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, April 8, 2018

Chocolate Chip Zucchini Cookies

I made these cookies for St Patrick's Day and my coworkers seemed to enjoy them.  I liked them.  Because of the moistness of the zucchini, they are a softer cake-like cookie.

Chocolate Chip Zucchini Cookies
Makes 3-4 dozen cookies

1/2 cup (1 stick) butter, softened
1 cup sugar
1 egg, beaten
2 cups flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 small zucchini, grated
1 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips
1 cup chopped walnuts (optional)

In a large bowl, cream the butter and sugar until light and fluffy.  Add the egg and mix well.  Add in the flour, baking soda, cinnamon, and salt, and mix well.  Stir in the zucchini.  Fold in the walnuts.

Spray cookie sheets with cooking spray or use parchment/silpat mat.   Drop dough by tablespoonful onto cookie sheet.  Bake at 350º  for ~15 minutes or until golden. 

Saturday, March 17, 2018

Reuben Braid

This is a recipe I've made in the past.  Just an easy and quick way to use up corned beef for a fun St Patrick's Day meal.  This time around, I had leftover filling that didn't fit in the dough, so I saved it and made a Reuben Panini the next day.  Still good.

Reuben Braid
Make ~4 servings

3-4 oz cooked corned beef brisket, chopped
3/4 cup shredded Swiss cheese
1/2 cup sauerkraut, drained
1/2 small onion, chopped
2 tablespoons Thousand Island dressing
1/2 tablespoon Dijon mustard
1/4 teaspoon dill weed
1 package (8 oz) refrigerated crescent roll dough
1 egg white, lightly beaten
1/2 tablespoon sesame seeds

In a large bowl, combine the first seven ingredients.  Set aside.

Unroll the crescent roll dough onto a baking sheet.  Seal seams and perforations if needed.  Spread the corned beef filling down the center of the rectangle.  On each side, cut 1-inch-wide strips to within an inch of the filling.  Starting at one end, fold alternating strips at an angle across the filling, creating the braided effect.  Seal ends. 

Brush egg white over dough and sprinkle with sesame seeds.  Bake at 375º for 25-30 minutes or until golden brown.  Slice and serve.

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

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

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

venison loin roast(s), 1-3 lbs (ours was 1 lb)
salt and pepper
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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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.