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 2017:
* Use the Spiralizer at least once per week for healthy veggie-rich meals
* Continue to spin from the Wheel of Meals for recipe inspiration

Sunday, July 21, 2013

Blackened Tilapia Baja Tacos and Quinoa, Mango & Black Bean Salad




This meal was very filling and quite good.  The fish had great flavor.  Next time, I'd leave off the raw onions and add more avocado/tomato mixture instead.  The quinoa salad was good too, but as a side dish, it made way more than 2 servings!  That's fine--now I have leftovers.

Blackened Tilapia Baja Tacos (2013 Cookbook Challenge)
from Cooking Light: The New Way to Cook Light
Serves 4 (2 tacos/serving);  362 calories/serving

Ingredients:
1/4 cup reduced-fat sour cream
2 tablespoons chopped fresh cilantro
2 tablespoons fresh lime juice
1 jalapeño pepper, seeded and chopped
1 cup thinly sliced white onion
1/2 tablespoon paprika
1/2 tablespoon brown sugar
1 teaspoon dried oregano
3/4 teaspoon garlic powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
1/4 teaspoon ground red pepper
1 tablespoon canola oil
4 (6-oz) tilapia fillets
8 (6-inch) corn tortillas
1/2 ripe peeled avocado, thinly sliced
1/2 tomato, diced
4 lime wedges

Directions:
Place sour cream, cilantro, lime juice, and jalapeño in a food processor and process until smooth.  Place in a small bowl and toss with onions.

Combine dry ingredients and sprinkly evenly over fish.   Heat a large skillet over medium-high heat.  Add oil to pan and swirl to coat.  Add fish to pan and cook 3 minutes on each side or until fish flakes easily with a fork.

Warm tortillas according to package directions.  Divide fish, onion mixture, tomato, and avocado evenly among tortillas.  Serve with lime wedges.


Quinoa, Mango, & Black Bean Salad (2013 Cookbook Challenge)
from Eating Well Serves Two
Serves 2; 422 calories/serving

Ingredients:
1/2 cup quinoa
1 cup water
1/4 cup orange juice
1/4 cup chopped fresh cilantro
2 tablespoons rice vinegar
2 teaspoons toasted sesame oil
1 teaspoon minced fresh ginger
1/8 teaspoon salt
pinch of Cayenne pepper
1 small mango, diced
1 small red bell pepper, diced
1 cup canned black beans, rinsed
2 scallions, thinly sliced

Directions:
Toast quinoa in a small dry saucepan over medium heat, stirring often, until it crackles and becomes aromatic, about 4-6 minutes.  Transfer to a fine sieve and rinse thoroughly.  Return the quinoa to the pot and add water.  Bring to a simmer.  Cover and cook until the quinoa is tender and the liquid has been absorbed, 15-20 minutes.

Meanwhile, in a medium bowl, whisk together the orange juice, cilantro, vinegar, oil, ginger, salt, and cayenne.  Add mango, bell pepper, beans, and scallions; toss to coat.   When the quinoa is finished cooking, add to the mango mixture and toss to combine.

Saturday, July 20, 2013

Strawberry-Rhubarb Ice Cream


We had some rhubarb in the freezer that Jeremy wanted me to use up, so I debated which type of yummy dessert I wanted to make with it.  I was going to make a rhubarb torte from one of my cookbooks, but then I was browsing at Barnes & Noble, and discovered a book in the cookbook aisle (gee, how did I fortuitously end up there?!) called The Ice Cream Bible.   I noticed that one of the recipes was for Strawberry-Rhubarb Ice Cream, so I felt it was fate that I should buy this book for Jeremy (uh huh, for Jeremy, yeah).   The ice cream was delicious.  I used skim milk because that's what we had on hand and it still turned out great.  I didn't notice much of a rhubarb taste because the strawberries really dominated the flavor, but I don't care because it was just plain yummy.

Strawberry-Rhubarb Ice Cream
Recipe from The Ice Cream Bible
Serves 8

Ingredients:
2 cups chopped rhubarb, about 1/2" pieces (fresh or frozen)
1/2 cup water
2 eggs
2/3 cup granulated sugar
1 cup milk
1 cup whipping cream
2 cups chopped ripe strawberries

Directions:
In a medium saucepan over medium heat, bring rhubarb and water to a simmer.  Cook, stirring occasionally, for 15 minutes or until rhubarb is soft and resembles thick applesauce.  Using the back of a wooden spoon, push through a fine sieve.  Set aside.

In a bowl, whisk eggs with sugar until thickened and pale yellow.  Set aside.

In a separate medium saucepan over medium-low heat, bring milk and cream to a simmer.  Very gradually, whisk into the egg mixture.   Return the entire mixture to the saucepan and cook over low heat, stirring constantly, until the mixture is thick enough to coat the back of a wooden spoon.  Be careful not to let it boil.  Strain into a clean large bowl.  Let cool to room temperature.

Once cool, stir in rhubarb mixture and strawberries.  Cover and refrigerate 6-8 hours.   Stir mixture and transfer to an ice cream maker.  Run for 20 minutes.  Freeze for a couple hours.  Enjoy!

Friday, July 19, 2013

Thyme & Sesame-Crusted Halibut and Summer Squash Salad with Prosciutto Crisps


Wow, delicious and healthy!  And speedy.  The fresh halibut I got from the meat counter was a bit expensive, but the end result was so worth it.  I liked the crunch of the sesame seeds countering the tender flakiness of the fish, especially with a squirt of fresh lemon juice.  This recipe is a keeper.   I also enjoyed the cool shaved summer squash salad.  The fresh mint in the salad definitely hit the spot with the lemon flavor, and who doesn't love crispy prosciutto?  I even liked the Ricotta Salata, which is a sheep's milk cheese similar to feta. 


Thyme and Sesame-Crusted Pacific Halibut  (2013 Cookbook Challenge)
From Eating Well Serves Two
Serves 2
225 calories/serving

Ingredients:
1 tablespoon lemon juice
1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
1/2 teaspoon minced garlic
freshly ground pepper to taste
8 ounces Pacific halibut, cut into 2 portions
1 tablespoon sesame seeds, toasted
1 teaspoon dried thyme leaves
1/8 teaspoon kosher salt
lemon wedges

Directions:
Mix lemon juice, oil, garlic, and pepper in a shallow glass dish.  Add fish and turn to coat.  Cover and marinate in the fridge for 15 minutes.   Meanwhile, combine the sesame seeds and thyme in a small bowl.

Sprinkle the fish with salt and coat evenly with the sesame seed mixture, covering the top and all sides.  Transfer fish to a baking sheet lined with aluminum foil and roast at 450ºF until cooked through, about 10-14 minutes.  Serve with lemon wedges.


Shaved Summer Squash Salad with Prosciutto Crisps (2013 Cookbook Challenge)
From Cooking Light: The New Way to Cook Light
Serves 4
68 calories/serving

Ingredients:
2 yellow squash
1 zucchini
1/8 teaspoon salt
2 tablespoons thinly sliced fresh mint
1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
1/2 teaspoon grated lemon rind
1 teaspoon fresh lemon juice
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
3 thin sliced prosciutto (~1oz), chopped
1/4 cup (1oz) crumbled ricotta salata cheese

Directions:
Shave squash and zucchini into thin strips using a vegetable peeler or mandolin.  Discard seeds.  Place veggies in a bowl and toss with salt.  Combine mint, oil, lemon rind, lemon juice, and pepper in a small bowl, stirring with a whisk.  Pour over squash and toss to coat.

Heat a small skillet over medium heat.  Add prosciutto; saute 2 minutes or until crisp, stirring occasionally.  Divide salad evenly among 4 plates.  Top each serving with 1 tablespoon cheese and sprinkle with prosciutto.

Sunday, July 7, 2013

Grilled Ribeye, Grilled Cheesy Potato Pouches, and Cucumber Salsa


I decided to try a little grilling experiment with cheesy scalloped potatoes to go along with our Ribeye Steaks.   Yum.  The cheese burned a little on the sides, but other than that, it was really yummy.   The steaks were good, of course, but next time, I'd used less pepper in the rub.  It was a little spicy for my taste buds.  Luckily, the cucumber salsa cooled it down a bit.


Perfect Peppered Ribeye Steaks (2013 Cookbook Challenge)
Recipe from Taste of Home -Grill It!
Serves 4

Ingredients:
2 beef ribeye steaks (1&1/2 inches thick)
1/2 tablespoon olive oil
1/2 tablespoon garlic powder
1/2 tablespoon paprika
1 teaspoon dried ground thyme
1 teaspoon dried ground oregano
1 teaspoon ground black pepper
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon lemon-pepper seasoning
1 teaspoon Cayenne pepper

Directions:
Brush steaks lightly with oil.  In a small bowl, combine all the seasonings.  Sprinkle seasoning over steaks and press into both sides.  Cover and chill for an hour.

Grill, covered, over medium heat (or broil) for 7-8 minutes on each side until meat reaches desired doneness (145-160º).   Let stand 5 minutes before slicing.  Cut across the grain into thick slices.


Grilled Cheesy Scalloped Potato Pouches
Adapted from Taste of Home's Grilling Recipe Collection
Serves 2

Ingredients:
2 potatoes, sliced 1/4" thick  (I used medium-sized red potatoes)
1/2 onion, chopped
1/2 cup shredded Gruyère cheese
1/4 cup shredded cheddar cheese
1/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese
1 slice bacon, cooked and crumbled
1 tablespoon butter, cubed
1/2 tablespoon minced chives
3/4 teaspoon seasoned salt
1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper

Directions:
Divide the potatoes and onions equally between two pieces of heavy-duty foil (about 18" square).  Combine the cheeses and sprinkle over potatoes.  Top with bacon, butter, chives, salt, and pepper. 

Bring opposite ends of foil together over filling and fold down several times.  Fold unsealed ends toward the center and crimp tightly.   Grill, covered, over medium heat for 35-40 minutes until potatoes are tender.  Remove from grill and carefully open foil.


Crisp Cucumber Salsa
from Taste of Home
16 calories per 1/4 cup salsa

Ingredients:
~1 cup finely chopped seeded peeled cucumber
~1/2 cup finely chopped seeded tomato
2 tablespoons chopped red onion
1 tablespoon minced fresh parsley
1/2 jalapeno pepper, seeded and chopped
2 teaspoons minced fresh cilantro
1/2 garlic clove, minced
2 tablespoons reduced-fat sour cream
3/4 teaspoon lemon juice
3/4 teaspoon lime juice
1/8 teaspoon ground cumin
1/8 teaspoon seasoned salt

Directions:
In a small bowl, combine the first seven ingredients.  In another bowl, combine the remaining ingredients.  Pour the sour cream mixture over the cucumber mixture and toss gently to coat.  Serve with tortilla chips or as a garnish.

State Fair Cream Puffs


I decided to make cream puffs for a coworker picnic because they're a fun summertime treat and something different.  They seemed to go over well.  I liked them.  Here is the recipe I borrowed from online.  I doubled the recipe for the picnic.

Wisconsin State Fair Cream Puffs
Makes 10-12 cream puffs.

Ingredients:
1 cup water
1/2 cup butter
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 cup all-purpose flour
4 eggs
2 tablespoons milk
1 egg yolk, lightly beaten
2 cups heavy whipping cream
1/4 cup confectioners' sugar
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
Additional confectioners' sugar

Directions:
In a large saucepan, bring the water, butter and salt to a boil over medium heat. Add flour all at once and stir until a smooth ball forms. Remove from the heat; let stand for 5 minutes. Add eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition. Continue beating until mixture is smooth and shiny.

Drop by 1/4 cupfuls 3 in. apart onto greased baking sheets. Combine milk and egg yolk; brush over puffs. Bake at 400° for 30-35 minutes or until golden brown. Remove to wire racks. Immediately cut
a slit in each for steam to escape; cool.

In a large bowl, beat cream until it begins to thicken. Add sugar and vanilla; beat until almost stiff. Split cream puffs; discard soft dough from inside. Fill the cream puffs just before serving. Dust
with confectioners' sugar.  Refrigerate leftovers.