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, April 24, 2011

Gentlemen Prefer Blondies

"A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Supermarket"

For Easter, I decided to make a dessert since I gave up desserts for Lent and I was craving something sweet and bad for me.  I also needed something relatively fast and easy since I had limited cooking time.  I thought Applebee's Blondie Brownies would fit well with my musical theme, and searched the internet for a close comparison.  It's been a very long time since I had the Applebee's version, but I think this recipe was close enough.  I love white chocolate, so it's a winner in my book.  The maple glaze was delicious, although the recipe made WAY, WAY more sauce than what was needed.

Recipe #2:  "Gentlemen Prefer Blondies"

"Gentlemen Prefer Blondies"
2 cups sifted flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 cup chopped walnuts
2/3 cup butter
2 cups packed light brown sugar
2 eggs, beaten
2 tablespoons vanilla extract
1 cup white chocolate chips

1/2 cup maple syrup
1/4 cup butter
1/2 cup brown sugar
8 oz cream cheese, softened
1/2 teaspoon maple extract 

Combine flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt.  Add nuts.  Set aside.
Melt butter.  Add brown sugar, stirring until well mixed.  Add egg and vanilla and stir.  Gradually combine with flour mixture, and stir in white chocolate chips.
Pour into two 9" square baking pans and bake at 350º for 20-25 minutes.

To make sauce, combine syrup and butter and cook over low heat until butter is melted.  Stir in brown sugar until dissolved and remove from heat.  Beat in cream cheese and maple extract until smooth.  Heat again in microwave if necessary.  Serve over blondies with a scoop of ice cream if desired.

Friday, April 15, 2011

The Music Manicotti

"A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Supermarket"

Here it is.... the first installation of my new recipe series.   This cheese-and-spinach-stuffed manicotti was quite good, especially for a reduced-calorie dinner. I'm not a huge fan of cottage cheese, but I didn't notice it in this recipe.  It was extremely easy to make, and it was worth waiting the hour for it to bake.  Yum.

Recipe #1:  The Music Manicotti

"The Music Manicotti"
Adapted from "Easy Meatless Manicotti" from Cooking Light Magazine
Yield: 7 servings (2 manicotti/serving)
328 calories/2 manicotti 

2 cups (8 oz) shredded reduced-fat mozzarella cheese, divided
1 (16 oz) carton fat-free cottage cheese
1 (10 oz) package frozen chopped spinach, thawed, drained, and squeezed dry
1/4 cup (1 oz) grated fresh Parmesan cheese
1/2 tablespoon dried oregano
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon black pepper
1 (8 oz) package manicotti (14 shells)
1 (26 oz) jar fat-free tomato-basil pasta sauce
1-2 tablespoons chopped fresh basil leaves
cooking spray
1 cup water

In a medium bowl, combine 1&1/2 cups mozzarella, cottage cheese, Parmesan cheese, spinach, oregano, salt, and pepper.  Spoon about 3 tablespoons cheese mixture into each uncooked manicotti.  Pour half of the tomato-basil pasta sauce into a 13x9" baking dish coated with cooking spray.  Arrange stuffed shells in a single layer over sauce and top with the remaining sauce.  Pour 1 cup water into dish.  Sprinkle some chopped basil and the remaining 1/2 cup mozzarella evenly over sauce.  Cover tightly with foil and bake at 375º for 1 hour or until shells are tender.  Let stand 10 minutes before serving.

Thursday, April 7, 2011

Caramelized Onion & Sweet Apple Chicken Sausage Pizza with Brie

Okay, so this isn't one of my "musical" themed recipes that will be coming up soon, but I was craving pizza and this recipe looked really interesting, so I decided to make it.  I never would have thought to put apples on my pizza.  And instead of a sauce, it had caramelized onions as the base.  I used fresh thyme which really brought excellent flavor to it.  I didn't slice the apple as thin as the recipe wanted, but I personally like chunks of apples.  I didn't think I'd like the Brie cheese, but I did.  The pizza was good.... different, but good.   I think it was actually meant to be an appetizer, but whatever.  I love appetizers as meals. 

Caramelized Onion & Apple
Chicken Sausage Pizza with Brie
Makes: 2 servings
280 calories/serving (3 slices per serving)

 3 small links of Sweet Apple fully cooked Chicken Sausage, sliced thin on the diagonal
1 medium yellow onion, sliced thin
1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
1 tablespoon fresh thyme, chopped
1/4 cup white wine
1/2 apple, sliced thin (or diced)
1 tandoori-style naan
6-7 thin slices Brie cheese

 In a large skillet coated with olive oil, cover and sweat onions over medium-high heat.  Stir periodically so that the onions don't stick and burn on the bottom of the pan.  After 15-20 minutes, remove cover and add the fresh thyme and white wine.  Continue to cook for an additional 10 minutes until the onions are well caramelized and have cooked down by about 1/2 in volume.

Top the naan with the caramelized onions, then the apples and chicken sausage.  Finish with slices of brie cheese.  Bake on a cookie sheet at 375º for about 10 minutes or until cheese is bubbly hot.  Allow to rest for 5 minutes.  Slice the naan using a pizza wheel into 6 slices.

Sunday, April 3, 2011

A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Supermarket


From the crazy mind of Anne ...
"A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Supermarket"

*** A collection of recipes based on Musical titles ***

#1: "The Music Manicotti"
#2: "Gentlemen Prefer Blondies"
#3: "The Chicken a la King and I" 

And coming soon....
"My Fair Ladyfingers"
"Annie Get Your Gumbo"
"The Cheese Whizard of Oz"
"The Gingerbread Man of La Mancha"
"Spring Roll Awakening"
"Anything Goes with _____"
"South Pacific"
...and more!!


"Food Glorious Food"
selection from the musical Oliver!

Food, glorious food!
Hot sausage and mustard!
While we're in the mood --
Cold jelly and custard!
Pease pudding and saveloys!
What next is the question?
Rich gentlemen have it, boys --

Food, glorious food!
We're anxious to try it.
Three banquets a day --
Our favourite diet!

Just picture a great big steak --
Fried, roasted or stewed.
Oh, food,
Wonderful food,
Marvellous food,
Glorious food.

Chicken Asian Noodle Salad with a Ginger Dressing

4 Healthy Salads:
1. Tenderloin Salad with Rosemary-Balsamic Dressing
2. Orange-Cranberry Chicken Salad with Poppyseed-Yogurt Dressing
3. Pan-Seared Salmon and Asparagus Salad with Peach-Basil Dressing
4.Chicken Asian Noodle Salad with a Ginger Dressing

This is the 4th salad we made at the cooking class.  I didn't care for the ginger dressing.  I think we added way too much ginger root for my taste and I'm just not a fan of soy sauce in general.  I took this salad "to go" and that's the less attractive photo you see here.  I forgot to take a picture after plating it at home.

Chicken Asian Noodle Salad with a Ginger Dressing

Anne's Salad Ingredients:
Chicken breast, cooked
Asian noodles
Spring lettuce mix
tomatoes, sliced
red peppers, sliced thinly
carrots, shaved into small sticks
crispy noodle ?  i have no idea what we used on top

Asian Ginger Dressing:
2 cloves garlic, minced
3 tablespoons minced fresh ginger root
3/4 cup olive oil
1/3 cup rice vinegar
1/2 cup soy sauce
1/3 cup chopped cilantro
salt and pepper to taste

In a bowl or food processor, combine all dressing ingredients and mix well.

The Asian Ginger Dressing is pictured in the middle....

Pan-Seared Salmon and Asparagus Salad with a Peach-Basil Dressing

4 Healthy Salads:
1. Tenderloin Salad with Rosemary-Balsamic Dressing
2. Orange-Cranberry Chicken Salad with Poppyseed-Yogurt Dressing
3. Pan-Seared Salmon and Asparagus Salad with Peach-Basil Dressing
4.Chicken Asian Noodle Salad with a Ginger Dressing

This was the 3rd healthy salad recipe we made at the cooking class.  The Peach-Basil Dressing was really interesting and something different than I've ever had before... and it turned out to be absolutely delicious!  And I got to use the hand-held emulsifier which was fun.  Now that I got one of those nifty gadgets for Christmas, I can make this at home.  :)

Pan-Seared Salmon and Asparagus Salad 
with a Peach-Basil Dressing

Anne's Salad Ingredients:
Salmon filets
fresh spinach leaves
asparagus spears
tomatoes, sliced
cucumber, sliced

Peach-Basil Dressing:
2 peaches, peeled and sliced
3 tablespoons fresh Basil leaves
2 tablespoons honey
3 tablespoons olive oil
1 tablespoon red wine vinegar
1/4 teaspoon salt & pepper

In a large skillet, saute the asparagus spears in oil until crisp-tender.   Sear the salmon filets in oil in the skillet until it reaches desired doneness.

To make the dressing, process all ingredients in a blender until smooth, or use a hand-held emulsifier.

The Peach-Basil Dressing is on the far right below.    Really yummy.