Kathy Maister's Start Cooking

How To Make Egg Salad

print recipe card posted in Appetizers and Snacks, Lunch, Vegetarian by Kathy Maister

There are a lot of ways to cut up a hard boiled egg. You can just use a knife to chop the cooked egg. Or you can also mash the cooked egg with a fork. An egg slicer which is shown in the photo below, makes perfect slices for sandwiches or for a garnish. You can also use the slicer to slice the egg in both directions and end up with chopped eggs for salad and dip.

If you are going to make egg salad sandwiches, three eggs will be enough for two sandwiches.

Celery and/or green olives are traditional “add-in”s to egg salad.

Be sure to mince the celery (cut it into really small bits) when you are adding it to a salad. Cut the celery length wise into thin strips, and then cut the strips into very small pieces.

Also be sure to slice the olives.

Crispy chopped bacon can add an extra zing to the taste and texture. A dash of curry powder is fantastic when you serve the salad as a dip with crackers and cut up vegetables.

Add a dash of Salt and Pepper

Add about 2 T. of mayonnaise, and give it a stir.

That’s it! The egg salad is all made, now just pick your favorite bread and you’ve got yourself a great sandwich!


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32 Simple Snacks for Football Fans

posted in Appetizers and Snacks by startcooking team


Jalapenos Stuffed with Sausage and Cheese

So what’s on your party menu for watching the big game? We’ve put together the following items, which go beyond bowls of corn chips, pretzels and cheeses. We make no specific claims about their healthiness, so pace yourself!  Your final menu choices will depend on how much prep work you feel like doing for your party.

The Easy & Traditional Snacks

These are the snacks that are easy to put together, and mostly require minimal effort.

  1. Kielbasa wedges . What meat lover doesn’t like kielbasa? Cut up some thick slices and serve with crackers and/or cheese.  A dab of spicy mustard works well with kielbasa.  (By the way, turkey kielbasa is delicious!)
  2. Garlic bread or Pull Apart Cheesy Garlic Bread is great fun for a party and will disappear fast.
  3. Meatballs. Little Sweet and Sour Meatballs served with toothpicks or Sausage Balls(shown below) are always a crowd pleaser.http://startcooking.com/public/IMG_1572k.jpg
  4. Mushroom caps. For a change of pace, try these bacon Stuffed Mushroom Caps(video).
  5. Chicken wings. Make chicken wings in the oven for an easy-to-prepare football snack that everyone will appreciate. Serve with the traditional sides — thick blue cheese dressing, celery and carrot sticks, hot sauces, and a fistful of napkins.
  6. Grilled sausages. If the weather’s still good (or you’ll grill in the snow), fire up the backyard grill and throw on some nice Italian or Polish sausages.
  7. Nachos and cheese dip. “Guilty pleasure food” at its best with this 2 ingredient nacho cheese dip.
  8. Potatoes. Potato wedges a really inexpensive snack are great with ketchup or sour cream.http://startcooking.com/public/images/imgp2610_305.jpg
  9. Stuffed potato skins. Or if it’s not wedges, it’s potato skins, which can be assembled ahead of time for baking. Make sure to set out extras, like sour cream, chopped chives, crumbled bacon, and grated cheese.
  10. Classic cheese ball.  Need I say more?  Serve cheese balls with a variety of crackers or thinly sliced pumpernickel bread.
  11. Chex mix. There are an endless number of combinations to the snack most of us know as chex party mix. Customize the recipe to your liking, but keep an eye on the oven, as the onion powder tends to burn easily.

Lighter & Healthier Snacks


Make Ahead Layered Salad

If you’re feeling slightly peckish instead of all-out hungry, here are a few suggestions. Most are pretty traditional, like the items above – just lower in calories.

  1. Crudites and dip. Cut up some celery, carrots, cucumbers, and red peppers into bite-size pieces and serve with a nice dip.
  2. Cold cuts. We feel that some of the best cold cuts and sliced meats come from Italian markets. Just roll each slice up into a tube, or fold into a wedge, and arrange on a platter.
  3. Olive selection. Even simpler than cold cuts or crudites. While you’re at that Italian or Mediterranean market, pick up a nice array of olives – from savory to spicy, with different stuffings, from pimento to cream cheese to even almonds.
  4. Cheese bites and (wheat) crackers. Cheese platters do not have to be boring. There are so many cheeses to choose from – go for different textures and flavors – and then add some grapes and nuts to the platter as well.
  5. A crazy big salad. A big salad is the perfect complement to most game day foods – and relieves the guilt of eating all the other (heavier) snacks. Chop items small and throw it all in — vegetables, fruits, olives, boiled eggs, cheese, etc. — depending on your tastes. Top with balsamic vinegar, extra-virgin olive oil and a squeeze of lime.
  6. Savroy Pies. Quiche can be served hot or at room temperature. Baked spinach pie, reminds me of spanakopita, only easier to make because this recipe uses frozen puff pastry.   A store bought pie crust makes these recipes easy as…

Sandwiches and Burgers

http://startcooking.com/public/images/IMG_1987.jpgWhat’s a game party without some sort of sandwiches. Here are a few variations, some possibly unique to this article.

  1. Hot sandwiches. Serve spicy Italian sausage with plenty of peppers and onions, on crusty rolls.
  2. “Grilled cheese” burgers. You read that right. Make your burgers in one pan and keep it warm. Then, on order, make a grilledcheesesandwich (shown above) in another pan, using regular bread slices. Split it open (careful, it’s hot) and place tomato slices, pickles (optional), and a cooked burger patty. Have hot sauce or ketchup on the side.
  3. Tex-Mex Cheese Burgers. Need I say more! Check out the video.
  4. Pocket subs. Whether you call them hoagies, rockets, subs or something else, these are always a hit, especially with kids. Make sure you have lots of small Italian buns or sub buns, a variety of cold cuts, pickles, toppings and spreads.

Something Extra and Hearty



These are for those colder football days, when you feel like something heartier.

  1. Perogies. Potato, onion and/or cheese perogies are so readily available in most supermarkets freezer section that you don’t need to make them from scratch. Serve with sour cream, salsa, dips, hot sauce.
  2. Pigs in a blanket. Don’t forget the kids in the snack list. We don’t know what it is about pigs in a blanket, but kids (and adults!) love them.
  3. BBQ ribs. You don’t need massive brontosaurus ribs like Fred Flintstone. Some regular sized, finger-licking, melt in your mouth  slow cooked barbecued ribs will do just fine.
  4. Burritos. Beef and bean burritos are easy to put together beforehand or assemble on the spot and who knows better how to make them then The Pioneer Woman!
  5. Chili. A great, hassle-free, “simmer in the pot until you are ready for it” game food like chili (video) is hard to beat. Chili is also an excellent make-ahead dish, freeing you up to enjoy the game while it simmers.
  6. Meatloaf. Meatloaf isn’t particularly original, but if you like to get creative, you could shape it into a football.
  7. Calzones. While traditional calzones are delicious, this spinach and ricotta stuffed variation, flavored with a touch of nutmeg, is simply delectable. Buy prepared pizza dough to make it really easy.
  8. Pizza Loaf. This fast and simple-to-prepare pepperoni and cheese stuffed snack is sure to be a hit served with a bit of tomato sauce on the side for dipping. It’s a fair bit like calzones, but probably less work over all.
  9. Sweet potato fries. Be sure to pre-heat your oven for about 20 minutes to make sure that these baked fries come out crispy.
  10. Chicken kabobs. Kabobs are eaten in a number of countries across Northern Africa, Europe and South Asia. So you have many flavor choices for chicken kabobs. Or just buy some from the deli counter and throw them on the grill or bake in the oven.
  11. Samosas. These East Indian potato-filled pastries are said to taste great with beer – an alcoholic beverage of choice for football viewing. Making these from scratch is time-consuming. So just pick some up fresh from an Indian or Pakistani grocery store, or in frozen form from most large supermarkets.

Now if none of these look tempting, check out Cooking Light’s list of Football Party Recipes!

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Sausage Balls

print recipe card posted in Appetizers and Snacks by Kathy Maister

These savory Sausage Balls are great to serve to company! They are a hearty snack or hors d’oeuvre. This is not a light and delicate dish, so you might want to serve them with some fresh-cut vegetables and a healthy dip just to balance out the decadent versus healthy options you provide to your guests!

The original recipe for these savory treats has been around (supposedly) since the mid 1960’s. As a consequence, there are hundreds of variations to the recipe, which I’ll discuss at the end of this post.

For startcooking.com’s version of Sausage Balls you will need:

  • 1 and 1/2 cups of flour
  • 2 and 1/4 teaspoons of baking powder
  • 3/4 teaspoon of salt
  • 1 pound of hot sausage
  • 10 ounces of cheddar cheese, extra sharp
  • 1 medium onion, diced
  • 1 can of non-stick cooking spray

I recommend using hot sausage because it adds a really nice zing to these sausage balls, but you could use a sweet Italian sausage, or even a spicy breakfast sausage. (Not all sausage meat has the same fat content which in turn does influence the final texture of these sausage balls.)

Be sure to bring the sausage to room temperature – it will make mixing these ingredients a lot easier.

Begin by mixing (with a whisk in a large bowl) the flour, the baking powder and the salt.

Now, remove the casings (the skin) from around the sausage meat and put the sausage meat into the mixing bowl. It is not necessary to pre-cook the sausage meat.

Shred 10 ounces of sharp cheddar cheese. You can use either white or yellow cheddar; just make sure it is “sharp”.

Then dice 1 medium onion. That will make about 1 cup of onions. (I describe how to Chop, Dice and Mince Onions here.)

Add the shredded cheese and the diced onion to the mixing bowl.

With your (clean!) hands mix everything together with both hands. The mixture will feel dry and could take about 4-5 minutes to get everything well mixed.

Spray a baking sheet with sides with non-stick cooking spray.

Scoop out about a tablespoon of the mixture with your fingers, or a measuring spoon. Roll it into a ball about 1 inch in diameter. This recipe will make approximately 5 and 1/2 dozen sausage balls. (This sounds like a lot, but I promise you they will go fast.)

You will have to bake them in two batches.

Set the balls on the baking sheet about 1 and 1/2 inches apart from each other.

Bake them in a 350-degree preheated oven for 15-18 minutes in total. Set the timer for 8 minutes. Remove the tray from the oven and with a spatula or a pair of tongs, turn them over. Return the tray to the oven and continue baking the sausage balls for another 7 minutes.

(They can be a bit delicate to turn. You may need to gently loosen them with a spatula before turning them over.)

Remove the tray from the oven, and if need be, with a spatula, loosen the sausage balls and place them on a plate lined with a paper towel to drain off some of the fat.

The sausage balls are now ready to be served as finger food, warm from the oven.

Preparing in Advance

Once these sausage balls have been made, you can freeze them before you bake them. Roll the mixture into balls as described above, and place them on a baking sheet lined with wax paper.

Cover them with plastic wrap and…

…freeze for several hours until they are hard. Remove them from the baking sheet and put the sausage balls in a freezer bag.

When you are ready to serve them, place them on a baking sheet that has been sprayed with non-stick cooking spray. Let them defrost for 15 minutes and then bake them according to the instructions above.


Some sausage-ball recipes recommend adding 1/3 cup of milk or water, or 1 egg.

Other recipes call for garlic powder or fresh garlic, chopped green chilies, rosemary, thyme, oregano, or Tabasco sauce.

Some suggest that you serve the sausage balls with red pepper jam, or a mustard-mayonnaise sauce, or barbeque sauce.

Then there are some recipes that do not ask you to turn the sausage balls over half way through the cooking time. I think that they tend to get a bit over-cooked on the bottom this way.

Instead of the flour, baking powder and salt, 1 and 1/2 cups of Bisquick can actually be used for this recipe. Bisquick is a pre-mixed base for making things like biscuits, pancakes, and other baked goods. If you are new to cooking and do not have flour and baking powder in the cupboard, a small box of Bisquick may be the thing to purchase. You can always make pancakes with the leftovers! (Be sure to buy the “Heart Smart” version as it is free of trans fats).

Many recipes call for 3 cups of Bisquick, 1 pound of sausage, and 12 ounces of cheese. That’s it. I tried making these and found them to very dry and hard.


I do hope everyone at your party enjoys startcooking’s version of Savory Sausage Balls!

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