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

Friday, January 29, 2016

Chicken and Dumplings


Yum.  Really delicious.  I slurped up ALL of that yummy broth from my bowl. Sooo good.  The chicken stayed juicy, the combo of veggies was perfect, and the big tender dumpling was good too.  Just a nice hearty soup/stew to make you feel good.

Chicken and Dumplings
Recipe from One Pot Cookbook
Serves 4

Ingredients:
3 tablespoons butter
1 small yellow onion, minced
4 medium carrots, cut into 1/2-inch pieces
2 celery ribs, thinly sliced
2 teaspoons chopped fresh thyme leaves
1/3 cup flour
3 cups chicken broth
1&1/4 lbs boneless, skinless chicken breasts, cut into 3/4-inch chunks
1/2 lb green beans, trimmed and cut into 1-inch pieces
salt and pepper

Dumplings:
1 cup flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon coarse salt
2 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley leaves
2 tablespoons cold butter
1/2 cup milk

Directions:
In a medium Dutch Oven, melt butter over medium-high heat.  Add onion, carrots, celery, and thyme; cook until onion is translucent, about 4 minutes.  Add flour and cook, stirring, for 1 minute.  Gradually add broth, stirring constantly, and bring to a boil.  Add chicken and return to a boil.  Reduce heat and simmer 5 minutes.  Stir in green beans and season with salt and pepper.

Meanwhile, make dumplings.  Whisk together flour, baking powder, salt, and parsley.  With a pastry blender or two knives, cut in butter until mixture resembles coarse meal.  Stir in milk with a fork just until a dough forms.  Drop batter by heaping tablespoons on top of stew.  Cover and simmer until dumplings are cooked through, about 12 minutes.  Garnish with chopped parsley if desired.



Friday, January 15, 2016

Poached Cod in Five-Spice Broth with Baby Bok Choy and Udon


I had flagged this recipe in my cookbook awhile back and finally got around to making it.  It was really tasty and quick to prepare and cook.  It took a couple bites/sips to adjust to the flavor of the broth, but the more I ate it, the more I liked it.  The fish was perfectly cooked and absorbed the flavor of the broth nicely.

Poached Cod in Five-Spice Broth
Recipe from One Pan, Two Plates cookbook
Serves 2

Ingredients:
2 (6oz) black cod fillets (regular cod works just fine)
salt and pepper
1&3/4 cup chicken broth
1 tablespoon dry sherry
1 teaspoon soy sauce
1 teaspoon toasted sesame oil
1 teaspoon sugar
1 teaspoon five-spice powder
1 tablespoon vegetable oil
3 heads baby bok choy, stems chopped and leaves torn
1 carrot, peeled and thinly sliced on the diagonal
1 tablespoon peeled and minced fresh ginger
3 oz udon noodles
1 green onion, white and green parts thinly sliced on diagonal
2 teaspoons minced fresh cilantro
1 teaspoon sesame seeds

Directions:
Pat the fillets dry and sprinkle all over with salt and pepper.  Set aside

In a small bowl, whisk together the chicken broth, sherry, soy sauce, sesame oil, sugar, and five spice powder.  Set aside.

Heat a large skillet over medium-high heat and add the vegetable oil.  When the oil shimmers, add the boy choy stems, carrot, and ginger, and saute about 2 minutes.  Add the broth mixture and bring to a simmer.  Add the noodles and let the mixture return to a simmer.  Stir the noodles a little to prevent them from sticking.  Top the noodles with the fish, boy choy leaves, and green onions.  Cover, reduce heat to low, and simmer until the fish and noodles are tender and cooked, about 4-5 minutes.

Divide the mixture between two shallow bowls and ladle the broth and vegetables over.  Garnish with the cilantro and sesame seeds.



Thursday, January 14, 2016

One Pot Chicken and Rice with Swiss Chard


I got a Dutch Oven for Christmas, and I've been anxious to try it out.  It's so nice to be able to throw everything in one pot and let it cook.  This recipe was delicious and fairly healthy too.  I couldn't find leg quarters in the store, so I just used boneless, skinless chicken thighs instead.  Worked just fine.  I would definitely make this again.

One Pot Chicken and Rice with Swiss Chard

Ingredients:
4 chicken leg quarters (~2 lbs)  - I used b/s chicken thighs
salt and pepper
3 garlic cloves, roughly chopped
1 bunch Swiss Chard (~10 oz), stems chopped, leaves torn into 2-inch pieces
1 small yellow onion, diced
2 medium carrots, diced
1&1/2 teaspoons grated lemon zest
1&1/2 cups basmati rice (or any long grain rice)
2&1/2 cups low-sodium chicken broth
lemon wedges

Directions:
Pat dry the chicken and season with salt and pepper.  Heat a large Dutch oven or other heavy pot over medium high.  Add chicken and cook, turning once, until browned on both sides, about 12 minutes.  Transfer chicken to a plate.

Reduce heat to medium and add garlic, chard stems, onion, and carrots.  Cook, stirring occasionally, until chard stems and onions are translucent, about 4 minutes.  Add chard leaves, lemon zest, and rice; cook 1 minute.  Add broth and bring to a rapid simmer.  Reduce to a simmer and season with salt and pepper.  Arrange chicken, skin side up (if it has any), on top of rice mixture.  Cook, covered, until chicken is cooked through and liquid is absorbed, about 25 minutes.  Remove from heat and rest 5 minutes.  Serve with lemon wedges.


Saturday, January 2, 2016

Yule Log Cake


Happy New Year!  I was watching The Great Holiday Baking Show on TV and saw the contestants making a Yule Log.  It reminded me that I've never attempted one but have wanted to try.  So I decided to make one for our family Christmas/New Year celebration.  Jeremy was extremely skeptical of my ability to master the log roll and thought it would be an epic baking failure (ok, I was a bit nervous, too, I admit).  Well, with this super easy recipe I found online, it turned out pretty awesome.

Anne's Yule Log Cake

Ingredients:
6 eggs
1 box Devil's Food Cake mix
1/2 cup water
1/4 cup vegetable oil
1 tablespoon powdered sugar
1 container whipped vanilla frosting

Chocolate Frosting:
1/2  cup whipping cream
1 cup semisweet chocolate chips (6oz)
1 tablespoon corn syrup
1/4 teaspoon vanilla

Sugared Raspberries Garnish (optional):
mint leaves
raspberries
1 egg white
1-2 drops orange extract
sugar

Directions:
In a large bowl, beat eggs on high speed for 5 minutes or until thick and lemon-colored.  Add cake mix, water, and oil; beat on low speed for 30 seconds, then medium speed for 1 minute, occasionally scraping bowl.  Pour 3&1/2 cups of batter into a 15x10x1" baking pan with the bottom only lined with foil or wax paper.  Divide the remaining batter among 7-8 cupcake tins for another use or to use as a side log/branch.

Bake at 375ºF for 14 minutes until cake springs back when lightly touched and cupcakes test done when toothpick inserted in center comes out clean.   Run a knife around edges of pan to loosen cake.  Turn cake upside down onto a clean kitchen towel dusted with powdered sugar; remove foil.  While still hot, carefully roll up cake and towel together from narrow end.  Cool completely in rolled position on a wire rack, about 1 hour.

Meanwhile, in a microwavable bowl, microwave whipping cream until it just starts to boil, about 60-90 seconds.  Stir in the chocolate chips and corn syrup; let stand 3 minutes.  Beat gently with a wire whisk until smooth.  Stir in vanilla.  Refrigerate about 1 hour, stirring every 15 minutes, until spreading consistency.

Carefully unroll cake and remove towel.  Spread vanilla filling evenly over cake; re-roll cake.  Frost cake with chocolate frosting.  Using knife or fork, drag through the frosting to look like log bark.  Let stand 15 minutes and the transfer to a serving platter.  Store loosely covered in the fridge.  Bring to room temperature 30 minutes before serving.

To make the sugared raspberries, whip the egg white until no longer stringy.  Add a couple drops of orange extract and mix well. Using a small brush, brush egg white onto the outside of each raspberry.  Roll the raspberries in sugar.  Let sit overnight to harden the sugar. In a time crunch, preheat the oven, turn it off, and then put the berries on a sheet pan in the oven with the door open.  Decorate the Yule Log Cake with the raspberries and mint leaves.