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

Thursday, June 27, 2013

Mint Chocolate Chip Ice Cream

Jeremy wanted to give our Ice Cream Maker a whirl, so we made this recipe from the Cuisinart Recipe Booklet.  Not exactly healthy, but a very yummy treat. :)

Mint Chocolate Chip Ice Cream

2 cups heavy cream, chilled
1 cup whole milk, chilled
3/4 cup sugar
1/2 teaspoon mint extract
a few drops green food coloring (optional)
1/2 cup mini chocolate chips

In a medium bowl, combine the cream, milk, sugar, extract, and food coloring until well blended.  Pour into freezer bowl of Ice Cream Maker and let mix until mixture thickens, about 20-25 minutes.  Add the chips during the last 5-10 minutes.   If desired, transfer ice cream to an airtight container and place in freezer until firm, about 2 hours.

Thursday, June 20, 2013

Jim Beam Pork Chops and Stuffed Baked Potatoes

Meat and potatoes- that's what my man likes, so that's what I cooked.   I adapted these recipes from James Beard's American Cookery.  The pork chop recipe actually called for Brandy, but since I didn't have any in my cupboard, I substituted Jim Beam Bourbon Whiskey.  I thought it gave the pork extra flavor without being overpowering.   To the potato recipe, I added light sour cream instead of heavy cream, and then I sprinkled some bacon bits on top for crunch and flavor.  The stuffed potato was awesome--my favorite part of the meal tonight.  I'm posting my version of the James Beard recipes.

Sautéed Pork Loin Chops with Whiskey Sauce  (2013 Cookbook Challenge)

Adapted from James Beard's American Cookery

4 boneless pork loin chops
salt and pepper
4 tablespoons butter
3 tablespoons oil
1/4 cup bourbon whiskey (or brandy)
1 cup heavy cream
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground pepper

Mix together some flour and a little salt and pepper.  Dredge the pork well with the flour.  Heat the butter and oil together in a skillet, and when bubbling hot, add the meat.  Cook slowly over medium heat until nicely browned on each side.  Be careful not to overcook.  When just tender, pour off most of the fat, reserving about 2 tablespoons in the pan.   Flame the meat with the alcohol.  Transfer to a platter.  Blend 2 tablespoons flour with the remaining fat in the pan.  Add cream and stir until the mixture has thickened slightly.  Add salt and pepper.  Serve over the pork.


Stuffed Baked Potato Halves  (2013 Cookbook Challenge)
Adapted from James Beard's American Cookery
Serves 2

1 Idaho potato 
1 teaspoon butter
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground pepper
1/4 cup grated Gruyère cheese (can substitute Swiss or Cheddar)
2 heaping tablespoons light sour cream
2 teaspoons grated Parmesan cheese
2 teaspoons bacon bits

Rub the potato well with butter and pierce with fork a couple times.  Bake at 375º for 55-60 minutes.   Immediately cut the potatoes in half lengthwise and scoop out the meat into a bowl.  Combine well with the salt, pepper, cheese, and sour cream.  Heap the filling back into the potato shells.  (This part may be done ahead of time up to this point and stored in fridge.)  Sprinkle each half with Parmesan cheese and bacon bits.  Return to the oven and bake at 375º until nicely browned and heated through, about 15-20 minutes.

Veggie Squares Appetizer

This is my go-to picnic appetizer when I need to bring a dish to share for a large group.  It's a yummy way to eat my veggies.  I don't think I've posted the recipe yet though, so here it is.

Anne's Veggie Squares

2 cans (8 oz each) refrigerated crescent dinner rolls dough (I used the seamless dough)
1 package (8 oz) cream cheese
1/2 cup reduced-fat Miracle Whip
1 teaspoon dill weed
1/2 teaspoon onion salt
~1-2 cups broccoli florets
~1-2 cups cauliflower florets
~1 cup diced green bell pepper
~1 cup diced seeded tomato
~1 cup diced zucchini
~1/4 cup chopped onion
~2 tablespoons shredded carrot


Preheat oven to 375°F.   Press dough onto bottom and up side of 15x10x1-inch baking pan to form crust.  Bake 11 to 13 minutes or until golden brown; cool.

Mix cream cheese, dressing, dill and onion salt until well blended.  Spread over crust; top with remaining ingredients.  Refrigerate.  Cut into squares.

Saturday, June 8, 2013

Chicken & Squash Enchiladas

Here is another recipe from the Weight Watchers Cookbook I dusted off earlier in the week.   The enchiladas were really quite good.  Despite using those tiny 6" tortillas, I was pleasantly surprised to find that the serving size of 2 enchiladas was perfectly satisfying.  We paired them with some Mexican rice.

Chicken & Squash Enchiladas (2013 Cookbook Challenge)
Recipe from Weight Watchers Cook It Quick Cookbook
Serves 4;  215 calories/2 enchiladas

1 cup shredded cooked chicken breast  (I cheated and used ChiChi's shredded chicken)
1 small yellow squash, diced
1 cup reduced-fat shredded Mexican cheese blend
1/2 cup plain fat-free yogurt
1 jalapeño pepper, diced
1 small jar salsa
8 (6-inch) corn tortillas
2 tablespoons minced parsley (optional)

Preheat oven to 400ºF.   Spread 1/3 cup of the salsa in the bottom of a 9x13" baking dish.

In a medium bowl, mix the chicken, squash, yogurt, jalepeños, and 1/2 cup of cheese.  Spread about 1/4 cup of chicken mixture down the center of each tortilla.  Roll up and place seam side down in the baking dish.  Pour the remaining salsa over the tortillas, then sprinkle with the remaining 1/2 cup cheese.  Cover with foil and bake 20-30 minutes until cheese melts.   Sprinkle with parsley and serve.

Friday, June 7, 2013

Feta-Stuffed Lamb Burgers with Tzatziki

I wanted to make a lighter dinner, so I found this recipe in a Weight Watchers cookbook.    Instead of making larger burgers, I made smaller meatballs and put two meatballs in a pita pocket.  The meatballs were good, but the tzatziki sauce wasn't as successful.  

Feta-Stuffed Lamb Burgers  (2013 Cookbook Challenge)
(Recipe adapted from Weight Watchers Cook It Quick Cookbook
Makes 4 servings; 350 calories/serving

1 pound lean ground lamb
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
2 teaspoons minced rosemary leaves
6 tablespoons crumbled feta cheese, reduced-fat
4 large romaine lettuce leaves
4 pita pockets (I used Brownberry Italian Herb Flatbread Pocket Thins) 
1/2 cup tzatziki (see recipe below)

Combine the lamb, seasonings, and feta cheese and form into 4 burgers or 8 meatballs.  Cook the burgers in a nonstick skillet until browned, turning to brown each side, about 7-10 minutes total.

Place a lettuce leaf in each pita pocket, followed by the burger, and top with 2 tablespoons tzatziki.


Tzatziki Recipe

1 cup grated seeded peeled cucumber
1 cup plain fat-free Greek yogurt
1 tablespoon chopped fresh mint
2 teaspoons chopped fresh dill
2 teaspoons fresh lemon juice
1/4 teaspoon salt
2 garlic cloves, minced

Combine all ingredients until well blended.  Refrigerate at least an hour before serving.

Thursday, June 6, 2013

Cheese Soufflé

I've been wanting to tackle the classic cheese soufflé for a long time, so I turned to Ms Julia Child for instructions.   Her instructions are a bit long-winded, but I got good results.  I was proud as a peacock when my soufflés puffed up a few inches above the rim.  I didn't own a large Charlotte mold as the recipe wanted, so I just used smaller-sized regular ol' American Pyrex ramekins.  The soufflé tasted good, but next time, I think I'd add spinach to it for something extra.  I'm going to repeat the recipe here in my own more concise format the way I made it.

Soufflé au Fromage  (2013 Cookbook Challenge)
from Mastering the Art of French Cooking
Serves 4

1 teaspoon butter
1 tablespoon grated Parmesan cheese
1 cup boiling milk
3 tablespoons butter
3 tablespoons flour
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/8 teaspoon pepper
pinch of nutmeg
pinch of Cayenne pepper
4 egg yolks
5 egg whites
2 pinches salt
1/4 teaspoon cream of tartar
1 cup grated Gruyère cheese

Directions (in my own words):
Preheat oven to 400ºF.

Butter the bottom and sides of four 10-12oz ramekins. Dust with Parmesan cheese, tapping out excess.  Set on a baking sheet and set aside.

Boil milk.  Meanwhile, melt 3 tablespoons butter in a medium saucepan over medium heat.  Stir in flour with a wooden spoon and cook until they foam together for a couple minutes without browning.  Remove from the heat; when it stops bubbling, pour in all the boiling milk at once.  Beat vigorously with a wire whisk until blended.  Beat in the seasonings.  Return to medium heat and boil, whisking the mixture for a minute.  Sauce should be very thick.  Remove from the heat.

Separate the eggs.  Drop the yolks into the sauce, whisking well after each addition.  Add more seasoning if necessary.  

Put the whites in a separate bowl.  (Discard the extra yolk from the 5th egg).  If using an electric mixer, beat with a pinch of salt on low speed, gradually increasing speed.  When the whites start to foam, add another big pinch of salt and the cream of tartar, and keep increasing speed for another minute or so until whites are shining and stiff.  Do not overbeat the whites.

Stir a big spoonful of the whites into the sauce.  Stir in all but a tablespoon of the Gruyère Cheese.  Delicately fold in the rest of the whites with a rubber spatula, being careful not to overfold.  It should only take a few strokes.  It is better to leave a few unblended patches than to deflate the egg whites.

Transfer the mixture evenly into the ramkins, about 3/4 full.  Sprinkle remaining cheese on top.  Set on a rack in the middle level of 400º oven and immediately turn the heat down to 375º.  Bake for 20-25 minutes until soufflé is puffed and top is nicely browned.  Do not open oven while baking.  Serve immediately.