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 2017:
* Use the Spiralizer at least once per week for healthy veggie-rich meals
* Continue to spin from the Wheel of Meals for recipe inspiration

Sunday, January 14, 2018

Pork Piccata with Brussels Sprout and Apple Hash


I'm always looking for ways to make vegetables taste good, and this recipe accomplished that.  Bacon makes everything better.  I really liked the apples and bacon with the thinly sliced Brussels sprouts, and apples are a naturally good pairing with pork, in my opinion.  Jeremy picked out the apples though (he doesn't enjoy meat and fruit together).  The original cookbook recipe called for veal cutlets, but pork is more accessible and far cheaper.  I also made a quick 5-minute couscous to go with it, although it wouldn't have been necessary. The recipe made a generous portion of hash. 

Veal (or Pork) Piccata with Brussels Sprout Hash and Apples

Recipe from One Pan, Two Plates Cookbook
Serves 2

Ingredients:
4 veal scallops (3oz each), pounded thin OR 1/4" thin boneless pork chops
salt and pepper
2 slices bacon, diced
1 small yellow onion, diced
1 garlic clove, diced
12 Brussels sprouts, cut into thin slices
1 apple, peeled, cored, and diced
1/3 cup dry white wine (or use chicken broth or water)
1/2 lemon

Directions:
Heat a large skillet over medium heat and add the bacon.  Cook bacon until the fat renders but hasn't yet browned, about 2 minutes.  Salt and pepper the meat and add to the skillet.  Sauté pork for 3 minutes per side (or 1 minute for veal).  Remove meat to a plate, leaving the bacon in the pan.

Add the onion, garlic, Brussels sprouts, apple, and a few grinds of salt and pepper to the skillet.  Sauté the vegetables with an occasional stir until they soften and begin to brown around the edges, about 5-8 minutes.  Add the wine and cook for another 2 minutes, stirring occasionally.  Taste and season as needed.  Return the meat to the pan on top of the veggies with any accumulated juices.  Cover the pan and cook for 2 minutes to heat up the meat and finish cooking the Sprouts.   Squeeze the lemon over everything.  Serve.


Tuesday, December 12, 2017

Crock Pot Venison Loin


Jeremy's dad gave us a venison loin, and this is the recipe I made with it.   It was tasty and slow cooking it removed the "gaminess" of the venison.  The meat was tender and just fell apart, and the gravy paired well with both the venison and our side of mashed potatoes.  You could serve the recipe with egg noodles or rice instead of potatoes.  I just used what I happened to have on hand. 

Crock Pot Venison Loin

Ingredients:
venison loin roast(s), 1-3 lbs (ours was 1 lb)
salt and pepper
flour
2 tablespoons butter
1 onion, chopped
1 garlic clove, chopped
1 cup chicken broth (or beef broth)
1 envelope Lipton Onion Soup Mix
2 tablespoons Worcestershire sauce
2 tablespoons red wine
1 can cream of celery soup (or cream of anything like mushroom)
1/2 teaspoon thyme
1/2 teaspoon rosemary
1 teaspoon garlic powder

Directions:
Salt and pepper the venison and dredge in flour.   In a heavy skillet, melt the butter and brown the meat on all sides.  Transfer to a slow cooker.   In the same skillet, saute the onions and garlic for just a couple minutes. Pour the broth in the skillet to deglaze pan and pour contents into the slow cooker.

Add all remaining ingredients into the crock pot.  (A larger loin might require up to an extra cup of water/broth).   Cook on low for 8-10 hours until meat is tender.   Serve over potatoes, noodles, rice, or whatever you like.

Sunday, November 19, 2017

Shredded Pork and White Bean Chili


I used some of my leftover shredded pork to make this recipe.  The soup/stew/chili (whatever you want to call it) was very satisfying and heated up well the next day too.  I will try to post the recipe to the best of my recollection, but to be honest, I just threw random stuff in the pot that I happened to have on hand.

Anne's Shredded Pork and White Bean Chili

Ingredients:
1 tablespoon olive oil
1/2 large onion, diced
1 celery rib, sliced thin
2 carrots, peeled and sliced thin
2 cloves garlic, minced
1/2 tablespoon ground cumin
1/2 teaspoon oregano
pinch red pepper flakes
2 cups chicken broth
1 small can diced green chilies
1 can white chili beans
2 cups cooked shredded pork (or chicken)
salt and pepper, to taste
2 tablespoons chopped cilantro or parsley
Optional: sour cream, cheddar, jalapeno, cilantro, etc

Directions:
Heat oil in a large pot over medium-high heat.  Add onion, celery, and carrots, and cook until veggies are softened, about 3-5 minutes.  Stir in garlic until fragrant, about 30 seconds. Stir in the cumin, oregano, and pepper flakes.  Add the broth, chiles, and beans, and bring to a boil.  Reduce heat and simmer for 20 minutes.  Stir in the cooked shredded pork and chopped cilantro and simmer for 5 minutes until heated through.   Adjust seasoning as needed and serve with garnishes of your choice.



Slow Cooker Shredded Balsamic Pork


It's so nice when the Crockpot does all the work.  Plus, shredded pork has so many possibilities. On the first night, we just served it over rice.  The next night, I used a bunch in a White Bean Chili (see recipe).  I also used some leftover pork and made little lettuce wraps for a healthy lunch.  All delicious.

Slow Cooker Shredded Balsamic Pork 
Recipe found online somewhere

Ingredients:
2 pound boneless pork sirloin roast
salt and pepper, to taste
1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
1/2 teaspoon red pepper flakes
1/3 cup chicken broth
1/3 cup balsamic vinegar
1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
1 tablespoon honey

Directions:
Season the pork with salt, pepper, garlic powder, and red pepper flakes, and place it in the slow cooker.  

Whisk together all the other ingredients and pour over the pork.  Let cook for 3-4 hours on high or 6-8 hours on low.

Once the pork is tender, remove from the slow cooker and shred using two forks.  Return the shredded pork to the slow cooker and ladle sauce over the pork.  Serve on rice, buns, lettuce, whatever.

To make wraps, I used Boston lettuce leaves, added the shredded pork, and topped with cucumbers, yellow bell peppers, shredded carrots, and avocado.  

Thursday, November 2, 2017

Grilled Rosemary Chicken Breasts


I wanted to use some fresh rosemary before I dried the rest of it, so I made this recipe.  Very tasty and juicy chicken.  I'd use this recipe again.

Grilled Rosemary Chicken Breasts
Recipe adapted from one found on allrecipes 
Serves 2

Ingredients:
4 garlic cloves, minced
1&1/2 tablespoons olive oil
1 tablespoon minced fresh rosemary
1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
1 tablespoon lemon juice
1/4 teaspoon black pepper
1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
2 boneless, skinless chicken breast halves

Directions:
In a small bowl, whisk together all the marinade ingredients. Pour into a large resealable plastic bag, saving ~1/8 cup for basting.  Add the chicken to the bag and massage marinade into chicken. Refrigerate if not using immediately.  When ready to grill, let bag sit at room temperature for 30 minutes.

Place chicken on preheated grill over medium-high heat and cook for 4-5 minutes.  Turn over, and use the reserved marinade to baste the top of the chicken breasts.  Grill another 5 minutes until cooked through. 

Wednesday, August 23, 2017

Basil-Honey Dressing


This dressing is fabulous.  Sweet and herblicious without being overpowering.  I currently have an excess of basil in my garden, so this was a delicious way to use it.  I used it on a salad I threw together, but I think it would be good tossed with pasta or veggies or even as meat marinade.

Basil-Honey Dressing
Found online at webpage: Shockingly Delicious

Ingredients:
1/2 cup packed fresh basil leaves (I probably used more)
1/4 cup honey
1/4 cup apple cider vinegar
1/3 cup olive oil
pinch salt

Directions:
Blend it all together with blender, food processor, immersion blender, whatever.  Serve.   Keeps for 1 week stored covered in the fridge.




Lemon-Thyme Cod with Garlic Potatoes


The grocery store had cod fillets on sale, so I found this recipe which also used fresh thyme from my herb garden.  It was good enough to make again I thought, but next time I'd only use one baking potato instead of two.

Lemon-Herb Cod with Crispy Garlic Potatoes
from The Complete Cooking for Two Cookbook
Serves 2

Ingredients:
1 tablespoon olive oil
2 russet potatoes, sliced 1/4" thick
2 garlic cloves, minced
salt and pepper
2 (6-8oz) skinless cod fillets
1 tablespoon butter, cut into 4 pieces
2 sprigs fresh thyme
1/2 lemon, thinly sliced

Directions:
Coat a baking dish with cooking spray or oil.  Toss potatoes with olive oil, garlic, salt, and pepper.  Shingle potatoes in the baking dish in 2 long piles.  Roast at 425º for 30-35 minutes until spotty brown and just tender.

Pat cod dry with paper towels and season with salt and pepper.  Place 1 fillet over each pile of potatoes.  Top with butter pieces, thyme sprigs, and lemon slices.  Roast for about 15 minutes until fish flakes easily and reaches 140º.  Slide spatula under potatoes and fish to transfer to plates.



Sunday, June 18, 2017

Butterfinger Freezer Dessert


This is just a yummy cool summertime dessert that everyone seems to love.  It's easy and it's no-bake.  Win-win.  I brought it to my family's Father's Day get-together.

Butterfinger Freezer Dessert

Ingredients:
2 cups crushed graham crackers
1 cup crushed saltine crackers
1/2 cup butter, melted
2 packages (3.4oz each) instant vanilla pudding mix
2 cups cold milk
1 quart butter pecan ice cream, softened
1 carton (8 oz) whipped topping, thawed
1 Butterfinger candy bar, chopped

Directions:
In a medium bowl, combine the cracker crumbs and melted butter.  Pat 3/4 of the mixture into a 13x9" baking pan.  Save the other 1/4 for the topping.  Refrigerate pan.

In a large bowl, whisk together the milk and pudding mix for 2 minutes until pudding thickens.  Stir in the softened ice cream until blended.  Spread over the chilled crust.  Spoon the whipped topping over the pudding layer and spread evenly.

Combine the candy bar and 1/4 cup cracker mixture and sprinkle evenly over the whipped topping.  Cover and freeze for at least 2 hours.


Toffee Bits Triangles


I had some leftover chocolate chips and toffee bits, so I found this recipe online to use them up with other standard pantry ingredients I already had on hand.  I made a half-batch since that's what I had for ingredients, and they turned out pretty good. Maybe more than good.  I ate way too many.

Toffee Bits Triangles
from Hershey's online recipe

Ingredients:
1 cup butter, softened
1 cup packed light brown sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 egg yolk
2 cups flour
8 oz pkg (1&1/3 cups) Heath Bits 'o Brickle Toffee Bits
12 oz pkg (2 cups) chocolate chips

Directions:
Beat butter and sugar in large bowl on medium speed. Add vanilla and egg yolk and beat until well mixed.  Stir in flour and 1 cup of the toffee bits.

Press mixture into a 15x10" jelly roll pan (I recommend lining it with parchment paper for easier cleanup).  Bake at 350º for 16-20 minutes or until light brown.  

Immediately sprinkle chocolate chips over top while still hot.  Wait 5 minutes to allow chips to melt, then spread chocolate evenly.  Sprinkle remaining toffee bits over top.  Cool completely.  Cut into squares, then triangles.


Tuesday, June 13, 2017

Butterscotch Pudding Pretzel Cookies


I decided to try a different cookie recipe and thought these sounded interesting.  I liked the combination of the salty pretzel with the sweet cookie with butterscotch and toffee bits.  I made half the batch with chocolate chips added in and half without.  I preferred the addition of the chocolate chips.

Butterscotch Pudding Pretzel Cookies
Makes 4 dozen cookies

Ingredients:
2&1/2 cups flour
1/2 tablespoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 cup butter, softened
3/4 cup sugar
3/4 cup packed brown sugar
1 box (4-serving size) butterscotch instant pudding mix
2 eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla
2 cups mini pretzel twists, coarsely crushed
1 cup butterscotch chips
1 cup semisweet chocolate chips
1/2 cup milk chocolate toffee bits

Directions:
Preheat oven to 350º

In a large bowl, beat softened butter and sugars on medium speed until fluffy.  Beat in dry pudding mix, then beat in eggs, one at a time, until smooth.  Stir in vanilla.   In a separate bowl, mix together the flour, soda, and salt, then beat into the cookie batter on low speed.  Stir in the crushed pretzels, butterscotch chips, chocolate chips, and toffee bits.

Drop by rounded tablespoonfuls onto ungreased cookie sheet.  Bake at 350º for 9-11 minutes until lightly brown.  Cool 2 minutes, then transfer to cooling rack to cool completely.