Kathy Maister's Start Cooking

Cranberry Relish

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

The holidays are almost upon us. If you are lucky enough to get an invitation to a dinner that includes a turkey or a goose, offer to bring the cranberry relish. This recipe involves no cooking, but I guarantee your efforts will be appreciated!

There are three ingredients needed for this recipe: whole-berry cranberry sauce, mandarin oranges and walnuts.

Buy already shelled or chopped walnuts. (The shelled walnuts are generally bigger pieces of walnuts). Be sure to buy the “whole-berry” cranberry sauce.

Until you are ready to make this relish, store the can of the whole-berry cranberry sauce and the can of the mandarin oranges in the refrigerator. They should be really cold when you make this relish.

You need a really nice bowl, big enough to hold the cranberry sauce, oranges and about ½ cup of walnuts. You can make and serve this in the same bowl if the bowl is big enough. Or just use a medium size mixing bowl and transfer the relish into your serving bowl.

Open the can of whole berry cranberry sauce and spoon it into a bowl.

Drain the mandarin oranges in a colander and add them to the cranberries.

Now add about ½ cup of walnuts.

GENTLY stir everything together being careful not to break apart the mandarin oranges.

That’s it!


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Bread Pudding

print recipe card posted in Sweets by Kathy Maister

Bread Pudding is home cooking at its best! Chances are, you already have on hand almost all the ingredients you will need to make bread pudding: sugar, milk, bread, butter, and eggs.

Add four more ingredients – cinnamon, nutmeg, vanilla, and raisins – and you’ve got the fixings for a wonderful dessert that everyone is going to love!

It takes just a few simple steps to make bread pudding:

  1. Cube 4 slices of hearty bread and put it in a baking dish
  2. Combine eggs, milk, sugar and spices in a bowl
  3. Pour the egg mixture over the bread
  4. Make a bread, butter, sugar and cinnamon topping
  5. Bake for 50-55 minutes

Let’s startcooking!

Step 1 – Prepare the Bread

Spray a 1-and-1/2-quart baking (or casserole) dish with non-stick cooking spray. I’m using an 8x8x2 inch square baking dish.

The recipe calls for 6 ounces, in total, of hearty white bread – 4 ounces for the base and 2 ounces for the topping. (That’s about 6-to-8 slices of bread.)

With a knife, cut four ounces of the bread into cubes and put the cubed bread into the prepared dish.

Sprinkle on 1/3 cup of raisins. Set this dish aside for the moment.

Step 2 – Make the Egg Custard

Put in to a large mixing bowl:

  • 2 eggs, plus one egg yolk*
  • 2 1/4 cups of whole milk
  • 6 Tablespoons of sugar (that’s 1/3 cup plus 2 teaspoons)
  • 1/4 teaspoon of nutmeg
  • 1 1/2 teaspoon of vanilla extract
  • 3 Tablespoons of butter, melted in the microwave

*(For a quick review on How to Crack and Separate Eggs – click here.)

Mix everything together.

Step 3 – Combine the Bread and the Egg Custard

Pour the egg custard over the cubed bread.

With the back of a spoon, gently press the bread into the egg custard.

Let the bread pudding rest at room temperature on the counter-top, for 30 minutes. It will look like the picture below after 30 minutes.

Step 4 – Make the Bread Topping

While the pudding is resting, make the bread topping:

There are two ways to prepare the bread topping. One way is with cubed bread…..

…and the other way is with slices of bread.

I will demonstrate both ways, but I personally prefer the topping made with the slices of bread. They both taste the same but I like the crispier texture of the sliced topping. Try both approaches, and then you can decide which you prefer!

For the sliced topping, combine (in a small bowl) 1 Tablespoon of sugar with 1 teaspoon of cinnamon.

Spread soft butter on the bread and sprinkle on the cinnamon sugar. Cut the bread into four pieces and….

…place it on top of the pudding.

As it cooks, it develops a nice crispy, toasted top.


If you prefer a cubed topping, cube the remaining 2 ounces of bread and put it in a bowl. Sprinkle on the cinnamon sugar…

…and 1 Tablespoon of the butter, which needs to get melted first!

Toss these ingredients together with a fork.

Add the cubes to the pudding.

As it bakes, the topping develops a lovely golden color.

Step 5 – Bake the Bread Pudding

Bake the Bread Pudding in a preheated 325º F degree oven for 50-to-55 minutes.

(325º F = 165º C = gas mark 3-very moderate)

The custard should be puffed and jiggle when you wiggle the dish.

If you want an even crispier cubed or sliced topping, you could put the cooked bread pudding under the broiler for just a few minutes. (As long as the baking dish you are using is safe to put under the broiler. Pyrex dishes are not broiler safe and could possibly explode from the intense heat of the broiler!)

Let the pudding sit for 20 minutes before serving it. It will not be quite as puffed as when you took it out of the oven, but it won’t burn your mouth either!

Bread pudding should be eaten while still warm. If there are any leftovers, store it in the refrigerator. By the next day the, it will have deflated quite a bit and have developed a much heavier texture – quite different from when you first baked it.

Bread Pudding is perfect plain, but you can add all sorts of toppings – including whipped cream, butterscotch, caramel, chocolate, or bourbon sauce.


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Cranberry Pinwheels

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

These cranberry pinwheels are a great hors-d’oeuvre to serve year round, but they are especially perfect for the holidays. The dried red cranberries and the green scallions make them look really festive. Plus the sweet/savory combination of the cranberries, feta cheese and green onion make them particularly tasty. They can actually be made 1 day ahead of serving them.

You will need the following ingredients:

  • 1-8 ounces carton of whipped cream cheese
  • 1 cup (8 ounces) crumbled feta cheese
  • ¼ cup chopped green onion
  • 6 ounces of dried cranberries
  • 4-10 inch flour tortillas

There are many different brands of feta cheese. Some are saltier than others. You may have to try a few different brands until you find one that suits your taste! (Feta cheese is the one that is always served on a Greek Salad. I have used it on my Cold Mediterranean Plate.)

Tortillas are a Mexican, round, flat, unleavened, bread made of either corn or flour. For this recipe be sure to buy the flour tortillas. They can be found in the refrigerator section of the grocery store.


The green onions need to be washed. Then cut off the hairy end.

The white part has a stronger onion flavor than the green part. For this recipe I use the whole thing. Cut the green onions into thirds and line them up.

Now dice them into about 1/8 inch slices.

Put the crumbled feta cheese into a large mixing bowl.

Now add the whipped cream cheese.

And the chopped scallions.

Now all the cranberries.

Mix everything together.

Spread the mixture onto a dinner plate. Divide the mixture into four equal size piles. This way you know you have divided the filling equally and each Cranberry Roll-up will have the same amount of filling.

Using a knife spread ¼ of the mixture onto a 10 inch tortilla. If the filling is difficult to spread, dip your knife into water then try spreading the filling. (You can use the leftover flour tortillas to make Quesadillas!)

It is not necessary to spread the filling right to the very side edges. Those edges will get trimmed away later anyways in order to make perfect rounds.

Tightly roll up the tortilla.

Wrap each tortilla in plastic wrap and chill in the refrigerator for at least one hour. (Or you can make them a day in advance.)

Slice off the ends about 1 inch on each side. (These are the bits that you sample!) Now cut each roll into about 10 slices. (If you cut them too thin they will fall apart.)

Arrange the slices on a serving dish and garnish (decorate) with fresh parsley or leftover green onion. Enjoy!

Source: Taste of Home

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