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, April 24, 2012

Crispy Kale Chips (2012 - Week 17)

2012 Week 17 Featured Ingredient: Kale

I've been wanting to try these "Kale Chips" for awhile now to see what all the fuss is about.  They're supposed to be crunchy, salty, and addictive like potato chips, but with actual nutritional content.  Well, they were okay, and I think they would have been a lot better if I had not added so much salt.  I decided to "spice up" the recipe by adding some Penzey's Old World seasoning but I didn't reduce the salt which was a mistake.  Yikes, too salty!  Still, not bad.

Crispy "Old World" Kale Chips
Serves: 6 - 8


1 head kale
1-2 tablespoons olive oil (or cooking spray to lighten it up)
Penzey's "Old World" seasoning
sea salt (to taste, if needed)

Remove the ribs from the kale and cut into 2-inch pieces. Toss with the olive oil and seasoning.  Lay on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper and bake at 300ºF until crisp, turning the leaves over once, about 10-15 minutes total.  Don't let them brown. Sprinkle with salt if necessary and serve as finger food.

Seared Ahi Tuna on a Pummelo & Tangelo Salad (2012 - Week 16)

2012 Week 16 Featured Ingredients: Pummelo & Tangelo

I saw a Pumello (aka Pomelo) in the produce department of Sendik's and asked myself, "What is that?"  So I put it in my basket and decided to make a recipe with it.  Turns out it is very similar to a grapefruit.  Not my favorite citrus fruit, but oh well.  I also picked up some Minneola tangelos for the first time as well.   Minneolas are a cross between a tangerine and grapefruit, but they looked and tasted a lot like oranges to me.  I liked them much better than the pomelo slices in the salad. And then I was browsing the meat/seafood department and saw two fine-looking Ahi tuna steaks and thought it would go well with the salad recipe which it did.  I rubbed them with a little salt, pepper, cayenne, and paprika.  Look at me, improvising my own recipe!!  :)

Seared Ahi Tuna on a Pummelo & Tangelo Salad
Salad Serves: 4-6

1 pummelo, peeled and sectioned
2 tangelos, peeled and sectioned
1 banana, sliced
4 cups baby lettuces or torn mixed greens
2 tablespoons lime juice
2 tablespoons orange juice
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
1/2 teaspoon sugar

Ahi Tuna Steaks
salt, pepper
ground cayenne pepper
ground paprika

For vinaigrette, combine lime juice, orange juice, olive oil, mustard, and sugar in a screw-top jar.  Cover and shake well to mix.  Combine fruit in a bowl.  Pour vinaigrette over fruit and toss gently to mix. 

Place a small amount of olive oil in a large skillet and heat to medium-high.  Rub spices on tuna steaks and sear on skillet for 2-3 minutes on each side. 

Arrange salad greens, fruit, and tuna on plates to serve.

Saturday, April 14, 2012

Asparagus and Prosciutto Fettuccine Alfredo (2012 - Week 15)

2012 Week 15 Featured Ingredient: Prosciutto

Here is the second recipe I made using prosciutto.  I wanted an excuse to use asparagus because it's all over the produce department right now and I thought this would be a good way to use both ingredients.   I really liked the flavor the prosciutto brought to the pasta along with the asparagus.  I combined various recipes for fettuccine alfredo and ended up just throwing ingredients into the pan.  I don't even know how much I added of certain things.  Oh well.  I'll try to estimate the best I can.  I just know that it was creamy and delicious.  :)

Asparagus and Prosciutto Fettuccine Alfredo
Serves: 4-6

12-16 oz uncooked fettuccine
1&1/2 pounds fresh asparagus, trimmed and cut into 1" pieces
1 shallot, chopped
2 garlic cloves, minced
2 tablespoons butter
4-5 oz diced prosciutto
1 cup heavy cream 
1/3 cup white wine
2 oz cream cheese, cubed
1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese
dash ground nutmeg
salt and pepper

Cook fettuccine according to package directions.  
Meanwhile, in a large skillet, saute the asparagus, garlic, and onion in butter until tender.  Add the remaining ingredients.  Cook and stir over medium heat for 5 minutes or until cheese is melted and sauce is blended.  Drain fettuccine and toss with asparagus mixture.  Serve immediately.

Apple, Gouda, and Prosciutto Panini (2012 - Week 15)

2012 Week 15 Featured Ingredient: Prosciutto

When I told Jeremy that I was picking prosciutto as my ingredient of the week, he said, "Isn't that just ham?"  Well, yes, but it's a specialty Italian ham that is dry-cured instead of smoked like all other hams.  They're always using it on those Food Network cooking shows, so I decided to buy some and see what I could make.  This is the first of a few recipes I have planned using this ingredient.  I liked this Panini a lot, but I wish I would have used less mustard because it overpowered the apples and prosciutto.  Next time, I'd add a tomato slice and lettuce/spinach to add some healthy vegetables.

Apple, Gouda, and Prosciutto Panini

Ingredients (for each sandwich):
Whole wheat (or regular) baguette, cut in half
1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
1 slice Prosciutto
Apple slices (very thin)
1 slice Gouda cheese

Heat a large nonstick skillet over medium heat and cook the prosciutto for 8 minutes, turning occasionally, until crispy. Remove from the pan and set aside on a paper towel.

Spread the mustard on one half of the bread. Lay the apple slices atop the mustard. Top with the prosciutto and cheese and remaining bread. Lightly coat both sides of the sandwiches with cooking spray.  Heat the same skillet over medium heat and toast the sandwiches for ~4 minutes per side, pressing down with a spatula often, until golden brown on both sides and the cheese is melted.

Monday, April 9, 2012

Carrot Cake Cheesecake

Ooooooh yeah.  It was good.  REALLY good.   How can you possibly go wrong with carrot cake and cheesecake and a yummy cream cheese frosting???!  Answer: you can't!   I found this recipe online and followed it exactly as is.  It's a winner in my book.  The ingredient list looks long, but this was actually really easy to make.  I cut the cake into 18-20 wedges for my family's Easter celebration which was just fine for a portion size.   And I even decorated it all pretty:

Carrot Cake Cheesecake

From CD Kitchen's Cheesecake Factory's Copycat Recipe 
Serves 8 to 20, depending on your slice size...

For the Cheesecake Batter:
16 oz cream cheese, at room temperature
3/4 cup sugar
1 tablespoon vanilla extract
1 tablespoon flour
3 eggs

For the Carrot Cake Batter:
3/4 cup vegetable oil
1 cup sugar
2 eggs
1&1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1 cup flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1&1/2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
1 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1/2 teaspoon ginger
8 oz can crushed pineapple, packed in 100% juice, drained well; reserve juice
1 cup grated carrots (from ~1-2 medium carrots)
1/2 cup shredded coconut
1/2 cup chopped walnuts

For the Pineapple Cream Cheese Frosting:
3 ounces cream cheese, softened
1 tablespoon butter, softened
2 cups confectioners' sugar (powdered sugar)
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
2-3 tablespoons reserved pineapple juice

Preheat oven to 350˚F and grease a 9- or 9 1/2- inch springform pan.

For the cheesecake batter, in a large bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the whisk attachment, beat the cream cheese and sugar until smooth.  Mix in the flour, eggs and vanilla until fully incorporated and no lumps remain.  Set aside.

To prepare the carrot cake batter, combine the oil, sugar, eggs and vanilla in a large bowl.  In a separate bowl, sift together the flour, baking soda and spices.  Stir into the egg mixture and mix well.  Add the pineapple, carrots, coconut and walnuts.  Stir until just combined.

To assemble the cheesecake, pour 1&1/2 cups of the carrot cake batter over the bottom of the prepared pan.   Drop spoonfuls of the cream cheese batter over the bottom layer of carrot cake, using up 1/4 of the batter and reserving the rest for the top layer. Top with large spoonfuls of remaining carrot cake batter.  Repeat with remaining cream cheese batter, spreading evenly with a knife.

Bake for 50 to 55 minutes or until cake is set and cooked through.  Cool completely, then cover and refrigerate.  When the cake is cold, prepare the Pineapple Cream Cheese frosting.

Pineapple Cream Cheese Frosting:
Using an electric mixer, combine the cream cheese, butter, sugar, vanilla and pineapple juice. Beat until smooth.  Add additional juice or sugar to desired spreading consistency.   Frost the top of the cheesecake.  Refrigerate 3 to 4 hours before serving.  Enjoy!!

Friday, April 6, 2012

Roasted Edamame Salad (2012 - Week 14)

2012 Week 14 Featured Ingredient: Edamame

I've been wanting to use this ingredient for awhile since it's supposed to be a super healthy food with lots of protein and various vitamins/minerals.  I figured Good Friday would be a good day for a meatless recipe.  I plan to take it to work tonight, so I'll update this page with a taste verdict in the morning.

Roasted Edamame Salad
Serves 4

Adapted from Alton Brown's Food Network Recipe 
12 ounces fresh or frozen shelled edamame, about 2 cups
1/2 cup fresh corn kernels
1/4 cup finely diced scallion
1 clove garlic, minced
1 tablespoon olive oil
1/2 teaspoon chili powder
3/4 teaspoon kosher salt
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1 cup chopped fresh tomato
1/4 cup chopped fresh basil leaves
1 tablespoon red wine vinegar

Place the edamame, corn, scallion, garlic, olive oil, chili powder, salt, and pepper into a 13x9 metal pan and stir to combine. Place on the middle rack of the oven and roast at 400ºF for 10 to 15 minutes, just until the edamame begins to brown. Remove from the oven and place in the refrigerator until completely cool, approximately 30 minutes. Add the tomato, basil, and vinegar to the edamame mixture and toss to combine. Taste and adjust seasoning, as desired. Serve chilled or at room temperature.