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, May 7, 2017

Chicken Adobo and Zucchini Fritters with Cilantro-Lime Sauce

Happy Cinco de Mayo!  Jeremy wanted tacos to celebrate the Mexican holiday, but we have tacos often, so I decided to go another route.  The Chicken Adobo was tasty, just on the edge of being too spicy for me and left my lips tingling a bit from the chipotles. The rice was a nice counter-balance to that.  I realized I forgot to cut the chicken into bite-sized pieces but the recipe still worked with them as whole thighs. The zucchini fritters were good.  I liked them more than Jeremy did.  They could have used a little more seasoning overall, but the Cilantro-Lime Sauce did it a big favor.

Chicken Adobo
Recipe from America's Test Kitchen: The Best Mexican Recipes
Serves 4

3 tablespoons minced canned chipotle chile in adobo sauce
3 garlic cloves, minced
2 teaspoons dried oregano
1/2 tablespoon instant espresso powder (I left this out)
salt and pepper
1&1/2 lbs boneless, skinless chicken thighs, trimmed and cut into 2-inch pieces
2 tablespoons vegetable oil (I used grapeseed oil)
1 onion, chopped
1 can (14.5 oz) diced tomatoes, run in food processor until smooth
3 tablespoons molasses
1 tablespoon minced fresh cilantro or parsley
Rice (cook according to package instructions)

Combine chipotles, garlic, oregano, espresso powder, 1/2 teaspoon salt, and 1/4 teaspoon pepper in large bowl.   Pat chicken dry with paper towels, then coat completely with chipotle mixture.  Set aside.

Heat 1 tablespoon oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat until just smoking.  Sear chicken until golden brown on both sides, about 3 minutes per side; transfer to a plate.

Heat remaining 1 tablespoon oil in the skillet over medium heat until shimmering.  Add onion and cook until softened, about 5 minutes.  Stir in molasses and tomatoes, and return chicken to the skillet along with any accumulated juices.    Cover, reduce heat, and simmer until chicken is fully cooked and sauce has thickened, about 10 minutes.  Season with salt and pepper to taste.  Serve chicken over rice and spoon sauce over everything.  Sprinkle with cilantro.


Zucchini Fritters with Cilantro-Lime Sauce
Recipe from America's Test Kitchen: The Best Mexican Recipes
Serves 4 (3 fritters per serving)

1&1/2 lbs zucchini, shredded with large holes of a cheese grater
salt and pepper
6 ounces Monterey Jack cheese, shredded (1&1/2 cups)
2 large eggs, lightly beaten
2 jalapeño peppers, seeded and minced
2 scallions, minced
1 teaspoon dried oregano
1 teaspoon ground coriander
1 garlic clove, minced
2 tablespoons minced fresh cilantro
1/4 cup flour
2-4 tablespooons vegetable oil (I used grapeseed oil)

1/2 cup sour cream
2 tablespoons olive oil
1/4 cup minced fresh cilantro
1 teaspoon grated lime zest
1 tablespoon fresh lime juice
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon pepper

Whisk together the sauce ingredients in a small bowl; cover and refrigerate until ready to eat.

Toss zucchini with 1 teaspoon salt and let drain in a fine-mesh strainer for 10 minutes.  Wrap zucchini in a clean dish towel and wring out excess liquid.  Transfer to a large bowl and stir in the shredded cheese, eggs, jalapeños, scallions, oregano, coriander, garlic, 1/4 teaspoon pepper, and cilantro.  Sprinkle flour over mixture and stir to incorporate.

Heat 2 tablespoons oil in a large skillet over medium heat until shimmering.  Drop 1/4 cup portions of batter into skillet and use the back of a flipper to press into ~3-inch-wide fritters.  You should be able to fit 6 fritters in one pan.  Cook until well browned and slightly crispy, about 5 minutes per side.  Repeat with remaining batter.  Season with salt and pepper to taste.  Serve warm with the cilantro-lime sauce.

Tuesday, April 18, 2017

Dulce de Leche Banana Cream Pie

I decided to try a new recipe for Easter.  It was good, but there was a little too much caramel which was too runny in the bottom layer, making a mess in the pie plate.  I was surprised that it never set because I had refrigerated the pie for a full 24 hours.  It still tasted good though, and it was really easy to prepare.  I much prefer my other Banana Cream Pie recipe which is more of a Banana Pudding Cream Pie and I'd stick with that next time.  Still, here is the recipe for all the caramel lovers.  The only changes I made to the original recipe were using a pre-made graham cracker crust and store-bought whipped cream to save time, and those changes are reflected in the directions.

Dulce de Leche Banana Cream Pie
Adapted from Food Network Channel website

1 graham cracker crust
4 oz cream cheese, at room temperature
4 tablespoons (1/2 stick) butter, at room temperature
2 tablespoons powdered sugar
2 teaspoons cinnamon
1 (8 oz) tub of Cool Whip
1 cup store-bought dulce de leche (Caramel Sweetened Condensed Milk)
3 medium bananas, sliced
1/2 cup chopped roasted unsalted peanuts (for garnish)

Using a hand-held mixer, whip the cream and butter at medium speed until fluffy.  Add the powdered sugar and cinnamon, and whip at low speed until just combined.  Fold in the whipped cream.

Spread the dulce de leche over the crust and top with the sliced bananas, forming 2 layers of bananas if necessary.  Spread the whipped topping mixture over the top.  Refrigerate until set, at least 2 hours.
To serve, top the pie with a border of chopped peanuts.  Warm some dulce de leche in the microwave until melted and drizzle over the pie.

Saturday, February 11, 2017

Roasted Kohlrabi Chips

I made these as a healthy Superbowl snack because I had some leftover kohlrabi bulbs I needed to use up.  They were okay for a vegetable.  I think they would be perfectly fine as a side dish to a meal, but it wasn't a craveable snack item to me (like potato chips).  The burnt crispy ones actually tasted the best.  Jeremy agreed.

Roasted Kohlrabi

4 kohlrabi bulbs, peeled
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 clove garlic, minced
salt and pepper
1/3 cup grated Parmesan cheese

Cut the kohlrabi into 1/4" thick slices and then cut in half.  

In a medium bowl, combine the olive oil, garlic, and salt and pepper to taste.  Toss the kohlrabi slices in the olive oil mixture until well coated.  Spread kohlrabi on a baking sheet.

Bake at 450º for 15-20 minutes until browned, stirring occasionally.  Remove from oven and sprinkle the Parmesan cheese over the Kohlrabi.  Return to oven and bake another 5 minutes.

Monday, January 30, 2017

Shrimp & Kohlrabi Tortilla Soup

I'm pretty sure I haven't cooked with kohlrabi before.  In this recipe, the kohlrabi strips take the place of traditional tortilla strips as the crunchy aspect.   I liked the soup, especially the shrimp and avocados.  Next time, I'd cut back on the broth by a cup or two because it slightly watered down the soup.  Still tasty though--and really fast to make for a quick lunch.  The prep takes longer than the actual cooking.

Shrimp & Kohlrabi Tortilla Soup
from Inspiralize Everything
Serves 4 to 6

1 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
1 small onion, diced
2 garlic cloves, minced
1 large jalapeno, seeded and diced
1 teaspoon chili powder
1 teaspoon dried oregano
1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
1/4 teaspoon smoked paprika
6 cups low-sodium chicken broth
1 (15oz) can fire-roasted diced tomatoes
1 (15 oz) can black beans, rinsed and drained
1 pound medium shrimp, peeled and deveined
1 avocado, sliced
juice of 2 small limes
1 cup roughly chopped cilantro leaves
1 medium kohlrabi, peeled and spiralized into thin, short strips (or use a cheese grater)
salt and pepper

Heat the olive oil in a large stock pot over medium-high heat.  Add the onions and cook for about 3 minutes until softened.  Add in the garlic and jalapeno and cook another 30 seconds.  Stir in the chili powder, oregano, cumin, and paprika.

Add the broth, tomatoes, and beans to the pot.  Increase heat to high and bring to boil.  Reduce heat to low and add the shrimp, avocado, and lime juice.  Simmer for 5 minutes until the shrimp are pink and cooked through.

Stir in the cilantro and kohlrabi noodles, season with salt and pepper to taste, and simmer for 1 minute.  Ladle the soup into bowls and serve.

Nutrition:  384 calories, 15g fiber, 36g protein

Saturday, January 28, 2017

Blueberry Phyllo Turnovers

I was craving something sweet and I knew I had blueberries and phyllo sheets taking up space in the freezer.  I decided to google search the combo, and found a few recipes online for strudels and turnovers.  This is my version.  Try to stop yourself from eating more than one.  Wow, they're good-- especially still warm from the oven with a little whipped cream.  Yum.

Blueberry Phyllo Turnovers
Makes 8-10 Turnovers

3 cups fresh or frozen blueberries
1 tablespoon honey
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon nutmeg
1/8 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon lemon juice
2 teaspoons arrowroot or cornstarch
1/2 box (1 roll) Phyllo Dough, defrosted
4 tablespoons butter, melted  (or cooking spray if you wanna be healthy)
sugar for sprinkling (optional)

In a medium saucepan over medium heat, add the blueberries, honey, cinnamon, nutmeg, salt, lemon juice, and cornstarch.  Cook until blueberries are bubbling, then reduce to low and simmer a couple minutes.  Remove from the heat and let cool completely.

Place a single phyllo sheet on a clean counter and brush the phyllo with melted butter (or spray with cooking spray for a healthier version). Place another phyllo sheet directly on top of the first and brush that with butter too.  Repeat until there are 4 stacked sheets (the top one doesn't need butter).  Use a knife or pizza cutter to cut the stacked sheets in half lengthwise so you have two long rectangles.   Each long rectangle will make 1 turnover.  (Note: Keep phyllo sheets you are not working with under plastic and a damp towel so they don't rip and crumble as you work with them.) 

Place 2 tablespoons of the blueberry mixture on the far end of one of the rectangles, keeping a 1-inch border of phyllo around it.  Fold the dough at a 45º angle to create a triangle over the blueberries.  Repeat again, and continue to fold into triangles, enclosing the blueberries in the dough.  Place seam-side down on a baking sheet lined with parchment or a Silpat mat.   Repeat steps for the remaining dough until you run out of sheets or blueberries.

If desired, brush the tops of the turnovers with melted butter or cooking spray and sprinkle with sugar.   Bake at 375º for about 15 minutes until golden brown.   Let cool on a wire rack for at least 5-10 minutes before serving.

Friday, January 27, 2017

Venison Chili

We had some ground venison in our freezer to use, so I thawed it out to make this chili recipe I found online.  I liked it.  I couldn't detect any gaminess from the venison.  I would have assumed it was ground beef.   The chili had just enough heat for my taste and it was hearty and perfect for a cold winter evening.  I served it with a cornbread muffin.  Yum.

Venison Chili
Serves 4

1 tablespoon olive oil
1 onion, chopped
1 green bell pepper, seeded and chopped
2 tablespoons chili powder
1/2 tablespoon cumin
1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/8 teaspoon ground black pepper
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 pound ground venison
1 (~15oz) can kidney beans, drained and rinsed (or any red chili bean)
1 (~15oz) can diced tomatoes, undrained
1 (~15oz) can tomato puree
shredded cheese, sour cream, scallions, or whatever you like

Heat oil in a large stock pot or Dutch oven over medium-high heat.  Add onions, bell pepper, chili powder, cumin, cayenne pepper, salt, and pepper.  Cook until veggies are soft, about 5 minutes.  Stir in garlic and cook for 30 seconds.

Add venison and cook, breaking up clumps with a spoon, until the venison is no longer pink, about 5 minutes.

Stir in the beans, tomatoes, and tomato puree.  Lower heat to a simmer, cover, and cook for 30 minutes.   Remove lid and continue to simmer another 30 minutes.  Season to taste with salt and pepper.

Serve with whatever toppings you like with your chili.

Cucumber, Avocado, and Strawberry Salad

I've been a spiralizing maniac lately.  The cookbook named this as a salsa to use as a dip for chips, but I decided to add feta and walnuts and make a nice lunchtime salad out of it and ditch the chips.  I added a greek yogurt on the side for some protein, and it was a completely delicious and satisfying lunch.   I liked the combo of crunchiness from the cucumber noodles and walnuts along with the creaminess of the avocado and feta.  The strawberries added a lovely sweet note.

Cucumber, Avocado, and Strawberry Salad
adapted from Inspiralized
Makes 2 salads

1 large seedless cucumber
1&1/2 cups hulled and chopped strawberries
1 ripe avocado, diced
1 tablespoon chopped fresh cilantro
1 small jalapeno, seeded and minced
1/3 cup finely chopped red onion
1 tablespoon honey
juice of 1 lime
salt and pepper
2 tablespoons crumbled feta cheese
2 tablespoons chopped walnuts

Spiralize the cucumber and trim into small strands.  Pat with paper towels to absorb excess moisture.

In a large bowl, combine the cucumber noodles, strawberries, avocado, cilantro, jalapeno, and onion.
In a small bowl, whisk together the lime juice and honey, and season with a little salt and pepper.

Pour the dressing over the salad and toss to coat.   Divide salad between two plates and top with feta and walnuts.   Serve.

Shrimp and Zoodles with Roasted Red Bell Pepper Sauce

The original recipe was for seared scallops, but shrimp are more affordable and I had them on hand, so I made that slight alteration to the cookbook.  It tasted really good.  I got a little kick to the sauce from the red pepper flakes.

Zucchini Noodles with Roasted Red Bell Pepper Sauce
Recipe from Inspiralize Everything
Serves 2

2 red bell peppers
2 tablespoons olive oil
2 garlic cloves, minced
1/4 teaspoon red pepper flakes
1/4 cup diced onion
1 teaspoon dried oregano
1/3 cup low-sodium chicken broth
2 medium zucchini, spiralized into spaghetti noodles
6 large scallops (or substitute shrimp or whatever)
salt and pepper
1 tablespoon fresh parsley, for garnish

Slice off the tops and bottoms of the peppers, cut them in half lengthwise, and remove the seeds.  Place them cut-side up on a baking sheet coated with baking spray.  Roast at 425º for 25 minutes.  Transfer to a food processor and pulse until mostly smooth.  Set aside.

Heat 1 tablespoon oil in a skillet over medium heat.  Add the garlic, onion, and red pepper flakes, and saute until the onion is soft, about 5 minutes.  Stir in the bell pepper puree and the oregano, and then add the broth.  Cook for 5 to 7 minutes or until the mixture thickens.  Reduce heat to low and simmer to allow the flavors to develop.

Meanwhile, heat a separate skillet over medium-high heat.  Add the zucchini noodles and cook for 3 to 5 minutes or until al dente.  Add noodles to the bell pepper sauce and toss to coat.

Add 1/2- 1 tablespoon oil to the empty skillet and heat over medium high.  Season the scallops (or shrimp) with salt and pepper and add to the heated skillet.  Cook for 2 minutes per side or until opaque and cooked through.

Divide the sauced noodles between two plates and top with the seared scallops.  Garnish with parsley.

Nutritional Info:  239 calories, 14 g protein, 5 g fiber

Thursday, January 26, 2017

Chicken Cacciatore over Rutabaga Noodles

I'm trying to eat healthier, so I decided to give spiralized rutabaga a try instead of traditional pasta.  The rutabaga has fewer calories, more fiber, more vitamins/minerals, and no gluten.  And it was actually pretty tasty in this dish.  Did it taste exactly like pasta? No, of course not, but it was a close enough substitute that still tasted good and filled me up.  The chicken and veggie sauce was the real star of this recipe.  Delicious.   My only notes: 2 small rutabagas would be plenty for 4 servings, and I'd be careful not to over-salt the noodles before baking.

Chicken Cacciatore over Rutabaga Noodles
from Inspiralize Everything 
Serves 4

3 small rutabagas, peeled and spiralized into thin spaghetti strands
cooking spray
1 teaspoon garlic powder
salt and pepper
1/2 cup almond flour
1&1/4 lbs skin-on, bone-in chicken thighs
2 carrots, diced
1 large red bell pepper, diced
1 medium onion, diced
2 large garlic gloves, minced
1/2 teaspoon dried rosemary
1/4 teaspoon red pepper flakes
1/2 cup dry white wine
1 (28-oz) can diced tomatoes
1 cup low-sodium chicken broth
1&1/2 teaspoons dried oregano
1/4 cup chopped fresh basil (optional)

Lay the rutabaga noodles on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper (I needed two sheets for all the noodles) and spray them with cooking spray.  Sprinkle with garlic powder and a little salt and pepper.  Bake at 425º for 20 minutes or until al dente.

Meanwhile, season the almond flour with a little salt and pepper and dredge the chicken in the flour, pressing to adhere.  Heat a large skillet over medium-high heat and coat with cooking spray.  Add the chicken and cook until browned on the outside, about 5 minutes per side (it won't be cooked through yet).  Transfer to a plate and set aside.

To the skillet, add the carrots, bell pepper, onion, garlic, rosemary, and red pepper flakes.  Season with salt and pepper.  Cook for 5 minutes until the veggies are softened.  Add the wine and simmer until reduced by half, about 5 minutes.  Add the tomatoes and their juices, broth, and oregano.

Return the chicken to the skillet, nestling them into the veggies, and spoon some sauce over the top.  Reduce heat to medium-low and simmer for 20-30 minutes or until the chicken is cooked through.

Transfer the chicken to a plate and add the cooked rutabaga noodles to the skillet, tossing to coat.  Cook for about 2 minutes or until the flavors are melded.  

Divide the rutabaga noodles and veggies among 4 plates and top with the chicken.  Garnish with fresh basil if on hand and serve.

Monday, January 16, 2017

Blueberry Sweet Potato Waffles

Apparently, I'm on a sweet potato craze.  Actually, I had some blueberries in my fridge on the edge of being thrown away, so when I saw this recipe in the cookbook, I thought it would be a good way to prevent them from going to waste.  I hate throwing away produce.  The flavor of these waffles was surprisingly good even if the shape didn't turn out as perfectly as the cookbook photo.  I added a couple turkey sausage links for protein, and I was completely full and satisfied.  My batch of spiralized sweet potatoes made 4 small waffles.  I saved 2 for tomorrow morning.

Blueberry Sweet Potato Waffles
from Inspiralized Cookbook
Makes 2 large waffles or 4 small waffles

1 medium sweet potato, peeled and spiralized into noodles
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 egg, lightly beaten
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/2 cup fresh blueberries (plus extra for serving, if desired)
1 tablespoon pure maple syrup

Place the sweet potato noodles in a large bowl and toss with the cinnamon.   Heat a large skillet over medium heat and coat with cooking spray.  Once heated, add the sweet potato noodles and cook, covered, for 5-7 minutes until the potatoes have completely softened.

Meanwhile, preheat a waffle iron.  In the large bowl, whisk the egg and vanilla.  Stir in the blueberries and cooked sweet potato noodles.

Coat the waffle iron with cooking spray and carefully pour in half the noodle mixture, making sure to fill all the cavities.  Cook the waffle until done, transfer to a plate, and repeat for the last half of the mixture.   Drizzle a little maple syrup over each waffle and serve.

1 large waffle + 1/2 Tablespoon Syrup= 150 calories, 4g protein, 13g sugar, 3g fat