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 2020:
* Make at least 20 recipes for the Instant Pot
* Use the Spiralizer more often

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

Fluffy Key Lime Pie

I chose to make this light version of Key Lime Pie because of its reduced calories and fast, easy preparation.  Despite its low-fat ingredients, it still tasted very good.   It wasn't classic Key Lime Pie, but it was still a nice lime dessert.

Fluffy Key Lime Pie
8 servings, 180 calories

1 package (0.3 oz) sugar-free lime gelatin
1/4 cup boiling water
2 cartons (6 oz each) reduced-fat key lime yogurt
1 carton (8 oz) frozen fat-free whipped topping, thawed
1 reduced-fat graham cracker crust (8")

In a large bowl, dissolve gelatin in boiling water.  Whisk in yogurt.  Fold in whipped topping.  Pour into crust.  Cover and refrigerate for at least 2 hours or until set.

Corned Beef Cabbage Bake

This recipe was a bit of a St. Patrick's Day experiment because I've never had Corned Beef and Cabbage before, so I was pleasantly surprised with how it tasted.  I was worried that the cabbage might overpower the dish, but it really didn't.  The flavors were all well-balanced.   The way it was served as wedges made me think of it as Corned Beef Pizza.  Overall, this dish was a nice introduction and twist to a classic St. Patrick's Day culinary tradition. 

Corned Beef Cabbage Bake

1/8 cup butter, cubed
2 cups chopped cabbage
1/3 cup chopped onion
1/2 teaspoon caraway seeds
6 oz deli corned beef, chopped
1 cup (8 oz) shredded Swiss cheese
1/8 cup Thousand Island salad dressing
1 tube (12 oz) refrigerated buttermilk biscuits

In a large skillet, melt butter; stir in the cabbage, onion, and caraway seeds.  Cover and cook over medium heat for 8-10 minutes or until cabbage is crisp-tender, stirring occasionally; set aside.  

Meanwhile, in a large bowl, combine the corned beef, Swiss cheese, and salad dressing.  

Separate biscuits; place in an ungreased 9" round baking pan and press onto bottom and halfway up sides of pan.  Add cabbage mixture; top with corned beef mixture.  Bake, uncovered, at 350º for 20-25 minutes or until heated through and biscuits are golden brown.  Cut into wedges.

Sunday, February 15, 2009

Tuna Cheese Melt

Although it was nothing fancy, this was a very easy sandwich to prepare and it was extremely fast--ready to eat in 5 minutes.  The sour cream added a little zip to the tuna melt, making a creamy blend along with the melted cheese.  I don't normally enjoy sour cream, but it was good in this recipe.  I would definitely make this tuna melt again because of its speed and ease.

Tuna Cheese Melt
1 serving, 300 calories

2 tablespoons light sour cream
1/8 teaspoon garlic salt
2 slices light rye bread
1/2 can (3 oz) tuna, drained
1 tablespoon light mayonnaise
1 slice reduced fat cheddar or American cheese
1 tablespoon butter

Combine sour cream and garlic salt; spread on one side of each slice of bread.   In a small bowl, combine tuna and mayo; spread on one slice of bread.  Top with cheese and remaining bread slice. Melt butter in skillet over medium heat.  Add sandwich.  Cook until both sides are golden brown and cheese is melted.

Saturday, February 14, 2009

Strawberry Preserve Cake

This cake was just "okay" by my dessert standards, although I fed it to my coworkers who had higher praise for it.  I thought the cake was a little dry, but the flavor was good.  The frosting was exceptionally good!   I arranged strawberries in the shape of a heart on top of the cake to make it a pretty Valentine's Day dessert.

Strawberry Preserve Cake

2&1/2 cups flour
1&1/4 teaspoon baking powder      
3/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon baking soda    
3/4 cup butter, softened 
1&1/2 cups sugar    
3/4 cup Strawberry Preserves
4 large eggs
3/4 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/2 cup buttermilk
Red food coloring
Strawberries, if desired

Strawberry Cream Cheese Icing:
1 pkg (8oz) cream cheese, softened
1 cup butter, softened
1/4 cup strawberry preserves
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
4 cups confectioner's sugar
1 pinch salt


To make Icing:
In large mixing bowl, beat cream cheese and butter until smooth.  Add strawberry preserves and vanilla, beating well.  Add confectioner's sugar and salt, beating until smooth. 

To make Cake:
Preheat oven to 350º.  Lightly coat two 9" round cake pans with non-stick cooking spray.

In large mixing bowl, beat butter and sugar until light and fluffy.  Add preserves, then eggs (one at a time), beating well.  Add vanilla and red food coloring to preference.  Sift dry ingredients and add to batter alternately with the buttermilk, mixing well.  

Divide the batter between two cake pans.  Bake for 25 to 30 minutes or until toothpick comes out clean.  Let cool completely on wire rack.

Spread icing between layers and top and sides of cake.  Garnish with strawberries if desired.

Monday, January 5, 2009

Apple Pecan Pork Chops

This was my first time making pork chops, and I thought this was a fun and tasty way to serve this meat.  I enjoyed the apple and pecan flavor, and the melted brown sugar was a nice combination with both the apples and the pork chops.  This dish is extremely easy, uses very few ingredients, and is ready in less than 20 minutes. 

Apple Pecan Pork Chops
Serves 4 (250 calories)

4 boneless pork chops (each 3/4-1" thick)
2 tablespoons butter
1 medium red apple, cored and thinly sliced
1/4 cup chopped pecans
2 tablespoons packed brown sugar

Sprinkle pork chops with salt and pepper.  In a large skillet, melt butter over medium heat until it sizzles.  Add apples; cook and stir for 2 minutes.  Push apples to side and add pork chops to same skillet; cook for 4 minutes.  Turn chops over, and spoon apples over chops.  Sprinkle each one with pecans and brown sugar.  Cover and cook for 4 to 8 minutes until thermometer reads 160º F.

Sunday, January 4, 2009

Baked Rotini with Ham

I made this dish using Light Alfredo sauce and Reduced Fat Mozzarella, which reduced the calories per serving to 375.  Also, I made this in a large (2-quart) casserole dish, and I think this recipe makes way more than 4 servings, maybe 6, which would reduce it to 250 calories/serving. Not bad!  The best thing about this dish is that it is super easy to make and it can be prepared ahead and cooked later, which I did.  The mozzarella in the recipe made it cheesy and yummy.  I don't think my photo does it justice.

Baked Rotini with Ham
Serves 4-6

8 oz Tri-color Rotini (3 cups)
1 jar (16 oz) Alfredo pasta sauce
1/2 cup milk
1/2 cup shredded mozzarella cheese (2 oz)
1/2 cup chopped cooked ham
1 teaspoon Italian seasoning, crushed
1/8 teaspoon ground black pepper
1/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese


Cook rotini and drain.  Stir in Alfredo sauce, milk, mozzarella, ham, seasoning, and pepper.

Transfer to four 7-8 oz individual ramekins or a 1.5-quart casserole dish.  Sprinkle with Parmesan.  Cover and chill for up to 24 hours.

Preheat oven to 350º.  Cover dish with foil and bake for 25-30 minutes for the individual dishes or 45 minutes for the casserole dish.  Let stand for 10 minutes.

Saturday, January 3, 2009

Lime Chicken Tacos

I liked these extremely easy tacos which made a tasty Superbowl dinner.  I bought pre-shredded chicken and I skipped the 5-hour process and just dumped everything into the slow cooker all at once and let it heat on low for an hour or two until we were ready to eat.  As a result, I really didn't notice the lime flavor at all because it didn't marinade long enough, but it still tasted good.  The yield of 12 tacos is accurate.  

Lime Chicken Tacos
Makes 12 tacos (148 calories)

1&1/2 pounds boneless skinless chicken breasts
3 tablespoons lime juice
1 tablespoon chili powder
1 cup frozen corn
1 cup chunky salsa
12 fat-free flour tortillas (6 inches)
Sour cream, shredded cheddar cheese, and lettuce: optional


Place the chicken in a 3-qt slow cooker.  Combine lime juice and chili powder; pour over chicken.  Cover and cook on low for 5-6 hours or until chicken is tender.

Remove chicken; cool slightly.  Shred and return to the slow cooker.  Stir in corn and salsa.  Cover and cook on low for 30 minutes or until heated through.  Serve in tortillas with sour cream, cheese, and lettuce if desired.

Friday, January 2, 2009

Peppered Chicken Breasts with Mustard Sauce

This recipe was very easy, low-calorie, simple to reduce the recipe for just 2 people, and it took less than 25 minutes from start to finish.   I sprinkled on too much pepper for my taste, but the sauce was quite tasty.  I would make it again with less pepper.

Peppered Chicken Breasts with Mustard Sauce
4 servings (194 calories)

4 boneless skinless chicken breasts halves (4 oz each)
2 teaspoons olive oil
2 teaspoons pepper
1/4 teaspoon salt
2 teaspoons cornstarch
1/3 cup reduced-fat sour cream
1 cup chicken broth
1/4 cup white grape juice
1/4 cup chopped green onions
2 teaspoons Dijon mustard
Pinch snipped chives


Rub chicken with oil; sprinkle with pepper and salt.  Place in a greased 11x7" baking dish.  Bake at 425º for 15 to 20 minutes or until juices run clear.

In a small bowl, combine cornstarch and sour cream until smooth.   

In a small saucepan, combine the broth, grape juice, and onions.  Bring to a boil; cook for 4 to 5 minutes or until liquid is reduced to 1 cup.  Gradually whisk in the sour cream mixture.  Bring to a boil; cook and stir for 2 minutes or until thickened.  Stir in mustard until blended.  Serve over chicken.  Sprinkle with chives.

Thursday, January 1, 2009


This recipe turned out really well.  It was an easy lunch that we paired with a fruit salad and fresh vegetables.  Jeremy and I both enjoyed it.   The seasoned bread was especially yummy.  The only thing we would change is to skip the sausage.  With both ham and turkey already present, the sausage was not necessary and the flavor overpowered the rest of the dish.  Extra Note:  I had leftovers, and it heated up really well with 90 seconds in the microwave!  I didn't notice the strong Italian sausage flavor on the second day.. Yummy!

8 servings (16 slices)

1 package (16 oz) Hot Roll Mix
1&1/4 cups warm water
3 tablespoons olive oil
1/3 lb sliced deli ham
1/3 lb sliced salami (I substituted deli turkey)
1/4 lb Italian sausage, cooked&crumbled (I used Italian Turkey Sausage)
4 slices Colby-Jack cheese
1 cup (4 oz) shredded low-fat Mozzarella cheese
2 tablespoons grated Parmesan cheese
1 teaspoon oregano
1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
1/4 teaspoon ground pepper

In a bowl, combine the contents of hot roll mix and yeast packet.  Stir in warm water and 2 tablespoons oil until dough pulls away from sides of bowl.  Turn onto a floured surface; knead until smooth and elastic, about 5 minutes.  Cover and let rest for 5 minutes.  

Press dough into a lightly greased 15x10x1" baking pan.  Layer ham, salami, sausage, American cheese, and mozzarella cheese over dough.  Roll up jelly-style, starting with a long side; pinch seam to seal.  Place diagonally in pan.  Brush dough with remaining oil; sprinkle with Parmesan cheese, oregano, garlic powder, and pepper.  Bake at 375º for 35-40 minutes or until golden brown.  Let stand for 10 minutes before slicing.