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How To Make French Toast

print recipe card posted in Breakfast and Brunch, Vegetarian by Kathy Maister

French toast is one of those “Happy Foods” that bring a smile to everyone’s face. It’s that perfect weekend breakfast food that just makes you feel like you’re celebrating.

You probably have the basic ingredients — eggs, milk, sugar, butter, and bread – sitting in your kitchen right now. Add maple syrup and vanilla extract to your next shopping list and you’ll be ready to make French toast. (All sorts of different flavored extracts can be found near the spices/baking ingredients at the grocery store.)

Plain white bread is traditional, but you can also try using a braided bread (challah), croissants, whole-wheat and rye bread for French toast.

(For a quick review on measuring, check out my video on How to Measure Food)

The following ingredients are needed to make French toast:

2/3 cup of whole milk

4 large eggs

2 Tablespoons of sugar

1 teaspoon of vanilla

¼ teaspoon of salt

Using a shallow bowl whisk them together (or blend together with a fork).

The egg mixture should look like this before you start dunking the bread.

Dunk each slice of bread into the egg mixture just before you add the bread to the fry pan.

Make sure both sides are fully covered.

This step could take a little practice. Leave it too long and the bread disintegrates; not long enough, the bread doesn’t get coated.

Melt 1 1/2 Tablespoons of butter in a fry pan over medium heat. Add however many slices of bread fit in the pan without squishing everything together.

Cook the bread until it is golden brown and then flip it, preferably with a spatula. Let the other side cook until golden brown as well.

Serve it immediately with a dusting of powdered sugar or maple syrup.



P.S. I often get asked questions about the “Shelf Life” of foods. The USDA, a trusted source, offers some guidelines:

This general link to Safe Food Handling Fact Sheet from the USDA will lead you to several charts on food preservation including:

Food Storage

Home Canning

Food Shelf Life

Food Product Dating
which includes things like

A “Sell-By” date tells the store how long to display the product for sale. You should buy the product before the date expires.

A “Best if Used By (or Before)” date is recommended for best flavor or quality. It is not a purchase or safety date.

A “Use-By” date is the last date recommended for the use of the product while at peak quality. The date has been determined by the manufacturer of the product.

Lastly, when in doubt, throw it out!



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How to Make Pancakes

posted in Breakfast and Brunch, Vegetarian by Kathy Maister

Pancakes are eaten all over the world. Here at startcooking.com I have three different recipes which you can choose from to make pancakes:

  1. Chocolate Chip Pancakes from Scratch (video)
  2. Crepes With Nutella (video) (Crepes are a very thin, flat pancake)
  3. From a box mix (today’s photo-tutorial)

If you make crepes or pancakes from “scratch” you will need: flour, baking powder, vanilla sugar, salt, milk, butter, eggs, and vegetable oil. If you are just learning how to cook, all of these ingredients are in fact, an important part of a well stocked cupboard.

BUT, given that this is startcooking.com I’m going to show you how to make pancakes with a box mix.

Before buying the box mix, check the ingredients necessary to make that particular box mix. Some require only water. Some want you to add eggs, milk and sometimes vegetable oil to the box mix. Don’t leave the grocery store until you have read the back of the box of your pancake mix!

This particular mix requires only water. (The directions on the back of the box are usually done very well; often including a picture drawing of what to do!)

Using a medium size bowl, measure out the pancake mix into the bowl; be sure to level off the top of the measuring cup.

Now add the water. Use a glass measuring cup with a spout. It will make measuring and pouring the water easier.

Blend it all together with a whisk or a fork until everything is just combined. (No vigorous beating here!)

Preheat a large fry pan on medium heat for about one minute.

You will know when the pan is hot enough when you drop a few drop of water on the fry pan and they dance and sizzle! (There is a good visual of this in my Stir Fry Video)

Once the pan is hot, add 1 ½ tablespoons of vegetable oil.

You could use butter, but butter burns more quickly than vegetable oil so it can get a bit tricky if your pan gets too hot.

Using a ¼ cup measure, scoop up some batter, hold the cup about 2-3 inches from the surface of the pan, and pour the batter into the pan.

Try and make them nice and rounded. You could mush it around a bit with the back of a spoon to try and get them rounder. It may take a little practice! I like to make about 3 or 4 pancakes at a time.

Tempting as it is to make one giant pancake – I wouldn’t recommend it: it’s really tricky to flip!

There are lots of different topping you could add at this point.

Chocolate chips, coconut, chopped nuts, raspberries, blueberries, bananas, and raisins are some sweet options. For savory pancakes try shredded cheese or cooked bacon.

All you do is sprinkle your extras onto the uncooked side of the pancake. This way, everything gets evenly distributed. (Some recipes will have you add the extras to the batter but I prefer to sprinkle them on the top.)

Let the pancakes cook until you see all little bubbles on the surface of the pancake.

Using a spatula take a peek on the underside to see if they are ready to flip. They should be beautifully browned.

Now cook the flip side until it is nice and brown. The flip side never gets quite as browned or looks quite as good as the top side. The flip side takes only about half the cooking time of the first side.

Don’t keep flipping the pancakes. Flip once and that’s it!

You can keep your pancakes warm in a 200 degree oven until you have finished cooking them all.

There are of course many different types of syrup you can pour over your pancakes, but my favorite is good old fashioned maple syrup!



  • One box of pancake mix
  • Vegetable oil
  • Syrup

Optionall Ingredients:

  • Blueberries
  • Chocolate chips
  • Coconut
  • Chopped Nuts
  • Raspberries
  • Bananas
  • Raisins
  • Shredded Cheese
  • Cooked bacon

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50 Ways to Use Bacon

posted in Appetizers and Snacks, Breakfast and Brunch, Main Dishes, Recipes by Kathy Maister

Ahh, bacon! That crispy, chewy, salty and sinful cut of pork we all love.


Depending on where in the world you live, bacon is cut from the sides, belly, or back of a pig, near the ribs. The most common form of bacon sold in the United States is side bacon.  It is very fatty with long layers of fat running parallel to the rind.  It’s the fattiness of the meat that makes it so yummy. After the skin is cut away, the meat is cured, smoked, and sliced. It can be cooked in a pan on the stovetop, in the oven, or in the microwave, until it’s perfectly crisp.

1. Make a good old BLT sandwich, of course.

2. Bacon cheeseburgers will make anyone’s mouth water. Meat topped with more meat? Perfection!

3. Bacon-wrapped tater tots would go perfectly with that bacon cheeseburger!

4. Roast a bacon-wrapped turkey breast for Sunday dinner.

5. Make delicious bacon parmesan twists.

6. Add a punch of flavor to your creamed spinach recipe.

7. Make your own hot bacon dressing for a fabulous spinach salad!

8. Entertaining? Whet your guests’ appetites with the bacon-cheese fundido appetizer.

9. Indulge in a bar of dark chocolate infused with the flavor of applewood smoked bacon as a special treat.

10. Maple bacon cupcakes  (made from a cake mix) look easy and mouth watering.

11. And if you liked those, try some maple bacon cookie bark.

12. It’s not real, southern cornbread unless there’s bacon grease in it.

13. Bacon lip balm anyone?

14. Join the bacon of the month club to have artisan bacon delivered to your door 12 times a year.

15. A plate full of candied bacon is very hard to resist.

16. A Bacon Martini, (also known as Pig On The Rocks) is made with bacon infused vodka.

17. For a great garnish for drinks, try making a bacon swizzle stick.

18. Whip up a tasty bacon and cheese quiche for dinner.

19. Cook bacon into the shape of cups and fill with lettuce and tomato for a breadless BLT.

20. Stay warm bacon hot chocolate.

21. Bacon salt adds the flavor without the calories.

22. If pork-covered pork appeals to you, you may also enjoy the Grilled Bacon-Wrapped hot dogs.

23. Bacon bandaids bring back smiles.

24. Bacon wrapped Cheesy Stuffed Jalapeños will be a huge hit at your next party.

25. Top your next dinner party with these totally amazing Dark Chocolate Bacon Cupcakes.

26. Impress your guests with Bacon Wrapped Scallops.

27. A bacon-y take on an Asian favorite: bacon and bok choy potstickers.

28. Weave and bake bacon into edible placemats.

29. Then, use the woven bacon to augment your grilled cheese experience.

30. The Bacon Explosion is to die for!  (Make only if you are a hardcore bacon lover)

31. Bacon, date and almond appetizers will be the hit of your party.

32. Bacon egg salad croissants put a new spin on an old favourite.

33.  Candied Bacon Ice Cream a la David Leibovitz.

34. An actual bacon bandaid  clearly helps you heal faster.

35. This bacon alarm clock has been university tested.

36. Romance is in the air with this bacon bouquet.

37. With all this bacon love going on, be sure to NOT put any bacon fat down the drain.

38. Bacon popcorn is a deliciously delicious, crunchy snack!

39. For the experienced  cook, try your hand at making your own bacon.

40. Baked Beans with Crispy Bacon, the name says it all.

41. Fancy up your Mac and Cheese with some bacon.

42. Potato soup with bacon sounds like the perfect soup to warm you up!

43. Strawberry bacon spinach salad will make you the star of any potluck.

44. Salty bacon is great inside an egg salad sandwich.

45. Try roasted pears with cheese and bacon.

46. Pears, bacon and cheese can also be made into a great pizza.

47. This is my favorite Bacon Quiche recipe.

48. If you are calorie cutting check out your local grocery store for turkey bacon.

49. Bacon Crack…butter, sugar, bacon and saltines…

50. And finally, a Bacon Fluffernutter!

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