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

Tuesday, June 28, 2016

Grilled Chicken with Honey-Mustard Glaze


Apparently, the secret to juicy grilled boneless chicken is milk powder.  I decided to test it out (although it was weird to buy a whole big box of milk powder in order to use just 2 teaspoons of it).  I gotta say, whatever I did, it worked.  The chicken breasts didn't dry out at all and the glaze stuck nicely and got a nice browning without burning.  This was my first time trying the brining technique as well.  Perhaps that's what kept the chicken so juicy.  I really liked the flavor of the glaze.  This recipe is definitely a keeper.

Grilled Brined Chicken with a Honey-Mustard Glaze
Recipe from America's Test Kitchen: Master of the Grill
Serves 4

Ingredients:
1/4 cup salt
1/4 cup sugar
4 (6-to 8-oz) boneless, skinless chicken breasts
2 teaspoons nonfat dry milk powder
1/2 teaspoon black pepper
vegetable oil spray
Glaze:
2 tablespoons cider vinegar
1 teaspoon cornstarch
3 tablespoons Dijon mustard
3 tablespoons honey
2 tablespoons corn syrup
1 garlic clove, minced
1/4 teaspoon ground fennel seeds

Directions:
To make the brine, dissolve the salt and sugar in 1&1/2 quarts (6 cups) water in a large bowl.  Submerge chicken in the brine; cover and refrigerate for 30-60 minutes.

Meanwhile, make the glaze.  Whisk the vinegar and cornstarch in a small saucepan until dissolved.  Whisk in the remaining ingredients.  Bring mixture to a boil over high heat.  Cook, stirring constantly, until thickened, about 1 minute.  Transfer glaze to a bowl.

When ready, remove chicken from brine and pat dry with paper towels.  Combine the milk powder and black pepper in a small bowl and sprinkle over both sides of the chicken.  Spray with cooking spray until milk powder is moistened.

Place chicken on preheated grill over medium-high heat until browned on first side, about 2-3 minutes.  Flip chicken and brush with 2 tablespoons glaze, and cook for 2 minutes.  Repeat flipping and glazing two more times, cooking for 2 minutes each time.  Flip one more time, glaze, and cook until chicken registers 160º, about 1-3 minutes.  Transfer chicken to a plate and let rest for 5 minutes.

Thursday, June 9, 2016

Mediterranean Zucchini Boats


I made these as a light and fresh potluck item for after our league tennis match and the ladies seemed to really like them. I was asked for the recipe several times.  I think these boats would taste best warm from the oven, but I served them cold from the fridge for convenience and they tasted just fine that way too.   I cut the boats into segments to serve as little zucchini bites.

Mediterranean Zucchini Boats
recipe from the internet

Ingredients:
4 medium zucchini
1 cup red bell pepper, minced
1/2 cup tomatoes, minced
1/2 cup Kalamata olives, pitted and minced
1/4 cup garlic, minced
3-4 tablespoons oregano, dried
1 teaspoon black pepper
1/4 cup feta cheese, crumbled
1/4 cup parsley, fineley chopped

Directions:
Cut zucchini in half lengthwise and scoop out the middle with a spoon.  (You can either scoop the whole length to make one big boat, or make small circles to serves as individual bites.) Discard flesh or save for another use.  Set aside.

In a medium bowl, combine the bell pepper, tomatoes, olives, garlic, oregano, and black pepper.  Distribute mixture evenly in each zucchini boat.  Place on rimmed baking sheet and bake at 350º for 15 minutes.  Top with feta cheese and broil on high for 3 more minutes.  Remove from the oven, sprinkle with parsley, and serve.

May serve hot or cold.  Refrigerate covered for up to 2-3 days.


Saturday, June 4, 2016

Molasses Spice Cookies with Rum Glaze


I decided to make these cookies for an event because I already had all the ingredients in my cupboard.  I liked the cookies with and without the rum glaze.  I tried one of each, of course, for quality assurance purposes. ;)

Molasses Spice Cookies with Rum Glaze
from The New Best Recipes Cookbook
Makes ~24 cookies

Ingredients:
2&1/4 cups flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1&1/2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
1&1/2 teaspoons ground ginger
1/2 teaspoon ground cloves
1/4 teaspoon ground allspice
1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper
1/4 teaspoon salt
12 tablespoons (1&1/2 sticks) unsalted butter, softened but still cool
1/3 cup packed dark brown sugar
1/3 cup granulated sugar, plus extra for rolling
1 large egg yolk
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/2 cup molasses
Glaze:
1 cup powdered sugar
2-3 tablespoons rum

Directions:
In a medium bowl, whisk together the flour, baking soda, spices, and salt and pepper.  Set aside.

In a large bowl, beat the butter and brown and granulated sugars until light and fluffy, about 3 minutes.  Add the yolk and vanilla, and beat until incorporated, about 20 seconds.  Add the molasses and beat until incorporated, about 20 seconds.  Add the flour mixture and beat on low speed until just combined, about 30 seconds, scraping the bowl if needed.

Place 1/2 cup granulated sugar for rolling in a shallow bowl.  Wet hands with a little water and scoop out a heaping tablespoon of dough.  Roll it between moistened palms to form a ball; drop ball into sugar and repeat to form 4-6 balls.  Toss the balls in the sugar to coat and set on a parchment-paper-lined (or Silpat-lined or sprayed) baking sheet.  Repeat for the remaining dough.

Bake, one tray at a time, at 375º on middle rack for about 11 minutes, until cookies are browned and still puffy, the edges have begun to set, but the middles are still soft.  Cool on the sheet for 5 minutes, then transfer to a wire rack to cool completely.

To make glaze, whisk together the powdered sugar and rum.  Use the whisk to drizzle the glaze over the top of the cookies.  Allow 10-15 minutes for the glaze to dry.  Enjoy!