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

Wednesday, January 23, 2019

Sweet Potato Waffle Grilled Cheese

I was craving a sandwich for lunch yesterday, so I made this fun waffle sandwich using spiralized sweet potatoes instead of bread.  It held its shape nicely and was pretty tasty too. 

Sweet Potato Waffle Grilled Cheese
Recipe from Inspiralized & Beyond

1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
1 large sweet potato, peeled and spiralized into spaghetti noodles
salt and pepper
1 large egg, beaten
1 or 2 slices cheese

Preheat a waffle iron.

Meanwhile, heat oil in a large skillet over medium heat.  Add the noodles, season with salt and pepper, and cook for about 10 minutes, tossing occasionally, until the noodles are warmed through.

Transfer the noodles to a bowl and add the egg, tossing to coat.

Spray the waffle iron with nonstick cooking spray and pack in the noodles.  Cook the waffles until done.  Repeat if second batch is needed.   Put half of a waffle back in iron, top with cheese, and set other half on top.  Close waffle iron as much as possible and cook until cheese is melty.

Saturday, January 12, 2019

Honey Garlic Salmon with Brussels Sprouts

This was a super easy, fast, and tasty meal from a recipe I found online at How Sweet Eats.  I loved the sweetness the marinade gave to the sprouts. The salmon was good too.  One-pan cooking is a winner in my book.

Honey Garlic Salmon with Brussels Sprouts
Serves 2

2 salmon fillets, ~6-8 oz each
2 garlic cloves, minced or pressed
2 tablespoons soy sauce
2 tablespoons honey
freshly cracked black pepper
~1/2 pound Brussels sprouts
lemon wedge for spritzing (optional)

Preheat oven to 425º.   Prepare a sheet pan with parchment paper or foil.  Place the salmon fillets on the pan.

In a small bowl, whisk together the garlic, soy sauce, and honey.  Generously brush sauce over the salmon.  Add some freshly cracked black pepper.

Remove stems from the Brussels sprouts and cut sprouts in half.  Toss sprouts with the remaining sauce and arrange on the pan around the salmon.

Roast for 15 minutes until the salmon easily flakes and the sprouts begin to caramelize.   Serve with a spritz of lemon.

Slow Cooker Turkey Chili

Chili is a winter comfort food for me.  I used ground turkey instead of beef for a leaner alternative, and sneaked in some extra veggies.  I didn't notice a huge difference in taste from classic chili at all.  It was still delicious.  I cut this recipe in half when I made it because I only had one pound of meat to use, but next time I think I'd make the full recipe and freeze half.   Chili is fun because you can customize it before you eat it-- Jeremy chose to mix his with macaroni.  I chose a pinch of shredded cheese and green onions.

Turkey Chili
Adapted from Slow Cooker Revolution
Serves 8-10

2 lbs ground turkey
3 tablespoons grapeseed oil (or vegetable oil)
6 garlic cloves, minced
3 onions, minced
1 red bell pepper, minced
1/2 zucchini, minced or grated
1/4 cup chili powder
1 tablespoon ground cumin
1 teaspoon dried oregano
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper
1/2 teaspoon red pepper flakes
1/4 cup tomato paste
1 (15-oz) can tomato sauce
2 (15-oz) can chili beans (red kidney beans)
1 (28-oz) can diced tomatoes
1&1/2 cups chicken broth
3 tablespoons soy sauce
1 tablespoon brown sugar
1 teaspoon minced chipotle peppers in adobo sauce (optional)

Heat oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat.  Add the garlic, raw veggies, herbs, spices, and tomato paste and cook a few minutes until veggies are softened.   Stir in the ground turkey and cook until no longer pink, about 3 minutes per pound.   Stir in the tomato sauce.  Transfer to slow cooker.

Add the remaining ingredients to the slow cooker and stir.  Cover and cook for 4 to 6 hours on low.

Serve with whatever accompaniments you enjoy. 

Thursday, January 10, 2019

Flourless pancakes with Nut Butter and Raspberries

Yum.  I've made these "pancakes" once before, and they're so easy.  Although they're not as fluffy as a normal pancake, they still taste good to me.  It's just 3 eggs and a banana.  This time, I added some cinnamon to the mixture.  After it was cooked, I spread a packet of RX Nut Butter,  mashed up a raspberry, and tada!-- a low-carb Peanut Butter and Jelly Breakfast Sandwich!

Flourless Pancakes
Serves 1 to 2.

3 eggs
1 banana
(pinch cinnamon-optional)

Spray a pan with cooking spray and heat over medium.   Blend the eggs and banana in a blender until smooth.  Pour batter into pan and cook like you would a pancake. Flip and cook until done.

Add whatever toppings you want.  I recommend mashed raspberries.  Their natural sweetness comes through without needing sugary syrup and stuff.

Tuesday, January 8, 2019

Lemon Garlic Chicken Thighs

It's a new year, so like millions of others, I made a resolution to eat healthier and control my portions.  Both Jeremy and I enjoyed this dish.  And it was EASY--bonus! The lemon flavor came through as did the garlic.  The chicken was juicy which is how I like it.  Chicken thighs are ideal because you get just the right amount of meat.  And when we re-heated leftovers the next night, it was still good.  The photo is of the leftovers because I forgot to take a picture the first night. 

Lemon Garlic Chicken Thighs
4 servings

1/4 cup fresh lemon juice
1/8 cup honey
1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
3 cloves garlic, minced
1 lb boneless, skinlesss chicken thighs, trimmed of fat (about 4 thighs)
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon black pepper
lemon wedges and parsley for garnish, optional

In a small bowl, whisk together the lemon juice, honey, Worcestershire sauce, and garlic.  Pour into a large resealable plastic bag and add the chicken.  Toss to coat, seal, and let marinate in the fridge for at least one hour.

Spray an 8x8" baking dish with cooking spray.  Place chicken in dish and pour marinade over the top.  Season with salt and pepper.   Bake at 425º for 20 to 30 minutes until chicken is done, basting once or twice during that time.  Serve chicken with lemon wedges and parsley if desired.

Thursday, December 27, 2018


I received the cookbook Classic German Baking for Christmas last year but hadn't tried out any recipes. I decided to make one of the recipes for this year's family Christmas gathering and chose this one because it looked good and easy to make.  I wanted to stay as true to the recipe as possible, so I splurged on the Kerrygold European-style butter, but I honestly think regular butter would be just fine.  I bought my unsweetened pitted tart cherries at Sendiks and then added a little sugar to the juices in the container.    The kuchen turned out good.  I enjoyed eating it.

Sour Cherry Streusel Cake
from Classic German Baking by Luisa Weiss

7 TBSP (100g) unsalted high-fat butter, softened (I used Kerrygold)
1/2 cup (100g) granulated sugar
1 cup + 1 TBSP (135g) flour
1/4 teaspoon salt
pinch ground cinnamon (I used more than a pinch)

Cherry Topping:
24 ounce jar pitted sour cherries in sugar water
2 tablespoons cornstarch

15&1/2 TBSP (220g) unsalted high-fat butter, softened
3/4 cup + 2 TBSP (175g) granulated sugar
3 eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
2&1/3 cups + 1 TBSP (300g) flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
3 TBSP whole milk  (I used 1% milk)

To make the Streusel, cut the butter into cubes and place in a large bowl.  Add the remaining streusel ingredients and work with your fingers until the mixture is well combined and crumbly, with various-sized clumps (pea-sized to lima bean-sized).  Place in fridge until ready to use.

To make the Cherry Topping, drain all of the liquid from the cherries into a medium saucepan, reserving 3 tablespoons of liquid in a small bowl.  Bring the liquid in the saucepan to a boil over medium-high heat.  Meanwhile, whisk the cornstarch into the small bowl of reserved liquid until smooth.  When the cherry juice starts boiling in the pan, whisk in the cornstarch slurry.  The juice should start immediately thickening up.  Remove from the heat and continue to stir.  Add the cherries, stir, and set aside to cool.

To make the Batter, cream together the sugar and butter until light and fluffy.  Beat in the eggs, one at a time, then beat in the vanilla.  Mix together the dry ingredients and then beat into the butter mixture.  Finally, beat in the milk. 

Scrape the batter into a 9x13" baking pan, then evenly pour the thickened cherry mixture and juices over the batter.  Sprinkle the streusel over the top.    Bake at 350º for 45 to 50 minutes, until the streusel is golden.   

Tuesday, August 7, 2018

Baked Pesto Chicken

Fast, easy, and delicious.  I have a surplus of basil, so I made basil pesto and this recipe was a good way to use that.

Baked Pesto Chicken
from a recipe I found online at Skinnytaste

2 (8oz each) boneless skinless chicken breasts (I used chicken tenders)
salt and pepper
Basil Pesto
1 medium tomato, sliced thin
1/3 cup shredded mozzarella cheese
2 teaspoons grated Parmesan cheese

Slice chicken breasts horizontally to create 4 thinner cutlets.  Season with salt and pepper.

Line a baking sheet with foil and place chicken on sheet.  Spread pesto over each piece.

Bake at 400º for 15 minutes or until chicken is no longer pink in center.  Top with tomatoes, mozzarella, and Parmesan cheese.   Bake for another 5 minutes until cheese is melted.

Saturday, May 19, 2018

Poached Egg on Spiralized Parsnip Patties

I love Eggs Benedict, so when I saw this recipe, I decided to give it a whirl.  The parsnip cakes were a surprisingly decent substitute for English muffins.  The original recipe also called for an Avocado "Hollandaise" sauce, but my avocados weren't ripe enough.  I tried to force it, and it was a disaster, so I kept that off the plate.  I put a couple leftover parsnip cakes in the fridge, so maybe I can try again in a couple days and add the avocado sauce.  But really, it was fine without the sauce because the runny egg yolk provided a sauce itself.  The recipe took work, but it was delicious and worth it.

Eggs Benedict on Parsnip Cakes with Avocado "Hollandaise"
Recipe from Inspiralized and Beyond
Serves 2

2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
2 large parsnips, peeled, and spiralized into noodles
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon pepper
4 large eggs
dash of distilled white vinegar

Avocado Sauce:
1/2 ripe avocado, pitted and peeled
2 tablespoons lemon juice
1/2 cup hot water
salt and pepper to taste

Heat 1 tablespoon oil in a large skillet and add the parsnip noodles, salt, and pepper.  Cook, tossing, for about 5 minutes until warmed through.    In a medium bowl, beat 2 eggs.  Add the cooked parsnip noodles to the bowl and toss to combine.  Fill two (or more) ramekins halfway with the mixture.  Cover each with foil or wax paper and press firmly to compress.  If time permits, put in the fridge for 10  minutes.

In the same skillet, heat the remaining 1 tablespoon oil.  Flip the parsnip cakes out of the ramekins onto the skillet.  Cook for about 3 minutes on the first side.  Flip and cook another 2 or 3 minutes, pressing down with the spatula to compress the cakes.

Meanwhile, fill a medium pot halfway with water and bring to a steady simmer.  Add the vinegar.  Crack each egg into its own ramekin or small bowl.  Swirl the water with a spoon to make a whirpool, then gently tip in 1 egg, white first.  Cook for 3 minutes until medium-firm, remove with a slotted spoon, and place gently on a paper towel-lined place to drain.  Repeat for other egg.

To make the sauce,  combine all the ingredients in a blender or mixer and puree until smooth.

Arrange 1 parsnip cake on a plate, top with a poached egg, the drizzle with the avocado sauce.

Thursday, May 17, 2018

Falafel Waffle

I saw this recipe in a cookbook and wanted to see if it would remind me of the delicious Falafels we ate during our trip to Israel.  And since it's cooked in a waffle iron instead of deep-fried, it's much healthier.  Overall, the flavor was good, but the waffle was too dry.  The sauce was definitely needed.   If I make it again, I'd maybe add another 1/2 egg or grated zucchini or liquid of some sort to the batter to see if I could improve that aspect.

Falafel Waffle with Cumin Tzatziki 
From Inspiralized & Beyond Cookbook
Serves 2

Waffle Ingredients:
1 (15 oz) can chickpeas, drained, rinsed, and patted dry
3 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley
2 garlic cloves, minced
1/2 tablespoon ground cumin
1 teaspoon ground coriander
1/4 teaspoon chili powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
ground black pepper to taste
1 large egg

Tzatziki Sauce:
1 cup plain nonfat Greek yogurt
1/2 tablespoon lemon zest
1/2 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
2 teaspoons chopped fresh parsley
1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
salt and pepper to taste

In a food processor, combine all the waffle ingredients except the egg; process until smooth.  Transfer to a medium bowl and add the egg, mixing well.  Spoon mixture into a preheated waffle iron and cook until waffle is set and outer edges are firm and brown (Depending on waffle iron, you may need to do two batches).   Serve with the sauce.

To make the sauce, whisk together all the ingredients.

Tuesday, May 15, 2018

Cloud Bread

I've been trying to reduce the amount of sugar and bread carbs I eat in a day (which was a LOT), so I decided to try out this recipe for "Cloud Bread" which just has eggs and cream cheese, and a mere 36 calories per cloud.  The recipe turned out better than I thought it would.  The size of each is similar to a McDonald's hamburger bun.  I used 2 clouds as a bun for a turkey sandwich and although it didn't taste like bread, it was still good and satisfied my need for a sandwich.  They're soft, but still held their shape while I ate the sandwich.  Later, I was craving dessert, so I also tried one piece with some mashed raspberries and some whipped cream, and that was absolutely delicious--reminded me of Schaum Torte somewhat with that meringue-like interior.   I'll make this again, and perhaps add some herbs to the recipe next time. Perhaps I'll experiment with Greek yogurt instead of cream cheese to lower the fat content a bit.

Cloud Bread
Makes 10-12 clouds
36-43 calories/cloud   (0 carbs, 3.7g protein, 2.8g fat)

3 eggs, separated
3 tablespoons cream cheese, softened (or cottage cheese)
1/4 teaspoon cream of tartar
1 tablespoon honey (or 1 packet artificial sweetener)

Preheat oven to 300º.

Carefully separate the egg whites from the yolks into two separate bowls.

In the bowl with the egg whites, add cream of tartar and beat on high speed until they are fluffy and form nice peaks.

In the yolk bowl, add the cream cheese and honey, and mix until smooth.

Fold the yolk mixture into the egg whites just until mixed, being careful not to deflate the whites too much.

Spray two cookie sheets with cooking spray, or use a Silpat mat.  Spoon the mixture into 10-12 even rounds on the sheets (about the size of a McDonald's bun), about 3/4" high and 4-5 inches wide.

Bake at 300º for 20-30 minutes (depending on your oven) until golden brown. Mine took only 20 minutes.   Cool on a rack until completely cool.  While still warm, they will be crumbly like meringue, but once they cool, they set up nicely.  Store in a ziplock or storage container in the fridge.  May also freeze.