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

Monday, May 23, 2016

Grilled Tandoori Chicken and Zucchini

It was another gorgeous evening to fire up the grill.  I decided to grill chicken because I thought it would be a good accompaniment for the leftover mango salsa in our fridge.  And because I wanted something green on the plate, we grilled up some zucchini spears too.  Most of the tandoori marinade fell off while grilling, but the flavor still remained.  The photo really doesn't do justice to the tender flavorful chicken that resulted.  I liked the grilled zucchini as well.

Tandoori Chicken Breasts
from Weber's Best Summer Grilling Recipes magazine

1 cup plain yogurt
3 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
1 tablespoon chopped garlic
1 tablespoon chopped fresh ginger
2 teaspoons garam masala
2 teaspoons salt
1 teaspoon sweet paprika
1/2 teaspoon black pepper
4 boneless, skinless chicken breast halves

Blend together all the marinade ingredients and put in a large resealable plastic bag.  Add the chicken and seal the bag, turning to distribute the marinade all over the chicken.  Refrigerate for 2 hours, turning occasionally.

When ready to grill, remove the chicken from the bag and discard the marinade.  Grill over direct medium heat until the chicken is done and no longer pink in the middle, about 8-10 minutes, turning once.

Grilled Zucchini   
Cut a zucchini lengthwise into quarters to make long spears.  Brush with olive oil and sprinkle with salt and a little lemon zest.  Grill for a minute or two on each side until crisp-tender.  Sprinkle with a little more lemon zest if desired.

Friday, May 20, 2016

Grilled Mahi-Mahi with Coconut Rice and Tropical Salsa

Ever since I tasted coconut rice at Emeril's Delmonico restaurant in New Orleans, I've been wanting to give it a shot at home.  I found this recipe online, and went for it.  The grilled marinated fish was good, the salsa was excellent, and the rice was just okay.  It didn't have enough creamy sweet coconut flavor that I remember from my dining experience.  I think next time I'd add the entire can of coconut milk and cut back on the regular water.  Although the ingredient list looks long, the recipe was quick and easy.  We also grilled some fresh asparagus since it's in season right now.

Grilled Mahi-Mahi with Coconut Rice and Tropical Salsa
Recipe from Emeril Lagasse (Food Network)
4 servings

1/2 cup sliced yellow onions
1/4 cup olive oil
2 tablespoons orange juice
2 tablespoons lime juice
2 tablespoons fresh cilantro
5 cloves garlic, smashed
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon cumin
pinch cayenne
4 mahi-mahi fillets, skin on (6-8oz each)

Coconut Rice:
1 cup coconut milk
1&1/2 cups water
1 teaspoon salt
3/4 teaspoon sugar
1 cup long grain white rice
3 tablespoons chopped fresh cilantro

Tropical Salsa:
1 ripe mango, peeled and diced
1 ripe avocado, peeled and diced
1/2 cup diced fresh pineapple
1/4 cup minced shallot
1/4 cup minced red bell peppers
3 tablespoons chopped fresh cilantro
1 tablespoon fresh lime juice
2 teaspoons minced jalapeno
pinch salt

In a bowl, combine all the marinade ingredients.  Add the fish and spoon the marinade over the top. Cover and refrigerate for up to one hour.

Meanwhile, to make the coconut rice, combine the coconut milk, water, salt, and sugar in a medium saucepan.  Bring to a boil.  Add the rice, stir well, and reduce heat to medium-low.  Cover and simmer undisturbed until the liquid is absorbed and the rice is fluffy, about 20-24 minutes.  Let sit off the heat for 5-10 minutes. Fluff with a fork and stir in the cilantro.  Adjust seasoning to taste.

To make the salsa, mix together all the ingredients.  Let sit for 30 minutes to let the flavors blend.

Preheat a grill and lightly oil the rack.  Place the fish on the grill and cook, skin side up, until marked, 1-2 minutes.  Flip the fish and cook skin side down until the fish is cooked through, about 4-5 minutes depending on thickness.   Place fish over rice and top with the salsa.

Thursday, May 5, 2016

Spicy Grilled Chicken with Baja Black Beans and Rice

Happy Cinco de Mayo! It's been awhile since I've posted a recipe.  We decided to be festive today and make a Mexican-inspired dinner.  Despite the name, I didn't think the chicken was overly spicy; it was just the right amount of heat.  I liked the veggie-filled rice too.  Overall, a really flavorful and filling dish and easy to prepare and relatively quick to cook.

Spicy Grilled Chicken with Baja Black Beans and Rice
Recipe from Better Homes & Gardens:Ultimate Mexican magazine
Makes 4-6 servings

1 teaspoon chili powder
1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
1/4 teaspoon onion powder
1/4 teaspoon paprika
pinch salt and pepper
4 skinless, boneless chicken breasts (~1&1/2 lbs total)
2 cups broth
1 cup frozen corn kernels
1 cup canned black beans
1 can (14.5oz) fire-roasted diced tomatoes
1 can (4oz) diced green chile peppers
1 cup long grain rice, uncooked
1 cup chopped zucchini (1 small)
1 tablespoon snipped fresh cilantro
crumbled Cotija cheese (optional)
avocado slices (optional)

In a small bowl, combine the dry rub ingredients.  Sprinkle over all sides of the chicken breasts and rub in.  Set aside.

In a 4-quart Dutch Oven or pot, combine broth, corn, beans, tomatoes, chiles, and rice.  Bring to a boil, then reduce heat and simmer, covered, for 12 minutes.  Stir in the zucchini and cook for 3-5 more minutes.  Stir in cilantro.

Meanwhile, grill the chicken breasts on a lightly greased grill rack over medium heat for 12-15 minutes, turning once, until chicken is no longer pink in center (160º).   Transfer chicken to a cutting board and let rest for 5 minutes.

Slice the chicken and serve with the rice mixture.  If desired, top with Cotija cheese and avocado.

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.