Kathy Maister's Start Cooking

How to Cook Lamb Chops

print recipe card posted in Main Dishes by Kathy Maister

I like to cook lamb chops quickly, in a frying pan, on high heat. Only seven minutes later, dinner’s ready!

There are many different cuts of lamb available.

These rib chops are have their own little “handle”, which makes them perfect for picking up and eating with your fingers. The nugget of meat in the center will be juicy and tender as long as it is not cooked past “medium.”

A ¾ inch thick chop is the optimum size to buy. Thinner chops tend to get over-cooked very easily. Figure on 2-3 chops per person.

Start by sprinkling some salt and pepper on both sides of each lamb chop.

Preheat your non-stick pan on high heat. To tell if the pan is hot enough, add about 1 Tablespoon of water to the pan. The water should sizzle and evaporate immediately.

Add the chops to the fry pan. You should hear them sizzle! If they are not sizzling, then your pan is not hot enough.

Set the timer to 3 ½ minutes to 4 minutes.

When the timer goes off, flip the lamb chops, using a pair of tongs.

Continuing cooking on the flip side for another 3 ½ to 4 minutes.

Mint sauce is traditional with lamb chops. Some people prefer mint jelly. You get to choose!


If you are feeling adventurous you might want to give cooking a Leg of Lamb a try!




All of my recommendations and cooking times are based on meat taken directly from the refrigerator.

According to Joy of Cooking, in their “Meat” section, they say (and I agree): “While many cookbooks and food experts recommend bringing meat to room temperature before cooking, we encourage you to follow the safer practice of keeping meat refrigerated right up to the last minute before cooking. While room-temperature meat will cook more quickly, there is not enough benefit to outweigh the risks of tempting bacteria even for a short time.”

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How to Cook a Pork Roast

print recipe card posted in Main Dishes by Kathy Maister

Chris P. Bacon

“Chris P. Bacon”         watercolor by Kathy Maister

Many people just learning to cook are often a bit hesitant cooking a large piece of meat. It seems so intimidating! Well, it doesn’t need to be, at all. This boneless pork roast is a great place to begin. All that is necessary to cook this roast is to mix some dried spices with olive oil, rub it all over the roast and put it in the oven. That’s it!

Roasting a boneless pork loin roast slowly will guarantee moist, tender meat.

Loin refers to the type of cut.

Put the oven rack in the center of the oven and preheat the oven to 450 degrees.

There is often a thin layer of fat on one side of the roast. Do not trim off this fat. It will help to keep the meat nice and moist.

Always position the pork roast in the pan so that fat side is on the top.

Measure one tablespoon of olive oil in a small dish.

Add 1 Tablespoon of dried spices to the oil. You can use rosemary, sage, thyme, or oregano; or a combination of these that equal 1 tablespoon.

Add ½ teaspoon of salt and ¼ teaspoon of ground black pepper.

Mix this spice rub together and rub it all over the pork roast.

Be sure to rub the spices into the top and bottom.

Place the roast on a rack in a roasting pan, fat side up.

If you don’t have a rack you could coil some tin foil and use that as a rack.

Put the roast in the 450 degree preheated oven. The hot temperature is going to give the roast a nice golden color.

Set the timer for 10 minutes.

When the timer goes off re-set the oven temperature to 250 degrees.

Continue cooking about 50-80 minutes or until the meat registers 145 degrees on a meat thermometer. Some roasts are long and thin and others are short and fat, consequently the cooking times will vary depending on the shape of your roast. The meat thermometer is the best way to judge the right amount of cooking time.

(As of May 24, 2011 the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) is updating its recommendation for safely cooking pork. USDA recommends cooking whole cuts of pork to 145 °F as measured with a food thermometer placed in the thickest part of the meat, then allowing the meat to rest for three minutes before carving or consuming. Ground meats, including ground beef, veal, lamb, and pork, which should be cooked to 160 °F and do not require a rest time. The safe cooking temperature for all poultry products, including ground chicken and turkey, remains at 165 °F.)

Remove the roast from the oven and set on a cutting board. Cover the meat with tin foil and let it rest for about 15 minutes before slicing it. The temperature of the roast will continue to rise about another 5 degrees.

You will get at least 6 servings out of this beautiful 3-pound pork roast.

Pork Chops Anyone?


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10 Ways to Use Chili Peppers

posted in Main Dishes by Kathy Maister

It’s a “Bacon-Wrapped Jalapeno Thingy”, courtesy of The Pioneer Woman Cooks.

Who could resist this appetizer?

My video on Chili Peppers and our How to: Chili Peppers will serve as a great introduction to peppers for the beginner cook.

If you like a hint of “heat” in your food, experiment by adding chili peppers to everyday dishes. Chop up some chili pepper and toss it on scrambled eggs, sandwiches or burgers, stir-fries, soups or stews. Add or subtract chili depending on the level of spice that you like. Be sure to remove the stem and seeds, since that’s where a lot of the really hot heat is stored!

Jalapenos are one of the more recognizable peppers here in the USA, as they are very popular in Tex-Mex cooking. Recipes call for a variety of different forms of jalapenos including fresh, canned, and as a sweet hot pepper jelly.

1. Bacon-Wrapped Jalapeno Thingies (shown at the top of the post) have three great ingredients going for them: spicy peppers, cream cheese and bacon. Everyone will just love this flavor combination!

2. Jalapenos Stuffed with Sausage (shown below) pack a real kick, particularly if you use hot sausage! Using sweet sausage may be a safer bet for your next party.


3. If you find jalapeno peppers are too hot to handle, here’s a recipe that cheats, using jalapeno pepper jelly in a glaze for fish, chicken or beef. Crabby Cook modified this glaze (seen on America’s Test Kitchen) and promises that it “won’t burn your mouth up.” This recipe does include cilantro, which sort of looks like flat-leaf parsley, but for many it is an acquired taste.


Curly Parsley Cilantro and Mint

4. Surprise your company with this easy treat: put an 8 ounce block of cream cheese on a serving plate. Pour a 10 ounce jar of hot pepper jelly over the cheese. Serve with your favorite crackers!

5. Ina Garten’s recipe for Jalapeno Cheddar Cornbreadtakes five minutes to mix the ingredients, which then sit at room temperature for 20 minutes before baking. For this recipe, don’t forget to pick up a box of cornmeal at the grocery store!

6. My video on Tex-Mex Cheeseburgers uses canned jalapenos in the sauce. Try this just once and it will become a family favorite in your house too!

7. Instead of using Tabasco sauce in my Tex-Mex Bean Salad recipe (shown below), try chopping up some fresh jalapenos. This recipe is great to serve on a buffet!


8. Stuffed Poblano Peppers is an easy, improvised recipe that involves five ingredients. The poblano peppers are stuffed with browned ground beef and cooked rice, mixed with ready-made enchilada sauce and canned diced tomatoes.

Poblano Pepper

9. This Food & Wine recipe for Poblano and Portobello Stuffed Mushrooms is one of those “company’s coming” kind of dishes. Or it could make a classy, light vegetarian meal for you and your sweetheart. Poblanos add a lot of flavor but not too much heat!

10. Skinny Chef uses pickled cherry peppers for this great recipe: Cherry Peppers Stuffed with Mozzarella and Basil. Jen will also answer the question on whether or not Chilies Can Help to Control Your Weight!


Or for no heat but lots of flavor, check out my photo-tutorial on Stuffed Peppers (shown below)!

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