger, cumin, coriander, black pepper, cayenne pepper, cinnamon, cardamom, cloves and saffron. It was a very authentic Indian taste, and a nice bite to it. (not something I could give my kids, unfortunately) I'm sure, looking at the ingredient list, that it was pretty close to what the original recipe would taste like.

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Roast Sticky Chicken-Rotisserie Style
Rating: Unrated
Vanessa Rene Carlson's rating

OMG, this was SOOO good! I followed the ingredient list and put the chicken in the fridge all day, then used my rotisserie to cook it. I can only assume that it's really good in the oven, too, since it rates so high with others, but if you're lucky enough to have a rotisserie, this is THE BEST!! The skin was crispy and the flavor actually went through to the meat.

Chocolate Scotcheroo Bars
Rating: Unrated
Vanessa Rene Carlson's rating

Okay, I wasn't sure whether to rate this a 4 or 5, but since everyone loves them, I'll go with 5 stars. I'll admit, I didn't think I'd like them, let alone anyone else, when I tasted the bits left over from making them (you know you do it too--licking the bowl!) I thought they'd be too rich. Then, I was distracted by my kids while melting the topping, so instead of one cup each, I use a WHOLE BAG of each, chocolate and butterscotch chips! After sitting in the fridge to firm up a bit, DH tried them first. Let's just say, they're a hit! I cut them into 1 inch squares (since they are rich), but the kids and I each had two, and DH, who cut his own first, had the equivalent of 6! The next time I try them, I might try just chocolate on top, or corn flakes instead of rice krispies. Oh, and the extra topping--worth it!!

Teriyaki Sauce and Marinade
Rating: Unrated
Vanessa Rene Carlson's rating

I don't think I've ever rated a recipe one star, and I hate to go against all the 5 star reviews, but I have to say I really didn't like this! I didn't want to look up my usual recipe, so I thought I'd try this one, given all the great reviews. I thought it was soooo salty, (and I use low-sodium soy sauce.) I kept adding sugar to try and cut the saltiness. I've managed to salvage it that way, but I probably added close to 1 cup of sugar, and I don't think my kids are going to like this (though we'll give it a shot) I looked up my recipe, which is from a Japanese cookbook, and it's basically equal amounts of soy/mirin/sake(or not, there are variations), along with about half the amount of sugar. So, 2:2:1, soy, mirin and sugar. I always add garlic and black pepper, and sometimes the vinegar, usually not though. I also don't usually add the oil (though my recipe does call for a tiny amount) Anyway, I guess our tastes are for a sweeter, stickier teriyaki sauce, and this recipe just wasn't it. Sorry!

White Mountain Frosting
Rating: Unrated
Vanessa Rene Carlson's rating

Originally, I was just looking for a substitue for Seven Minute Frosting, and since I only have a stand mixer,this recipe seemed to fit the bill. I didn't read any of the reviews, or perhaps I wouldn't have tried it. And, initially, after the first taste from the bowl, I thought I'd made a mistake in making it. But now I'm not so sure... First of all, it's marshmallow frosting, to the T! It's sticky, gooey, and even my 4-year-old daughter thought it tasted just like marshmallow. I wasn't too happy with that, since I was going for a light, airy frosting (like seven minute!) Anyway, I had made it, it came out correctly, so I slathered it on the dark chocolate cake we had made. The recipe makes a TON, but you'll need it, because if you try to spread this too thin, you'll be picking up cake like mad. Turns out, this recipe on dark chocolate cake---tastes like heaven! I'm not sure what it reminds me of, something like Sno Balls, but fresher and no coconut (although coconut on it would be awesome!) You can tell I'm a child of the 70s! Next time, though, I'll make cupcakes (dark chocolate, of course). The cake really is quite hard to cut cleanly. I also don't know yet how this will store--or even where to store it. For now it'll stay on my counter. The only reason I gave it 4 stars instead of 5 is because I'm not sure how this will hold up over the next 24 hours. As it's cooling, it's getting quite stiff, and it may just be because when cooking the syrup I went just a

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