Kathy Maister's Start Cooking

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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Ground Beef Round Up: Tips, Techniques and Tasty Recipes

posted in Meat, Poultry and Seafood by Kathy Maister

According to feedback I’ve received, my 30-to-60 second “Tips and Techniques Videos” have been a huge success! Since I have many recipes blog posts and videos which show you what to do with ground beef, two “Tips and Techniques Videos” in particular, Thawing Ground Beef and Browning Ground Beef should be very useful in learning some beef basics.

When buying ground beef, there are many different levels of fat content to choose from. How to Buy and Store Ground Beef (blog post) will help you figure that one out!

I always keep a pound of ground beef in the freezer. It can be easily defrosted and made into many different things including:

Tex-Mex Burgers (video)

Regular Hamburgers (blog post)

Sweet and Sour Meatballs (video)

and Meatloaf! (video)

Once you have browned and drained the ground beef, there are tons of things you can make with the cooked ground beef, including my all time favorite Sante Fe Chili (video).

Or for a much quicker chili recipe, try my 2 Alarm Chili (blog post)

English Muffin Pizzas (video) are a great snack or a meal.

If you are feeling adventurous, try some Lasagna with Meat Sauce (blog post).

To make this, follow the directions in my Lasagna Video but skip the spinach step.

Lastly, Taco Salad (blog post) could easily be my new favorite salad! In the 20 minutes this takes to cook you can be preparing the salad (video). Taco Salad is surprisingly filling and even non-salad lovers are going to love this recipe!

Cheers!

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How to Cut Cabbage

posted in Soups, Salads, Sides and Sauces, Vegetables and Beans by Kathy Maister

Cabbage is a very versatile vegetable. It can be cooked or eaten raw in salads. It can be added to soups, stews or stir-fry’s. You can sauté it – which means to cook it in fry pan with a small amount of oil or butter. Or you can braise it – which means to cook it in a small amount of liquid on the stove top or in the oven. But first, you have to figure out how to cut it!

The photo below shows four of the more common varieties found here in the USA.

The Napa cabbage on the far left is also sometimes known as Chinese cabbage although, technically speaking, Chinese cabbage does have a longer, more cylindrical shape than the Napa cabbage. This cabbage looks somewhat like a head of a Romaine lettuce, with really tightly packed leaves. The two cabbages in the middle are green cabbage (on the top) and Savoy cabbage on the bottom. And finally, on the far right is a red cabbage.

Before cutting cabbage, a few words of caution:

Use a stainless steel knife:
The chemicals naturally occurring in the cabbage will react with metal other than stainless steel, and turn both the knife and the cabbage black.

Stabilize your cutting board:
It can be very dangerous if your cutting board slides around the counter while you are trying to slice something. To stop a slippery board, wet a paper towel and squeeze out the excess moisture. Spread the paper towel out on the countertop and lay your cutting board on top of it.

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This will stabilize the cutting board.

****

To cut the Napa (Chinese cabbage), cut the bottom off and then just peel away the cabbage leaves or leave it whole and slice it into shreds.

The Green, Savoy and red cabbage are a different story. When you cut these round, heavy, firm, dense heads of cabbage, you will discover a very thick core that needs to be removed.

First remove any brown or wilted leaves on the very outside of the cabbage.

Then cut the cabbage in half, right through the stem.

This thick stem needs to get removed.

Cut the “half” in half again.

This is now 1/4 of the head of cabbage.

Place the flat side of the cabbage down and cut the core out.

Once the core removed, throw it out. It is too tough and fibrous to eat.

To shred cabbage, place the flat side of the cabbage down on the board and start making long, thin, slices into the cabbage. Be sure to keep your fingers bent when you are doing any slicing.

The core of the Savoy (shown below) and that of the green cabbage is removed the same way I demonstrated with the red cabbage.

Slicing any of the cabbages is much easier if the cabbage is crisp and cold from the refrigerator.

Green cabbage is the base for many coleslaw recipes. It is available pre-shredded at the grocery store. I used the pre-shredded for my Ramen Noodle Crunchy Coleslaw.

Sweet and Sour Cabbage (shown below) is a great side dish to serve with Roasted Pork, Leg of Lamb or Glazed ham.

Cabbage Soup (shown below) is thick, hearty, full of flavor, and perfect for the beginner cook.

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Cheers!

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