Fluffy Tapioca Pudding

Fluffy Tapioca | Pinky's Pantry
My mom used to make tapioca pudding for us all the time when we were growing up in the Philippines but since fresh cow’s milk was not very easily obtainable, she made it with evaporated milk or evaporada as we called it. I have to say, we love tapioca pudding made with evaporated milk more than fresh milk. The evaporated milk gives it a creaminess and a rich flavor that you just don’t get from plain, bland cow’s milk. Give this recipe a try and you’ll see exactly what I mean.

FLUFFY TAPIOCA PUDDING

  • 1 egg, separated
  • 6 tbsp. sugar, divided
  • 3 tbsp. MINUTE tapioca
  • 2 cups evaporated milk
  • 1 tsp. vanilla
  1. Beat egg white in small bowl with electric mixer on high speed until foamy.
  2. Gradually add 3 tbsp. sugar, beating until soft peaks form.
  3. Mix tapioca, remaining sugar, milk and egg yolk in medium saucepan. Let stand 5 minutes.
  4. Cook on medium heat, stirring constantly, until mixture comes to full boil. Remove from heat.
  5. Quickly fold egg white mixture into hot tapioca in saucepan until well blended.
  6. Stir in vanilla.
  7. Cool 20 minutes; stir.
  8. Serve warm or chilled.
  9. For creamier pudding, place plastic wrap on surface of pudding while cooling.
  10. Stir before serving.

NOTE:  Store leftover pudding in refrigerator.

TO PREPARE DIFFERENT SERVING SIZES:

To Double:  Use 1/3 cup tapioca and double all other ingredients.
Makes 6½ cups or 8-10 servings.

To Halve:  Use 1 egg and 1/2 of the other ingredients.
Makes 1¾ cups or 2-3 servings.

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Snickerdoodle Muffins

Snickerdoodle Muffins | Pinky's Pantry
I haven’t made these muffins in a long time. I don’t really know why. Maybe because my kids are grown up now? But when they were younger, I made these muffins a lot. The kids really loved them. They’re great for breakfast, brunch, or an after school snack. They’re also great packed for dessert in a school lunchbox. I love them warm with an ice cold glass of milk. Mmmmm………

SNICKERDOODLE MUFFINS

  • 1½ cups self-rising flour
  • 1 cup quick cooking oats
  • ¾ cup sugar
  • 1 egg
  • ½ cup butter, melted
  • 1 tsp. vanilla
  • 1 cup milk
  • ¼ cup sugar
  • ½ tsp. cinnamon
  • extra melted butter for topping
  1. Mix flour, oats, and ¾ cup sugar together.
  2. In another bowl, mix egg, butter, vanilla, and milk together.
  3. Add wet mixture to dry mixture and stir until just combined.
  4. Fill 12 muffin cups 2/3 full.
  5. Bake at 400ºF for 12 minutes or until light golden brown.
  6. While muffins are baking, mix ¼ cup sugar and cinnamon together for topping.
  7. When muffins are done, brush tops with a little melted butter and sprinkle with cinnamon-sugar topping mixture.

Coconut Macaroons

Coconut Macaroons | Pinky's Pantry
Casa Catastrophe sure is quiet today. I remember when the kids were little, a quiet house meant you’d better go investigate because they were probably up to no good. I’ll never forget the day the silence led me to find No. 1 creating a whole artistic mural on the underside of our dining table with his crayons and markers. Yes, his work of art still exists to this day. You just need to crawl under the table to see it.

Or the day I caught Yissi quietly sprinkling “pixie dust” all over the kitchen (and herself) with the flour I had just brought home from the grocery store. Looking back, I wish I had taken a picture of her standing in the middle of the kitchen blinking innocently up at me with everything covered in white. Even her eyebrows and eyelashes! It was pretty funny. Of course at the time, the last thing I felt like doing was laughing, let alone going for the camera. It took me an hour to clean up the mess!

Then there was the day that Tissi decided she and Rory (her favorite stuffed toy lion) both needed haircuts. Luckily for her, I caught her right as she had just started on herself so she only had to walk around for the next few weeks with an inch-long patch sticking out of the top left side of her head like a little off-center mohawk. Unfortunately for Rory, he wasn’t so lucky and to this day he indignantly sports an uneven buzz cut where once resided an impressive lion’s mane.

Oh, and who can forget the time that Spunky, who was supposed to be eating her grilled cheese sandwich, thought she would feed it to the VCR instead. A fact we didn’t find out till we tried to stick in our latest Blockbuster rental that night! I wondered how she had managed to finish her lunch so quickly. I mean, I was only gone long enough to warm some milk for 30 seconds in the microwave and pour it into her little sippy cup! Poor Old Goat had to take apart the VCR to get all the melted cheese cleaned out of it.

Today, Casa Catastrophe is all quiet once again. But my investigations found Yissi chatting with her friends online, Tissi reading a book, Bashful drawing on her laptop, Spunky experimenting with her makeup, and No. 1 gone on a date with his girlfriend. The kids are all grown up now so I guess a quiet house no longer means the same alarming thing it used to. But I miss the noise anyway.

Well I guess I should take advantage of the peace and quiet while it’s here. And there’s no better way to enjoy peace and quiet than in a comfortable chair with a good book, a nice hot cup of tea, and a little plate of coconut macaroons by your side.
Coconut Macaroons | Pinky's Pantry

COCONUT MACAROONS

  • ¼ cup melted butter
  • 1 can (14-oz) condensed milk
  • 1 egg
  • ½ tsp. vanilla extract
  • 1½ cups desiccated coconut
  • ¼ cup flour
  • ½ tsp. baking powder
  1. Preheat oven to 350ºF. Line about 36 mini muffin cups with baking paper liners.
  2. In a large mixing bowl, melt butter in the microwave.
  3. Add the rest of the ingredients and mix together well.
  4. Spoon mixture into prepared cups, filling them just about 3/4 full.
  5. Bake for 12 minutes or until the top surface starts to brown lightly at the edges.

NOTE:  These macaroons get better as they age so bake them a day or two before you serve them. Store in an airtight container at room temperature with wax paper between the layers for up to one week. May be frozen for up to 2 months. Thaw frozen macaroons overnight before serving.

Macaroni and Cheese

Macaroni & Cheese | Pinky's Pantry

It’s National Customer Service Week this week and to celebrate, we had a floor-wide potluck at my office today. As I searched my pantry and fridge yesterday trying to decide what to make, I saw that I had all the ingredients needed to make some good old Mac ‘n Cheese. I remembered seeing a recipe for it in my new Cook’s Country TV Show Cookbook and as someone who loves nothing more than trying out new recipes, I couldn’t resist trying this one. The recipe was very good. It wasn’t what I would call a “grown-up” Mac ‘n Cheese, probably because it had American cheese in it, but it definitely was one that would appeal to kids of all ages. It certainly appealed to my kids. And it was wiped out pretty quick at the potluck.

Though Macaroni and Cheese is considered a classic American dish, it actually has its roots in Italy where some version of it was probably being made for as long as they’ve been making pasta. From its early days where noodles were tossed with butter and cheese to the version that we all know and love today, the dish went through many variations. In 1937, Kraft introduced the little blue box of dried pasta and powdered cheese that is beloved by virtually every American kid today. However and wherever its origins, Mac ‘n Cheese epitomizes the quintessential comfort food. Once you’ve mastered the basic recipe, you can jazz it up in myriad ways. You can vary the cheeses, from purely cheddar to a blend of gruyère, fontina or parmesan; you can add bacon, ham, even lobster! The possibilities are endless!

Macaroni & Cheese | Pinky's Pantry

BEST POTLUCK MACARONI AND CHEESE

  • 4 slices hearty white sandwich bread, torn into quarters
  • 4 tbsp. unsalted butter, melted, plus 4 tbsp. unsalted butter
  • 1/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese
  • 1 lb. elbow macaroni
  • salt
  • 5 tbsp. all-purpose flour
  • 3 (12-oz.) cans evaporated milk
  • 2 tsp. hot sauce
  • 1 tsp. dry mustard
  • 1/8 tsp. ground nutmeg
  • 8 ozs. extra-sharp cheddar cheese, shredded (2 cups)
  • 5 ozs. American cheese, shredded (1-1/4 cups)
  • 3 ozs. Monterey Jack cheese, shredded (3/4 cup)
  1. Adjust oven rack to middle position and heat oven to 350 degrees. Pulse bread, melted butter, and Parmesan in food processor until ground to coarse crumbs, about 8 pulses. Transfer to bowl.
  2. Bring 4 quarts water to boil in large pot. Add macaroni and 1 tablespoon salt and cook, stirring often, until just al dente, about 6 minutes. Reserve 1/2 cup macaroni cooking water, then drain and rinse macaroni in colander under cold running water. Set aside.
  3. Melt remaining 4 tablespoons butter in now empty pot over medium-high heat. Stir in flour and cook, stirring constantly, until mixture turns light brown, about 1 minute. Slowly whisk in evaporated milk, hot sauce, mustard, nutmeg, and 2 teaspoons salt and cook until mixture begins to simmer and is slightly thickened, about 4 minutes. Off heat, whisk in cheeses and reserved cooking water until cheese melts. Stir in macaroni until completely coated.
  4. Transfer mixture to 13 by 9-inch baking dish and top evenly with bread-crumb mixture. Bake until cheese is bubbling around edges and top is golden brown, 20 to 25 minutes. Let sit for 5 to 10 minutes before serving.