Kathy Maister's Start Cooking

Pasta Sauce – Marinara

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

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.)


Turkey Sausage Sauce


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Guy Kawasaki’s Famous Teriyaki Sauce with Grilled Chicken

print recipe card posted in Main Dishes by Kathy Maister


A huge welcome to Guy Kawasaki who has shared with me his world famous recipe for teriyaki sauce, which I have turned into a video.

This blogpost contains not only the script-recipe of his video but also a description of how to use his sauce to make Teriyaki Grilled Chicken.



Script of Guy’s video:

Welcome to startcooking.com…I’m Guy Kawasaki here to make my famous teriyaki sauce!

All it takes is six ingredients – pureed in a blender:

Start with half a hand of ginger. You can peel it if you want to, but you don’t have to. Just be sure to give it a rough chop.

Cut two jalapenos in half remove the seeds and chop them up.

Trim the root ends off half a bunch of green onions and chop them up as well.

Peel an orange. But just half is needed for this recipe.

Measure out 1 cup of soy sauce and 1 cup of sugar

Now add everything to the blender. Cover it and let her RIP. Keep blending on high speed until everything is liquefied.

This is a great barbeque marinade for about 2 and 1/2 pounds of beef or chicken.

Oh and it’s got be charcoal. Gas is for wimps!



Thanks Guy, this is a fantastic recipe! Now for the Grilled Chicken!

Guy told me that from this point on, he “boils the chicken in the sauce on top of the stove, for 15 minutes – then finishes cooking it on a charcoal BBQ just to get the BBQ look”.

As many of you know, I live in a condo in the middle of Boston and have never fired up an outdoor barbeque in my life. Consequently, I’m going to show you how to do this indoors! (At the bottom of this post I have listed several links to some really great barbeque sites and recipes!)

Everyone should first take a look at my video on Grilled Chicken Indoors.

I’m going to be following that cooking procedure, but instead of a dry spice rub on the chicken, I’m using Guy Kawasaki’s Famous Teriyaki Sauce to marinate the chicken first.

For the “indoor” version of this Teriyaki Grilled Chicken, I’m using boneless, skinless chicken breasts.

You can marinate your chicken for up to 24 hours in this marinade. Be sure to use a glass or plastic dish or a plastic bag, and not a metal dish for marinating.

Remove the chicken from the marinade…

…and place on a plate. Pat the chicken dry with a paper towel.

Put the remaining marinade in a medium size pan.

Bring the marinade to a boil.

Oops! This pan is way too small! As the marinade comes to a boil it will spill right out of this pan. I’m pouring this into a deeper sauce pan!

That’s much better. The marinade needs to get boiled for 15 minutes to kill off any of the raw chicken bacteria. If it gets too thick, add 2-3 Tablespoons of water and continue cooking.

Strain the marinade through a fine sieve. For those that want a bit more teriyaki sauce on their chicken, this is going to be delicious drizzled on top of the chicken.

Cooking the Chicken:

Non-stick pans are great in that it is not necessary to add any oil to the pan when cooking the chicken.

Be sure to follow my instructions in the Grilled Chicken video on preheating the pan. When grilling or frying you do not want to over-crowd the pan. You may have to cook the chicken in two batches.

The sugar in the marinade is making this chicken develop really lovely grill marks on both sides.

Depending on how thick your chicken breasts are you will need to cook them about 3-5 minutes on each side.


Here are the links on Barbecue-ing that I promised you:

Emily Chapelle has done a great post here at startcooking.com called A Beginners Guide to Barbeque!

Jennifer Iserloh over at Skinny Chef has a great selection of Skinny Marinades!

Steven Raichlen, is a barbecue guru, with a show, cookbooks, etc. He has a site called Barbecue Bible: http://www.barbecuebible.com/featured/

Ted Reader is a Canadian barbecue guru (also with a show, cookbooks etc). He’s got a nice site with lots of recipe videos at:

Kalyn’s Kitchen has a big recipe section on Grilling:

Here’s a single guy’s blog on “all things barbecue, food and drink”

Here’s a women-focused site called Girls at the Grill:

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10 Meal Salads

posted in Main Dishes by Kathy Maister

Summer is here and that means barbecues, parties and ball games. So who wants to be slaving over a hot stove while the rest of the world is having fun in the sun?

Chicken and Wild Rice Salad (video)

But, alas, your family has to eat. Telling them that salad is on the menu will probably elicit cold stares. The meat-and-potatoes camp will surely mutiny when faced with a pile of rabbit food. That’s why we’re talking about hearty, satisfying (and meaty) meal salads. These make-ahead salads are easy to prepare and will get you out of a steamy kitchen at the hottest time of the day.

Presto, Dinner is Served!

Even without a recipe, you can create your own meal salad by adding some of the following ingredients to a bed of lettuce and other vegetables. Leftover pasta, rice or couscous can also be the basis of a meal salad.

  • Protein sources like marinated grilled chicken breasts, strips of lean flank steak or low-fat cubed deli ham can really jazz things up. Hard-boiled eggs, cheese and even tofu can add considerable amounts of protein to a main dish salad.
  • Fish and seafood rich in omega-3 fatty acids such as salmon, crabmeat, scallops and fresh grilled tuna will turn a plain salad into a classy dinner that you’ll be proud to serve to guests.
  • Be sure to include lots of colorful vegetables, beans, nuts, seeds and whole grain breads and pastas.
  • Save time and buy your favorite bottled dressing or save money and with just a few ingredients, you can make your own!
  • Buy a big loaf of whole-grain bread and you have a complete and balanced meal on every plate!

Meal Salad Recipes

  1. One of the most popular salads is Chicken Caesar Salad, and it’s also easy and inexpensive to make. Serve this with a big loaf of crusty French bread and a plate of ripe heirloom tomatoes on the side. Short on time? Buy a rotisserie chicken and a good bottle of Caesar dressing, and you’re good to go!
  2. Get your omega-3 quota with Grilled Scallops over Mixed Greens and Herb Salad. (FYI: Cooking Scallops video) This recipe is quick to make and will really impress your guests. Substitute cooked shrimp or salmon if you prefer. Pretty on the plate too!
  3. Another salad with lots of eye appeal is Salad Nicoise (shown above). You can make a beautiful arrangement of vegetables, tuna, olives and hard-boiled eggs and take a picture before you eat it. And with only five ingredients, you can afford to make your own Vinaigrette Salad Dressing.
  4. Make your own Taco Salad -pictured above! There are tons of twists on this salad, including this one that can be set up buffet style. Invite the neighbors over and let the kids help themselves! Just about everything, including the ground beef, can be chopped, sliced or made ahead and assembled just before dinner. Serve with a big bowl of chips and a side of salsa.
  5. This Grilled Steak Salad is so quick and easy, your guests will think you’ve been busy all day! You can grill the meat in advance on a grill pan and let it chill until ready to serve or arrange it when it’s done marinating. The meat is so tender and tasty, you’ll forget it’s a salad!
  6. Just because you’re a vegetarian doesn’t mean you can’t sit with the meat lovers! This Tofu Salad from Pioneer Woman has plenty of taste and pizzaz.
  7. Potato salad does not have to be weighted down with a mayonnaise dressing. This red bliss potato salad with lemon vinaigrette dressing is perfect for any indoor or outdoor party.
  8. Serve this Chicken Salad with Grapes on a bed of leafy greens, bring along a basket of pita pockets and you have an instant picnic lunch. Too hot in the kitchen? Buy a rotisserie chicken or thaw a bag of frozen chicken breast strips. Don’t like grapes and walnuts? Substitute craisins and chopped pecans. Experiment and make it your own!
  9. A picture perfect edible landscape, this gorgeous Cobb Salad, with its colorful rows of vegetables, meats and hard-boiled eggs looks too good to eat! Low carb and easy, too!
  10. Layered Salads are impressive and delicious. Plus, this one can be made the day before serving it.

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