Basic Pancakes

Basic Pancakes | Pinky's Pantry
This is my mom’s pancake recipe. She always said that pancakes were the easiest breakfast to make. And the easiest recipe to remember. In fact, you didn’t really need a recipe according to Mom. It was just “1-1-1.” One of everything except for the salt which you cut in half. Funny thing….. Mom was right! Not only is this an easy recipe to make, but it makes delicious, fluffy pancakes. The trick is not to overmix the batter. You want to gently stir the flour and baking powder into the liquid ingredients until the flour is just moistened and you’ve broken up any large lumps. Little lumps are okay. As Mom put it, “don’t worry about it. They’ll disappear during cooking.”

This recipe makes about 4 pancakes (more if you make small ones) but the nice thing is that you can easily double, triple or quadruple the recipe if you’re feeding more than two people. Set out some butter and syrup and have at it!


  • 1 cup flour
  • 1 Tbsp. baking powder
  • 1 egg
  • 1 cup whole milk (substitute buttermilk for buttermilk pancakes)
  • 1 Tbsp. sugar
  • ½ tsp. salt
  1. In a medium bowl, beat the egg, milk, sugar, and salt together until well-blended.
  2. Add the flour and baking powder, and stir until just combined. Don’t overmix! You want your batter to be lumpy.
  3. Let the batter rest for about 10 minutes to give any lumps a chance to absorb some moisture.
  4. While the batter’s resting, preheat your griddle to 375°F.
  5. Spread a little butter or margarine on the griddle and pour a scoop of batter onto it. Try not to put too much batter. Remember, the bigger the pancake, the harder it is to flip. You want about  1/3 cup of batter per pancake.
  6. When the pancake is starting to get filled with bubbles and the edges start looking dry, that’s your sign that it’s time to flip the pancake over.
  7. After you flip it over, it takes only a minute or two for the other side to cook.
  8. Serve warm with butter and syrup.

VARIATIONS:  You can add things like blueberries, sliced bananas, chocolate chips, chopped nuts, etc. to the pancake batter for a variation on the basic recipe.


Croque Monsieur

Croque Monsieur | Pinky's Pantry
I found out that today is National Sandwich Day. Who knew we had a day dedicated to sandwiches? I love sandwiches. They’re the easiest thing to pack for lunch, they’re adorable cut into dainty little shapes for tea, and our family road trips just wouldn’t be the same without a cooler of sandwiches and drinks in the trunk of the car.

It’s commonly believed that the sandwich was the invention of John Montagu who was the 4th Earl of Sandwich in England. I can’t vouch for the truth of that, but the story goes that Lord Sandwich was a notorious gambler. They say he spent long hours at the gaming tables and rather than get up to eat, he would ask the servants to bring him some sliced meat between two pieces of bread so he could hold the food in one hand and keep his cards in the other. His friends embraced the custom and when they got hungry, they would ask for “the same as Sandwich” and that’s how the sandwich got its auspicious beginnings.

Anyway, in deference to National Sandwich Day, I decided to make Croque Monsieur for dinner tonight. Croque Monsieur is typical French bistro fare. Fancy as its name is, it’s basically just a grilled ham and cheese sandwich topped with béchamel sauce and more cheese. It’s delicious served all hot and melty with a glass of wine or an ice cold beer. If you top a Croque Monsieur with a fried egg, you’ll have what’s called a Croque Madame. But that’s for another post.

(Makes 6 sandwiches)

  • 2 Tbsp. butter
  • 2 Tbsp. flour
  • 1 cup whole milk
  • ¼ cup grated fresh parmesan cheese
  • pinch of ground nutmeg
  • salt, to taste
  • pepper, to taste
  • 12 slices firm white sandwich bread
  • room temperature butter for spreading on the bread slices
  • 1 jar dijon mustard
  • 6 ozs. thinly sliced Black Forest ham or Virginia ham
  • 8-10 ozs. Gruyère cheese (can substitute Emmental, Comté, or Swiss cheese)
  1. Slice enough Gruyere to make 6 sandwiches (6 or 7 ozs.) and grate the rest to use for topping. Set cheese aside.
  2. Make béchamel sauce by melting 2 tablespoons butter over medium heat in a small saucepan.
  3. Add flour, whisking until well combined.
  4. Gradually whisk in milk, parmesan cheese, and nutmeg.
  5. Season with salt and pepper to taste.
  6. Cook until sauce thickens, whisking constantly, about 2 minutes.
  7. Set béchamel aside and preheat broiler to high. You’ll broil the sandwiches later.
  8. Butter one side of all 12 slices of bread.
  9. Heat a cast iron skillet over medium heat on the stove.
  10. Place 3 of the bread slices, butter side down, in the skillet.
  11. Brush some mustard on top of each slice of bread in the skillet.
  12. Top each with a slice of ham and a slice of Gruyère.
  13. Cover sandwiches with 3 slices of bread, butter side up.
  14. Cook until deep golden brown, then carefully flip over and cook other side.
  15. Transfer to a baking sheet and repeat with remaining bread.
  16. Spoon béchamel sauce over each sandwich.
  17. Sprinkle a little grated Gruyère over béchamel.
  18. Place under broiler until cheese is melted and light brown.
  19. Serve hot.

Blueberry Buttermilk Cake

Blueberry Buttermilk Cake | Pinky's PantryIt’s blueberry season! Every year, my sister Helen takes her daughters blueberry picking with a bunch of their school friends and their families. They go to this blueberry farm up in the hills and have an absolute blast while they’re there. Helen’s youngest daughter, Sophie, is a little blueberry-picking speed-demon and can fill up a bucket faster than you can say blueberry pie!

Anyway, whenever they go, they always make sure to bring me back a bagful of the beautiful little blue gems. This year was no exception. The berries are always so sweet and juicy. If you’ve never had blueberries fresh off the bush, you’ve got to find a way to try some. Commercially sold blueberries are good, but they pale in comparison to these ones. I think it’s time for some Blueberry Buttermilk Cake!
Blueberry Buttermilk Cake | Pinky's Pantry


  • 2 – 2½ cups fresh blueberries
  • 3 cups flour
  • 3 tsp. baking powder
  • 1 tsp. salt
  • 1 cup butter, at room temperature
  • 2 cups sugar
  • 1 tsp. vanilla
  • 4 eggs, room temperature
  • 1 cup buttermilk
  • ¼ cup demerara sugar (or white granulated sugar)
  1. Preheat oven to 350°F. Grease 9×13-inch baking pan.
  2. Place blueberries in a small bowl.
  3. Take 2 tablespoons of the flour and toss it with the blueberries. Coating the blueberries with flour helps keep them from sinking to the bottom of the cake as it bakes.
  4. Combine remaining flour, baking powder, and salt together in a bowl.
  5. In another bowl, beat butter and sugar together until light and fluffy.
  6. Add vanilla and beat in eggs, one at a time.
  7. Beat in the flour mixture, alternating with the buttermilk, in three additions until completely combined.
  8. Fold in blueberries.
  9. Spread batter in prepared baking pan.
  10. Sprinkle top evenly with demerara sugar.
  11. Bake for 45-50 minutes or until toothpick inserted in center comes out clean.
  12. Cake can be served warm or cool completely before serving.

NOTE:  If you don’t have buttermilk, you can make your own homemade buttermilk by placing 1 tablespoon of lemon juice in a glass measuring cup. Add enough milk to the cup till it reaches the 1-cup line. Let stand for 5 minutes, then whisk with a wire whisk for a few seconds.

Cherry Cobbler

Cherry Cobbler | Pinky's Pantry
It’s cherry season and the cherries are out in full force. I see them everywhere – at the farmer’s market, in the grocery stores, on street vendor’s tables – and they’re absolutely delicious! So dark and sweet and juicy.

I picked up a sackful from the store yesterday and decided to make them into a fresh cherry cobbler. I love fruit cobblers, don’t you? Especially when they’re just out of the oven and served warm with a big scoop of vanilla ice cream melting on the side. Yum! As an added bonus, they make the house smell so good while they’re baking, too!

If you have a cherry pitter, use it. It sure makes the work of pitting each cherry a lot easier. I used to be the Room Mom for my kids’ kindergarten classes and one year, as a thank you gift, the children gave me a pretty white basket filled with fresh cherries. Tied to the basket’s handle with a red-and-white checkered ribbon was a silver cherry pitter. I still have that same cherry pitter to this day. It’s proven to be a mighty useful contraption over the years.
Cherry Cobbler | Pinky's Pantry


  • 4 cups fresh cherries
  • 2 cups sugar
  • 2 cups flour
  • 3 tsp. baking powder
  • ½ tsp. salt
  • 1 can evaporated milk (or 2 cups fresh milk)
  • 1 cup butter, melted
  • ¼ cup demerara sugar (or plain white sugar), optional
  1. Wash, stem, and remove the pits from the cherries. Set aside.
  2. Preheat oven to 350°F. Generously butter a 9×13 pyrex glass baking dish.
  3. Using a wire whisk, whisk the sugar, flour, baking powder, and salt together in a large bowl.
  4. Empty the can of evaporated milk into a measuring cup and add enough water or fresh milk to make it amount to 2 cups.
  5. Add the milk and melted butter into the flour mixture and whisk together well. Batter will be thin.
  6. Pour batter into prepared baking pan.
  7. Scatter the cherries over the top of the batter, distributing them evenly so you get a cherry in every bite.
  8. Sprinkle the top with the ¼ cup demerara sugar, if using.
  9. Bake for about 50 minutes or until top turns light brown and toothpick inserted in center comes out clean.
  10. Serve warm with vanilla ice cream or whipped cream.

NOTE:  You can make this cobbler with blackberries, raspberries, blueberries, strawberries, peaches or any other fruit you like.

This recipe can easily be halved and baked in a 9-inch square pan for a smaller cobbler.


Totchos | Pinky's PantryThis recipe is a play on traditional Nachos, except instead of tortilla chips, you use tater tots. It makes a hearty and delicious appetizer, or can be served for a yummy brunch dish. Try to have whatever toppings you’ve chosen all ready to go so that as soon as the cheese is melted over the tater tots, you can pile on your toppings and serve right away. The longer the tater tots sit with the toppings on them, the less crunchy they become. Not that that’s a bad thing. My family just prefers them crunchy.
Totchos | Pinky's Pantry


  • 1 bag (2 lbs.) frozen tater tots
  • 3 cups shredded cheddar cheese
  • sour cream, thinned with a little water or milk till pourable
  • fresh cilantro, coarsely chopped


  • chorizo, removed from casing, crumbled and cooked
  • refried beans or black beans
  • diced red onion
  • sliced black olives
  • whole kernel corn
  • sliced pickled jalapeños
  • pico de gallo, or your favorite salsa
  • guacamole
  1. Line a jellyroll pan with foil.
  2. Arrange tater tots in single layer on baking pan and bake according to package directions until brown and crispy.
  3. Remove from oven and sprinkle cheese over tater tots.
  4. If necessary, return to oven and bake just until cheese is all melted.
  5. Remove from oven and top with any combination of the toppings listed above. You can use as much or as little as you like of the toppings.
  6. Drizzle sour cream over everything.
  7. Sprinkle with cilantro for garnish.
  8. Serve immediately.

Blueberry Cream Cheese French Toast Casserole

Blueberry Cream Cheese French Toast | Pinky's Pantry
One of the nurses at work gave me her recipe for blueberry french toast several years ago. She loved it because it was very easy to make and could be prepared the night before so it was perfect to take to an office potluck. I had to agree with how easy it was to make, not to mention how delicious it was. I love biting into a little chunk of cream cheese when I’m eating it. The sweet-tart blueberries make the perfect backdrop to each creamy bite. And my blueberry sauce gives it just the right finishing touch.

I love making this casserole with brioche bread which is soft and silky and has a very thin crust. If you can get your hands on some brioche, give it a try. It makes a rich and wonderfully delicious french toast.


  • 14 slices of white bread, cut into 1-inch cubes
  • 12 ozs. (1½ boxes) cream cheese, cut into ½-inch cubes
  • 2 cups blueberries, fresh or frozen
  • 12 eggs
  • 2 cups milk
  • 1/3 cup sugar
  1. Spread half the bread cubes in the bottom of a 9 x 13″ baking pan.
  2. Sprinkle with half the cream cheese cubes and half the blueberries.
  3. Cover with the other half of the bread cubes.
  4. Sprinkle with remaining cream cheese and blueberries.
  5. Mix the eggs, milk, and sugar together.
  6. Pour egg mixture over bread cubes in baking pan. Push bread down very lightly with a spatula to make sure top layer gets soaked. Don’t smash it down!
  7. Cover with foil and place in refrigerator overnight.
  8. Next day, remove from refrigerator about half an hour before putting in the oven.
  9. Preheat oven to 350ºF.
  10. Bake covered for 30 minutes; then uncover and bake another 30-40 minutes or until firm.


  • 1 cup water
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1½ cups blueberries
  • 2 Tbsp. cornstarch
  • juice of one lemon
  • 4 Tbsp. butter
  1. Combine the water and sugar together in a small saucepan.
  2. Bring to a boil over medium heat.
  3. Add the blueberries and simmer until most of them have burst, about 10 minutes.
  4. Dissolve the cornstarch in the lemon juice.
  5. Add the cornstarch-lemon mixture and cook, stirring constantly, until thickened.
  6. Remove from heat and stir in the butter.
  7. Serve sauce warm with french toast.

NOTE:  My kids like a lot of sauce so when I make this, I double the sauce recipe. You could also skip it and just serve this with plain syrup if you don’t feel like going the extra step of making the blueberry sauce.

Coconut Toast

Coconut Toast | Pinky's Pantry
I read about Coconut Toast on this blog called Laugh With Us Blog. It reminded me of this Filipino coconut dessert we ate all the time growing up. It was called “bukayo.” Bukayo is a native coconut “candy” made by cooking fresh grated coconut and sugar together. One of these days, I’ll have to post a recipe for you guys so you can see what it’s like. Our cusinera (cook) — yes, we had a cook when I was growing up — used to make it for us for an afternoon snack all the time. It’s usually shaped into little balls or little flat patties, but Manang Francisca used to just pile it all into a bowl and we each got to have a tablespoon or two of it. Saved her the work of rolling it into balls, I guess.

Anyway, the coconut in this recipe is prepared a bit differently as it has egg in it, but it reminded me a lot of bukayo. Of course, piling it onto bread takes it up a notch. How clever is that? Then you actually get to eat it with your fingers! No spoon needed. And eat it you will! Esther from Laugh With Us Blog wasn’t kidding when she said this was a must try. OMG! You’ll not only eat it with your fingers, but you’ll lick every little crumb off said fingers, too! It’s that good!


  • ½ cup butter, melted
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1 egg, beaten
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 1 cup flaked coconut
  • 9-12 slices of bread
  1. Preheat oven to 350ºF.
  2. In a medium bowl, mix the butter, sugar, egg, vanilla and coconut together.
  3. Spread the mixture onto each slice of bread.
  4. Arrange bread on an ungreased cookie sheet or jelly roll pan.
  5. Bake for about 15 minutes or until toast is lightly browned.

NOTE:  The original recipe is supposed to make enough mixture to cover 12 slices of bread. Apparently, we slather it on a lot thicker than that because we only get 9 slices of bread per recipe. LOL! Just spread the mixture on as thickly as you like. You’ll get anywhere from 9 to 12 pieces of toast.

Also, for those of you looking to cut down on your sugar intake, I’ve made this recipe with only 3/4 cup of sugar. It’s just as delicious as it is with the full amount.

Zucchini Onion Appetizer Squares

Zucchini Squares | Pinky's Pantry
This is an old Bisquick recipe and is delicious served as an appetizer or for a light lunch or brunch dish. It’s easy to make and is a good way to use up extra zucchini when it’s in season. I think the addition of oregano adds a bright herby flavor to this dish but you could omit it if you like, or substitute a different herb like thyme or savory.
Zucchini Squares | Pinky's Pantry


  • 4 eggs
  • ½ cup grated parmesan cheese
  • ½ cup vegetable or canola oil
  • 2 tbsp. minced fresh parsley
  • 1 garlic clove, minced
  • ½ tsp. dried oregano (optional)
  • ½ tsp. salt
  • ⅛ tsp. pepper
  • 1 cup Bisquick baking mix
  • 3 cups thinly sliced unpeeled zucchini (about 3 or 4)
  • 1 small onion, chopped
  1. Preheat oven to 350ºF. Grease bottom and sides of a 9×13″ baking pan.
  2. In a large bowl, whisk together the eggs, parmesan cheese, oil, parsley, garlic, oregano, salt, pepper, and Bisquick.
  3. Stir in the zucchini and onion.
  4. Spread in prepared baking pan.
  5. Bake for 25-30 minutes or until lightly browned at edges
  6. Cut into 1¼-squares and serve warm or at room temperature.

Yogurt Cream and Berry Parfaits

Yogurt Cream Berry Parfait | Pinky's PantryYesterday was the 4th of July. We went over to my sister Helen’s house for a barbecue. My aunt Miriam and her beau were coming over, as well as my uncle Manny, his lovely wife Melissa, and their two beautiful daughters, Sierra and Aspen. We hadn’t seen them in years so we were all looking forward to the festivities. Manny’s my uncle but he’s younger than I am. His sister, Miriam, is my age. How, you ask? Well, my grandfather was married three times and had a total of 13 children. My Mom was child #2 by his first wife. Manny and Miriam are children #11 and 12 by his third wife. Hence the huge generation gap, and that explains why I have an aunt and uncle my age and younger.

Anyway, I wanted to make something red-white-and-blue to take to the barbecue for dessert so decided that yogurt cream parfaits would be good. They’re refreshingly cool on a hot summer day. I put them in mini champagne flutes and thought they looked absolutely adorable.
Yogurt Cream Berry Parfait | Pinky's Pantry
I whipped up 30 of the little confections the day before the barbecue and had them chilling in the fridge all neatly lined up on a wooden tray like patriotic little soldiers. When we were finally ready to leave for Helen’s house the next day, I painstakingly pulled the tray out of the fridge and walked ever so slowly towards the front door, carefully balancing the tray in my two hands. I have no idea how but to my utter distress, right when I reached the door, one of the little flutes began to teeter precariously on the tray. I watched in horror as almost in slow motion, it toppled over and hit the one next to it and one by one they all began toppling over like dominoes! I screamed as I juggled the tray in a futile effort to stop the disaster which only served to make matters worse! Some of the desserts crashed to the floor while others flung their contents onto my chest and down to my feet. Nooooooo!!!

Old Goat comes running over and sees me standing there in the middle of a huge mess of red, white and blue, with yogurt cream splashed on my nose and running down my pretty blue blouse. “What are you doing?” he asked perplexed as he took the tray from my stunned hands. I took one look at him and burst into tears as I ran upstairs to our bedroom. All my hard work of the day before, gone in about 5 seconds!

I washed up and changed my shirt, then went back downstairs to find that my sweet Old Goat had mopped up the floor, and with the help of No. 1’s girlfriend, was trying to salvage and wipe clean the flutes that had just tipped over but remained safely on the tray. So, long story short, they managed to rescue about a dozen of the 30 desserts. They looked a little worse for wear, but we brought them to Helen’s house anyway.
Yogurt Cream Berry Parfait | Pinky's Pantry


  • 1 cup plain, honey, or vanilla greek yogurt
  • 1 cup whipping cream
  • 3 tbsp. or ¼ cup sugar
  • strawberries, washed, dried and hulled
  • blueberries, washed and dried
  • extra sugar (optional)
  1. Chop strawberries into small pieces. If strawberries aren’t sweet, sprinkle a little extra sugar over them, toss together and set aside.
  2. Place greek yogurt and whipping cream in bowl of electric mixer.
  3. Beat until soft peaks form.
  4. Add sugar and beat until well combined.
  5. In little flutes or parfait glasses, layer yogurt cream, strawberries, more yogurt cream, blueberries, and end with yogurt cream.
  6. Chill in refrigerator until ready to serve.

NOTE:  If desired, you can garnish the top of each parfait with a blueberry, a small strawberry, some finely chopped almonds, or a sprinkling of granola.

Easy Peach Cobbler

Peach Cobbler | Pinky's Pantry
I love peach season…. the hot summer days when the peach trees are heavy with fruit just waiting to be harvested. And what could be better on a balmy summer’s evening than a dish of warm peach cobbler with a big scoop of vanilla ice cream melting on the side? The amazing smells that fill the kitchen as the cobbler bakes make you drool with anticipation.

If you have the time and some of those fresh summer peaches I mentioned, by all means go ahead and use them. They’re so delicious, you won’t regret it. That being said, this recipe is “easy” because it uses canned peaches. No need to peel, slice, or cook them. Can’t beat the ease and convenience of that on a lazy summer day!


  • ½ cup (1 stick) butter
  • 1½ cups sugar
  • 1½ cups all-purpose flour
  • 3 tsp. baking powder
  • ½ tsp. salt
  • 1 cup milk
  • 1 large can (28-ozs.) sliced peaches, undrained
  • 1 medium can (15-ozs.) sliced peaches, drained
  • cinnamon, for sprinkling over top (optional)
  1. Preheat oven to 350°F.
  2. Melt butter in a 9×13 baking dish in the oven.
  3. While butter is melting, drain syrup from medium size can (15-oz.) peaches and discard syrup or save for another use.
  4. Using a wire whisk, stir sugar, flour, baking powder, and salt together very well in a medium bowl.
  5. Slowly add milk, stirring continuously until well combined.
  6. Pour batter directly over melted butter in baking dish. Do not stir!
  7. Carefully spoon drained peaches from medium 15-oz. can on top of batter. Do not stir!
  8. Then gently add the peaches with the syrup from the large 28-oz. can. Again, do not stir!
  9. If desired, sprinkle cinnamon (as much as you like) over top.
  10. Bake for 35 to 45 minutes or until top is golden brown.
  11. This is great served warm with vanilla ice cream or fresh whipped cream.

NOTE:  If you prefer to use fresh peaches for this recipe, you’ll need 4 cups of peeled, pitted and sliced peaches (about 5-8 peaches depending on how big your peaches are). Place the peach slices in a saucepan with 1 cup water and 1 cup sugar. Bring to a boil, then lower the heat to medium and simmer for 10-15 minutes, stirring occasionally. You will use the peaches with the syrup for this recipe.