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, September 4, 2011

Plum Kuchen

Plums were on sale at the grocery store for just 88 cents/pound, so when I saw this recipe in a Cooking Light magazine, I just had to try it.   Overall, it was really quite good.  I loved the plum topping.  But two things went wrong with the cake that were totally my fault.  First, I substituted whole wheat flour which I think was a bad idea in a dessert recipe.  And secondly, I let it bake a little too long and the cake got a bit dry-- still edible and delicious though.  The plums were juicy enough to make up for it.

Plum Kuchen

Plum Kuchen, adapted from Cooking Light magazine
Makes 10 servings
256 calories/serving

1&1/2 cups flour
2/3 cup sugar, plus 2 tablespoons sugar
2 tablespoons brown sugar
1 teaspoon baking powder
3/8 teaspoon salt, divided
1/2 teaspoon ground cardamom
1 teaspoon cinnamon, divided
1/2 teaspoon nutmeg
7 tablespoons butter, divided
1/2 cup fat-free milk
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 large egg
1&1/2 pounds plums, quartered and pitted (any variety;  I used black plums and cut into 8 slices each)
1 teaspoon grated lemon rind
1/2 teaspoon allspice

In a large bowl, combine flour, 2 tablespoons granulated sugar, brown sugar, baking powder, 1/4 teaspoon salt, cardamom, 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon, and nutmeg, stirring well with a whisk.  Cut in 4 tablespoons butter with a pastry blender or two knives until mixture resembles course meal.

In a small bowl, combine milk, vanilla, and egg, stirring well with whisk.  Add milk mixture to flour mixture and stir until just combined.  Spoon batter into a 9" round metal cake pan coated with cooking spray.  Arrange plums in a circular pattern over batter.

In a medium bowl, combine remaining 2/3 cup sugar, 1/8 teaspoon salt, lemon rind, 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon, and allspice.  Microwave remaining 3 tablespoons butter to melt and add to sugar mixture, stirring well.  Sprinkle plums evenly with sugar mixture.  Bake at 425 degrees for 30 minutes or until brown and bubbling.  Cool in pan for one hour on wire rack and cut into wedges to serve.  Works as breakfast or dessert.

Herb-Crusted Pork Loin

Jeremy and I wanted to use some of the herbs and spices we received as a wedding/housewarming gift, so I made this easy recipe which I partially borrowed from Penzey's and partially made up on my own.  It was delicious.  I could have cut down on the spice rub just a little bit, but it was good nonetheless.  I was proud that my pork came out perfectly cooked and still juicy.  We paired it with mashed potatoes and salad greens and vegetables for a nutritious and calorie-friendly dinner.

Herb-Crusted Pork Loin
Makes 4 Servings (4 oz each, ~3 slices per serving)
140 calories/serving

1 extra lean pork center cut loin filet (1 to 1&1/2 lbs)
1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
1/2 tablespoon minced garlic
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 tablespoon ground black pepper
1/2 tablespoon basil
1/2 tablespoon thyme
1/2 tablespoon parsley
1/2 tablespoon crushed rosemary
1 tablespoon Penzey's Brady Street Cheese Sprinkle

Combine the olive oil with all the herbs and spices and rub all over pork loin.  Place filet on a shallow baking pan or rack (I used a rack) and bake at 350 degrees for 23-25 minutes per pound until meat thermometer reads 155-160 degrees. (Mine took about 32 minutes to reach 160 degrees).  Let rest for 5 minutes before slicing.

Friday, September 2, 2011

Linguine Verde

I love pasta, but I didn't want to break the calorie bank.  This recipe was both healthy and delicious, and it  incorporated vegetables which I usually have to force myself to eat.  The basil flavor was pretty strong, but it was good.   I liked that I had all the prep work done in the time it took to cook the pasta.  Very quick lunch.

Linguine Verde

Anne's Linguine Verde adapted from "Cook it Quick" Weight Watchers Cookbook
Makes: 2 servings
319 calories/serving (7 WW points)

1/4 pound (4 oz) whole wheat linguine
1 cup arugula, cleaned and torn
1/2 cup mustard greens, cleaned and torn
1 cup baby spinach, cleaned and torn
1/4 cup firmly packed fresh basil, torn
2 mint leaves, chopped
1 tomato, seeded and cut into strips
1/4 cup zucchini, cut into thin strips
2 teaspoons extra virgin olive oil
pinch salt
pinch pepper
1/4 cup grated Parmesan Romano cheese

Cook the linguine according to package directions.  Meanwhile, combine the arugula, mustard greens, spinach, basil, mint, tomatoes, and zucchini in a large serving bowl.  Sprinkle with the oil, salt, and pepper; toss to combine.  Drain the linguine and add to the greens, then sprinkle with half the grated cheese.  Toss to coat, sprinkle remaining cheese, and serve.

Thursday, September 1, 2011

Sweet BBQ Pork Chops

This was really, really delicious!  I would definitely make this BBQ sauce again.  Yum.  I added a Penzey's Brady Street Cheese sprinkle to the pork chops before cooking which I think enhanced the overall flavor.  And the whole meal was done within 15-20 minutes which is always a bonus.  I paired the chops with bok choy and rice.

Sweet Barbecued Pork Chops

Sweet Barbecued Pork Chops
4 servings
282 calories

4 boneless pork loin chops (3/4 inch thick and 8 ounces each) 
Penzey's Brady Street Cheese Sprinkle
pinch salt
pinch pepper
1/4 cup packed brown sugar 
1/4 cup chopped sweet onion 
1/4 cup ketchup
1/4 cup barbecue sauce 
1/4 cup reduced-fat French salad dressing
1/4 cup honey

Sprinkle salt and pepper and cheese over pork chops.  In a large skillet, brown pork chops in oil or cooking spray on both sides, about 2 minutes on each side.  Combine the remaining ingredients; pour over chops. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat; cover and simmer for ~12 minutes or until a meat thermometer reads 160°.

Breakfast Veggie Casserole

Breakfast Veggie Casserole
Another healthy breakfast recipe.  It was good.

Breakfast Veggie Casserole adapted from a Weight Watchers recipe
Makes 2 servings
~170 calories/serving, 3 WW points

2 sprays cooking spray
3 tablespoons red onion, diced
3 tablespoons zucchini, diced
3 tablespoons sweet red pepper, diced
1 tablespoon green pepper, diced
2 eggs
2 egg whites
1/8 teaspoon salt
1/8 teaspoon pepper
2 tablespoons low-fat shredded cheddar cheese


  • Preheat oven to 400°F. Lightly coat two oven-safe, 8-ounce ramekins (3 1/2-inches in diameter) with cooking spray.
  • Lightly coat a medium sauté pan with cooking spray; heat over medium-high heat. Add onion, red pepper and zucchini to pan; cook, stirring occasionally, until vegetables soften and onion is translucent, about 3 to 5 minutes. Promptly remove from heat; set aside.
  • In a medium bowl, whisk together eggs, egg whites, salt and pepper until well combined; stir in cooked vegetables and cheese. Pour equal amounts of egg-vegetable mixture into each ramekin. Bake, uncovered, until a knife inserted into center of a ramekin comes out clean, about 20 minutes. Remove promptly from oven; let sit for 5 to 10 minutes before serving. Yields 1 ramekin per serving.