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

Friday, March 27, 2015

Chicken Vesuvio for Two

I had potatoes to use up, plus chicken breasts and frozen peas in the freezer, so this recipe just made sense.  It was easy and delicious.  I thought the sauce was very flavorful.

Chicken Vesuvio
From The Complete Cooking for Two Cookbook
Serves 2

2 (6-8 oz) boneless, skinless chicken breasts
salt and pepper
1/4 cup flour
5 teaspoons olive oil
12 ounces red potatoes, cut into 1" pieces
1 garlic clove, minced
1/2 teaspoon dried oregano
1/4 teaspoon minced rosemary
1 cup chicken broth
1/4 cup dry white wine
1/2 cup frozen peas, thawed
2 tablespoons unsalted butter, chilled
1 teaspoon lemon juice

Pat chicken dry and season with salt and pepper.  Working with one breast at a time, dredge chicken into a shallow dish of flour.

Heat 1 tablespoon oil in a skillet over medium-high heat.  Brown chicken lightly, 3-4 minutes per side;  transfer breasts to a plate and wipe skillet clean.

Heat remaining 2 teaspoons oil in the skillet over medium-high heat.  Add potatoes and cook, stirring occasionally, until golden brown, about 7 minutes.  Stir in the garlic, oregano, rosemary, and a pinch of salt; cook until fragrant, about 30 seconds.  Stir in the broth and wine, scraping up any browned bits with a wooden spoon.

Nestle browned chicken into potatoes, add any accumulated juices, and bring to a simmer.  Reduce heat to medium-low, cover, and simmer about 15 minutes, flipping chicken halfway through cooking, until it registers 160º.   Transfer chicken to a serving platter and loosely tent with foil.

Increase heat to medium and continue to simmer potatoes and sauce, uncovered, until potatoes are tender, about 5 more minutes.  Off heat, stir in the peas, butter, and lemon juice, and season with salt and pepper to taste.  Serve over the chicken.

Tuesday, March 17, 2015

Cheesy Potato Soup

I combined a few different Potato Soup recipes from my bridal shower collection to make this St. Patrick's Day soup.  I just picked ingredients I already had on hand (carrots, onion, celery) and omitted things I didn't have (bouillon cubes) and sort of did my own thing.  It turned out pretty good.  I think it would have been better with cubed ham or bacon or some meat in there.

Cheesy Potato Soup

2 large Yukon Gold potatoes, peeled and diced
1 cup diced celery (~2 ribs)
1 cup sliced carrots
1/2 large onion, diced
1 garlic cloves, minced
1 teaspoon olive oil
2 tablespoons flour
1&1/2 cups milk, warmed in microwave
salt and pepper
1 cup chicken broth
saved potato water
8oz cubed cheddar cheese


Parboil the carrots, celery, and potatoes in a large pot of water for 5 minutes.  Strain, and save water.

In the empty pot, saute the onions in oil over medium heat until onions are tender. Add garlic and cook for another 30 seconds.  Add the flour and slowly whisk in the milk to make the rue.

Add the strained vegetables back to the pot and season with salt and pepper. Add chicken broth and enough of the saved potato water to reach desired consistency.  Simmer on low heat for 60 to 90  minutes until potatoes are soft.  Add cubed cheese and stir until melted.  Add salt and pepper to taste and serve.

Saturday, March 14, 2015

Whiskey Pulled Pork Shepherd's Pie with Cheddar Biscuit Crust

Oh, yes.  For Pi Day, I wanted to make a savory pie.  As I was browsing the internet, I came across this recipe from TheKitchenWhisperer and thought it sounded like a delicious twist on Shepherd's Pie.  It has BBQ Pork instead of lamb.  Plus a cheddar biscuit crust.  Sounded like a winner to me.  Since I made the Whiskey BBQ Pulled Pork Sandwiches a couple days ago, I had the pork and sauce already made.  So I only had to make the homemade mashed potatoes and the crust, making the recipe much less daunting.  I thought it tasted fabulous.  Loved the crust, loved the BBQ pork.  Lots of work, but worth it.  The photos don't do it justice.  Tasted way better than it looks.

Whiskey Pulled Pork Shepherd's Pie with Cheddar Biscuit Crust
from TheKitchenWhisperer

2 cups flour
1/4 cup sugar
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
4 tablespoons cold butter, cut into cubes
1/3 cup cream
2 tablespoons chives
2&1/2 cups shredded sharp cheddar, divided
3 cups Pulled Pork  (see below)
1 cup Whiskey BBQ Sauce  (see below)
2 cups Mashed Potatoes  (see below)

In a large bowl, mix together the flour, sugar, baking powder, baking soda, salt, and chives.  Cut in the butter using a pastry cutter (or a fork) until you have pea-sized chunks.  Pour in the cream and combine using a wooden spoon.  Pour the crumbly mixture onto a lightly floured surface.  Add 1/2 cup shredded cheese into the dough and gather the dough together until it can stick to itself without falling apart.  Try not to overwork it.  It should be tacky but not wet.

Pat the dough into a 9" pie plate coated with cooking spray. It should be an even 1/4-1/2" thick on the bottom and up the sides of the dish all the way to top of the pie dish.

Add the pulled pork.   Drizzle 1/2 cup BBQ Sauce on top of pork.  Sprinkle 2 cups shredded cheese over that.  Using a spatula, gently spread 2 cups of mashed potatoes on top.  Bake at 350º for 35-40 minutes until the crust is slightly golden brown.   For crispy peaks on the potatoes, broil for a minute or two.  Remove from oven and allow to cool for 10 minutes before serving.   If desired, drizzle a little more warmed BBQ Sauce over top.


Pulled Pork  
4 lb Pork Butt
1/2 cup water
1/4 cup BBQ Spice Rub  (see recipe here)

Pat dry the pork.  Rub generously with Spice Rub.  Place, fat side up, in slow cooker. Add water so that it comes up an inch high.  Cover and cook on low for 8-10 hours.  Remove and shred using 2 forks.

Whiskey BBQ Sauce
5 cups original BBQ Sauce
1 cup whiskey
1 cup water
3 teaspoons liquid smoke
1/2 cup molasses
2 teaspoons smoked paprika
1/2 teaspoon cayenne
2 teaspoons onion powder
2 teaspoons salt
1 teaspoon black pepper

Whisk ingredients together in a medium sauce pan.  Bring to a boil, then reduce heat and let simmer for about 30 minutes, stirring occasionally, until thickened.

Mashed Potatoes
5 large Yukon gold potatoes, peeled
6-7 tablespoons butter
1/4 cup milk
1/4 cup cream
1 teaspoon kosher salt
1 teaspoon fresh ground black pepper

Place potatoes in a deep pot and completely cover with water.  Add 1/2 teaspoon salt.  Bring to a boil and cook for 30-35 minutes until a fork can pierce without resistance.  Drain, return to the pot, and mash.  Add in the butter, milk, and cream and continue to mash until creamy.  Add salt and pepper and mix.

Chocolate Peanut Butter Pie

It's the Ultimate Pi Day:  3/14/15.  Only happens once a century.   I made a Pulled Pork Shepherd's Pie for dinner which took a lot of steps, so I figured a nice easy no-cook dessert pie would be a good idea.   This was really quite delicious.  It was also very rich, so only a small slice was needed.

Chocolate Peanut Butter Pie

1 Oreo Crust
1 cup creamy peanut butter
1 (8oz) package cream cheese, softened
1 cup powdered sugar
1 (8oz) package Cool Whip, thawed
shaved chocolate or fudge topping (optional)

Beat together the peanut butter and cream cheese. Add the powdered sugar and beat until smooth.  Add in the whipped topping and beat until smooth.  Pour the filling into the crust.  Chill for at least an hour before serving.

Friday, March 13, 2015

Whiskey BBQ Pulled Pork Sandwiches

Oh Yum.  Slow cooked pork with a BBQ sauce.   Can't go wrong.   Despite the long ingredient list, it really doesn't take much preparation.  The Crockpot does most of the work.  I thought about adding some caramelized onions on top, but we were hungry and I didn't have enough time for that step.  Maybe next time. I only used a small portion of the Pulled Pork and the BBQ Sauce for our sandwiches, but I have a recipe in mind for the remainder on Saturday for Pi Day.   Stay tuned for that recipe.

Whiskey BBQ Pulled Pork 
from TheKitchenWhisperer

4 lb pork butt
1/2 cup water
1/4 cup BBQ Spice Rub
2&1/2 cups Whiskey BBQ Sauce

BBQ Spice Rub  (makes ~3/4 cup)
2 tablespoons sea salt
1 tablespoon celery salt
1 tablespoon smoked paprika
2 teaspoons ground cumin
2 teaspoons garlic powder
1 tablespoon fresh black pepper
1 teaspoon cayenne pepper
2 teaspoons ground mustard
4 tablespoons dark brown sugar

Whiskey BBQ Sauce   (makes way more than what you need)
5 cups original BBQ Sauce (not honey)
1 cup whiskey
1 cup water
3 teaspoons liquid smoke
1/2 cup molasses
2 teaspoons smoked paprika
1/2 teaspoon cayenne
2 teaspoons onion powder
2 teaspoons salt
1 teaspoon black pepper


To makes the BBQ Spice Rub, mix by hand or pulse the ingredients a few times in a food processor.  Store excess in a glass jar in a cool, dry place.

Pat dry the pork.  Generously rub the spice rub all over the meat.  Place, fat side up, in the crock pot.  Add just enough water so that it comes up 1 inch high.  Cover and cook on low for 8 to 10 hours.   When done, remove from pot and place in a large serving bowl.  Using two forks, shred the meat to the desired chunk size.

Near the end of the pork's cooking time, add all the BBQ Sauce ingredients in a medium sauce pan.  Whisk well and bring to a boil.  Reduce heat to a simmer and cook for about 30 minutes, stirring occasionally, until sauce is thickened.   Store extra sauce in a glass container in the fridge for another use.

Mix enough BBQ Sauce into the pork until just wet and infused with the flavor you desire.  Enjoy on a bun or whatever you want.    Also freezes well.