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, November 20, 2014

Pan-Roasted Chicken Breasts with Root Vegetables

This recipe is definitely a keeper.  Delicious crispy flavorful skin on the chicken and the vegetables even tasted great too.  I especially enjoyed the Brussels sprouts for some reason.  The fresh thyme added nice fragrance to the dish.

Pan-Roasted Chicken Breasts with Root Vegetables
from America's Test Kitchen Cooking for Two 2013
Serves 2

2 bone-in split chicken breasts
6 ounces Brussles sprouts
6 ounces red potatoes, cut into 1-inch pieces
2 carrots, peeled and cut into 1-inch pieces
2 shallots, peeled and quartered
3 garlic cloves, peeled
1 tablespoon vegetable oil
2 teaspoons fresh thyme
1/2 teaspoon sugar
salt and pepper
1 tablespoon unsalted butter, melted

Preheat oven to 475ºF.  Toss Brussels sprouts, potatoes, carrots, shallots, garlic, oil, 1 teaspoon thyme, sugar, 1/4 teaspoon salt, and 1/8 teaspoon pepper together in a medium bowl.  Place veggies in a single layer on a rimmed baking sheet, arranging sprouts in the middle and leaving a couple inches from the sides of the pan.

In a small bowl, combine melted butter, 1 teaspoon thyme, 1/4 teaspoon salt, and 1/8 teaspoon black pepper.    Pat chicken dry and season with salt and pepper.  Place chicken, skin side up, on top of the Brussels sprouts.  Brush chicken with the herb butter and roast until chicken registers 160º, about 30-35 minutes, rotating pan halfway through cooking.   If necessary, remove chicken and keep tented and return vegetables to oven for another 5-10 minutes. (It wasn't needed for me)

Wednesday, November 19, 2014

Chinese Five Spice Pork Chops

The Wheel of Meals landed on Meals Under $10

It's fairly easy to make a meal under $10 when it's just two people.  I'm sure I could have come up with something for under $5 if I wanted, but I was in the mood for pork chops.  I rounded to the nearest nickle from my grocery bill:

$4.35 Center-Cut Rib Pork Chops  (2 chops)
$3.50 Bok Choy  (1 head) - This was more costly than I had expected
$2.00 Microwavable Rice  (1 package)  I was feeling lazy
all other ingredients were in my pantry/fridge
$9.85 total

Ok, the aromas coming from my kitchen while this baked were incredible.   I wasn't sure how the Chinese five-spice blend would work with the pork, but it was good.  I served it with white rice and sauteed garlic bok choy for an Asian feel.

Chinese Five Spice Pork Chops
from somewhere on the internet

2 large pork chops (3/4-1" thick)
1/2 tablespoon Chinese five spice powder
1 tablespoon soy sauce
1 tablespoon olive oil
2 cloves garlic, minced

Arrange pork chops in a glass baking dish.  Sprinkle the five spice powder over the chops then drizzle the soy sauce, olive oil, and garlic over the top.  Rub mixture into the meat.   Cover the dish with plastic wrap and refrigerate for 2 hours.  Uncover and bake in a preheated 325º oven for 30-40 minutes until the meat is cooked through.

For the bok choy, I sauteed the chopped white bok choy stem pieces in a small pat of butter in a skillet over medium heat along with a couple minced gloves of garlic.  When softened after 5-10 minutes, I added the coarsely chopped green leaves and let the leaves wilt, just a minute or two.  Add salt and pepper and serve.

Oven-Baked Bone-In Chicken Breasts

Oops.  I accidentally bought bone-in split chicken breasts instead of the skinless, boneless variety I had intended.  I found this recipe online, and it was fast and easy to prepare the chicken.   The flavor was great overall, but it seemed a little salty to me so maybe I'd cut back on the celery salt next time.  I liked the crispy skin and the chicken was juicy underneath.  A good healthy alternative to fried chicken.

Oven-Baked Bone-In Chicken Breasts

2 or 3 bone-in skin-on split chicken breasts
1 teaspoon garlic powder
1/2 teaspoon celery salt
1/2 teaspoon onion powder
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
1/4 teaspoon black pepper
1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
1 teaspoon baking powder

Preheat oven to 425ºF.   Trim the chicken of fat if necessary.

Combine all the spices and rub them over the chicken breasts.  Place chicken on a baking pan lined with foil and fitted with a baking rack (coat the rack with cooking spray).   Bake for 45-55 minutes (depends on the size of the breasts) until a thermometer reaches an internal temp of 165º.

Saturday, November 8, 2014

Pulled Pork and Caramelized Onion Quesadillas

We had a lot of leftover pulled pork and didn't feel like having pulled pork sandwiches AGAIN (even though they were good), so we decided to mix it up a little and make these yummy quesadillas.   The caramelized onions were a delicious addition to the pork.  I tried my wedges a couple ways: with a BBQ sauce drizzle (yum!) and with a homemade guacamole (double yum!).  Jeremy ate his plain and liked them that way too.

Pulled Pork and Caramelized Onion Quesadillas
Makes 4 quesadillas

3 tablespoons butter, divided
1 teaspoon olive oil
1 large yellow onion, sliced
pinch of brown sugar
salt and pepper, to taste
8 medium tortillas
2 cups cooked pulled pork
2 cups shredded pepperjack (or any type) cheese
BBQ sauce for dipping (optional)
guacamole for dipping (optional)

Melt 1 tablespoon butter in a large skillet over medium-low heat.  Once melted, add the olive oil and onions, stirring occasionally, until they are deep golden brown and caramelized, about 20-30 minutes.  Add a pinch of brown sugar and season with salt and pepper.  Remove from heat and set aside.

Lay 4 tortillas flat and divide cheese evenly.  Add pulled pork and caramelized onions and place second tortillas on top.

If using a quesadilla maker (like I did), preheat and cook each one for 3-5 minutes.

For stovetop, heat a large skillet over medium heat.  Add 1/2 tablespoon butter and let melt.  Add a single quesadilla and cook for 2-4 minutes until golden brown on the bottom.  Flip and cook for another 2-4 minutes on the other side.   Serve with a drizzle of BBQ sauce if desired.

Friday, November 7, 2014

Crockpot Sausage, Lentil, and Swiss Chard Sauce

This was really good on its first day, but everything started to get a tad mushy and wilted in subsequent days for the leftovers.  I added twice as many veggies as the recipe called for and thought it was a good amount.

Rustic Sausage, Lentil, and Swiss Chard Sauce
from Slow Cooker Revolution
Makes enough to sauce 1 pound of pasta

1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
1 pound Italian Sausage, removed from casing
2 onions, minced
2 carrots, peeled and sliced 1/4" thick
1 celery rib, minced
6 garlic cloves, minced
1 teaspoon dried oregano
1/3 cup flour
1/2 cup dry white wine
5 cups low-sodium chicken broth
3/4 cup lentils
2 bay leaves
1 pound Swiss Chard, stemmed and leaves chopped
salt and pepper

Heat oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat until just smoking.  Brown sausage well, breaking up large pieces, about 5 minutes; transfer sausage to the slow cooker, reserving the fat in the skillet.  

Add onions, carrots, celery, garlic, and oregano to the leftover fat in the skillet and cook over medium-high heat for 8 to 10 minutes until vegetables are softened.  Stir in flour and cook for 1 minute.  Slowly whisk in wine, scraping up any browned bits and smoothing out any lumps; transfer to slow cooker.

Stir broth, lentils, and bay leaves into the slow cooker.  Cover and cook on low for 8-11 hours on low or 5-7 hours on high until lentils are tender.

Gently stir in chard leaves and cook 20-30 more minutes.  Discard bay leaves, season with salt and pepper to taste, and serve over pasta.