Kathy Maister's Start Cooking

How To Make Caesar Salad

print recipe card posted in Soups, Salads, Sides and Sauces, Vegetarian by Kathy Maister

Caesar Salad is a standard item on a lot of restaurant menus, but can easily be made at home. It can be an appetizer or, by adding some protein such as chicken or shrimp, can be turned into a complete meal.

(Both the origin of Caesar Salad and its original dressing ingredients are debatable, but Romaine lettuce, Parmesan cheese and croutons are always the base of a Caesar Salad. A homemade Caesar Salad dressing historically included lemon juice, olive oil, an egg, Worcestershire sauce OR anchovies and freshly grated black pepper.)

Today, pre-made Caesar Salad dressing is readily available on the grocery store shelves.

For 2 servings of this Caesar Salad you will need:

  • 1/4 cup of pre-made Caesar salad dressing
  • 2 tablespoons of grated parmesan cheese
  • 1/2 head of Romaine lettuce
  • 2/3 cup of croutons

Romaine Lettuce is the norm for a Caesar Salad. In general, choosing lettuce for a salad can be pretty confusing. Startcooking.com’s post on Salad Green From A to Z describes many of the more common types of greens available at most grocery stores.

Be sure to wash the Romaine lettuce and then chop or tear it into bite-size pieces.

Freshly grate Parmesan Cheese and add it to the lettuce.


Gently toss the salad greens with the Caesar dressing and sprinkle on the shredded cheese. Then top with some croutons.


If you like anchovies, then adding a few on top is always a tasty addition!

Salad’s ready!


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Beef with Bow Ties and Beans

print recipe card posted in Main Dishes by Kathy Maister

This is one of those meals where everything gets cooked in the same pot. So get out your largest non-stick frying pan and lets startcooking!

This recipe is from my friend Cristen Jones, a registered dietitian from the Boston area.  I’ve adapted the recipe just a bit for the startcooking crowd.

You will need the following ingredients:

  • 1 pound of ground beef
  • 1 cup of chopped onion
  • 1 can (15 ounces) of Great Northern beans, rinsed and drained
  • 1 can (15 ounces) of diced tomatoes, undrained
  • 2 cups of beef broth
  • 2 cups of bow tie pasta
  • 1/2 teaspoon of salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon of dried garlic powder
  • 1 teaspoon of dried oregano
  • 1 teaspoon of dried basil
  • 2 cups of broccoli

The beef, onion and broccoli are the only fresh ingredients you need for this recipe. Buy the rest of the ingredients in advance and just stick them in your food cupboard. Then when you are stuck thinking about what to make for dinner, you can have that “Ah Ha” moment and just pick up some ground beef, broccoli, and an onion!

Get all your ingredients prepared and measured in advance.

1. Rinse and drain the beans

2. Chop the onion

3. Wash and cut the broccoli into bite size pieces also known as florets

4. Measure out the spices

5. Reconstitute the bullion cubes-you will need 2 cups of broth

With the stove set to medium, add the beef and the onions to the pan. (If you froze your ground beef when you got home from the grocery store, you can defrost the beef really quickly in the microwave.)

Brown the meat until the beef is no longer pink-about 6-8 minutes.

Be sure to drain off any excess fat. I used VERY lean beef for this recipe so there really was very little fat to drain off.

Add the rest of the ingredients EXCEPT the broccoli.

Mix everything together.

Cover the pot and turn the heat up to medium high. Bring it to a boil and then turn the heat down to simmer. And cover the pot.

Simmer everything for about 10-12 minutes.

Lay the broccoli on top and re-cover the pot.

In about 3-5 minutes your broccoli will be nice and tender. Be sure not to over cook the broccoli as it will turn a nasty shade of green if you do!

Give it a taste. You may want to add more salt and some freshly ground pepper. You could also add some freshly grated Parmesan cheese if you like.

As this dish sits, almost all of the liquid gets absorbed.

If you are making recipe the day before you plan on eating it, be sure to steam the broccoli just before you serve it.


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Chocolate Fondue

print recipe card posted in Sweets by Kathy Maister

If you have never made a fondue, now is the perfect time to learn how!
There are basically three traditional varieties of fondue: cheese, meat, and chocolate.
This post will focus on how to make chocolate fondue.

You may think you need to own a special fondue pot, but while it’s fun to have one, it’s not absolutely necessary.
A dedicated fondue pot is really just a warming dish on a stand, with a candle underneath the pot to keep what’s in it warm.

Without a candle, a regular bowl should stay warm for about 20 minutes.

The “special” equipment usually also includes long forks for dipping the fruit into the chocolate, but you can substitute regular forks, bamboo skewers or even long toothpicks.

For this chocolate fondue recipe you will need:

    • 6 ounces of fine-quality bittersweet chocolate (no more than 64% cacao if marked)
    • ½ cup of heavy cream
    • 2 Tablespoons of unsalted butter
    • 2 Tablespoons of Cognac or other brandy

You will also need lots of “goodies” to dip into the chocolate. Choose any of your favorite fruits. Just be sure to cut them up into bite size pieces. Some favorites of mine are; strawberries, raspberries, pineapple (fresh or canned), grapes, bananas, and dried apricots. You can also try pound cake cut into chunks, shortbread cookies, and ruffled potato chips! Chocolate coated potato chips are a real surprise dunker! Everyone is going to love the sweet and salty combination.

You can get all the “dunking bits” prepared in advanced and put on a serving dish. (Keep the cut fruit in the refrigerator, covered, until you are ready to serve the fondue.)

Put the cream, butter and Cognac in a small sauce pan.

Bring everything to a simmer over medium heat. While that is coming to a simmer, chop the chocolate into really tiny pieces.

(For various ways of breaking up the chocolate, see my post on Chocolate Fudge.)

Remove the pan from the heat when everything has begun to simmer, and add the chocolate.

Stir until the chocolate is melted and smooth.

Pour the chocolate mixture into the fondue pot (or serving bowl).

If you leave chocolate fondue over the candle for any length of time, stir it occasionally to avoid scorching.


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