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, January 27, 2013

Slow Cooker Pot Roast

Snow was in the forecast, so I figured a hearty pot roast would be a perfect warm culinary comfort food for a cold day.  I threw it all in the crockpot this morning, and by dinnertime, the aroma was mouthwatering.  The meat just fell apart and shredded easily and it was juicy and flavorful.  Super delicious! 

Anne's Slow Cooker Pot Roast
~6-8 Servings

~3-4 pound boneless rump or chuck roast  (I used rump because it was on sale)
2 tablespoons Penzey's Galena Street Rib & Chicken Rub
1 teaspoon garlic powder
1 teaspoon kosher salt
1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1 tablespoon olive oil
3 carrots, peeled and chopped
1 medium yellow onion, sliced
2 celery stalks, chopped
3 Russet potatoes, peeled and chopped
2 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley
1/2 cup beef broth
1/4 cup red wine
1/4 cup Worcestershire sauce

Combine the Rub, salt, pepper, garlic powder, and Rub, and rub all over roast.   Heat oil in a large skillet and brown meat on all sides, just for a couple minutes on each side to get a nice sear.  Place roast in a large slow cooker.  Put all the vegetables in the crockpot too.  Pour the broth, wine, and Worcestershire sauce over everything.  Cover and cook on low for 8-10 hours.

Thursday, January 17, 2013

Baked Walleye and Roasted Beet and Green Bean Salad

My brother went ice fishing and caught a lot of Walleye and he was generous enough to share a couple fillets with me.  They were huge, so I ended up cutting them in half which was plenty for a portion size.   This was a good recipe.  The fish was flaky and delicious.

It's been a really, really long time since I've had beets, so I decided to make a veggie side dish utilizing them.  It was okay, you know, for a vegetable.

Baked Walleye    (2013 Cookbook Challenge)
"Instead of Frying Fish" from Dairyland Seed 100 Years and Still Cooking
Makes 4 servings

4 fish fillets (walleye, cod, perch, etc)
1/4 cup milk
1 cup crushed potato chips
1/2 teaspoon dried thyme
1/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese

Place milk in a shallow dish.  In another shallow dish, combine the potato chips, thyme, and Parmesan cheese.  Dip fish in milk, then coat with potato chip mixture.  Sprinkle a little of the crumb mixture onto a baking sheet and place fish on top.  Bake, uncovered, at 500º for 12-14 minutes or until fish flakes easily with a fork.

Roasted Beet, Shallot, and Green Bean Salad

2-3 large beets with stems and leaves
2 tablespoons olive oil, divided
3 teaspoons chopped thyme, divided
4 shallots, cut into wedges
1/4 pound green beans, trimmed
1/4 cup water
1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar

Cut stems from beets, leaving about 1 inch of stem attached.  Wrap beets in foil and place directly on the oven rack.  Roast beets at 400º until they are tender, about 45-60 minutes, depending on how big the beets are.  Let the beets cool and peel and quarter them.  Transfer to a large bowl and add 1 teaspoon olive oil, 1 teaspoon thyme, salt, and pepper.  Add beet leaves if desired. Toss to coat.

Place onion wedges on a baking sheet and brush with olive oil.  Sprinkle with a teaspoon of thyme.  Roast about 10 minutes, flip onions over, and roast another 5-10 minutes until golden brown.  Transfer to the beet bowl.

Place green beans on the baking sheet and drizzle with remaining olive oil, water, a teaspoon of thyme, and salt and pepper.  Cover tightly with foil and roast until crisp-tender, about 15 minutes.  Uncover and continue to roast until water evaporates, about 5 minutes.  Transfer to the bowl.

Drizzle vegetables with balsamic vinegar, tossing to coat.

Helpful hint: To remove beet stains from hands, sprinkle some salt on your hands first, then wash with soap and water.

Wednesday, January 16, 2013

Snicker Cookies

Before leaving for my half-marathon girls' weekend in San Antonio, I thought it would be nice to bake some cookies to leave behind for my husband.  I found this recipe in my Dairyland Seed Cookbook, and thought it sounded yummy.  It didn't disappoint. 

Snicker Cookies  (2013 Cookbook Challenge)
from Dairyland Seed 100 Years and Still Cooking
Makes ~3-4 dozen

1 cup shortening
1 cup sugar
1 cup brown sugar
1 cup peanut butter
2 eggs
2 teaspoons vanilla
1/4 cup milk
3&1/2 cups flour
2 teaspoons baking soda
1 bag bite size Snickers candy bars

Cream shortening, sugar, brown sugar, and peanut butter.  Add eggs, vanilla, and milk.  Blend in flour and baking soda.  Mix thoroughly.  Wrap dough around bite-sized Snickers.  Place on cookie sheet.  Bake at 375º for about 8-9 minutes, just until lightly browned.  Remove from oven and flatten with a fork.

Friday, January 11, 2013

Chicken Zucchini Fettuccine Alfredo

My husband found a box of random pantry ingredients in the basement we had forgotten about.  Inside, we found a jar of Light Alfredo Sauce, and we had still had some chicken breasts to use up, so we decided to make chicken fettuccine alfredo.  I also had one zucchini left in the fridge, so I added that as well.    I decided to broil the chicken like I had done with the Tikka Masala recipe because the chicken turns out so moist and it was fast and done in the time the pasta needed to cook.  Easy and delicious.

Anne's Chicken Zucchini Fettuccine Alfredo

2 boneless, skinless chicken breasts
salt and pepper
Penzey's Old World Seasoning
1/2 cup plain yogurt
1 tablespoon olive oil
2 cloves garlic, minced
4 ounces fettuccine
1 zucchini, cut into matchsticks
Light alfredo sauce
Parmesan cheese, if desired.


Preheat the broiler.  Pat dry the chicken breasts.  Sprinkle with salt, pepper, and seasoning.   Mix together the yogurt, oil, and garlic, and dip the chicken breasts in the mixture to evenly coat. Place breasts on a wire rack sitting on a foil-lined baking sheet and broil for about 15 minutes, flipping halfway during cooking, until the internal temperature of the breast reaches 160º.

Meanwhile, heat up the alfredo sauce in a small saucepan.  Bring a large pot of water to a boil.  Cook fettuccine in the boiling water according to package directions, about 10-12 minutes.  Drop in zucchini and cook until pasta is tender, just a couple minutes longer.  Drain.  

Combine the pasta, zucchini, and sauce in the large pot, and scoop onto plates.  When the chicken is done, cut into strips and add to pasta.  Sprinkle with Parmesan cheese if desired.

Sunday, January 6, 2013

Homemade Applesauce

  Oh boy, this recipe is a keeper.  Yummy!  Easy and delicious.  I left my applesauce slightly chunky because I like it that way, but you could throw it in a food processor to get it really smooth.  I made a double batch, so I'm glad I had this apple peeler/corer.  Jeremy got through 6 pounds of apples in record time.  He peeled; I chopped and threw them in the pot.  Teamwork. :)

Homemade Applesauce (2013 Cookbook Challenge)
Recipe from Joy of Cooking
Serves 4 to 6

3 pounds McIntosh or Empire apples, peeled, cored, and chopped
1/2 cup water
2 tablespoons lemon juice
~1/2 cup sugar  (I used less)
~1 tablespoons ground cinnamon (if desired, which I do)

Combine the apples, water, and lemon juice in a heavy-bottomed pot.  Cover and simmer, stirring occasionally, until the apples are soft and falling apart, about 20-30 minutes.  Stir in the sugar and cinnamon to taste.  Raise the heat to medium and cook, uncovered, stirring frequently, until the applesauce thickens.  Remove from heat.  If you want a smoother sauce, puree in a food processor.  Serve warm or cold.

Saturday, January 5, 2013

Chicken en Papillote & Sweet Potato Oven Fries

Here's another new recipe from my Cooking for Two book.  Technically, "en papillote" is a classic French method of baking food in parchment paper to steam it in its own juice, but this recipe substituted aluminum foil.  Although it's a light and healthy dish, it was still flavorful and filling.   The sweet potato fries were good, but I would have liked the outside to be a little crisper.  And I had added extra Cayenne, so they were a bit spicy.

Chicken en Papillote with Zucchini and Tomatoes
(2013 Cookbook Challenge)
Recipe from 2009 Cooking for Two
Serves 2;   290 calories/serving

2 (6-oz) boneless, skinless chicken breasts, pounded 1/2" thick
salt and pepper
1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
1 garlic clove, minced
1 teaspoon chopped fresh oregano
pinch red pepper flakes
2 plum tomatoes, seeded and chopped
1 zucchini, sliced 1/4" thick
2 tablespoons chopped fresh basil

Pat chicken dry with paper towels and season with salt and pepper.

Combine the oil, garlic, oregano, pepper flakes, and a pinch of salt and pepper in a bowl.  Toss half of the oil mixture with the tomatoes, and toss the remaining mixture separately with the zucchini.

Cut two 14x12" rectangles of heavy-duty foil and lay them flat on the counter.  Shingle the zucchini in the center of each foil.  place a chicken breast on top of the zucchini, then top with the tomatoes.  Tightly crimp the foil into a packet (Bring the longer sides of the foil over the meat, crimp the edges, then keep folding over a few more times.  Do the same with the sides until you have a tight little package.) 

Set the packets on a rimmed baking sheet and bake at 450º for about 25 minutes, until the breasts register 160º on an instant-read thermometer.  Carefully open the packets, allowing steam to escape, and let cool briefly.  Using a spatula, transfer the chicken and vegetables to a plate.  Sprinkle with basil if desired.

Sweet Potato Oven Fries
Recipe from Eating Well Serves Two
122 calories/serving

Preheat oven to 450º.  Peel one large sweet potato and cut into wedges or strips.  Toss with 2 tablespoons canola oil, 1/4 teaspoon salt, and a pinch of Cayenne pepper.  Spread the potatoes on a rimmed baking sheet and bake until browned and tender, turning once, about 20 minutes total.

Friday, January 4, 2013

Chicken Tikka Masala

Continuing with my 2013 Cookbook Challenge, I decided to make dinner from my Cooking for Two book by America's Test Kitchen.   This recipe was delicious.  It was spicy without overpowering my taste buds, and I couldn't believe how moist and tender the chicken was.  Really yummy.  Despite the long list of ingredients, it was really easy to make.  I will definitely make this again.

Chicken Tikka Masala over Basmati Rice (2013 Cookbook Challenge)
Recipe from 2009 Cooking for Two
Serves 2

1/2 teaspoon garam masala
1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 (6-8oz) boneless skinless chicken breasts
Yogurt mixture:
1/2 cup plain yogurt (not fat free)
1 tablespoon vegetable oil
2 garlic cloves, minced
2 teaspoons minced fresh ginger

1 can (14.5oz) whole tomatoes
2 tablespoons vegetable oil
1 small onion, minced (~1/2 cup)
1 garlic clove, minced
1 teaspoon minced fresh ginger
1 small serrano chile, seeded and minced
1/2 tablespoon tomato paste
1/2 tablespoon garam masala
1 teaspoon sugar
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/3 cup plain yogurt
2 tablespoons fresh chopped cilantro

For the chicken: Combine the garam masala, cayenne, and salt in a shallow bowl.  Pat the chicken dry with paper towels, then coat the chicken with the spices, pressing to adhere.  Cover and refrigerate for 30 to 60 minutes.   Whisk the yogurt, oil, garlic, and ginger together in a medium bowl.  Cover and refrigerate until needed.

For the sauce: Process the tomatoes with their juice in a food processor until pureed, about 15 seconds.    Heat oil in medium saucepan over medium heat.  Add the onion and cook until softened and lightly browned, ~5-7 minutes.  Stir in the garlic, ginger, chile, tomato paste, and garam masala and cook until fragrant, about 30 seconds.  Stir in the processed tomatoes, sugar, and salt, and bring to a boil.  Reduce the heat to low; cover and simmer, stirring occasionally, for 15 minutes.  Off the heat, stir in the yogurt and cover to keep warm.

Meanwhile, adjust an oven rack to be 6 inches from the broiler and heat the broiler.  Line a rimmed baking sheet with aluminum foil and top with a wire rack.  Dip the chicken into the yogurt mixture so that it is thickly coated on both sides and arrange on wire rack; discard any remaining yogurt mixture.  Broil the chicken until the exterior is lightly charred in spots and the thickest part of the breast registers 160º on a thermometer, about 15 minutes, flipping the chicken halfway through cooking.

Let the chicken rest a few minutes, then cut into 1-inch chunks.  Stir the chicken pieces into the warm sauce and add the cilantro.  Serve over basmati rice.

Note: The sauce can be made and refrigerated up to 4 days in advance; gently reheat the sauce before adding the hot chicken.

Chocolate Cream Pie

Jeremy likes having dessert after dinner (okay, so do I!), so I decided to make a pie.  As an added bonus, I got to break in my new stand mixer to make the whipped topping.   I took this recipe from James Beard's American Cookery.  It was just okay.  Something seemed off about the chocolate filling.  It wasn't my favorite pie, but we'll eat the leftovers without complaint.

Chocolate Cream Pie  (2013 Cookbook  Challenge)
from James Beard's American Cookery

3/4 cup sugar
7 tablespoons flour
1/4 teaspoon salt
2 eggs
3 cups whole milk, scalded (or 2 cups skim milk plus 1 cup cream)
1 teaspoon vanilla
2 oz semisweet chocolate, shaved
9" pie crust, baked according to directions.
1 cup heavy cream
1 teaspoon confectioners' sugar
1/2 teaspoon vanilla
1 teaspoon unflavored gelatin
1 tablespoon water

In a medium saucepan, whisk together the sugar, flour, salt, and eggs. Slowly stir in the scalded milk (or use any milk and cream combination).  Cook mixture, whisking constantly, until it begins to boil.  Reduce heat to simmer and continue to cook a few more minutes until thickened.  Remove from the heat and add vanilla and shaved chocolate.  Stir until all the chocolate is melted and evenly mixed.  Cover with plastic wrap to avoid a film from forming and cool in fridge.  Once cool, spoon into baked and cooled pie crust.

To make gelatinized whipped cream topping, dissolve 1 teaspoon unflavored gelatin in 1 tablespoon water and heat until thoroughly melted.  Blend with the cream and whip with sugar and vanilla using an electric mixer until stiff peaks form.  Spoon or pipe onto the chocolate pie and garnish with shaved chocolate if desired.

Thursday, January 3, 2013

BLT Frittata

Hello, 2013!   For my first recipe of the new year, I decided to make something that would utilize my new oven-safe skillet.  A frittata sounded like the perfect answer.  I started with a basic tomato and cheese frittata recipe from the How to Cook Everything cookbook, and then I added an Anne twist by making it a BLT Frittata, adding spinach and bacon to the mixture.  It was quite yummy.  But isn't everything with bacon yummy?!

Anne's BLT Frittata   (2013 Cookbook Challenge)
Serves 3-4

6 thick bacon slices
2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
1 small onion, diced
1 cup diced tomato
1&1/2 cups chopped fresh spinach
8 eggs
1/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese

Cook the bacon and let dry on paper towels.  Crumble into bite-size pieces. Set aside.

Put the olive oil in a large oven-safe skillet over medium-high heat.  When hot, add the onion and cook until soft, about 5 minutes.  Add the tomato and spinach and turn the heat to low, stirring and cooking another few minutes until the pan is almost dry.  Add bacon and stir.

Whisk the eggs with some salt and pepper.  Pour the eggs over the tomato mixture, using a spoon to evenly distribute the vegetables if necessary.  Sprinkle Parmesan cheese over top and cook, undisturbed, until the eggs are barely set, about 5-10  minutes.  Transfer skillet to a preheated 350º oven, and finish cooking eggs for a few minutes (or under the broiler) until set, being careful not to over-cook eggs.