Kathy Maister's Start Cooking

BLT Sandwich

print recipe card posted in Lunch by Kathy Maister

Sandwiches can be as exotic as you like, with all sorts of fancy ingredients. But, there is nothing quite as satisfying as a classic “BLT.”

Today I’m going to show you how to make a Bacon, Lettuce and Tomato sandwich, better know as the BLT!

We’ve already discussed how to cook bacon in the microwave.

We have also solved the mystery of how to actually wash your own lettuce!

We still need to slice a tomato. A really sharp kitchen knife or a serrated edge knife will cut the tomato beautifully. (Serrated edge knives are the ones with the jagged edge.)

Be sure to always use a sawing motion or you may end up squishing the tomato!

Then we’ll add all of this to your favorite bread, which of course should be toasted. A dollop of mayonnaise adds the finishing touch to a perfect BLT!

Spread each slice with about 1 tablespoon of mayonnaise. This is not a sandwich you should be eating if you are counting calories!

Add the lettuce, the bacon and the sliced tomato. (It doesn’t really matter what order you follow.)

All of the amounts are adjustable to your taste. And that’s all there is to a BLT!

To slice the sandwich, (optional) use a serrated-edge bread knife , with a sawing motion (as usual with this knife).


PS. Did you know that sandwiches are named after an actual person, (you guessed it) the English Earl of Sandwich? Apparently, the Earl of Sandwich had an obsession for gambling. Because he didn’t want to be disturbed long enough to eat a big meal, slices of bread with various fillings were brought to him at the gaming table.

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Baked Potato with Salsa

print recipe card posted in Lunch, Vegetarian by Kathy Maister

Baked potatoes are a quick and satisfying “comfort food” that CAN be healthy as well. Mary’s comment in “Cooking Potatoes in the Microwave” got me thinking about one of my favorite ways to eat baked potatoes.

In restaurants, you are often offered butter, sour cream, and bacon to go with your baked potato, and, of course, you can make them this way at home as a wonderful occasional splurge. But in my household, non-fat plain yogurt is more the norm. You get a similar “mouth sensation” without quite so many calories.

I bake the potato in the microwave, and carefully remove the hot potato from the oven. With a sharp knife, make a shallow slice down the length of the potato and then I give it a bash.


This breaks up the fibers and makes it all easier to spoon out or eat with your fork. (Note: Be sure you put a clean cloth or paper towel between your fist and the hot potato or you will get burnt).

Now give it a squeeze and the potato should be nice and fluffy.


From there, I add a small sprinkle of salt and several twists from the pepper grinder.

Sometimes I then add about 1/3 cup of salsa. If you haven’t tried salsa on your baked potato, you don’t know what you are missing. There are so many really great flavors of salsa; you really can’t go wrong with any of them! It’s not necessary to heat the salsa. The potato is so hot the salsa will actually cool it down to the perfect temperature!

I then top it with about 1/3 cup of plain yogurt. If I have green onions in the house, chop them up and add them too. It looks great, and the flavor is fantastic!

When cutting green onions, remember the white part is much stronger than the green part!

What’s your favorite baked potato topping?

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Salad Nicoise

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

Of all salads, Salad Nicoise is my favorite! If it is on the menu, I inevitably order it! It has the perfect combination of foods – lettuce, tomato, green beans, hard cooked eggs, potatoes, black olives, capers, and tuna fish.

Pour on your favorite vinaigrette dressing, and the meal is complete!

For two servings you will need:

Step # 1 – Cook the eggs

Check out my 30-second Tips and Techniques Video on How to Boil an Egg. You can do this step well in advance, as hard cooked, unpeeled eggs will keep for about a week in the refrigerator.

Step # 2 – Cook the potatoes

Carefully drop some small potatoes (see below) into boiling water, adding some salt. Return the water to a boil and set the timer for about 12 (to 15-18) minutes. Before you remove them from the pan, stick a fork in them to make sure they are tender.

Cut the potatoes into bite-size pieces.

Step # 3 Blanch the green beans

“Blanching” means that you drop the green beans into a pot of boiling, salted water and let them cook for about 2 minutes. Remove them with a pair of tongs and immediately plunge them into a bowl of water with ice.

The ice water will stop the cooking process and keep them a nice bright green.

Step #4: Assembe the salad

(Be sure to wash the lettuce!) Spread the lettuce out on a plate.

Add the rest of the ingredients in clumps. It has a lot more “eye appeal” that way!

I splurged and bought imported tuna from a jar. It was expensive ($7) but worth every bite.

Sprinkle the capers over the salad.  In the photo above, those are capers in the white dish shown with the tuna fish. They have a unique, almost peppery-salty taste that works really well in combination with all the other flavors of this salad.  Capers are packed in brine and should be rinsed before you add them to the salad.

Once everything is added, serve this wonderful salad with your favorite vinaigrette dressing.

Oops! I almost forgot the black olives!


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