Kathy Maister's Start Cooking

Pasta with Lemon and Garlic

print recipe card posted in Main Dishes, Vegetarian by Kathy Maister

One of my favorite ways to serve pasta is with olive oil, parmesan cheese, garlic and lemons — and, of course, fresh parsley — which I put on just about everything!

You should always have a few boxes of pasta in the cupboard. It keeps for a long time, and is always good for an emergency meal when you can’t think of anything else to make!

Stock up on pasta when it goes on sale and buy all different shapes and sizes. Be sure to always have some olive oil on hand as well.

For this recipe you really need to use fresh garlic and fresh lemons and fresh parsley. Garlic powder, dried parsley and lemon juice from a jar just won’t cut it in this recipe.

Start cooking your pasta according to the directions on the package.

While the pasta is cooking you need to do 5 things:

Peel and mince 2 cloves of garlic.

Grate about 1/3 cup of parmesan cheese.

Wash 2 lemons. Before juicing the lemons, we need to remove tiny shreds off the peel of the lemon. This is known as lemon zest. You can use a grater or a knife and just cut the zest into really tiny bits.

Be sure to only use the yellow part of the lemon peel. The white part tastes bitter.

Now juice the lemon. We actually need 4 Tablespoons of lemon juice.

Then chop about 1/2 cup of fresh parsley.

Once the pasta is cooked, remove one cup of the cooking water.

Then drain the pasta.

(After we add the other ingredients, the pasta may be too dry. You can add some of the cooking water to help moisten it.)

Using the pot you cooked the pasta in, heat 3 Tablespoons of olive oil.

Add the garlic to the oil and fry it, until you can smell it cooking, about 15 seconds.

Turn off the heat. Add the lemon juice and zest to the pot.

Then add the pasta to the garlic and oil.

Add the chopped parsley.

With a pair of tongs or two spoons toss everything together. If it seems too dry, pour on some of the reserved pasta water.

Serve with lots of parmesan cheese, salt and freshly ground pepper. And of course, garnish with fresh chopped parsley!


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Tex-Mex Roundup

posted in Main Dishes by Kathy Maister

As I look through my collection of videos and blog posts, I realized that I have developed quite a collection of Tex-Mex recipes and tips. It’s really not too surprising, given the popularity of these foods. In point of fact, Sante Fe Chili was my very first video.

This popular recipe takes only about 10 minutes to prepare and, as I say in the video, will feed an army, or just you with lots of leftovers! (My niece Sara has turned this recipe, with just a few modifications, into her signature dish!)

After the preparation, it does take 2 hours to cook, so I decided to add a quick cooking chili to the collection. 2 Alarm Chili packs a punch if you use all the red pepper contained in the spice packet.

It’s a wonderful kit which contains 7 different spices needed to make the chili. If your spice collection is limited, this is definitely the way to go!

It’s not surprising that 7 Layer Dip is one of my most popular videos.

In my video, I walk you through preparing all 7 layers, step by step. Party anyone?

Fresh avocados really add so much life to 7 layer dip. Anyone needing a primer on avocados can check out my very detailed video and post on everything you need to know about handling fresh avocados.

From there making your own guacamole is a breeze.

Be sure to use ripe avocados for your guacamole. You may have to buy them several days ahead and put them in a paper bag to speed up the ripening process.

Some people like an extra bit of “heat” in there guacamole. Fresh jalapeno peppers are a perfect for that.

If you are unsure about handling hot peppers, go take a look at both my post and video for some great tips!

Salsa comes in a ton of different flavors and can be eaten in lots of different ways besides with corn chips. Baked Cod with Salsa takes about 2 minutes to prepare and no time to cook.

This makes a great dinner for you or to serve to company. Add some rice or mashed potato and some steamed asparagus or broccoli and dinner is complete!

Baked potato with salsa is one of my personal favorites. I cook the potato in the microwave and in less than 10 minutes, dinner’s ready.

(Non-fat Greek yogurt has the consistency of sour cream and it tastes great on a baked potato!)

I’ve done two Quesadilla posts: Quesadillas with Tomatoes and Black Olives, and Quesadillas Salmon and Cream Cheese.

Sunday brunch can be very special with these quesadillas that are filled with herbed cream cheese spread and diced salmon.

When planning your next party, why not start with Jalapenos Stuffed with Sausage.


Then serve either Taco Salad


Or Tex-Mex Cheeseburgers (video)


with a super easy summer Bean Salad Tex-Mex Style


Click on the recipe index at the top to the page to discover even more fabulous recipes!



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Pasta Sauce – Italian Turkey Sausage

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

Italian turkey sausage is great in this tasty sauce! It has a lower fat content then regular sausage; consequently it’s a bit healthier.

If you like a bit of sausage in your lasagna, this sauce recipe is perfect!

To make this sauce you will need:

It’s a really good habit to get all your ingredients prepared before you turn on the stove. It makes the cooking process go much more smoothly.

That means you need to:

  1. Chop the onion
  2. Mince the garlic
  3. Chop the parsley
  4. Remove the casings (that’s the really thin skin) from the sausage
  5. Open the cans of tomatoes and tomato paste
  6. Measure the spices

Now we are ready to start cooking!

Heat 2 Tablespoons of olive oil in a large (10 to 12-inch) skillet or frying pan. Add the onion and cook for 5 minutes over medium-low heat, until translucent.

“Until translucent” is a typical term used to describe cooking onions. Raw onions are fairly opaque. As you start to cook them, they slowly reach a point where they become almost see-through. They have not turned brown, and are not supposed to for this recipe.

Add the garlic and cook for 1 more minute, or until you can smell the garlic cooking.

Add the sausage to the onions and garlic. I like to use a combination of both hot and sweet sausage. We need to cook it over medium-low heat, breaking it up with a fork, for 8 to 10 minutes, or until no longer pink. This is just like browning ground beef.

Because this Italian turkey sausage has a lower fat content then regular Italian sausage, there will be very little fat to drain off. (If I were using regular sausage, I would definitely drain off the fat before adding the remaining ingredients.)

Now add the remaining ingredients:

  • 1 (28-ounce) can crushed tomatoes in tomato puree
  • 1 (6-ounce) can tomato paste
  • 1/4 cup chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley
  • 1 teaspoon dried basil
  • 1 teaspoon dried oregano
  • ½ teaspoon sugar
  • 1 ½ teaspoons salt
  • ½ teaspoon pepper

Simmer the sauce, uncovered, over medium-low heat, for 15 to 20 minutes, until it has thickened.

This turns into a really thick sauce which is great over any pasta. Enjoy!

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