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

Saturday, October 24, 2015

Balsamic-Braised Chicken Thighs


I had some chicken thighs in the freezer and this recipe looked like a good way to use them up.  The cookbook is supposed to be "meals for two" but I have no idea how the author thinks one person can eat 3 thighs.  I was stuffed after two.  Oh well.  Now we have leftovers for another night. I added my own take to the recipe by substituting pre-cooked polenta (because I'm lazy that way) and roasting some asparagus.  The cookbook didn't include a photo, but I think mine looks fairly elegant.  The bacon was really unnecessary but still tasty.  I really liked the chicken and gave it two thumbs up, but Jeremy thought the fig sauce made it too sweet for his taste (but he dislikes any type of fruit and meat together).

Balsamic-Braised Chicken Thighs
over Polenta with Figs and Roasted Asparagus
Recipe adapted from One Pan, Two Plates

Ingredients:
5-6 boneless, skinless chicken thighs
salt and pepper
2 slices bacon
1 tablespoon unsalted butter
1 small onion, chopped
2 garlic cloves, chopped
6 dried Calimyrna figs, stemmed and quartered
1/2 cup chicken broth
3 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
4 slices cooked polenta
roasted asparagus (make while you cook the chicken)

Directions:
Heat a large skillet over medium-high heat and add the bacon.  Cook, turning as needed until crispy. Transfer bacon to a paper towel to drain.

Pat the chicken dry and season with salt and pepper.  Add chicken to the bacon drippings in the skillet and cook until nicely browned on both sides (2-3 minutes per side).  Transfer chicken to a plate (it won't be fully cooked yet).

Pour off all but 1 tablespoon of fat in the skillet.  Add butter, onion, and garlic, and reduce heat to medium-low.  Season with salt and pepper and cook gently until the onion softens, about 4 minutes.

Add the figs and chicken broth and raise the heat to medium-high. Bring to a simmer, stirring to scrape up any browned bits.  Return the chicken to the skillet along with any accumulated juices.  Reduce heat to low, cover, and simmer until chicken is cooked through, about 15 minutes. Using tongs, transfer chicken to a platter.

Turn the heat back up to medium-high, add the vinegar, and cook to reduce the liquid by half.  Use a fork to mash up the onion, figs, and garlic into a jammy sauce.  Pour the sauce over the chicken.

Return the skillet to the heat (don't bother wiping it out).  Saute the polenta rounds on each side until heated throughout.

Put the polenta on a plate and top with the chicken and plenty of fig sauce.  Next, top with roasted asparagus and crumbled bacon.

Chicken and Black Bean Enchiladas


The Wheel of Meals landed on International, so I decided to go the Mexican route.  This seemed like a no-fuss, fool-proof recipe using shredded rotisserie chicken and canned sauce.  I couldn't find crumbled Cojita cheese in the store, so I just bought a pre-shredded Mexican blend instead.  We both thought the enchiladas tasted great, especially paired with a roasted corn and bell pepper blend with fresh avocado slices.

Chicken & Black Bean Enchiladas
Recipe adapted from Sheet Pan Suppers
Serves 4

Ingredients:
2 cups shredded cooked chicken
1 can (4oz) diced green chiles, drained
2 cups enchilada sauce
1 cup canned black beans, rinsed and drained
1/2 cup chopped onion
1 teaspoon cumin
1/4 teaspoon Cayenne pepper
salt and pepper
1 cup (~5 oz) crumbled Cojita cheese (or any shredded cheese works too)
1/4 cup chopped fresh cilantro plus some for garnish
10 small (6-inch) tortillas (I used corn)

Directions:
In a small skillet, heat a little olive oil over medium-high heat.  Saute the onions for a couple minutes, until translucent. Add the cumin, Cayenne, and a pinch of salt and pepper. Set aside.

In a large bowl, combine the chicken with the chiles, 1/2 cup enchilada sauce, black beans, sauteed onions, 1/2 cup cheese, and 1/4 cup cilantro.

Pour 1 cup of the enchilada sauce into a 9x13 pan, covering its bottom.

Lay a tortilla on a work surface and place 1/4 cup chicken filling in the middle.  Roll up tightly, tuck ends under, and place in pan.  All 10 rolled tortillas should be able to fit in the pan side by side in two rows.

Pour the remaining sauces over the top of the enchiladas and sprinkle the remaining 1/2 cup cheese over the top.

Cover with foil and bake at 375º for 25-30 minutes. Remove foil and bake for 5 minutes.  Garnish with a little chopped cilantro and serve with corn, rice, and/or avocado slices. Enjoy!


Saturday, October 10, 2015

Grilled Rosemary Pork Chops and Balsamic Roasted Purple Potatoes


Both of these recipes turned out great!  Easy and delicious. We will definitely make them again!

Grilled Rosemary Pork Chops

Ingredients:
4 pork chops
salt and pepper
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar
2 cloves garlic, crushed
1 tablespoon chopped fresh rosemary

Directions:
Salt and pepper the chops.  Combine all the other ingredients in a resealable gallon plastic bag and add the chops, tossing to coat.  Let chops marinate in fridge for at least 4 hours.  Remove from fridge and bring to room temperature before grilling.  Grill over medium-high heat for about 8-10 minutes per side for thick-cut chops, or 4-5 minutes per side for thinner cuts.  Internal temp should be 145ºF.

*****

Balsamic Roasted Purple Potatoes

Ingredients:
1 pound purple fingerling potatoes (or any color)
2 teaspoons olive oil
1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar
1 teaspoon chopped fresh thyme
1/2 teaspoon coarse sea salt
1/4 teaspoon black pepper
1 teaspoon chopped fresh chives

Directions:
Cut the potatoes lengthwise into quarters (or halves if they are small).  In a large bowl, toss the potatoes with the olive oil, vinegar, thyme, salt, and pepper.  Spread onto a rimmed baking sheet and roast at 400º for 30-40 minutes until cooked through, stirring occasionally.  Garnish with chives.