Welcome to my Food Blog!

Welcome! My name is Anne, aka ThePharmGirl. In 2010, I successfully made 100 recipes as a New Year's Resolution to expand my culinary repertoire and cooking skills beyond the frozen microwave dinner. This blog is a continuation of my culinary journey and serves as my personal virtual recipe box. Sometimes I like to have fun-- Check out my Muppet Mania Menu, The 12 Days of Christmas, and my Musical-themed recipes.

My current mission(s) for 2020:
* Make at least 20 recipes for the Instant Pot
* Use the Spiralizer more often


Friday, February 21, 2020

Singapore Noodles with Shrimp


We had some shrimp we needed to use and when I looked through my cookbooks for a recipe, this one caught my eye.  The original recipe didn't call for asparagus, but I wanted to include more veggies so I added them in.  I didn't have mirin in my cupboard and I didn't feel like buying a bottle for a single recipe, so I substituted rice wine vinegar and a pinch of sugar.  Jeremy and I both enjoyed this dish.  It was something different from our normal rotation.  The recipe made 2 huge servings.  

Singapore Noodles with Shrimp
Adapted from America's Test Kitchen: Dinner for Two
Makes 2 large servings

Ingredients:
4 oz rice vermicelli (rice sticks)
8 oz extra-large uncooked shrimp, peeled, deveined, and tails removed
1&1/2 teaspoons curry powder, divided
1/8 teaspoon sugar
4 teaspoons oil, divided
2 shallots, sliced thin
1 red bell pepper, stemmed, seeded, and cut into thin strips
1 cup chopped asparagus tips & stems (~1/2 bunch)
1 garlic clove, minced
1/2 cup chicken broth
3 tablespoons soy sauce
2 teaspoons mirin (or white white or rice wine vinegar with pinch sugar)
1/2 teaspoon Sriracha sauce (or to taste)
pinch red pepper flakes (optional)
1 cup (2 oz) bean sprouts
1/4 cup minced fresh cilantro

Directions:
Add noodles to a large bowl and cover with very hot tap water.  Stir to separate.  Let noodles soak until softened but not fully tender, about 15-20 minutes; drain.

While noodles soak, cook shrimp.  Pat shrimp dry and toss with 1/4 teaspoon curry powder and sugar.  Heat 2 teaspoons oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat.  Cook shrimp for 1 minute, stir, and continue to cook for 30 seconds.  Transfer to a bowl.  

Add 2 teaspoons oil to the skillet and heat until shimmering.  Add shallots, bell pepper, and asparagus, and cook until vegetables are softened, about 5 minutes.  Stir in garlic and remaining 1&1/4 teaspoons curry powder and cook for 30 seconds.

Stir in broth, soy sauce, mirin, Sriracha, red pepper flakes, softened noodles, and cooked shrimp.  Cook, tossing gently, until everything is well-coated with sauce, about 2-3 minutes.  Stir in bean sprouts and cilantro.  Serve.

Thursday, February 6, 2020

Slow Cooker Beef Gyros with Tzatziki Sauce


These were good.  The beef was fall-apart tender.  It's always nice to let something cook and not have to worry about tending to it. 


Slow Cooker Beef Gyros with Tzatziki Sauce
Makes 6-8 servings

Ingredients:
2 lbs beef stew meat or chuck roast, cut into bite-sized pieces or strips
1 large onion, thinly sliced
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon pepper
1/4 cup olive oil
2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
2 teaspoons garlic powder
1/2 tablespoon dried oregano leaves

Tzatziki Sauce:
1 cup plain Greek yogurt
1 clove garlic, minced
1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 teaspoon red wine vinegar
2 teaspoons dried dill weed
salt and pepper to taste

For serving:
Soft pitas
diced cucumbers
cherry or grape tomatoes, halved
lettuce

Directions:
For tzatziki sauce, whisk together all the ingredients.  Cover and refrigerate until ready to serve.

Place beef in the slow cooker and season with salt and pepper.  In a small bowl, whisk together the oil, lemon juice, garlic, and oregano, and pour mixture over beef.  Cover and cook on low for 7-8 hours until beef is tender.  Add extra salt and pepper to taste. 

Serve beef in pitas with tzatziki sauce and toppings of choice.

Balsamic-Glazed Pork Tenderloin - Instant Pot


10 minutes to cook a Pork Tenderloin in the Instant Pot?!  Awesome!  I think it took about 35 minutes from start to finish including prep.  It was easy to make plus delicious. 

Instant Pot Balsamic-Glazed Pork Tenderloin

Ingredients:
1 pork tenderloin (~2 lb)  [I cut into two pieces to fit in pot]
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon pepper
2 teaspoons Italian seasoning
3 cloves garlic, pressed
1 cup water
2 tablespoons soy sauce
1/2 cup brown sugar
1/4 cup balsamic vinegar
2 tablespoons cornstarch
1/4 cup water

Directions:
In a small bowl, mix together the salt, pepper, and Italian seasoning.  Rub olive oil over pork and then rub in seasoning.

Set Instant Pot to "Saute" mode and add garlic and pork.  Brown the meat for a minute on all sides.  Remove pork from pot.  Add 1 cup water to deglaze and scrape up brown bits with a wooden spoon.  Cancel Saute mode and whisk in soy sauce, sugar, and balsamic vinegar.  Return pork to the pot.

Seal the lid and pressure cook on high for 10 minutes.  Let the pot naturally release for 10 minutes, then quick release the rest of the way.

Place pork on a cutting board.  While it rests, turn the Instant Pot to "Saute" mode.  In a small bowl, whisk together cornstarch and 1/4 cup cold water.  Add to the pot and cook for 2 minutes, whisking until thick and bubbly.

Slice the pork and pour balsamic glaze over the top.

Thursday, January 23, 2020

Spinach-Artichoke Pasta with Italian Sausage- Instant Pot


I think this was the best Instant Pot recipe I've made so far.  Definitely not on the lighter side as far as calories, but it does have some vegetables in it, so I'll give myself a pass.  Comfort food is needed sometimes.  There was a good sausage-to-pasta ratio and I enjoyed the creamy spinach-artichoke mixture.  The tomatoes cooked all the way down and got lost so I'd add more in the future.   This was an easy recipe with very little prep and a very short cook time.  Best of all, it only used a cutting board and knife, measuring cup, and the Instant Pot making for easy cleanup!  This is another successful recipe from Pressure Luck Cooking.  I'm looking forward to the leftovers.

Instant Pot Italian Sausage Pasta
Makes 6-8 servings

Ingredients:
4 tablespoons (1/2 stick) butter
1 medium onion, diced
4 garlic cloves, minced
1 lb raw Italian Sausage (sweet or hot), sliced into 1/2" pieces
3 cups chicken broth
1 cup white wine
1 tablespoon Italian seasoning
1 teaspoon dried parsley
10 oz cherry or grape tomatoes
1 lb (1 box) medium pasta shells
5-6 oz baby spinach
1/3 cup heavy cream or half & half
5 oz cream cheese
1 - 1&1/2 cups grated Parmesan cheese
14 oz can artichoke hearts, drained and roughly ripped by hand.

Directions:
Set Instant Pot to "Saute" on high and add butter.  When it melts, add the onions and saute for 2-3 minutes.  Add the garlic and sausage and cook and stir for 2 minutes. (The sausage will not be fully cooked yet).  Add in the broth, wine, Italian seasoning, parsley, and tomatoes.  Stir well.  Stop Saute mode.

Add the pasta shells to the pot, but DO NOT STIR.  Press down with a spoon to submerge a bit, and there will be some above the liquid which is okay.  Add the spinach, and DO NOT STIR.  The spinach will come up to the top, but it will cook down to almost nothing.

Secure the lid and Pressure Cook on high for 5-6 minutes (depending on how you like your pasta).  Quick release the pressure when done.

Stir in the cream, cream cheese, Parmesan, and artichokes for a couple minutes until the cheese is melted.  Let rest a couple minutes to thicken and enjoy! 

Tuesday, January 21, 2020

Instant Pot Pot Roast



I tried this Pot Roast recipe from Pressure Luck Cooking and followed the ingredients and directions exactly (except for leaving out the mushrooms).  I was so excited to dig in that I forgot to take a photo the first night.  So this is a photo of leftovers we had the following night.  It was really, really flavorful and the meat was fall-apart tender.  I'd say the overall process was a little more fussy than a slow cooker, but it only took 60 minutes to cook (plus extra for preheating and pressure release).  The flavor was worth it.   Note:  I used a 3-lb roast which fit nicely in my 6-qt Instant Pot.  A bigger roast may have been tricky.

I don't want to steal the recipe since I made no changes except the mushrooms, so here is a link to the website:  https://pressureluckcooking.com/recipe/instant-pot-roast/

Baked Ranch Pork Chops


I was in the mood for pork chops so I found a recipe online and adapted it a bit.  Super easy and relatively quick.  The ranch flavor was pretty subtle, but the seasoning was tasty.  I only made 3 pork chops, and I had leftover seasoning.   In the future, I'd add baby potatoes using the same seasoning mix and bake at the same time.

Baked Ranch Pork Chops

Ingredients:
Pork Chops, 3/4-1" thick  (I used boneless)
1-2 tablespoons olive oil
1 packet (1 oz) Ranch Seasoning and Salad Dressing Mix
1 teaspoon paprika
1 tablespoon dried oregano
1/2 tablespoon dried parsley
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon pepper

Directions:
Rub oil over pork chops.  In small bowl, stir together the Ranch mix and all the seasonings.   Rub mix all over the pork chops (there may be extra depending on the number and size of chops).   Bake at 400º for 20-30 minutes until chops are cooked and reach internal temperature of 145º.

Sunday, January 12, 2020

Gluten-free Blueberry Pie with Almond-Oat Crust


Here is another dessert I brought to Christmas.  Blueberries were on sale at the store, so I wanted to make a blueberry dessert and also have a gluten-free option.  The blueberry filling was great, but the crust had way too much honey and made the crust a little too wet for my liking and also overpowered the flavor.  If I made this again, I'd cut back on the honey, probably to 1/4 cup or less.  Once again, I forgot to photograph the pie before we dug in.

Gluten-free Blueberry Pie with Almond-Oat Crust

Ingredients:
2 cups fresh blueberries
1 tablespoon sugar
2 teaspoons corn starch
zest of 1/2 lemon

Crust/Crisp:
1&1/4 cup ground almonds or almond flour
1 cup old-fashioned oats
1/2 cup honey  (I would recommend cutting back to 1/4 cup or less)
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
5 tablespoons unsalted softened butter

Directions:
In a medium bowl, toss together the blueberries, sugar, corn starch, and zest.  Set aside.

In another bowl, combine the ground almonds, oats, honey, baking powder, and salt.  Add butter and use your fingers to combine until coarse crumbs form.  Reserve 1/2 cup of crumbs for topping.  Press the remaining crumbs into a 9-inch pie plate or tart pan. 

Pour blueberries over the crust.  Sprinkle the reserved crumb topping over the top.  Bake at 350º for 20 minutes, then tent with foil to avoid over-browning, and bake for another 20-25 minutes until the filling is bubbly and the crust is golden brown.   Cool completely before serving.



Peach Cobbler Pie


Recipe for the peach pie I made for Christmas.  I used a store-bought frozen pie crust to save time.  I forgot to take a photo before everyone started digging in.  It was delicious, in my opinion.

Peach Cobbler Pie

Ingredients:
Pie crust
5 cups fresh or thawed frozen peaches
2/3 cup sugar
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
1 tablespoon lemon juice
4 tablespoons cornstarch

Crumble Topping:
12 tablespoons cold butter, diced
1/3 cup sugar
1/3 cup brown sugar
1&1/2 cups flour

Directions:
In a large bowl, stir together peaches, sugar, lemon juice, cinnamon, and cornstarch.   Place store-bought or homemade pie crust in a 9-inch pie plate and pour peach mixture over crust.

To make crumble topping, combine all the ingredients in a large bowl.  Using a pastry cutter, work the butter into the flour and sugar until it resembles coarse crumbs.   Sprinkle over the peach mixture.

Bake pie at 425º for 10 minutes, then at 350º for 30-40 minutes until crust is baked and golden.

Instant Pot Parmesan Ranch Chicken and Potatoes


I'm starting to use my Instant Pot more, and this is a fast and easy recipe that also tasted great.  The chicken was juicy and the seasoning was tasty.  We didn't really detect the ranch flavor though.

Instant Pot Parmesan  Ranch Chicken and Potatoes
Serves 4

Ingredients:
4 boneless skinless chicken breasts
2 pounds baby red potatoes
3 tablespoons olive oil
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon pepper
1 teaspoon garlic powder
1 teaspoon dried thyme
1/2 teaspoon dried basil
1/2 teaspoon dried rosemary
1/2 teaspoon dried oregano
1 packet Ranch dry seasoning
1 cup chicken broth
3 tablespoons grated Parmesan cheese

Directions:
Put the chicken and potatoes in a large bowl and toss with olive oil.  Combine all the seasonings (except Parmesan), reserving 2 teaspoons of the Ranch seasoning.  Sprinkle mixture over the chicken and potatoes, tossing to distribute evenly.

Add chicken broth to Instant Pot and and place chicken in the pot.  Top with potatoes.  Lock the lid and seal the vent of the Instant Pot.  Pressure cook on high for 15 minutes.  Quick release the steam. 

Use a slotted spoon to transfer the chicken and potatoes to a platter.  Sprinkle with Parmesan cheese and remaining Ranch seasoning.

Friday, November 22, 2019

Orange Chicken


This recipe was easy, relatively quick, and delicious!  The orange flavor really came through without being overpowering.  I steamed some broccoli to accompany it.

Orange Chicken
Makes 2-3 servings

Ingredients:
1 lb boneless skinless chicken thighs (or breast), cut into ~1" pieces
salt and pepper
1 tablespoon olive oil
Cooked rice or quinoa (follow package directions)
Toppings: sliced green onions, sesame seeds, orange zest

Orange Sauce:
2 cloves garlic, minced
1/4 cup orange juice
1/4 cup honey
3 tablespoons soy sauce
2 tablespoons rice wine vinegar
1 tablespoon corn starch
1/4 teaspoon ground ginger
1/4 teaspoon white pepper
zest of 1 orange (save a little for topping)
pinch of crushed red pepper flakes

Directions:
Heat oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat.  Season the chicken generously with salt and pepper and saute for about 5 minutes, stirring occasionally, until chicken is browned and nearly cooked through.

In a small bowl, whisk together the orange sauce ingredients and pour sauce into skillet, coating the chicken.  Let it come to a boil and cook for a couple minutes to allow the sauce to thicken. 

Serve chicken and sauce over cooked rice and garnish with green onions, sesame seeds, and orange zest if desired.