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 for 2015: Continue to spin from the Wheel of Meals for recipe inspiration

Wednesday, April 6, 2016

Chocolate Cream Pie

Another Easter dessert I made.  It was really rich but really good.   It took a lot longer than 6-8 minutes for my custard to thicken on the stovetop, but I was patient and it eventually got there.  Sorry my photo isn't the best.  I didn't get a chance to get a nice slice before everyone started digging in. I guess that's a good sign.

Chocolate Cream Pie

2/3 cup sugar
1/4 cup cornstarch
1/2 teaspoon salt
4 large egg yolks
3 cups whole milk
5 oz Ghiradelli bittersweet chocolate, chopped
2 oz Ghiradelli unsweetened chocolate, chopped
2 tablespoons unsalted butter
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 oreo chocolate pie crust

Whipped Topping:
3/4 cup chilled heavy whipping cream
1 tablespoon sugar
shaved chocolate (optional)

Combine the sugar, cornstarch, and salt in a heavy medium saucepan.  Whisk gently until combined.  In a medium bowl, whisk together the milk and egg yolks.  Add the milk mixture to the saucepan in a slow and steady stream, whisking until the mixture is smooth.  Cook over medium heat, constantly whisking, until the mixture starts to bubble and thicken, 6-8 minutes.  Immediately turn the heat down to a simmer and cook 1 minute more, continuously whisking, until thick.

Off the heat, immediately whisk in the chopped chocolate, butter, and vanilla extract.  Transfer the filling to a bowl and press saran wrap directly over the surface to prevent a film from forming.  Store in the fridge until cook, 1-2 hours.   Once cool, spoon the filling into the chocolate crust.  Once again, cover with saran wrap and press against surface.  Chill for at least 6 hours or up to one day.

To make the whipped topping, use an electric mixer to whip the cream until the whisk begins to leave tracks in the cream.  Add the sugar and whip until the cream holds medium silky peaks.  Spread the cream over the chocolate filling.  Sprinkle with shaved chocolate to decorate. Refrigerate until ready to serve.

Carrot Cake with Cream Cheese Frosting

I found this recipe online and made it for Easter.  I thought it was super delicious.

Carrot Cake with Cream Cheese Frosting

1 cup applesauce
1/4 cup oil
2 cups sugar
3 eggs
2 cups flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1&1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon cinnamon
2 cups grated carrots
1 cup shredded sweetened coconut
1 cup chopped nuts
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 cup crushed pineapple in juice, undrained

1/2 cup butter, softened
8 oz cream cheese, softened
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 pound powdered sugar

In a large bowl, mix together the apple sauce, oil, sugar, and eggs.  Add in the flour, baking soda, baking powder, salt, and cinnamon and stir well to combine.  Stir in the remaining ingredients.  Pour into a lightly greased 10x15-inch baking pan.  Bake at 350º for 25-30 minutes or until a toothpick comes out clean.  Cool completely.

To make frosting, beat the butter and cream cheese until fluffy.  Add in the vanilla and powdered sugar and beat until smooth.  Spread on top of the cooled cake and serve.  May be stored covered in the fridge for up to 3 days.

Saturday, February 13, 2016

Shrimp and Broccoli Stir-Fry

I wanted something easy, light, and meatless, so I settled on this recipe.  We liked it, but the ratio of shrimp to veggies was heavy on the shrimp.  I had already added bell pepper to the original recipe, but I would add even more veggies next time--more broccoli, perhaps some shredded carrots too.  The seasoning and overall flavor was good though.

Shrimp and Broccoli Stir-Fry
from Cooking Light: One-Dish Meals Magazine
Makes 4 servings, ~200 cal/serving (without rice)

1 pound medium shrimp, peeled and deveined
1 tablespoon cornstarch
salt and pepper
canola oil
1/4 cup green onions, cut diagonally into 1" pieces
2 teaspoons minced peeled fresh ginger
3 garlic cloves, thinly sliced
2 cups broccoli florets
1 red bell pepper, seeded and cut into thin strips
1/4 cup lower-sodium soy sauce
2 tablespoons rice vinegar
1 teaspoon honey
1/8 teaspoon crushed red pepper

Pat shrimp dry with paper towels.  In a medium bowl, combine shrimp with cornstarch and a dash of salt and pepper and toss to coat.  Heat a large wok or skillet over high heat.  Add 1 tablespoon oil to pan and add shrimp mixture; Stir-fry 4 minutes.  Remove shrimp and place in medium bowl.

To the empty skillet, add 1/2 tablespoon oil and add green onions, ginger, and garlic.  Stir-fry 45 seconds and then add mixture to the bowl with the shrimp.

To the empty skillet, add 1 tablespoon oil and the broccoli and bell pepper.  Stir fry 2 minutes and then return the shrimp-onion mixture to the skillet along with the soy sauce, vinegar, honey, and red pepper flakes.  Bring to a boil and cook 1 minute or until shrimp are done and broccoli is crisp-tender.   Serve over rice.

Tuesday, February 9, 2016

Weeknight Beef Chili

Simple and good crockpot recipe to warm your bones on a winter day.  We added a little shredded cheese from the fridge that we wanted to use up and I made some corn bread muffins and a side salad to accompany the chili.  This would also be good with elbow macaroni for chili-mac.

Weeknight Beef Chili
from Slow Cooker Revolution Vol 2
Makes 4 servings

1 lb ground beef
2 tablespoons chili powder
2 tablespoons tomato paste
1 tablespoon minced garlic
1/2 tablespoon ground cumin
1 (15oz) can kidney beans, rinsed
1 (15oz) can tomato sauce
1 (14.5oz) can diced tomatoes
1&1/2 tablespoons soy sauce
1/2 tablespoon brown sugar
1 teaspoon minced chipotle chili
salt and pepper

In a large skillet over medium heat, brown the beef just until no longer pink.  Mix in the chili powder, tomato paste, garlic, and cumin.  Transfer to a medium Slow Cooker.  Stir in the remaining ingredients and add 1/2 teaspoon salt and 1/2 teaspoon pepper.  Cover and cook on low for 5 to 6 hours.   Serve.

Saturday, February 6, 2016

Pork Chops with Warm Escarole Salad

This was a quick weeknight meal that was easy to adjust down to 2 servings.  The wilted escarole/chickpea/apple mixture was a nice healthy side dish.  I also made a little quinoa for a grain component.

Pork Chops with Warm Escarole Salad
Recipe from One Pot Cookbook
Serves 4

4 bone-in 9oz pork chops
salt and pepper
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 cup canned chickpeas, drained and rinsed
1 pound escarole, leaves torn
1 medium Gala apple, cut into matchsticks
1 tablespoon grated lemon zest
1 teaspoon fresh lemon juice

Season pork chops with salt and pepper.  In a large saute pan, heat oil over medium-high.  Add pork chops, reduce heat to medium, and cook until browned on both sides and cooked through, about 8 minutes.  Transfer to a plate and tent with foil to keep warm.

Add chickpeas to pan and cook for 2 minutes.  Working in batches, add the escarole and cook, stirring, adding more as the leaves wilt.  Sprinkle with salt and pepper, and add apple, lemon zest, and lemon juice.  Serve with the chops.

Friday, January 29, 2016

Chicken and Dumplings

Yum.  Really delicious.  I slurped up ALL of that yummy broth from my bowl. Sooo good.  The chicken stayed juicy, the combo of veggies was perfect, and the big tender dumpling was good too.  Just a nice hearty soup/stew to make you feel good.

Chicken and Dumplings
Recipe from One Pot Cookbook
Serves 4

3 tablespoons butter
1 small yellow onion, minced
4 medium carrots, cut into 1/2-inch pieces
2 celery ribs, thinly sliced
2 teaspoons chopped fresh thyme leaves
1/3 cup flour
3 cups chicken broth
1&1/4 lbs boneless, skinless chicken breasts, cut into 3/4-inch chunks
1/2 lb green beans, trimmed and cut into 1-inch pieces
salt and pepper

1 cup flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon coarse salt
2 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley leaves
2 tablespoons cold butter
1/2 cup milk

In a medium Dutch Oven, melt butter over medium-high heat.  Add onion, carrots, celery, and thyme; cook until onion is translucent, about 4 minutes.  Add flour and cook, stirring, for 1 minute.  Gradually add broth, stirring constantly, and bring to a boil.  Add chicken and return to a boil.  Reduce heat and simmer 5 minutes.  Stir in green beans and season with salt and pepper.

Meanwhile, make dumplings.  Whisk together flour, baking powder, salt, and parsley.  With a pastry blender or two knives, cut in butter until mixture resembles coarse meal.  Stir in milk with a fork just until a dough forms.  Drop batter by heaping tablespoons on top of stew.  Cover and simmer until dumplings are cooked through, about 12 minutes.  Garnish with chopped parsley if desired.

Friday, January 15, 2016

Poached Cod in Five-Spice Broth with Baby Bok Choy and Udon

I had flagged this recipe in my cookbook awhile back and finally got around to making it.  It was really tasty and quick to prepare and cook.  It took a couple bites/sips to adjust to the flavor of the broth, but the more I ate it, the more I liked it.  The fish was perfectly cooked and absorbed the flavor of the broth nicely.

Poached Cod in Five-Spice Broth
Recipe from One Pan, Two Plates cookbook
Serves 2

2 (6oz) black cod fillets (regular cod works just fine)
salt and pepper
1&3/4 cup chicken broth
1 tablespoon dry sherry
1 teaspoon soy sauce
1 teaspoon toasted sesame oil
1 teaspoon sugar
1 teaspoon five-spice powder
1 tablespoon vegetable oil
3 heads baby bok choy, stems chopped and leaves torn
1 carrot, peeled and thinly sliced on the diagonal
1 tablespoon peeled and minced fresh ginger
3 oz udon noodles
1 green onion, white and green parts thinly sliced on diagonal
2 teaspoons minced fresh cilantro
1 teaspoon sesame seeds

Pat the fillets dry and sprinkle all over with salt and pepper.  Set aside

In a small bowl, whisk together the chicken broth, sherry, soy sauce, sesame oil, sugar, and five spice powder.  Set aside.

Heat a large skillet over medium-high heat and add the vegetable oil.  When the oil shimmers, add the boy choy stems, carrot, and ginger, and saute about 2 minutes.  Add the broth mixture and bring to a simmer.  Add the noodles and let the mixture return to a simmer.  Stir the noodles a little to prevent them from sticking.  Top the noodles with the fish, boy choy leaves, and green onions.  Cover, reduce heat to low, and simmer until the fish and noodles are tender and cooked, about 4-5 minutes.

Divide the mixture between two shallow bowls and ladle the broth and vegetables over.  Garnish with the cilantro and sesame seeds.

Thursday, January 14, 2016

One Pot Chicken and Rice with Swiss Chard

I got a Dutch Oven for Christmas, and I've been anxious to try it out.  It's so nice to be able to throw everything in one pot and let it cook.  This recipe was delicious and fairly healthy too.  I couldn't find leg quarters in the store, so I just used boneless, skinless chicken thighs instead.  Worked just fine.  I would definitely make this again.

One Pot Chicken and Rice with Swiss Chard

4 chicken leg quarters (~2 lbs)  - I used b/s chicken thighs
salt and pepper
3 garlic cloves, roughly chopped
1 bunch Swiss Chard (~10 oz), stems chopped, leaves torn into 2-inch pieces
1 small yellow onion, diced
2 medium carrots, diced
1&1/2 teaspoons grated lemon zest
1&1/2 cups basmati rice (or any long grain rice)
2&1/2 cups low-sodium chicken broth
lemon wedges

Pat dry the chicken and season with salt and pepper.  Heat a large Dutch oven or other heavy pot over medium high.  Add chicken and cook, turning once, until browned on both sides, about 12 minutes.  Transfer chicken to a plate.

Reduce heat to medium and add garlic, chard stems, onion, and carrots.  Cook, stirring occasionally, until chard stems and onions are translucent, about 4 minutes.  Add chard leaves, lemon zest, and rice; cook 1 minute.  Add broth and bring to a rapid simmer.  Reduce to a simmer and season with salt and pepper.  Arrange chicken, skin side up (if it has any), on top of rice mixture.  Cook, covered, until chicken is cooked through and liquid is absorbed, about 25 minutes.  Remove from heat and rest 5 minutes.  Serve with lemon wedges.

Saturday, January 2, 2016

Yule Log Cake

Happy New Year!  I was watching The Great Holiday Baking Show on TV and saw the contestants making a Yule Log.  It reminded me that I've never attempted one but have wanted to try.  So I decided to make one for our family Christmas/New Year celebration.  Jeremy was extremely skeptical of my ability to master the log roll and thought it would be an epic baking failure (ok, I was a bit nervous, too, I admit).  Well, with this super easy recipe I found online, it turned out pretty awesome.

Anne's Yule Log Cake

6 eggs
1 box Devil's Food Cake mix
1/2 cup water
1/4 cup vegetable oil
1 tablespoon powdered sugar
1 container whipped vanilla frosting

Chocolate Frosting:
1/2  cup whipping cream
1 cup semisweet chocolate chips (6oz)
1 tablespoon corn syrup
1/4 teaspoon vanilla

Sugared Raspberries Garnish (optional):
mint leaves
1 egg white
1-2 drops orange extract

In a large bowl, beat eggs on high speed for 5 minutes or until thick and lemon-colored.  Add cake mix, water, and oil; beat on low speed for 30 seconds, then medium speed for 1 minute, occasionally scraping bowl.  Pour 3&1/2 cups of batter into a 15x10x1" baking pan with the bottom only lined with foil or wax paper.  Divide the remaining batter among 7-8 cupcake tins for another use or to use as a side log/branch.

Bake at 375ºF for 14 minutes until cake springs back when lightly touched and cupcakes test done when toothpick inserted in center comes out clean.   Run a knife around edges of pan to loosen cake.  Turn cake upside down onto a clean kitchen towel dusted with powdered sugar; remove foil.  While still hot, carefully roll up cake and towel together from narrow end.  Cool completely in rolled position on a wire rack, about 1 hour.

Meanwhile, in a microwavable bowl, microwave whipping cream until it just starts to boil, about 60-90 seconds.  Stir in the chocolate chips and corn syrup; let stand 3 minutes.  Beat gently with a wire whisk until smooth.  Stir in vanilla.  Refrigerate about 1 hour, stirring every 15 minutes, until spreading consistency.

Carefully unroll cake and remove towel.  Spread vanilla filling evenly over cake; re-roll cake.  Frost cake with chocolate frosting.  Using knife or fork, drag through the frosting to look like log bark.  Let stand 15 minutes and the transfer to a serving platter.  Store loosely covered in the fridge.  Bring to room temperature 30 minutes before serving.

To make the sugared raspberries, whip the egg white until no longer stringy.  Add a couple drops of orange extract and mix well. Using a small brush, brush egg white onto the outside of each raspberry.  Roll the raspberries in sugar.  Let sit overnight to harden the sugar. In a time crunch, preheat the oven, turn it off, and then put the berries on a sheet pan in the oven with the door open.  Decorate the Yule Log Cake with the raspberries and mint leaves.

Friday, November 20, 2015

Spiced Cod with Couscous

This was an easy and tasty fish dish.  I didn't have fresh mint on hand, so we omitted that ingredient.  Jeremy didn't like the raisins, but I did.

Spiced Cod with Couscous
Recipe from Martha Stewart Living: One Pot
Serves 4

4 skinless 6-oz cod fillets
1 teaspoon ground coriander
1/2 teaspoon paprika
1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
salt and pepper
1/2 pound carrots, cut into thin strips
1&1/4 cups water
1 cup couscous
1/2 cup slivered almonds
1/2 cup raisins
1/4 cup chopped fresh mint leaves
1 tablespoon olive oil
lemon wedges, for serving

Mix together the coriander, paprika, cumin, 1/2 teaspoon salt, and 1/4 teaspoon pepper.  Gently rub the spice mixture on the fish.  Set aside.

In a 9x13" baking dish, mix together the carrots, water, couscous, almonds, raisins, mind, oil, 1 teaspoon salt, and 1/4 teaspoon pepper.  Place the fish on top of the couscous mixture.

Cover pan with aluminum foil and bake at 450º for 20 minutes or until fish is cooked.

Fluff couscous with a fork and serve fish and couscous with mint sprigs and a lemon wedge.