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

Sunday, October 17, 2010

Muppet Mania!

To celebrate successfully completing my 2010 New Year's Resolution to make 100 new recipes, I decided to host a small dinner party with my family.  I decided to make Swedish Meatballs as my 100th recipe, and I thought I'd make a "Swedish Chef" cake to go with it.  And then, plagued with too much free time and an overactive imagination, I started pondering an entire Muppet-themed menu.   I'm proud to say that this is a completely original concept (as far as I know).  I might have gone a little overboard, but once I started, I didn't want to leave out any Muppets!

Anne's Muppet Mania Menu 
(Recipes follow at end of post)

~ Beverages ~
Fozzy Bear’s Fuzzy Navel (alcoholic)
Scooter’s Backstage Blend (non-alcoholic)

~ Appetizers ~
Miss Piggy’s Hot Date with Bacon
Pigs in Space Blankets
Gonzo’s GorGONZOla Bruschetta with Caramelized Onions
Camilla’s Deviled Eggs

~ Soup & Salad ~
Statler & Waldorf’s Heckling Waldorf Salad
Beaker’s Revenge: Minted Honeydew Soup

~ Main Course ~
The Swedish Chef’s Swedish Meatballs
served over
Sam the Eagle’s Nest of Egg Noodles
with gravy and lingonberry jam

~ Sides ~
Kermit’s Ain’t Easy Bein’ Green Beans
Animal’s Crazy Braised Red Cabbage

~ Dessert ~
Rowlf the Dog’s Halloween Bark
100th Recipe Celebration & Birthday Cake 

Muppet Mania Dinner Party:

 Here was the table setting for my little dinner party:

Fozzy Bear's Fuzzy Navel
Recipe: Orange Juice and Peach Schnapps, mixed 50:50 (or whatever you wanted)

Scooter's Backstage Blend  (Non-alcoholic punch)  - Made by Jeremy

Recipe: Frozen Orange Juice Concentrate, Frozen Fruit Punch Concentrate, Water, Ginger Ale, Ice


Pigs in Space Blankets, Gonzo's GorGONZOla Bruchetta with Caramelized Onions, Camilla's Deviled Eggs, Miss Piggy's Hot Date with Bacon

Pigs in Space Blankets - Made by Anne and Jeremy
Very simple recipe that I borrowed from Hungry Girl's Depudged Pigs in a Blanket.

 Cut each of 8 hot dogs into 4 equal piecesRoll out 8 refrigerated crescent roll dough triangles to make each a larger triangle and cut each into thirds.  Starting with the base of each new triangle, roll around a hot dog until the point of the triangle wraps around.  Place the blanketed pigs on a large baking sheet and cook at 375 degrees for about 12 minutes until dough is golden and crispy.  (Makes 32 pigs; ~34 calories each, using fat-free hot dogs and reduced-fat crescent roll dough).

Gonzo's GorGONZOla Bruchetta with Caramelized Onions - Made by Anne
This was my favorite appetizer.  The flavor was wonderfully sweet and although I usually dislike blue cheese, I really liked it with this recipe.  The fig jam was a nice addition too.
2 tablespoons olive oil
2 yellow onions, coarsely chopped/sliced
2 tablespoons brown sugar
1 teaspoon balsamic vinegar
1/4 teaspoon salt
dash white pepper
loaf of French bread baguette, diagonally cut into 1/4"-1/2" thick slices (about 18)
1/3 cup fig jam
1/3 cup crumbled Gorgonzola cheese 

Heat olive oil in large skilletCook onions, brown sugar, salt, pepper, and vinegar over medium heat for about 20-25 minutes, stirring occasionally, until onions are a deep golden brown color.  (You can make this in advance and store it in the fridge for up to 2 days.)

Toast one side of the baguette slices on an ungreased cookie sheet for a couple minutes under the broiler. Turn over each slice.  Spread 1-2 teaspoons fig jam on each slice. Top with caramelized onions and crumbled Gorgonzola cheese.  Broil 2-3" from heat for 1-2 minutes until hot.  Serve immediately.  (Makes about 18, depending on size of bread and amount of topping; ~80 calories each)

Camilla's Deviled Eggs - Made by Mary Beth
Recipe unknown

Miss Piggy's Hot Date with Bacon - Made by Anne 
I adapted this recipe from a traditional "Devils on Horseback" appetizer. I omitted the cheese and added fruit. I thought it was excellent.

12 large pitted dates
1/4 cup peach & mango chutney (I made this myself from peaches and mangos)
 6 strips Apple Wood Smoked Bacon, cut in half

Spoon the peach and mango chutney into the center of each date and tightly wrap a piece of bacon around each date.  Line a rimmed baking sheet with foil or parchment paper and fit with a wire rack to allow bacon grease to drip down.  Place dates on rack and bake at 400 degrees for 20-25 minutes until bacon is crispy.  Remove from the oven and place a toothpick through each to serve. (Makes 12, ~55-60 calories/date)

Statler and Waldorf's Heckling Waldorf Salad - Made by Mary Beth
Recipe unknown.   It was made with apples, grapes, celery, walnuts, mayo...

Beaker's Revenge: Minted Honeydew Soup - Made by Anne
This was a chilled soup which was very different from anything I've ever had.  It was pretty good, but I wouldn't be able to eat a lot of it.  A small bowl made a nice palate cleanser before the main course.

4-5 cups honeydew pieces
16 ounces plain non-fat yogurt
4 tablespoons lime juice
1/2 cup fresh mint leaves

Combine all ingredients in a blender and puree mixture for 30 seconds until blended.  Pour mixture through sieve into a bowl.  Chill soup, covered, in refrigerator for at least 2 hours.  Serve garnished with lime and/or mint leaves.  Serves 8, ~74 calories/serving

Swedish Chef's Swedish Meatballs with Homemade Gravy - Made by Anne
Here it is...recipe #100 for the year!!   This was an Alton Brown Food Network recipe, and the only change I made was to use white pepper instead of black pepper to make it more Swede-authentic.  I served it with Lingonberry jam for authenticity too.  It was really, really good, especially with the Lingonberry flavor.  Doesn't it just look amazing?!  I was happy with my colorful choice of side dishes too.

4 slices white bread
1/2 cup milk
6 tablespoons butter, divided
1 cup finely chopped onion
2 teaspoons salt
1&1/2 pounds ground chuck
1&1/2 pounds ground pork
4 large egg yolks
1 teaspoon ground white pepper
1/2 teaspoon allspice
1/2 teaspoon nutmeg
1/2 cup flour
6 cups beef broth
1/2 cup heavy cream

Tear the bread into pieces and place in a small mixing bowl along with the milk; set aside.

In a large saute pan over medium heat, melt 2 tablespoons butter.  Add the onion and a pinch of salt and sweat until the onions are soft.  Remove from the heat and set aside.

In a large bowl of a stand mixer, combine the bread and milk mixture, ground chuck, ground pork, egg yolks, salt, white pepper, allspice, nutmeg, and onions.  Beat on medium speed for 1 to 2 minutes.

Using a scale, weigh meatballs into 1-ounce portions, shape meat into round balls, and place on a sheet pan.  Heat the remaining butter in the saute pan over medium-low heat.  In batches, add the meatballs and saute until golden brown on all sides, about 7-10 minutes.  Remove meatballs and place in an ovenproof dish using a slotted spoon and place in 200-degree oven to keep warm.

Once all the meatballs are cooked, decrease the heat to low and add the flour to the saute pan.  Whisk until lightly browned, about 1-2 minutes.  Gradually add the beef stock and whisk until sauce begins to thicken.  Add the cream and continue to cook until the gravy reaches the desired consistency.  Remove the meatballs from the oven and serve meatballs covered in gravy over noodles and/or with Lingonberry jam.  10-12 servings (~5-6 meatballs/serving)

Kermit's Ain't Easy Bein' Green Beans - Made by Mary Beth
Recipe unknown.  I was busy preparing my own dishes, so I didn't see exactly how she made these, but I know these fresh green beans included garlic and almonds.    There was a garlic incident in my kitchen and the garlic literally flew out of the frying pan in all directions.  We don't know why that happened but it was kind of funny.

Animal's Crazy Braised Red Cabbage with Apples - Made by Anne
I didn't know whether I would like this side dish, but I figured it would add such a nice vibrant color, so I gave it a try.  I combined and modified various recipes to make my own version.  It was time-consuming to make, but I was really pleased with the result, both visually and taste-wise!  I'm glad I used a fresh head of cabbage instead of the pre-shredded stuff for the best flavor, but it turned my hands purplish-blue for awhile. 
Ingredients:~1/2 head red cabbage, shredded
1 cup chopped onion
2 tablespoons olive oil
3 Granny Smith apples, cored and thinly sliced
1/2 cup apple cider vinegar
1 cup apple juice
1 cup dry red wine
1/2 cup brown sugar
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper

Heat oil in a large pot over medium heat. Add onions and saute 3-4 minutes until tender.  Add shredded cabbage, apples, vinegar, apple juice, wine, brown sugar, cinnamon, salt, and pepper.  Bring mixture to a boil, reduce heat, and simmer for 90 minutes, stirring occasionally.   Makes about 8 servings.

Rowlf the Dog's Halloween Bark - Made by Anne
I wanted to include Rowlf, so I thought "Bark" was appropriate.  And since it's October, I thought a Candy Corn version sounded festive.  It was very sweet, but very good.

16 Halloween-colored chocolate sandwich cookies, chopped
1&1/2 cups broken small pretzels
1&1/2 pounds white chocolate (I found white chocolate wafers at Hobby Lobby and they melted great!)
2 cups candy corn
1/3 cup Reeses Pieces
orange and brown sprinkles

Spread the cookies and pretzels evenly onto a lightly greased baking sheet.  Carefully melt the white chocolate in the microwave until a few small chunks still remain, then stir until all melts (Hint: Do not use white chocolate chips because they don't melt and set well.  Use good baking chocolate such as the chocolate wafers).  Drizzle the chocolate with a spoon over the cookies and pretzels in the pan, spreading the top flat to coat evenly.  Top with candy corn, Reeses Pieces, and sprinkles.  Let cool until firm.  Break into pieces and store in an airtight container.

Swedish Chef Cake - Made and Decorated by Anne
I free-handed the chef and I'm pretty proud of the result.
 Buttercream Frosting:
1/2 cup solid vegetable shortening
1/2 cup butter, softened
1 teaspoon clear vanilla extract
4 cups confectioners' sugar
2 tablespoons milk

Cream butter and shortening with electric mixer.  Add vanilla.  Gradually add confectioners' sugar, one cup at a time, beating well on medium speed.  When all sugar has been added, icing will appear dry.  Add milk and beat at medium speed until light and fluffy.  Keep icing covered with damp cloth in fridge until ready to use.  (May be kept in airtight container in fridge for up to 2 weeks.  Yield: 3 cups

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