Kathy Maister's Start Cooking

Pasta Sauce – Marinara

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

This is a very basic (and quick!) tomato sauce that takes very little time to cook and can be made ahead of time and frozen. It can be used with any pasta dish or in lasagna.

You will need the following ingredients to make this Marinara Sauce recipe:

Be sure to get both the onion and garlic chopped before you turn on the stove.

You’ll need about 1 cup of finely chopped onions for this recipe. Two small or one medium onion should do the trick.

Peel and mince 4 cloves of garlic. That’s a lot of garlic, but it does get cooked, so it’s not going to be too strong.

Fresh basil is essential for this recipe. Nowadays, most grocery store carry fresh basil year-round. You can wash it the same way you wash lettuce. Pull the leaves off the stem and throw the stems away.

Put the basil and the canned tomatoes, with their juice, in a blender and puree everything until almost smooth. Set the tomato-basil puree aside.

(As I filled the blender I thought, YIKES, this is way too full! With my hand pressed firmly on the lid of the blender I pressed the puree button. I was very lucky that my kitchen did not end up covered in tomato sauce. Next time I would puree this mixture in two batches!)

Heat ½ cup of olive oil in a large, heavy saucepan over medium heat.

That does sound like a ton of oil, but believe me it works. It gives the sauce a full, rich flavor.

Add the onions and garlic and cook until very tender, about 12 minutes.

The onions should not get browned. This is what they should look like after 12 minutes.

Stir in the tomatoes and basil that you pureed in the blender and 1 teaspoon of oregano plus 1 teaspoon of sugar. (Don’t skip the sugar. It helps balance the acid in the tomatoes.)

Bring the sauce to a simmer over a medium-high heat. Decrease the heat to medium and continue simmering until the sauce thickens slightly, stirring occasionally. This will take about 10 minutes.

Give the sauce a taste. You may need to add about ½ -1 teaspoon of salt and several grinds of fresh pepper.

The sauce can be made 1 day ahead. If you are storing it for future use, cool the sauce, then cover and refrigerate it. Gently re-heat sauce over medium heat before using it.

If you are going to be freezing this sauce, use small containers that would be enough for 1-2 serving.

Be sure to spray your plastic containers with cooking spray first so they don’t get stained by the tomato sauce.

(For more basic pasta sauce recipes, be sure to check out my Tomato Sauce Video or my Turkey Sausage Sauce photo-tutorial.)

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Turkey Sausage Sauce

Enjoy!

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Fruit Dip

print recipe card posted in Appetizers and Snacks, Sweets, Vegetarian by Kathy Maister
Difficulty:

In the summer an amazing selection of fresh fruits and vegetables start to show up at the grocery store. For your next dinner party try serving a beautiful selection of fruit along with some dip. This is a sweet dip that can be made with either sour cream or yogurt or a combination of the two.

This recipe also calls for macaroons. They are a coconut cookie that is soft and very moist and often sold in a flip top can. Each one measures about 1 ½ inch by 1 ½ inch. You can also buy them fresh at some bakeries.

For this recipe you will need:

  • 12 Macaroons crushed into small pieces
  • ¼ cup of packed brown sugar
  • 1 pint of dairy sour cream or plain yogurt
  • Assorted fruits
  • Fresh mint, optional

Put the macaroons in a medium bowl and with your (clean!) hands crush them with your fingers.

Measure ¼ cup of brown sugar. Be sure to pack it into the measuring cup.

Add it to the macaroons. Add 1 pint of sour cream or yogurt

Fat-free Greek style yogurt is a perfect substitute for sour cream. It is a lot healthier than sour cream, and it is much thicker than regular yogurt.

Mix everything together and cover it with plastic wrap. Put it in the refrigerator for several hours to chill.

You could serve this in a bowl surrounded with fresh fruit, the same way you would a Vegetable Platter with dip.

Fresh Vegetables With Dip

Or make individual servings. Fresh mint is a perfect garnish for this dessert!

Enjoy!

Fresh Fruit Dip

Makes about 3 cups of dip

Mix together:

  • 12 Macaroons, crushed into small pieces
  • ¼ cup of packed brown sugar
  • 1 pint of dairy sour cream or Greek style yogurt
  • Assorted fruits
  • Fresh mint, optional

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How To Make Deviled Eggs

print recipe card posted in Appetizers and Snacks, Breakfast and Brunch, Vegetarian by Kathy Maister
Difficulty:

When I’m making deviled eggs for a buffet table, I sometimes think perhaps they are a bit old-fashioned and outdated. Then, when the party is over, the deviled egg platter is always empty!

To make deviled eggs, in addition to the eggs, you will need mayonnaise, mustard, salt and pepper, and green olives stuffed with pimentos for flavor as well as garnish.

The first step is to hard-cook (what some people call boil) six eggs.

If you are unsure of how to boil an egg, check out my 30 second video for a quick review!

If you’ve just cooked the eggs, let them cool to room temperature before peeling them. Actually, cold, hard boiled eggs, just out of the refrigerator, are much easier to peel than just cooked eggs. If you are having trouble peeling the eggs, crack the shell at the ends of each egg and put them in a bowl of ice cold water. Let the eggs sit in the cold water about 10 minutes. This allows the water to seep in and make peeling much easier.

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Once all the eggs are peeled, slice them in half lengthwise.

Using a spoon or a fork, gently remove the yolks from the whites and place the all the yolks in a bowl. Set the whites on your serving dish.

I’m using my deviled egg dish which has grooves in it to hold the eggs in place for serving. If you do not have a deviled eggs dish you could put them on a bed of washed parsley so they not only look festive but the parsley will also prevent the eggs from sliding all over the place.

To make the filling, mix together the 6 yolks, add ¼ cup of mayonnaise, 1 ½ Tablespoons of mustard, and a sprinkle of salt and pepper.

(There are many variations to making deviled eggs including skipping the mustard and using horseradish OR curry powder OR even sweet relish.)

With a fork, mix all of this together until it’s smooth. Taste it to make sure it doesn’t need more salt.

Using two small spoons, fill the egg white shells with the yolk mixture. You’ll need one spoon to scoop up some yolk and the other to slide it off the spoon. (Or as Bill suggested in the comments section below, put the mixture into a small Ziploc bag, cut off a corner, and pipe it back into the whites.)

Sliced olives with red pimentos are a traditional garnish for deviled eggs – plus it’s a great flavor combination. A sprinkle of paprika, if you have some in your spice cupboard, is also a lovely garnish on deviled eggs!

Deviled eggs make a great appetizer and a perfect party dish.

Enjoy!

P.S. Once you have mastered making hard boiled eggs you might want to give an egg salad sandwich a try!

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