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

Monday, January 30, 2017

Shrimp & Kohlrabi Tortilla Soup

I'm pretty sure I haven't cooked with kohlrabi before.  In this recipe, the kohlrabi strips take the place of traditional tortilla strips as the crunchy aspect.   I liked the soup, especially the shrimp and avocados.  Next time, I'd cut back on the broth by a cup or two because it slightly watered down the soup.  Still tasty though--and really fast to make for a quick lunch.  The prep takes longer than the actual cooking.

Shrimp & Kohlrabi Tortilla Soup
from Inspiralize Everything
Serves 4 to 6

1 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
1 small onion, diced
2 garlic cloves, minced
1 large jalapeno, seeded and diced
1 teaspoon chili powder
1 teaspoon dried oregano
1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
1/4 teaspoon smoked paprika
6 cups low-sodium chicken broth
1 (15oz) can fire-roasted diced tomatoes
1 (15 oz) can black beans, rinsed and drained
1 pound medium shrimp, peeled and deveined
1 avocado, sliced
juice of 2 small limes
1 cup roughly chopped cilantro leaves
1 medium kohlrabi, peeled and spiralized into thin, short strips (or use a cheese grater)
salt and pepper

Heat the olive oil in a large stock pot over medium-high heat.  Add the onions and cook for about 3 minutes until softened.  Add in the garlic and jalapeno and cook another 30 seconds.  Stir in the chili powder, oregano, cumin, and paprika.

Add the broth, tomatoes, and beans to the pot.  Increase heat to high and bring to boil.  Reduce heat to low and add the shrimp, avocado, and lime juice.  Simmer for 5 minutes until the shrimp are pink and cooked through.

Stir in the cilantro and kohlrabi noodles, season with salt and pepper to taste, and simmer for 1 minute.  Ladle the soup into bowls and serve.

Nutrition:  384 calories, 15g fiber, 36g protein

Saturday, January 28, 2017

Blueberry Phyllo Turnovers

I was craving something sweet and I knew I had blueberries and phyllo sheets taking up space in the freezer.  I decided to google search the combo, and found a few recipes online for strudels and turnovers.  This is my version.  Try to stop yourself from eating more than one.  Wow, they're good-- especially still warm from the oven with a little whipped cream.  Yum.

Blueberry Phyllo Turnovers
Makes 8-10 Turnovers

3 cups fresh or frozen blueberries
1 tablespoon honey
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon nutmeg
1/8 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon lemon juice
2 teaspoons arrowroot or cornstarch
1/2 box (1 roll) Phyllo Dough, defrosted
4 tablespoons butter, melted  (or cooking spray if you wanna be healthy)
sugar for sprinkling (optional)

In a medium saucepan over medium heat, add the blueberries, honey, cinnamon, nutmeg, salt, lemon juice, and cornstarch.  Cook until blueberries are bubbling, then reduce to low and simmer a couple minutes.  Remove from the heat and let cool completely.

Place a single phyllo sheet on a clean counter and brush the phyllo with melted butter (or spray with cooking spray for a healthier version). Place another phyllo sheet directly on top of the first and brush that with butter too.  Repeat until there are 4 stacked sheets (the top one doesn't need butter).  Use a knife or pizza cutter to cut the stacked sheets in half lengthwise so you have two long rectangles.   Each long rectangle will make 1 turnover.  (Note: Keep phyllo sheets you are not working with under plastic and a damp towel so they don't rip and crumble as you work with them.) 

Place 2 tablespoons of the blueberry mixture on the far end of one of the rectangles, keeping a 1-inch border of phyllo around it.  Fold the dough at a 45º angle to create a triangle over the blueberries.  Repeat again, and continue to fold into triangles, enclosing the blueberries in the dough.  Place seam-side down on a baking sheet lined with parchment or a Silpat mat.   Repeat steps for the remaining dough until you run out of sheets or blueberries.

If desired, brush the tops of the turnovers with melted butter or cooking spray and sprinkle with sugar.   Bake at 375º for about 15 minutes until golden brown.   Let cool on a wire rack for at least 5-10 minutes before serving.

Friday, January 27, 2017

Venison Chili

We had some ground venison in our freezer to use, so I thawed it out to make this chili recipe I found online.  I liked it.  I couldn't detect any gaminess from the venison.  I would have assumed it was ground beef.   The chili had just enough heat for my taste and it was hearty and perfect for a cold winter evening.  I served it with a cornbread muffin.  Yum.

Venison Chili
Serves 4

1 tablespoon olive oil
1 onion, chopped
1 green bell pepper, seeded and chopped
2 tablespoons chili powder
1/2 tablespoon cumin
1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/8 teaspoon ground black pepper
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 pound ground venison
1 (~15oz) can kidney beans, drained and rinsed (or any red chili bean)
1 (~15oz) can diced tomatoes, undrained
1 (~15oz) can tomato puree
shredded cheese, sour cream, scallions, or whatever you like

Heat oil in a large stock pot or Dutch oven over medium-high heat.  Add onions, bell pepper, chili powder, cumin, cayenne pepper, salt, and pepper.  Cook until veggies are soft, about 5 minutes.  Stir in garlic and cook for 30 seconds.

Add venison and cook, breaking up clumps with a spoon, until the venison is no longer pink, about 5 minutes.

Stir in the beans, tomatoes, and tomato puree.  Lower heat to a simmer, cover, and cook for 30 minutes.   Remove lid and continue to simmer another 30 minutes.  Season to taste with salt and pepper.

Serve with whatever toppings you like with your chili.

Cucumber, Avocado, and Strawberry Salad

I've been a spiralizing maniac lately.  The cookbook named this as a salsa to use as a dip for chips, but I decided to add feta and walnuts and make a nice lunchtime salad out of it and ditch the chips.  I added a greek yogurt on the side for some protein, and it was a completely delicious and satisfying lunch.   I liked the combo of crunchiness from the cucumber noodles and walnuts along with the creaminess of the avocado and feta.  The strawberries added a lovely sweet note.

Cucumber, Avocado, and Strawberry Salad
adapted from Inspiralized
Makes 2 salads

1 large seedless cucumber
1&1/2 cups hulled and chopped strawberries
1 ripe avocado, diced
1 tablespoon chopped fresh cilantro
1 small jalapeno, seeded and minced
1/3 cup finely chopped red onion
1 tablespoon honey
juice of 1 lime
salt and pepper
2 tablespoons crumbled feta cheese
2 tablespoons chopped walnuts

Spiralize the cucumber and trim into small strands.  Pat with paper towels to absorb excess moisture.

In a large bowl, combine the cucumber noodles, strawberries, avocado, cilantro, jalapeno, and onion.
In a small bowl, whisk together the lime juice and honey, and season with a little salt and pepper.

Pour the dressing over the salad and toss to coat.   Divide salad between two plates and top with feta and walnuts.   Serve.

Shrimp and Zoodles with Roasted Red Bell Pepper Sauce

The original recipe was for seared scallops, but shrimp are more affordable and I had them on hand, so I made that slight alteration to the cookbook.  It tasted really good.  I got a little kick to the sauce from the red pepper flakes.

Zucchini Noodles with Roasted Red Bell Pepper Sauce
Recipe from Inspiralize Everything
Serves 2

2 red bell peppers
2 tablespoons olive oil
2 garlic cloves, minced
1/4 teaspoon red pepper flakes
1/4 cup diced onion
1 teaspoon dried oregano
1/3 cup low-sodium chicken broth
2 medium zucchini, spiralized into spaghetti noodles
6 large scallops (or substitute shrimp or whatever)
salt and pepper
1 tablespoon fresh parsley, for garnish

Slice off the tops and bottoms of the peppers, cut them in half lengthwise, and remove the seeds.  Place them cut-side up on a baking sheet coated with baking spray.  Roast at 425º for 25 minutes.  Transfer to a food processor and pulse until mostly smooth.  Set aside.

Heat 1 tablespoon oil in a skillet over medium heat.  Add the garlic, onion, and red pepper flakes, and saute until the onion is soft, about 5 minutes.  Stir in the bell pepper puree and the oregano, and then add the broth.  Cook for 5 to 7 minutes or until the mixture thickens.  Reduce heat to low and simmer to allow the flavors to develop.

Meanwhile, heat a separate skillet over medium-high heat.  Add the zucchini noodles and cook for 3 to 5 minutes or until al dente.  Add noodles to the bell pepper sauce and toss to coat.

Add 1/2- 1 tablespoon oil to the empty skillet and heat over medium high.  Season the scallops (or shrimp) with salt and pepper and add to the heated skillet.  Cook for 2 minutes per side or until opaque and cooked through.

Divide the sauced noodles between two plates and top with the seared scallops.  Garnish with parsley.

Nutritional Info:  239 calories, 14 g protein, 5 g fiber

Thursday, January 26, 2017

Chicken Cacciatore over Rutabaga Noodles

I'm trying to eat healthier, so I decided to give spiralized rutabaga a try instead of traditional pasta.  The rutabaga has fewer calories, more fiber, more vitamins/minerals, and no gluten.  And it was actually pretty tasty in this dish.  Did it taste exactly like pasta? No, of course not, but it was a close enough substitute that still tasted good and filled me up.  The chicken and veggie sauce was the real star of this recipe.  Delicious.   My only notes: 2 small rutabagas would be plenty for 4 servings, and I'd be careful not to over-salt the noodles before baking.

Chicken Cacciatore over Rutabaga Noodles
from Inspiralize Everything 
Serves 4

3 small rutabagas, peeled and spiralized into thin spaghetti strands
cooking spray
1 teaspoon garlic powder
salt and pepper
1/2 cup almond flour
1&1/4 lbs skin-on, bone-in chicken thighs
2 carrots, diced
1 large red bell pepper, diced
1 medium onion, diced
2 large garlic gloves, minced
1/2 teaspoon dried rosemary
1/4 teaspoon red pepper flakes
1/2 cup dry white wine
1 (28-oz) can diced tomatoes
1 cup low-sodium chicken broth
1&1/2 teaspoons dried oregano
1/4 cup chopped fresh basil (optional)

Lay the rutabaga noodles on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper (I needed two sheets for all the noodles) and spray them with cooking spray.  Sprinkle with garlic powder and a little salt and pepper.  Bake at 425º for 20 minutes or until al dente.

Meanwhile, season the almond flour with a little salt and pepper and dredge the chicken in the flour, pressing to adhere.  Heat a large skillet over medium-high heat and coat with cooking spray.  Add the chicken and cook until browned on the outside, about 5 minutes per side (it won't be cooked through yet).  Transfer to a plate and set aside.

To the skillet, add the carrots, bell pepper, onion, garlic, rosemary, and red pepper flakes.  Season with salt and pepper.  Cook for 5 minutes until the veggies are softened.  Add the wine and simmer until reduced by half, about 5 minutes.  Add the tomatoes and their juices, broth, and oregano.

Return the chicken to the skillet, nestling them into the veggies, and spoon some sauce over the top.  Reduce heat to medium-low and simmer for 20-30 minutes or until the chicken is cooked through.

Transfer the chicken to a plate and add the cooked rutabaga noodles to the skillet, tossing to coat.  Cook for about 2 minutes or until the flavors are melded.  

Divide the rutabaga noodles and veggies among 4 plates and top with the chicken.  Garnish with fresh basil if on hand and serve.

Monday, January 16, 2017

Blueberry Sweet Potato Waffles

Apparently, I'm on a sweet potato craze.  Actually, I had some blueberries in my fridge on the edge of being thrown away, so when I saw this recipe in the cookbook, I thought it would be a good way to prevent them from going to waste.  I hate throwing away produce.  The flavor of these waffles was surprisingly good even if the shape didn't turn out as perfectly as the cookbook photo.  I added a couple turkey sausage links for protein, and I was completely full and satisfied.  My batch of spiralized sweet potatoes made 4 small waffles.  I saved 2 for tomorrow morning.

Blueberry Sweet Potato Waffles
from Inspiralized Cookbook
Makes 2 large waffles or 4 small waffles

1 medium sweet potato, peeled and spiralized into noodles
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 egg, lightly beaten
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/2 cup fresh blueberries (plus extra for serving, if desired)
1 tablespoon pure maple syrup

Place the sweet potato noodles in a large bowl and toss with the cinnamon.   Heat a large skillet over medium heat and coat with cooking spray.  Once heated, add the sweet potato noodles and cook, covered, for 5-7 minutes until the potatoes have completely softened.

Meanwhile, preheat a waffle iron.  In the large bowl, whisk the egg and vanilla.  Stir in the blueberries and cooked sweet potato noodles.

Coat the waffle iron with cooking spray and carefully pour in half the noodle mixture, making sure to fill all the cavities.  Cook the waffle until done, transfer to a plate, and repeat for the last half of the mixture.   Drizzle a little maple syrup over each waffle and serve.

1 large waffle + 1/2 Tablespoon Syrup= 150 calories, 4g protein, 13g sugar, 3g fat

Sunday, January 15, 2017

Chocolate Chip Sweet Potato Muffins

I saw this recipe in a cookbook and decided to put my new Spiralizer to work.  I wanted a sweet yet somewhat healthy treat in the house to help prevent me from eating the cookies and ice cream that Jeremy likes to keep around.  I didn't expect the muffins to taste much like muffins since there was no flour in the recipe, but they did!  An extremely moist muffin.  The sweet potato, coconut, honey, and chocolate chips all provided more than enough sweetness.  I made a double batch because I got 2 cups of potato from my sweet potato.

Chocolate Chip Sweet Potato Muffins
from Inspiralized Cookbook
Makes 6 muffins

1 small sweet potato, peeled and spiralized into spaghetti strands
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
2 tablespoons coconut flakes
1 large egg plus 1 egg white
2 tablespoons honey
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/4 -1/3 cup chocolate chips

Preheat the oven to 375º  Lightly coat a muffin tin with cooking spray.

Throw the sweet potato strands into a food processor and pulse a few times until it resembles rice.

In a medium bowl, combine the sweet potato, cinnamon, baking soda, coconut flakes, and a pinch of salt.  Mix in the egg, egg white, honey, and vanilla.  Fold in the chocolate chips.

Spoon the mixture into the muffin tins, filling 3/4 full.  Bake 20-25 minutes or until a toothpick comes out clean.   Let cool 5 minutes on a rack.

Store in an airtight container.

Saturday, January 14, 2017

Veggie and Rice Stuffed Peppers

I saw this recipe from Thug Kitchen and wanted to give it a try as part of my attempt to eat healthier.  Veggies stuffed in a veggie--why not? The original recipe can be found at Thug Kitchen if you want the funny foul-mouthed version.  It called for grilling, but it's too cold and snowy to grill, so I baked mine in the oven instead and then sprinkled on some optional feta and crumbled cooked bacon and broiled it for a couple minutes longer.   I liked the salty addition of the bacon and feta and I'm glad I did that.  Overall, the flavor was good.  I was completely full.  Jeremy wished there had been more meat (of course).   I have a lot of leftover bean and rice filling because I only used 2 large peppers, so I might put that in a tortilla or lettuce wrap for lunch the next couple days.

Veggie and Rice Stuffed Peppers
Recipe adapted from Thug Kitchen
Makes 8 half peppers or 4 whole peppers

4 large bell peppers
1 cup brown Basmati or other long-grain brown rice
1 large tomato
1 large carrot
1 zucchini
1 medium onion
1 tablespoon olive oil
2 teaspoons dried oregano
1 teaspoon dried thyme
1 teaspoon smoked paprika
2 cups water
1 tablespoon sherry vinegar (or red wine vinegar)
4 cloves garlic
juice of 1 lemon
salt and pepper to taste

Bean mixture:
1 can (15oz) any white creamy bean (I used Great Northern Beans)
2 tablespoons chopped onion
2 tablespoons sherry vinegar (or red wine vinegar)
1 tablespoon olive oil
1/4 teaspoon dried oregano

crumbled cooked bacon (optional)
crumbled feta cheese (optional)

In a food processor, puree the tomato into pulpy juice (makes about 1 cup) and set aside in a small bowl.  Chop the carrot, zucchini, and onion into dime-sized pieces.  Set aside 2 tablespoons of the chopped onion for the bean mixture.  

In a big pot, heat the olive oil over medium heat.  Add the rest of the chopped onion (except the 2 tablespoons) and cook about 5 minutes.  Add the carrot, zucchini, oregano, thyme, and paprika and cook for 1 minute.   Add the rice, pureed tomato, water, and a pinch of salt, and bring it to a boil.  Reduce heat, cover the pot, and simmer for 30-40 minutes until water is absorbed and rice is done.

Meanwhile, into the dirty food processor, throw the beans, 2 tablespoons onion, olive oil, vinegar, and oregano.  Process until mostly smooth.

Chop the bell peppers in half (or just chop off the top to stuff deeper) and scrape out the seeds.  Add a couple heaping spoonfuls of the bean mixture into the bottom of each pepper and spread around.  Add spoonfuls of the cooked rice until it is packed in and mounded on top.   Grill at medium-low for 10-15 minutes.  Or-- put the peppers in a glass baking dish and bake at 375º for 30-40 minutes.  If desired, sprinkle some feta cheese and/or bacon on top of the peppers after they have cooked and return to the oven.  Broil for a couple minutes to soften the feta.  Serve warm.