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, June 24, 2012

Picnic Pleasers: Fruit Salad and Deviled Eggs

This isn't part of my recipe challenge, but I made a couple food items for a family cookout and thought I'd share the very easy recipes.  The fruit salad was especially good.

Fruit Salad
1 (29 oz) can peach slices in lite syrup, undrained
1 (20 oz) can pineapple chunks in juice, undrained
1 small box vanilla fat free instant pudding mix (dry)
1 pound strawberries, stemmed and quartered
1/2 pint blueberries
1/2 bunch grapes (any color)
2-3 sliced bananas or other fruit(optional)

In a large bowl, combine the pudding mix and half of the pineapple and peach juices.  Mix until pudding is dissolved.  Discard the remaining juice. Add the fruit to the bowl and stir to combine until the fruit is coated with the pudding mixture.  Chill before serving.  Makes enough for a large crowd (12-15 servings).


Deviled Eggs

6 hard-cooked eggs, peeled
3 tablespoons light Miracle Whip
1/2 teaspoon dry ground mustard
1/8 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon pepper
paprika to sprinkle

Cut eggs lengthwise in half.  Slip out yolks and mash with fork.  Stir in mayonnaise, mustard, salt, and pepper.  Fill whites with yolk mixture.  Sprinkle with paprika.  Cover and refrigerate up to 24 hours.

Braunschweiger Melt (2012 - Week 24)

Week 24 Featured Ingredient: Braunschweiger

This was disgusting.  I'm not a fan of Braunschweiger, but I give myself points for being brave enough to try it.  Jeremy didn't want to try this recipe, so I just made one sandwich. I had two bites and that was enough.  I don't recommend it, but here is the recipe.   It was kind of a "cheat" recipe for this week anyway because there wasn't much cooking involved.  I just wanted to try an unusual ingredient and this fit.   :P

Open-Faced Braunschweiger Melt

1 half of an english muffin
1/2" slice braunschweiger liver sausage, from the tube
1 slice tomato
1 slice Velveeta cheese
1 tablespoon mayonnaise

Toast the english muffin.  Spread mayo on the muffin.  Top with braunschweiger, tomato, and cheese.  Put on a baking sheet and broil in oven until cheese gets bubbly (3-5 minutes).  Don't enjoy.

Monday, June 18, 2012

Chai Tea Cookies (2012 - Week 23)

Week 23 Featured Ingredient: Chai Tea

Yes, tea as a food ingredient.  Why not?!  It was a work week for me so I needed to pick something fast and easy.  We're having a bake sale at work to raise money for our Relay for Life team, so I figured I might as well bake something.  I had no idea what chai tea tasted like, or whether cookies made with tea would be any good, but I was pleasantly surprised when I opened the tea pouch and smelled the contents.  I really liked the aroma of the spices.  After cooking, the cookies looked like a peanut butter cookie, but tasted somewhat like a gingersnap cookie.  I liked them.

Chai Tea Cookies
Taken from allrecipes.com
Makes ~4 dozen small cookies

1 cup unsalted butter
1 cup Chai Tea Latte Mix (~6 packets)
1&1/3 cups white sugar
2 eggs
3 cups flour
1 TBSP baking powder
2 teaspoons salt
1/2 cup white sugar for decoration

In a large bowl, cream together the butter, sugar, and chai tea mix until light and fluffy.  Beat in the eggs, one at a time.  Combine the flour, baking powder, and salt; blend into the creamed mixture until all of the dry has been absorbed.  Cover the dough and refrigerate for 1 hour.

Preheat oven to 400ºF.  Roll the cookie dough into walnut-sized balls and roll in sugar.  Place the cookies onto a greased cookie sheet about 3 inches apart and flatten slightly using a fork.  Bake for ~8-10 minutes until the edges begin to brown.  Cool on wire rack.

Blueberry-Almond Muffin Cookies

I had some extra blueberries in my refrigerator, and I thought about making muffins, but I really felt like cookies.  So that's what I made.  This was an interesting recipe.  The cookies were pretty good, kind of like eating just the top of a blueberry muffin.  I liked the almond flavor. But if you really want a muffin, I'd suggest this Blueberry Muffin recipe instead.  It's really good: Best Blueberry Muffins

Blueberry-Almond Muffin Cookies
Recipe taken from Giada De Laurentiis, Food Network
Makes ~30 small cookies

2 cups flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 stick (1/2 cup) unsalted butter
1 cup sugar
1 egg yolk
1/4 to 1/3 cup milk
1 teaspoon almond extract
2 teaspoons lemon zest, about 1 lemon
1/4 cup chopped almonds
1 cup blueberries

In a medium bowl, cream together the butter and sugar using a hand mixer. Add egg and beat to incorporate. Add milk, almond extract, and lemon zest.

In another medium bowl, combine flour, baking powder, and salt.  Stir the dry ingredients into the wet ingredients. Fold in the almonds, then the blueberries. Chill the dough in the refrigerator for 30 minutes.

Spoon mix onto cookie sheets. Bake at 375ºF until golden brown around the edges, about 15 minutes.  Cool on wire rack.

Sunday, June 10, 2012

Grilled Pluot Salad & Dino Egg Crumble (2012 - Week 22)

Week 22 Featured Ingredient: Dinosaur Eggs (Pluots)

 I went to the grocery store intending to make a Thai Star Fruit Tropical Salad, but the store didn't have any Star Fruit in stock.  What they DID have were 5 or 6 different varieties of a fruit they were calling Dinosaur Eggs.  HUH?!  I had never seen them before, but they looked a lot like a plum.  Turns out they are a hybrid fruit--a pluot, a cross between a plum and an apricot.  Different varieties were different colors, ranging from yellowish to deep purple.  They had samples available, so I tried a slice --or two or three (yum!), and promptly put a couple different varieties in my cart.

Now, Jeremy and I just bought a grill-- and when I say "just", I mean Jeremy was taking it out of its box and putting it together while I was at the grocery store discovering dinosaur eggs.  (I am SOOO excited about all the new grilling options that have now opened up for me...!!)   So, I decided I wanted to GRILL everything for our meal.. including the pluots... why not?!  I found a cool salad recipe online, and it was pretty delicious.  I really liked the dressing.   And then I came up with my own quick pluot crumble recipe for dessert because I had accidentally grilled too many pluots.  Yum again.

Grilled Pluot Salad
Taken from Pig of the Month BBQ Website
4 pluots, halved and pitted
olive oil for brushing
6oz bag of baby spinach
1/4 cup chopped walnuts
shallot, sliced (optional)
1/3 cup olive oil
1/3 cup honey
3 tablespoons sherry vinegar
3 tablespoons Dijon mustard
pinch of salt and pepper

Brush halved pluots with olive oil.  Place cut side down on grill.  Grill over medium-high heat for 3-5 minutes.  Let cool and cut into wedges.   For the dressing, whisk all ingredients together.  Toss spinach with dressing (you may have a lot of leftover dressing).  Transfer salad to plates and top with pluot wedges and walnuts.

Anne's Quick Dino Egg Crumble

pluots, pitted and sliced
panko bread crumbs
ice cream or whipped topping (optional)

Place pluot slices in a ramekin.  Combine other ingredients and sprinkle a little bit over pluots.  Bake in oven for 10-15 minutes.  Serve with ice cream or fat free whipped topping if desired.

Monday, June 4, 2012

Shaved Fennel Salad & Chicken w/ Red Pepper Aïoli (2012 - Week 21)

Week 21 Featured Ingredient: Fennel

Well, the chicken and aïoli sauce were excellent.  I probably wouldn't make the fennel salad again though.  It wasn't bad, but it just wasn't my thing.

Chicken with Red Pepper Aïoli and Shaved Fennel Salad
from Food Network Magazine
Serves 4-6

2&1/2 pounds skinless, boneless chicken breasts (4-6 breasts)
2 cups low-sodium chicken broth
1/3 cup extra-virgin olive oil
2 bulbs fennel, trimmed and quartered lengthwise, plus 1 cup fronds
2 sprigs thyme
4 cloves garlic
kosher salt
freshly ground pepper
2 red bell peppers
1/3 cup mayonnaise
3 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
1 cup fresh parsley

Put the chicken in a large pot. Add the broth, olive oil, fennel fronds, thyme, garlic, 1/2 tablespoon salt and 1/2 teaspoon pepper, then add enough water to cover the chicken and turn the heat to medium low. Poach the chicken, turning occasionally and keeping the liquid just below a simmer, until just cooked through, about 30 minutes (a thermometer inserted into the center of a chicken breast should register 155-160ºF). Remove the chicken to a plate with a slotted spoon and let cool to room temperature.

Increase the heat to medium high and simmer the cooking liquid until the garlic is tender, about 5 more minutes; remove the garlic and set aside. Strain the cooking liquid; reserve 1/4 cup and set aside.

While the chicken is cooking, place the red peppers directly on a stovetop gas burner over high heat and char on all sides, turning with tongs, about 10 minutes. (If you don't have a gas stove, char the peppers on a baking sheet under the broiler, turning occasionally, about 12 minutes.) Transfer to a bowl, cover with plastic wrap and set aside, 20 minutes. Peel the skin off the peppers with your fingers; discard the stems and seeds and chop.

To make the Aïoli: Puree about three-quarters of the roasted red peppers in a blender with the mayonnaise, reserved garlic and 1 tablespoon lemon juice until smooth. Season with salt and pepper.

To make the Fennel Salad: Thinly slice the fennel bulbs (use a mandoline if you have one) and transfer to a large bowl. Finely chop the remaining roasted red peppers, then add to the bowl along with the parsley, the remaining 2 tablespoons lemon juice and the reserved 1/4 cup cooking liquid; toss. Season with salt and pepper. Slice the chicken; top with the aïoli and serve with the fennel salad.