Kathy Maister's Start Cooking

Salmon Quesadillas

print recipe card posted in Lunch by Kathy Maister

Quesadillas are flour tortillas filled with a few savory ingredients. This salmon quesadilla is great for breakfast lunch or dinner!

It also has a bit of elegance and sophistication because of the wonderful combination of ingredients which are:

  • 2 -8 inch flour tortillas
  • 3 tablespoons of herbed cream cheese spread
  • 1 ounce of smoked salmon
  • 2 teaspoons of capers
  • 1/8 teaspoon of dried dill

  • Start with the 8 inch size flour tortillas. The bigger ones are just too difficult to try and flip.
  • Buy your favorite brand of soft herbed cream cheese.
  • One 4 ounce package of smoked salmon will make 4 quesadillas. Salmon is a bit expensive but a small amount goes a long way.
  • An extra sprinkle of dried dill (1/8 teaspoon) is nice but not essential.

The one unusual ingredient is capers. They are sold in a jar and are found in the grocery store near all the condiments. They are packed in a salty brine and should be drained and rinsed. They add a tangy flavor to these quesadillas which goes really well with the salmon.

Spread 1 ½ Tablespoon of the herbed cheese on one flour tortilla. You really don’t want to put too much filling in the quesadillas or they will fall apart when you try to eat them.

Lay the tortilla in a non stick fry pan, cheese side up. Chop one ounce of smoked salmon and sprinkle it on top of the cheese.

Sprinkle the capers on top of the salmon and then add the dried dill. (Left over capers are great on a salad.)

Spread 1 ½ Tablespoons of the herbed cheese on the other tortilla.

Place the tortilla, cheese side down, in the pan. It now looks like a sandwich.

Place the pan on the stove and set it to medium heat. It will take about 1 ½ – 2 minutes for the cheese to melt and the tortilla to get lightly toasted. (If you want you can brush a bit of butter or oil on the grilled side of the tortilla to give it a nicely browned and crispy finish. It’s not really necessary)

Using a spatula, flip the quesadilla and cook that side for about another 1 ½ minutes until is it lightly browned.

Slide the whole thing onto a cutting board.

With a big kitchen knife slice it, the way you would a pizza, in half, then quarters, then 1/8s.


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Chocolate Fudge Brownie Cupcakes

print recipe card posted in Sweets by Kathy Maister

I’ve just completed a video on how to make delicious Chocolate Fudge Brownies from scratch. It is surprisingly uncomplicated and a great recipe to introduce someone to baking.

(Baking means to cook any food in an oven with dry heat – it is also used to generally refer to the art of making breads and cakes, as in baker and bakeries.)

In this post, I’ll use the same recipe to show how to present brownies in a different way, giving them a different visual appeal. The brownies are going to be made in a (12-count) muffin tin instead of using the square pan I used in the video.

Brownie cupcakes made in a muffin tin are great fun to serve at home, or bring to a party. You can buy “special occasion” muffin tins that will make shapes like hearts, flowers, pumpkins, ghosts, or Christmas trees, that can really make cupcakes the centerpiece of a celebration!

If you have never done any baking before, you will need to buy a few ingredients that may not be already standard in your food cupboard. For this recipe, that will include all purpose white flour, unsweetened cocoa powder, (not instant hot chocolate but real unsweetened cocoa powder!) and vanilla extract.

Check the video (and the recipe card above!) for step-by-step instructions on making the brownie batter.

(By the way, when making soups and stews, precise measuring is not essential. However, baked goods like cakes, breads, cookies and brownies do require precise measuring.)

To make brownie cupcakes, line the muffin tin with tinfoil or paper “cupcake liners” and then spray it with non-stick cooking spray.

Just for comparison sake, I decided to also try using a silicone muffin tray as well. You may have seen this colorful, flexible, non-stick bakeware for sale in kitchen shops. They have generally received mixed reviews. I did not line mine with the cupcake liners, but I did give it a spray with the non-stick cooking spray.

Ladle the batter into the muffin pans with a small ladle…

…or a spoon.

Try to make them all the same size. Wipe up any drips or spills on the flat part of the muffin tray. Since the (red) silicone muffin tray is flexible, it is really essential to put it on a baking sheet to bake. Otherwise, lifting it in and out of the oven will be very difficult.

Bake the muffins in a 350-degree preheated oven for approximately 20 minutes. Check to see if they are done by sticking a toothpick into the center of the brownies. When you pull it out, it should have some moist crumbs attached to it.

Be careful not to over bake your brownies!

Remove the brownies from the oven and let them cool on a wire rack.

Use a knife to gently nudge the brownies out of the silicone pan.

The brownies with the cupcake liners just lift right out of the pan.

You can server the brownies with the liner paper or not. It comes off very easily.

Many reviewers of silicone bakeware say that baked products do not brown as nicely as when you use traditional bakeware. For these brownies, there was virtually very little difference, if any, in how they turned out. If you want fun-shaped brownies, I would recommend using the silicone muffin pan, otherwise a traditional muffin tin is just fine!

The really good thing about Chocolate Brownie cupcakes is that no one fights over who has the bigger piece of brownie!


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Baked Potato Toppings

posted in Vegetables and Beans by Kathy Maister

What’s great about a baked potato is that it can be eaten as a side vegetable or as a main dish. Baked potatoes are one of those meals in my house that fit the category of, “I’m really tired and I’ve gone brain dead and I really don’t feel like cooking.”
While your potato is baking in the microwave you’ll have about 7 minutes to think about what sort of topping you would like to put on it. Classic ingredients like butter, sour cream, bacon bits, and chives are always delicious. But there are tons of other choices as well!

Some of my favorite toppings include:

  • Cottage Cheese
  • Plain yogurt
  • Salsa
  • Chili
  • Shredded cheddar cheese
  • Mushrooms fried in olive oil

Many places around the world refer to a baked potato as a “jacket potato” and use very different toppings then what people in the USA use. For example it is quite common in the UK to use baked beans or tuna salad as a topping.

What’s your favorite topping?

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