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

Saturday, April 4, 2020

Grilled Chicken

We felt like grilling out, so I made this chicken recipe.  It was excellent--juicy and flavorful.  I also made some foil pouches with beans and potatoes for the grill.

Unbelievable Grilled Chicken
From allrecipes

3 tablespoons apple cider vinegar
3 tablespoons Dijon mustard
3 cloves garlic
1 lime, juiced (2 TBSP)
1 lemon, juiced (3 TBSP)
1/2 cup brown sugar
1/2 tablespoon salt
1/2 teaspoon pepper
1/3 cup olive oil
4 boneless skinless chicken breasts

In a small bowl, whisk together all the marinade ingredients (everything except chicken).   Place chicken in a large resealable bag and pour marinade into bag, tossing to coat.  Chill in fridge 8 hours or overnight.

Remove chicken from marinade and discard liquid.   Grill chicken 6 to 8 minutes per side until internal temperature reaches 165ºF.

Friday, March 20, 2020

Shrimp Scampi with Veggies

Friday Fish Fry is out; eating at home is the current norm.  I felt like trying a new recipe and wanted to use the last of the shrimp in the freezer so I made this Shrimp Scampi recipe.  I had some leftover asparagus that I threw in there too.  It was good, but not fabulous.  Kinda boring.  Some bites had more flavor than others.  I think next time I would add butter or lemon juice at the end to kick up the flavor.  It was fine though. I was excited because I got to use the ribbon setting on the spiralizer for the zucchini and yellow squash.

Shrimp Scampi with Squash Ribbons
Recipe from Food Network, slightly adapted

8 oz spaghetti
1 yellow squash, peeled or spiralized into ribbons
1 zucchini, peeled or spiralized into ribbons
1 lb shrimp, peeled and deveined, tails removed
salt and pepper
2 tablespoons olive oil
handful asparagus spears, chopped (optional)
1 cup cherry tomatoes, halved
4 cloves garlic, minced
pinch crushed red pepper flakes
1/2 cup chicken broth

Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil and cook the spaghetti to al dente.   Save 1/4 cup of the pasta water.   Place the zucchini and squash in a colander and drain the pasta into the same colander.  Stir to combine pasta and squashes.

In the now empty pot, heat 1 tablespoon olive oil over medium-high heat.   Toss the shrimp with salt and pepper and add to the pot.  Cook until just pink around the edges, about 2 minutes.  Add the asparagus, tomatoes, garlic, and pepper flakes, and cook until tomatoes have softened, about 1 minute.  Add the pasta, squash, broth, and remaining 1 tablespoon oil.  Cook, tossing, until warmed through and most of the liquid has been absorbed.  Add pasta water if more liquid is needed.  Season with salt and pepper.

Thursday, March 19, 2020

Instant Pot Chicken and Dumplings

I wanted comfort food, so I made this recipe.  Luckily, we had some chicken breasts in the freezer since the stores seem have no chicken at all.  For veggies, I used carrots, celery, onions, peas, and asparagus.  Fast and easy and it tasted great.  We were nervous that 3 minutes pressure-cooked wouldn't be enough time to fully cook the chicken and dumplings, but it was perfect.  The dumplings were just what I needed to lift my spirits. 

Instant Pot Chicken and Dumplings
Recipe from Food Network, adapted slightly
Makes 4 large servings

Dumpling Ingredients:
1 tablespoon baking powder
1&3/4 cups flour
pinch salt
2 tablespoons butter, melted
1 cup milk, room temperature

2 tablespoons butter
1 small onion, chopped
2 celery stalks, chopped
2 medium carrots, chopped
2 cloves garlic, minced
2 teaspoons thyme leaves
2 tablespoons flour
2 cups chicken stock
1/2 cup white wine
1-1&1/2 lbs boneless skinless chicken breasts, cut into 1" pieces
1 cup frozen peas
handful asparagus spears, chopped (I added this)
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon pepper
1/4 cup chopped fresh parsley

For dumplings, in a medium bowl, mix together the baking powder, flour, and salt.  Stir in the milk and melted butter until well combined.  Set aside.

Set the Instant Pot to Saute mode and add butter, stirring constantly while it melts.  Once melted, add onions, celery, carrots, and pinch of salt, and cook, stirring occasionally, until softened, about 2-3 minutes.  Add garlic and cook another minute.  Stir in the thyme and flour until combined.  Pour in the chicken stock and wine and stir.  Add the chicken, peas, asparagus, salt, and pepper.  Turn the pot off.

Carefully drop the dumpling dough by large spoonfuls into the pot (about 9-10 dumplings).  Set the Instant Pot to pressure cook on high for 3 minutes, then quick release.   Spoon the dumplings and soup into bowls and sprinkle with parsley.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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.

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

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

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

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

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

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.