Recipe: Tropical Buttermilk Pancakes

This recipe for Tropical Buttermilk Pancakes is a terrific change from ordinary pancakes… with lots of wonderful flavors… bananas… coconut… rum (extract), pineapple syrup… you’ll think you woke up on a tropical island and breakfast was made especially for you! …

Okay those of you in the northeast and elsewhere where old man winter just paid a visit… the tropical paradise theme may be a little hard to imagine… but you can try … just make this for breakfast and stick a little umbrella in your orange juice… a little island music and… well you’re almost there.

So why the tropical theme… you might ask?

We’re havin’ a blog party tomorrow for one of our fellow bloggers…Dave from Year on the Grill… seems Dave and his wife with the “inconvenient day job” have temporarily settled in the Virgin Islands while she has a temporary transfer at work…. So from snowy Kansas to a tropical paradise he went….

And I must admit… I’m a bit envious… but nonetheless… we all wish him well during his adventure.

So what’s a blog party? All of Dave’s blogger friends get together and post tropical recipes… and “meet” at The Krazy Kitchen blog…. so hop on over tomorrow to the Krazy Kitchen and see what else there is to see…. And of course… stop by Dave’s blog to see what’s cookin’ in the Virgin Islands.

BUT Shhhhhhhhhhhhh... it's a secret until tomorrow...


You can buy pineapple syrup or make your own… see my recipe for Pineapple Syrup.

So without more chit chat… here’s my “tropical” entry….. Tropical Buttermilk Pancakes… I hope you try them!

Recipe: Tropical Buttermilk Pancakes

All you need:

1 cup buttermilk
¼ cup whole milk
1 egg, beaten
2 tablespoons butter, melted
½ teaspoon vanilla
2 teaspoons rum extract
1 cup flour
2 tablespoons sugar
2 tablespoons brown sugar
1/8 teaspoon salt
2-3 very ripe bananas, mashed
1/3 cup sweetened coconut flakes
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon baking powder
¼ teaspoon nutmeg
½ teaspoon cinnamon
Pineapple chunks
Pineapple syrup

All you need to do:

In a medium bowl, mash the bananas.

Add and then beat the buttermilk, milk, egg, butter, vanilla and rum extract.

In a large bowl, combine flour, sugars, baking powder, baking soda, nutmeg, cinnamon and salt.

Mix well.

Pour the wet ingredients into the dry ingredients.

Add the coconut and stir to mix well.

Let stand for 5 minutes.

Spray a grill pan with butter flavored cooking oil spray.

Heat the pan over medium heat and make pancakes. Picture shows holes starting to form.. wait to flip until it has more holes.

Watch closely, they tend to scorch easily.

When the top has lots of small holes in the batter and bottom is golden brown, flip them over and cook briefly on the other side.

Serve hot with butter, pineapple chunks and pineapple syrup.

Recipe: Pineapple Syrup

This Pineapple Syrup is a fantastic change from ordinary pancake syrups…. it’s easy to make and adds a terrific flavor to pancakes and waffles….especially my Tropical Buttermilk Pancakes…

So try something different for breakfast…. everyone will love it!

Recipe: Pineapple Syrup

All you need:

1 tablespoon butter
½ cup sugar
1 cup pineapple juice
1 tablespoon cornstarch
1 can pineapple chunks (garnish)

All you need to do:

Put the pineapple juice and the sugar in a small saucepan.

Bring to a boil … stirring.

Add the cornstarch and mix well.

Stir until the syrup thickens and is clear.

Add the butter and stir until melted.

Recipe: Triple Chocolate Trifle

Triple Chocolate Trifle is a fabulous dessert that’s quick and easy to throw together… made with chewy chocolately brownies covered with rich chocolate pudding…. and here’s the surprise…. sprinkled with chopped mini candy bars…. use your favorite candy bar… make each different to suit each person…. We used chopped Snickers (Warren’s favorite) and Milky Way bars (my favorite).

It was a great treat… so good in fact… I’m going to head to the kitchen after posting this to get my chocolate “hit” of the day….


You can make this from scratch …. I have terrific brownie and chocolate pudding recipes… or use the boxed varieties…

I used “fun sized” candy bars… cut them down the center and then cut them across to make little cubes….

Before you roll your eyes and decide not to make it for kids…. I only used one candy bar per serving… and it was a small candy bar…. Trust me everyone will love this.

Recipe: Triple Chocolate Trifle

All you need:

Brownies (my recipe or boxed)
Chocolate pudding (my recipe or boxed)
Fun-size candy bars
Whipped cream

All you need to do:

Make brownies.

Make chocolate pudding.

Cut a brownie and break it up into the bottom of an individual trifle glass.

Put a serving of chocolate pudding on top of the brownie.

Cut up a fun-size candy bar and sprinkle over the pudding.

Put a dollop of whipped cream on top.

Recipe: Polska Kielbasa Stew

Polska Kielbasa Stew is a delicious hearty sausage and bean stew that I adapted from a recipe I found from Hillshire Farms…. I made just a few slight changes to their recipe….

We love Kielbasa sausage and I’m always looking for ways to use it in a recipe… this recipe caught my eye… it’s chocked full of flavor and with the beans and carrots… it’s good for you too.

This goes together quickly and requires little work…. serve it with a hearty bread and you have yourself a really great weeknight supper.


You can use any one of the following Hillshire Kielbasas…. Polska Kielbasa or Beef Polska Kielbasa (I used this one) or Lite Polska Kielbasa (I think I may try this one next) or Turkey Polska Kielbasa.

I sliced my kielbasa a little thinner than they do…. I cut mine into ¼-1/2 inch slices… they cut them into 1 inch slices… I wanted this to be a stew you can eat with a spoon and not a fork and knife… I thought 1 inch was not bite size (unless you have gator jaws).

The recipe from Hillshire calls for bacon… which I used when making this recipe… but after eating it.. we decided the taste from the bacon is far overshadowed by the taste of the kielbasa and is unnecessary… the only way you know it has bacon in it is when you see a piece of it… I’m going to list the ingredient as optional… you can omit the bacon and use one tablespoon of olive oil instead when sautéing the garlic and onions.

Their recipe calls for minced garlic… I chopped it with the onions in my mini chopper… I like the way the garlic is incorporated into the onions… I feel it works better. I also sauted them briefly before adding the beans, carrots and spices… I feel it enhances the flavors.

The recipe lists hot pepper sauce as optional… I didn’t use it… I just didn’t think it went well with everything else.

I didn’t use any sage… their recipe calls for ½ teaspoon… I felt the kielbasa had enough flavor and I didn’t need sage.

They cook the onions, garlic, beans, carrots and spices in water… I used chicken broth… I wanted a heartier flavor…. you can use water… but I felt my result was excellent.

The recipe is listed as 6 servings… I would say that would be on the high side… I think 4 servings is more accurate.

Finally …. I keep rotini macaroni in a large jar so I can add it easily to recipes…. I added three handfuls (about a cup and a half) of uncooked rotini macaroni. I let it cook in the stew… the starch from the macaroni thicken the sauce… it was a terrific addition… if you feel the sauce is too thick.. simply add more chicken broth until you get the consistency you want… we liked it thickened… it was more stew-like rather than soupy.

This was a terrific and easy meal to make… one pot does it all… a quick clean-up too…

Recipe: Polska Kielbasa Stew

All you need:

1 pkg. Hillshire Farms Polska Kielbasa
¼ lb. bacon, chopped (optional)* see Tips in post
1 tablespoon olive oil (optional)*see Tips in Post
2 cups chopped onion
5 carrots, cut into ½ inch pieces
1 can (15 ounces) red kidney beans, rinsed and drained
1 can (15.5 ounces) cannellini beans, rinsed and drained
22 ounces (can add more) chicken broth *see Tip in post
3 garlic cloves, finely chopped
1-2 teaspoons hot pepper sauce (optional)*see Tips in post
½ teaspoon dried thyme
½ teaspoon dried oregano
¼ teaspoon ground pepper
1 bay leaf
1 can (14.5 ounces) petite diced tomatoes, undrained
1 ½ cups rotini macaroni

All you have to do:

Cut sausage into ¼ - ½ inch slices. Set aside.

Cook bacon in a 4-5 quart pot over medium heat, stirring occasionally, until most of the fat is rendered. *Note this step is optional…. See Tips in post. If omitting the bacon… heat 1 tablespoon olive oil instead.

Chop the onions and garlic together in a mini chopper.

Add the onions and garlic to the post and sauté until onions are translucent.

Stir them frequently.

Add the beans, carrots, spices and chicken broth.

Bring to a boil then reduce heat to medium and cook uncovered for 20 minutes.

Add the sausage, tomatoes and macaroni and bring to a boil and cook 25 minutes or until mixture has thickened slightly and macaroni is cooked.

Remove the bay leaf and serve.

Keep Macaroni in Jars

Cooking Tip of the Day

I like to add macaroni to certain dishes… just a little not a whole box…. so I keep some types of macaroni in jars.

Bow ties, rotini or spirals, alphabets and elbow macaroni to name a few… this way I can add a handful or two to a recipe. By storing it in jars… you can also take advantage of cheaper quantities by buying a larger size box.

Recipe: Chicken Salad Waldorf Pitas

This recipe for Chicken Salad Waldorf Pitas uses a filling that's a version of the recipe for Waldorf Salad that I posted while ago …. and as I mentioned in that post… there are numerous versions of the salad… and chicken was one of the popular additions… and pecans are used in this recipe as opposed to walnuts… you can use either… but definitely try it with pecans… they have such a wonderful flavor.

I like to serve this stuffed in a pita… it’s a pleasant spin on a chicken salad sandwich.


The dressing ingredients are increased to make up for the increase in salad ingredients…. make the dressing and use as much or as little as you prefer.

I “eyeballed” the amount of honey… it’s hard to measure honey and get all the honey off the spoon… the amount listed is pretty accurate.

For information about toasting pecans please see my previous post... How to Toast Pecans.

This recipe makes approximately 4 servings.

This is a light, delicious sandwich…. serve it with soup and you have a terrific lunch or light supper….


Recipe: Chicken Salad Waldorf Pitas

All you need:

For the salad

1 cup cooked chicken, chopped
1 large Granny Smith apple, unpeeled and chopped
1 large Gala or Red Delicious apple, unpeeled and chopped
2 celery stalks, chopped
1 cup seedless green or red grapes, halved
¼ cup toasted pecans

For the dressing:

½ cup plain non-fat yogurt
½ cup sour cream
1 ¾ teaspoons lemon juice
1-2 teaspoons honey (to taste)
Salt to taste
Pepper to taste

For the Sandwich:

Pita bread

All you need to do:

Combine all the dressing ingredients in a small bowl and whisk until smooth.

In a medium bowl combine the chopped chicken, apples, grapes,celery and pecans (reserve some pecans for putting a sprinkle on each pita).

Toss the chicken mixture with the dressing.

Cut and open the pitas.

Place some lettuce in each.

Scoop a large dollop of salad into each pita.

Sprinkle with toasted pecans.

How to Toast Pecans

Tip of the Day

Toasting pecans give them a wonderfully enhanced nutty flavor…. so many recipes call for toasted pecans…..I thought I’d post this quick tip…… try it in your recipes that call for pecans… or toss on a salad…. so tasty and so easy to do!

All you need to:

Heat oven to 350 degrees F.

Spread the pecans on a baking sheet.

Bake for about 5-8 minutes or until the pecans are lightly browned and aromatic (fancy word for smelling great).

Recipe: Tex-Mex Meatloaf

An All American comfort food has gotten a Tex-Mex makeover…. and I must say it's just fabulous. Not only does it look fabulous… it tastes fabulous too!

I ran across a recipe from Betty Crocker for a Tex-Mex Meatloaf and scanned the ingredients … I thought I could do better…. and I did. This meatloaf is chocked full of flavor… all the flavors Mexican food lovers look for….

Meal Idea

As all meatloaves are… this one is quick and easy too…. and gives meatloaf night a whole new spin. I served this with cheesy mashed potatoes and Refried Beans….

I used canned refried beans since I was short on time… but jazzed them up a bit with a layer of cheddar cheese and chopped green onions…. a few minutes in the microwave or put in the oven during the last of the baking time of the meatloaf….and you have yourself a great little side dish…the meal was a terrific success… a definite do-over!


I used a yellow pepper which has a terrific mild pepper flavor… you can substitute a green pepper or a red one if you prefer… be advised though… that the green pepper has a much stronger flavor and the red pepper is sweeter…

I always chop the onions and garlic together in a mini chopper so they get integrated together well….and I sauté the onions and garlic before adding them into the meatloaf mix… this makes them less pungent… you have a strong onion flavor without the bitter acid taste of the onion in your meatloaf.

The amount of bread crumbs will depend greatly on the canned tomatoes you use… the recipe is written with a range for the amount. I used Rotel mild tomatoes with green chilis…. This brand tends to be a little more watery than other brands… so I needed quite a bit of bread crumbs. You want the meatloaf to hold together but not be dry.

I used my mini chopper to chop the parsley so it got very fine… if using fresh basil I chopped it with the parsley…. I highly recommend this method.

If using dried basil… use about ¼ teaspoon.

This meatloaf has a tiny kick to it… be careful adding more spice than called for in the recipe.

I made the meatloaf mix into two loaves and baked them for an hour…. If you make one large meatloaf then you will need to adjust your baking time… bake until a meat thermometer inserted into the center reads 160 degrees F.

Serve this meatloaf with fresh salsa and sour cream on the side….. serve with salsa on top and sprinkle shredded cheddar cheese on top of the salsa for a wonderful presentation.

This twist on an old favorite is a delicious meal the whole family can love!

Recipe: Tex-Mex Meatloaf

All you need:

1 ½ lbs. extra lean ground beef (90% or better)
1 can (10 ounces) Rotel Mild Tomatoes with Green Chilis
1 egg
1-1 ½ cups plain bread crumbs
¼ cup yellow pepper, chopped
1 teaspoon chili powder (I used McCormick Mexican Style)
1 teaspoon ground cumin
½ a large onion or 1 medium, finely chopped
1 tablespoon olive oil
2 cloves of garlic, finely chopped or ¼ teaspoon garlic powder
4 leaves fresh basil, finely chopped
1 tablespoon fresh parsley, finely chopped
½ teaspoon paprika (not hot variety)
½ teaspoon oregano
1/8 teaspoon cayenne
Sour cream
Finely shredded cheddar cheese (for garnish)
1 chopped green onion (for garnish)

All you need to do:

Preheat oven to 375 degrees F.

In a small sauté pan, heat 1 tablespoon olive oil.

Add the onions and garlic and sauté for about 4-5 minutes or until the onions are soft.

Remove from the heat and allow to cool enough to handle.

Combine all ingredients (except salsa, sour cream and cheddar cheese).

Mix well.

Shape into 2 loaves on foil lined pan . (this makes for a fast clean-up)

Bake for one hour or until a meat thermometer registers 160 degrees F.

Remove from oven and place on platter.

Spoon salsa over loaves.

Sprinkle with cheddar cheese and chopped green onion.

Serve with salsa and sour cream.

Garlic Clove Substitution

Cooking Tip of the Day

Don’t have a garlic clove on hand?.... and need it for a recipe?

You can substitute 1/8 of a teaspoon garlic powder for each clove of garlic needed.

Recipe: Stuffed Tomatoes with Tuna and Herbed Goat Cheese

Warren bought a bunch of tomatoes when we went grocery shopping…. I did ask him to get Plum tomatoes… well they didn’t have any… so he bought vine ripened tomatoes…. nice thought… but they really don’t go into the recipes I’d planned…. So change of plans time.

I decided to stuff them for lunch…. I had planned on using my herbed goat cheese for something else… but again…. change of plans. I decided to make a list of ingredients I wanted to use… starting with tuna and herbed goat cheese.

I have a number of stuffed tomato recipes… and this one is a slight variation on one… a few simple ingredients… goes together quickly… and looks so very nice… a perfect lunch.


I used herbed goat cheese… which can be expensive… you usually see it in long logs… well they also come in 4 oz…. short logs which are considerably cheaper…. also for those of you near a Walmart… check their gourmet cheese section… I found a long log of it at less than half the price at a regular supermarket….

You can also substitute boursin cheese… but I’m not so sure you’re saving that much money anyway… goat cheese has a wonderful flavor…

You can also mix in the scraped out center of the tomato… just chop it up….

I used medium sized vine ripened tomatoes… this recipe should stuff four of them.

Figure two tomatoes per person.

Cut the fresh basil using the chiffonade technique… that’s a method by which you stack the leaves and roll them…

Then cut slices… it comes out ribbon-like.

Don’t eliminate the basil… it really adds to the taste of this dish.

Do you ever do something kinda …well…stupid… so stupid… you’re shocked you did it…. well I did… when experimenting… I put the basil on before going under the broiler…. needless to say it was crisped beyond recognition… put the basil on top after it comes out from under the broiler.

This is so easy… and a really great lunch…

Recipe: Stuffed Tomatoes with Tuna and Herbed Goat Cheese

All you need:

4 medium vine ripened tomatoes
4 oz. package of herbed goat cheese
1 can solid white tuna in water, drained and flaked
2 tablespoons jarred roasted red peppers, chopped
2 tablespoons plain bread crumbs
2 tablespoons olive oil
3 tablespoons grated Parmesan cheese, divided
Salt to taste
Pepper to taste
4-5 fresh basil leaves, cut chiffonade

All you need to do:

Preheat the oven to broil.

Cut the top off the tomatoes and scoop out the inside.

Chop the insides into small pieces.

Combine all ingredients except reserve 1 tablespoon parmesan cheese and the basil.

Mix well and stuff the tomatoes.

Sprinkle the tomatoes with the reserved tablespoon of parmesan cheese.

Place on a broiler pan and broil for about 5 minutes or until the cheese is a pale tan color. The tomatoes will be just warm… you don’t want them to get mushy…. just heat it enough to make the insides creamy.

Remove from the oven and place on plates….

Sprinkle with cut basil.

Looking for More Recipes?

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