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, November 28, 2010

12 Days of Christmas Recipes

Hello, friends and random internet strangers,

I had an idea!  I'm going to get creative.  Over the next month, I'm going to make recipes and/or menus based on the 12 Days of Christmas song.  Starting December 26th, I will post one each day until January 6th.

I'll have to get creative and think outside the box on some days because I'm not planning to cook up swan or turtledoves.  But I already have multiple ideas for each day in the song, some being traditional and expected, and some a little out there.  I think this will be super fun!

Just click on the links to see the recipes I came up with for each day.  They'll be at the bottom of each page.

Anne's 12 Days of Christmas Recipes  

1st Day: Partridge in Pear Tree : Roasted Cornish Hens in a Caramelized Sage-Pear Sauce and Shakespeare's Saffron Warden Pear Pie

2nd Day: Two Turtledoves :  Bacon Cheese Turtleburgers and Dove Chocolate Turtles
3rd Day: Three French Hens  : Bouillabaisse de Poulet, Garlic French Bread, 
 and Mousse au Chocolat
4th Day: Four Calling Birds : Quartet of Turkey Rings Spilling the Beans and Dishing the Dirt (Cake)
5th Day: Five Gold Rings  : Rosemary-Pineapple Upside-Down Cake       
6th Day: Six Geese a-Laying : Gooseberry-Raspberry Tartlets and Laying an Egg on Brussels Sprouts Hash
7th Day: Seven Swans a-Swimming : Seared Duck Breast Swimming in Orange Sauce and Swan Cream Puffs Swimming in Chocolate

8th Day: Eight Maids a-Milking : Swiss Miss Cocoa Milkshake and 4-Cheese Baked Macaroni

9th Day: Nine Ladies Dancing : Eggs Flamenco, Ladyfingers doing the Salsa, & Tennessee Waltz Drink

10th Day: Ten Lords a-Leaping : Capering Baron of Beef au jus, Trinidad Hops Bread, and Grasshopper Pie

11th Day: Eleven Pipers Piping : Zucchini Flutes with Piped Basil Mousse, and Pistachio-Cheese Pipes

12th Day: Twelve Drummers Drumming : Timpano Di Maccheroni (Pasta Timpani) and Dobos Torte (Hungarian Drum Cake)

Happy Holidays,
Anne (ThePharmGirl)

Saturday, November 27, 2010

Lemon Thyme Chicken

This was an incredibly fast, healthy, and tasty dinner.   My sauce turned out a lot darker than the picture in my recipe book, and I'm not sure why.   I served it with leftover green beans and baked cinnamon butternut squash.

Lemon Thyme Chicken
4 servings      213 calories/serving (including 3 tablespoons sauce)

3 tablespoons flour

1/2 teaspoon lemon-pepper seasoning
4 boneless skinless chicken breast halves (~4 oz each)
2 teaspoons olive oil
1 medium onion, chopped
1 tablespoon butter
1/2 teaspoon dried thyme
1 cup chicken broth
3 tablespoons lemon juice
2 tablespoons minced fresh parsley (optional)

In a small bowl, combine the flour, salt, and lemon-pepper.  Set aside 1&1/2 tablespoons for sauce.  Sprinkle the remaining flour mixture over both sides of chicken.  In a large nonstick skillet, cook chicken in oil over medium heat for 7-9 minutes on each side or until juices run clear.  Remove and keep warm.

In the same pan, saute onion in butter until tender.  Add thyme and reserved flour mixture; stir until blended.  Gradually stir in the broth and lemon juice, scraping up any browned bits from bottom of pan.  Bring to a boil; cook and stir for 2 minutes or until thickened.  Serve over chicken and sprinkle with parsley if desired.

Butternut Squash Apple Bake

I thought a squash recipe would make a nice healthy addition to our Thanksgiving feast.  It seemed to go over really well with my relatives.  I noticed that even the kids were eating it.  Of course, there was a strong cinnamon apple flavor which sweetened things up and made eating squash more delicious.  I would definitely make this again.

Butternut Squash Apple Bake
8 servings    120 calories/serving

1 butternut squash (~2-3 lbs), peeled and cut into 1/2" slices or cubes
1 teaspoon dried rosemary
3 medium tart apples, peeled, cored, and thinly sliced into rings
1/3 cup packed brown sugar
1 tablespoon flour
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon nutmeg
2 tablespoons butter, melted

Arrange squash in a 15x10" baking pan (or two 9" square pans) coated with cooking spray. Sprinkle with rosemary.  Top with apple rings.  Combine the brown sugar, flour, cinnamon, and nutmeg; sprinkle over apples.  Drizzle with butter.  Cover and bake at 350º for 40-50 minutes or until squash and apples are tender.

Bacon-Onion Green Beans

This wasn't a new recipe for me, but I knew it was good, so I made it as a veggie side dish for our family's Thanksgiving meal.

Bacon-Onion Green Beans
6-8 servings    114 calories/serving

1&1/2 lbs fresh green beans, trimmed
3 bacon strips, diced
1 medium onion, chopped
1 garlic clove, minced
2 tablespoons cider vinegar
1/2 teaspoon dried tarragon
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon pepper
2 tablespoons sliced toasted almonds
1 tablespoon toasted sesame seeds

Place beans in a large pot and cover with water; bring to a boil.  Reduce heat; cover and cook for 8-10 minutes or until crisp-tender.  Drain.

Meanwhile, in a large skillet, cook bacon over medium heat until crisp.  Remove to paper towels.  Drain skillet except for 1 tablespoon drippings.  Saute garlic and onion in the drippings until tender.  Stir in the vinegar, tarragon, salt, and pepper.

Drain beans and place in a large serving bowl.  Stir or spread the onion mixture and bacon over beans.  Sprinkle with almonds and sesame seeds.

Thursday, November 18, 2010

Pumpkin-Molasses Cheesecakes

When I saw this recipe for 100-calorie cheesecakes, I just had to give it a try.   It was fantastic.  If you like pumpkin pie and you like cheesecake, but you're on a diet (or even if you're not), then this recipe is for you!  I'll be taking the rest of the batch to work tomorrow so that I don't eat the whole tray!  Simply fabulous.

Pumpkin-Molasses Cheesecakes
From Betty Crocker's New Eat and Lose Weight Cookbook
Makes 8 servings, 100 calories/serving

2 soft molasses cookies (3" diameter)
1 package (8 oz) fat-free cream cheese, softened
1/3 cup packed brown sugar
1/2 cup Egg Substitute
1/2 teaspoon vanilla
1 cup canned pumpkin
1/2 teaspoon pumpkin pie spice
1 cup frozen (thawed) reduced-fat whipped topping

Line 8 medium muffin cups with baking cups.  Break cookies into fine crumbs.  Reserve 2 teaspoons cookie crumbs for topping.  Divide remaining crumbs among muffin cups.

Beat cream cheese and brown sugar in medium bowl with electric mixer on medium speed until smooth.  Using spoon, stir in egg substitute and vanilla until just blended.  Stir in pumpkin and pumpkin pie spice.   Spoon mixture evenly into muffin cups.

Bake 30-35 minutes at 350º or until edges are set.   Refrigerate until completely chilled (centers will sink while cooling).  Serve each cheesecake topped with 2 tablespoons whipped topping and sprinkle with reserved cookie crumbs.  Sprinkle with extra pumpkin pie spice if desired.   Store remaining cheesecakes covered in fridge.

Hamburger Noodle Casserole

This was a yummy dinner!  I served it with a side salad, and the meal was perfectly satisfying.  I was very pleased that the dish was so hearty and under 300 calories.  I liked the extra flavor of the cheesy center with the ricotta, sour cream, and cream cheese.  I normally dislike ricotta, but it added a creaminess to this recipe that elevated the sophistication of the casserole.  The recipe yield was too large for me, so I cut it in half and baked it in a 9x9" square pan.  Now I'll have some delicious leftovers to heat up at work.  :)

Hamburger Noodle Casserole    
(Serves 10; 290 calories/serving)
From: Taste of Home's Comfort Food Diet Bookazine

5 cups uncooked yolk-free noodles
1&1/4 lbs lean ground beef
2 garlic cloves, minced
3 cans (8 oz each) tomato sauce
1/2 teaspoon sugar
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon pepper
1 teaspoon Italian seasoning (optional)
1 package (8 oz) reduced-fat cream cheese
1 cup reduced-fat ricotta cheese
1/4 cup fat-free sour cream
3 green onions, thinly sliced
2/3 cup shredded reduced-fat cheddar chese

Cook noodles according to package directions.  Meanwhile, in a large non-stick skillet over medium heat, cook beef and garlic until meat is no longer pink; drain.   Stir in the tomato sauce, seasoning, sugar, salt, and pepper; heat through.  Drain cooked noodles and stir into beef mixture.

In a small bowl, beat the cream cheese, ricotta, and sour cream until blended.  Stir in half the onions.

Spoon half of the beef-noodle mixture into a 13x9" baking dish coated with cooking spray.  Top with cream cheese mixture and remaining beef-noodle mixture.  Cover and bake at 350 degrees for 30 minutes.  Uncover; sprinkle with cheddar cheese.  Bake 5-10 minutes longer or until heated through and cheese is melted.  Sprinkle with remaining onions.

Monday, November 15, 2010

Caramel-Apple Bread Pudding

I found this recipe in a Betty Crocker "Eat and Lose Weight" Cookbook.  It could be served as either a dessert or a breakfast, served with applesauce or syrup instead of the caramel topping.  I had a sweet craving, and I wanted a recipe that didn't break the calorie bank, and this seemed to fit the bill.  It was absolutely delicious!

Caramel-Apple Bread Pudding
Yield: 8 servings,  190 calories/serving

1 cup unsweetened applesauce
1/2 cup packed brown sugar
1 cup skim milk
1/2 cup fat-free egg product
1 teaspoon vanilla
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
5 cups 1-inch cubes French bread
1/2 cup caramel fat-free ice cream topping, warmed

Mix all ingredients except bread and caramel in a large bowl with wire whisk until smooth.  Fold in bread.  Pour into a 9" quiche or pie plate coated with cooking spray.  Bake at 350 degrees for 40 to 45 minutes until golden brown and set.  Cut into wedges and drizzle caramel topping over each serving.

Friday, November 12, 2010

Apricot-Glazed Pork Chops and Buttermilk Corn Bread

I found these recipes in a Taste of Home "Healthy Cooking" Magazine.  The recipes were very simple and quick to prepare.  They both had pretty good flavor.  I used whole wheat flour to make the corn bread to make it a little healthier.   It wasn't the best meal ever, but it was good, and I left the table satisfied.

Pork Chops with Apricot Sauce
(1 chop with 2 tablespoons sauce= 273 calories)

3 boneless pork loin chops (6 oz each)
1/2 teaspoon pepper
1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
1 tablespoon olive oil
1/2 cup sugar-free apricot preserves
1/2 tablespoon minced chives
1/8 teaspoon salt

Sprinkle pork with pepper and garlic powder.   In a large skillet, brown chops in oil on each side.  Combine the preserves, chives, and salt; spoon over chops.  Reduce heat; cover and cook for 8-10 minutes or until a meat thermometer reads 160º.  Serve with sauce.

Buttermilk Corn Bread
Yield 8-9 servings  (1 serving = 172 calories)

1 cup flour
1 cup yellow cornmeal
1 tablespoon sugar
2 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon salt
2 eggs
1 cup buttermilk
3 tablespoons butter, melted

In a large bowl, combine the dry ingredients.   In a small bowl, whisk the eggs, buttermilk, and butter.  Stir into the dry ingredients just until moistened.  Transfer to a 9" square baking pan coated with cooking spray.  Bake at 400º for 15-20 minutes until top is lightly browned and a toothpick comes out clean.  Serve warm.