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, November 20, 2015

Spiced Cod with Couscous

This was an easy and tasty fish dish.  I didn't have fresh mint on hand, so we omitted that ingredient.  Jeremy didn't like the raisins, but I did.

Spiced Cod with Couscous
Recipe from Martha Stewart Living: One Pot
Serves 4

4 skinless 6-oz cod fillets
1 teaspoon ground coriander
1/2 teaspoon paprika
1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
salt and pepper
1/2 pound carrots, cut into thin strips
1&1/4 cups water
1 cup couscous
1/2 cup slivered almonds
1/2 cup raisins
1/4 cup chopped fresh mint leaves
1 tablespoon olive oil
lemon wedges, for serving

Mix together the coriander, paprika, cumin, 1/2 teaspoon salt, and 1/4 teaspoon pepper.  Gently rub the spice mixture on the fish.  Set aside.

In a 9x13" baking dish, mix together the carrots, water, couscous, almonds, raisins, mind, oil, 1 teaspoon salt, and 1/4 teaspoon pepper.  Place the fish on top of the couscous mixture.

Cover pan with aluminum foil and bake at 450º for 20 minutes or until fish is cooked.

Fluff couscous with a fork and serve fish and couscous with mint sprigs and a lemon wedge.

Thursday, November 12, 2015

Crockpot Moroccan Chicken

This smelled amazing as it was cooking in the slow cooker.  I didn't have a cinnamon stick, so I added a teaspoon of ground cinnamon to the pot.  It spiced the carrots, but not really the chicken.  Still, the chicken tasted good.  I liked the recipe.  I served it with some couscous.

Crockpot Moroccan Chicken
Adapted from Martha Stewart Living-One Pot
Serves 4

8 bone-in chicken thighs (I had 4 large ones instead)
2 tablespoons olive oil
2 pounds carrots, cut into 1&1/2-inch lengths
1 garlic clove, thinly sliced
1 cinnamon stick (I used a teaspoon ground cinnamon)
1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
1/4 cup golden raisins
1/2 cup fresh cilantro leaves (I had parsley on hand so I used that)
1/4 cup sliced almonds, toasted (optional)

Season the chicken with salt and pepper.  In a large slow cooker with a browning option, brown the chicken in oil.  (I browned them in a skillet on the stovetop instead)

To the slow cooker, add the carrots, garlic, cinnamon, and cumin.  Place browned chicken on top.  Cover and cook until chicken is cooked through, about 4 hours on high or 8 hours on low.  Add raisins 15 minutes before done.

Transfer the chicken and carrots to a serving dish, top with cilantro and almonds, and spoon pot liquid over the chicken (oops, I forgot to do this).

Tuesday, November 10, 2015

Thyme-Dusted Pork Medallions with Pear-Rutabaga Mash

I decided to spin from my Wheel of Meals as recipe inspiration, and it landed on New to You.   I don't remember ever cooking with Rutabaga, so I picked that as my "new" ingredient.  The pork was good, but the rutabaga mash was strange--not bad, but the pears and orange juice made it sweet.  It almost reminded me of squash.

Thyme-Dusted Pork Medallions with Pear-Rutabaga Mash
Recipe from One Pan, Two Plates
Serves 2

10 oz pork tenderloin, cut into 1" thick rounds
salt and pepper
1 teaspoon minced fresh thyme
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 medium rutabaga, peeled and diced into 1/2" pieces
1 shallot, chopped
1 cup fresh orange juice
1 ripe pear, peeled, cored, and cut into 1" cubes
3 teaspoons unsalted butter
1 teaspoon orange zest

Season the pork medallions on both sides with salt and pepper and sprinkle the thyme over one side, pressing to help it stick.  Heat a large skillet over medium-high heat and add the olive oil.  When it begins to shimmer, add the pork to the pan, thyme-side down, and brown them, about 2 minutes.  Flip and brown on the other side, about 2 minutes.  Transfer to a plate (they are not fully cooked yet).

Add the diced rutabaga, shallot, and 1/2 teaspoon salt to the pan and saute for about 2 minutes.  Add the orange juice and bring it to a simmer.  Cover pan, reduce heat to low, and simmer until the vegetables are tender, about 20 minutes.  Stir in the pear and 2 teaspoons butter, and cook, covered, another 2 minutes.  Arrange the pork medallions on top, re-cover, and cook until the pork is rosy, about 2 minutes longer.

Divide the pork medallions between two warmed plates.  Pour off all but 1/4 cup liquid from the skillet and season the rutabaga with salt and pepper as needed.  Add the orange zest and smash the rutabaga-pear mixture with a potato masher until it resembles lumpy mashed potatoes.  Scoop the mash onto the plates alongside the pork and dot with a little butter.  Serve hot.

Sunday, November 8, 2015

Strip Steaks with Parsley Sauce and Crispy Potatoes

A simple and quick steak and potatoes recipe. Can't go wrong with a strip steak--tender and juicy and oh so flavorful.  I had a lot of parsley that I recently harvested, so this seemed like a good way to use some of it.  The sauce goes well with both the steak and the potatoes, although I liked them perfectly fine without it.

New York Strip Steaks with Parsley Sauce 
and Crispy Red Potatoes
From The Complete Cooking for Two Cookbook
Serves 2

12 oz red potatoes, unpeeled, cut into 1-inch wedges
3 tablespoons oil
salt and pepper
2 (8-oz) boneless NY strip steaks, 3/4" thick, trimmed

Parsley Sauce:
1/2 cup fresh parsley leaves
1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
2 tablespoons chopped onion
2 tablespoons red wine vinegar
1 tablespoon water
2 garlic cloves, minced
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/8 teaspoon red pepper flakes

To make the parsley sauce, process all the ingredients in a food processor until well combined, about 20 seconds.  Set aside.

In a medium bowl, toss the potatoes with 1 tablespoon oil, 1/4 teaspoon salt, and 1/8 teaspoon pepper.  Cover and microwave until potatoes begin to soften, about 5-7 minutes.  Drain well.

Meanwhile, pat steaks dry with paper towel and season with salt and pepper.  Heat 1 tablespoon oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat.  Lay steaks in skillet and cook until well browned on first side, 3 -5 minutes.  Flip steaks, reduce heat to medium, and continue to cook until meat registers 125º for medium-rare, 2-4 minutes.  Transfer to a plate and tent loosely with foil to keep warm.

Add the remaining 1 tablespoon oil to the fat left in the skillet and heat until shimmering.  Add the drained potatoes and cook until tender and golden brown on all sides, about 10 minutes.  Serve steaks with the parsley sauce and potatoes.

Herb Sandwich Bread

We were out of bread.  I was bored and had lots of time.  I had herbs from my garden.  It was the perfect storm to make my own yummy loaf of bread.  I used the basic Sandwich Bread recipe from the cookbook and just added some chopped rosemary, thyme, and parsley to the dough.  Good stuff, especially with a little herb butter.

Herb Sandwich Bread
Adapted from America's Test Kitchen: The New Best Recipe
Makes one 9-inch loaf

3 & 1/2 cups flour (potentially more)
2 teaspoons salt
1 cup warm milk (~110º, no higher than 120º)
1/3 cup warm water (~110º, no higher than 120º)
2 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
3 tablespoons honey
1 envelope instant dry yeast
~1 tablespoon chopped fresh thyme leaves
~1 tablespoon chopped fresh rosemary leaves
~1 tablespoon chopped fresh parsley

Adjust an oven rack to the low position and hear the oven to 200º.  Once the oven is preheated, maintain the heat for 10 minutes and then turn off the oven.

In the bowl of a standing mixer fitted with a dough hook, stir together the flour and salt.   In a 4-cup measuring cup or bowl, mix together the milk, water, butter, honey, and yeast.  Turn the machine to low and slowly add the liquid.  Pour in the herbs as well.  When the dough comes together, increase the speed to medium and mix until the dough is smooth and not sticky, about 10 minutes, stopping a couple times to scrape dough from the hook if necessary.  (If, after 5 minutes, the dough is still sticky, add flour 1 tablespoon at a time, up to 1/4 cup, until no longer sticky.)

Turn the dough onto a lightly floured surface and knead to form a smooth, round ball, about 15 seconds.  Place the ball of dough in a lightly oiled bowl, turning to lightly coat.  Cover bowl with plastic wrap and place in the warmed oven until the dough doubles in size, 40-50 minutes.

On your work surface, gently press the dough into an 8-inch square.  Roll into a tight cylinder, making sure dough sticks to itself as you roll.  Place the dough seam-side down in a greased 9x5" loaf pan and press it gently so it touches all four sides of the pan.  Cover with plastic wrap and set aside in a warm place until the dough nearly doubles in size again, 20-30 minutes.

Heat the oven to 350º.   Pour 2 cups hot water into a shallow baking pan and place on the bottom rack of the oven.  On the middle rack, place the loaf pan (remove the plastic wrap).  Bake 40-50 minutes until a thermometer inserted in the bread reads 195º.  Remove bread from the pan, transfer to a wire rack, and cool to room temperature.  Slice and serve.

Tuesday, November 3, 2015

Braised Lentils with Polish Kielbasa and Cabbage

I wanted to give this recipe a try because Jeremy loves kielbasa and because I had lentils in my cupboard that needed to get used.  After a small amount of prep work chopping the veggies, it was convenient throwing everything into one skillet to do its work (also nice for the clean up).  I thought the recipe tasted great and was really filling.  Jeremy said he'd prefer less lentils.  My fresh rosemary from our herb garden really popped in this dish. The serving size was way too big-we had a large 3rd serving left over.

Braised Lentils with Polish Kielbasa and Cabbage
from One Pan, Two Plates
Serves 2 (extremely large servings)

1 tablespoon vegetable oil
1 small yellow onion, thinly sliced
2 cups thinly sliced cabbage
1 carrot, thinly sliced
1 celery rib, thinly sliced
1 garlic glove, minced
2 teaspoons minced fresh rosemary
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1/3 cup dry white wine
3/4 cup dried lentils
1&1/4 cups chicken broth
8 oz Polish kielbasa, cut into bite-sized pieces

Heat a large skillet over medium-high heat and add the oil.  When it begins to shimmer, add the onions and saute until they begin to soften, about 1 minute.  Add the cabbage, carrot, celery, garlic, rosemary, salt, and pepper.  Saute about 3 minutes, until the veggies begin to soften.

Pour in the wine and cook until it has almost cooked off, about a minute.  Add the lentils, chicken broth, and kielbasa, and stir, making sure to immerse the lentils in the liquid.  Bring to a simmer, then reduce heat to low and cover, simmering for about 25 minutes until the lentils are tender.  Add more salt and pepper to taste.