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, May 20, 2012

Ugli Duckling and Rosemary Potatoes (2012 - Week 20)

Week 20 Featured Ingredient: Ugli Fruit

I've seen this fruit in the store and wondered what it was like.  Now I know.  It tastes just like an orange.  This was a pretty good recipe.  The duck fat was nicely rendered, and the potatoes were a tasty accompaniment.  On a side note, I think this was the first time I've used watercress too.

Ugli Duckling

Duck breast filets
salt and pepper
1 medium Ugli fruit, peeled and sliced
1/4 cup sugar
1 cup orange juice
1 teaspoon orange extract
small bunch watercress

Season the duck with salt and pepper.  Heat a saute pan over medium heat for 3 minutes and then sear the duck filets, skin side down, for 10 minutes, covering pan.  Transfer the duck to a baking sheet, skin side up, and bake at 400º for 15-18 minutes until internal temperature of duck reaches 160º.

White duck is cooking, poach the Ugli fruit slices in a small pot with the sugar, orange juice, and extract, and heat to reduce and thicken the sauce.

Arrange duck on a plate over the watercress, garnish with Ugli fruit slices, and pour some of the remaining orange sauce over duck if desired.  Serve with potatoes.

Rosemary Red Potatoes

1 pound small red potatoes, quartered
1/2 small onion, coarsely chopped
1-2 tablespoons olive oil
1-2 teaspoons dried rosemary, crushed
2 garlic cloves, minced
1/4 teaspoon garlic salt

In a bowl, combine everything and toss to coat.  Transfer to a foil-lined baking pan and baked, uncovered, at 425º for 25-30 minutes until potatoes are tender and browned.

Saturday, May 12, 2012

Pizza Spam Bake (2012 - Week 19)

Week 19 Featured Ingredient: Spam

Jeremy came home with a can of Spam, so I decided I might as well use it.  This was a good recipe.  Can't go wrong with hiding the spam in a cheesy casserole.  In the future, I would use less cheese and more sauce.  I used Wisconsin Badger pasta... you can see the W-shaped red and white pasta if you look closely (well, more like pink and off-white).  :)

Pizza Spam Bake
Serves: 6-8

1 (16oz) package elbow macaroni (or other pasta)
1 (12oz) can SPAM, cubed
1 cup Hormel Pepperoni, cubed
1 onion, diced
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 (16oz) jar pizza sauce
2 pinches salt
1 pinch pepper
1/2 tablespoon basil
1 teaspoon oregano
4 cups (16 oz) shredded mozzarella cheese
1/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese

Cook pasta according to package directions.  Meanwhile, in a large skillet, saute the Spam, pepperoni, and onion in oil until lightly browned.  In a large bowl, combine macaroni, Spam mixture, pizza sauce, and seasonings.  Slowly stir in 3 cups mozzarella cheese.  Transfer to a large casserole dish or 9x13" baking pan.  Sprinkle with remaining mozzarella and Parmesan cheese.   Cover and bake at 350º for 30 minutes.  Uncover and bake another 5-10 minutes.

Saturday, May 5, 2012

Mango-Chipotle-Agave Chicken (2012 - Week 18)

Week 18 Featured Ingredient:  Agave Nectar

Happy Cinco de Mayo!
I went Agave Nectar crazy this week.  I saw it in the baking aisle of the grocery store and decided to use it this week since most Agave nectar is produced in Mexico and today is Cinco de Mayo.  Agave nectar is a liquid sweetener that comes from the Agave plant.   Anyway, here are my Cinco de Mayo recipes.... enjoy!!

Mango-Chipotle-Agave Chicken 
(on Cilantro-Lime Rice and Cumin Black Beans)
Chicken breasts, boneless, skinless
mango, cut into strips
cilantro, chopped
lime juice
black beans, rinsed and drained
ground cumin
Marinade Ingredients:
1-2 cups chopped mango
1 cup mango juice (I used Tropicana Orange-Mango juice)
2 tablespoons amber agave nectar
1 cup fresh cilantro
1 shallot, chopped
4 cloves garlic, minced
3 chipotle peppers in adobo sauce (add an extra if you like lots of heat)
1 tablespoon adobo sauce
2 tablespoons lemon juice
2 tablespoons rice wine vinegar
1 tablespoon canola oil
2 teaspoons kosher salt
1 teaspoon freshly cracked black pepper

Throw all the marinade ingredients into a blender and puree it.  Reserve half the mixture, and pour remaining half into a large resealable plastic bag and put chicken breasts in the bag and massage until chicken is coated well.  Refrigerate and let marinate for at least 6-8 hours.

Remove chicken from bag and sear breasts in large skillet on medium-high heat for 2-4 minutes per side, depending on thickness of breasts (internal temperature of 160ºF).  Pour reserved mixture over chicken and let reduce in pan to get a nice sauce, occasionally basting chicken.

Cook the rice according to package directions and toss with chopped cilantro and lime juice (I have no idea how much I used... I just squeezed whatever I felt like).   Cook the black beans and stir some ground cumin in with them. Place rice and beans on plate, top with chicken and sauce, and garnish with mango slices.  Enjoy!

Mexican Churro Balls with Agave Nectar Caramel Sauce

1 cup water
1/3 cup butter
2 tablespoons brown sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 cup flour (Note: I ended up using over 2 cups flour to make this batter work at all!)
4 eggs
canola oil, for frying
1/2 cup sugar
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon (I used Penzeys Ceylon Cinnamon)

Caramel Sauce:
1&1/2 cups Agave nectar
1/2 cup heavy whipping cream
2 tablespoons butter
pinch sea salt

To make donuts, in a medium saucepan, heat water, butter, sugar, vanilla, and salt over medium-high heat until the edges of the liquid start to bubble.  Add the flour all at once and stir briskly with a wooden spoon until well mixed. Remove from the heat and add eggs, one at a time, beating well with spoon after each.  The dough should look soft and glossy and retain a "hook" shape when the spoon is pulled from the dough.

Pour 1 to 2" of oil into a deep heavy skillet or pot.  Heat over medium heat.  Pipe dough (for crullers) or drop by spoonful (for balls) into the oil.  Don't overcrowd.  Fry, turning once, until golden brown.  Drain on paper towels.   Mix the sugar and cinnamon together and place in paper bag.  Drop a few donuts in bag and shake until coated.

For caramel sauce, mix all ingredients in saucepan over medium-high heat.  Cook 10-15 minutes, stirring occasionally.  For a thinner sauce, add more cream.  Serve.  Store sauce in fridge.

Agave Mint Limeade
1/2 cup lime juice
2 tablespoons fresh mint leaves, crushed
2 tablespoons agave nectar
5 cups water
crushed ice

Combine lime juice and mint leaves in blender.  Add agave nectar and water and stir.  Chill and serve with ice.