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

Wednesday, October 30, 2019

Chicken Pesto Pot Pie

I made this back in 2009. I think it might be time to try it again and take a better photo.  I was single at the time I made it, so I cut the recipe in half and put one ramekin in the oven and refrigerated the other two for leftovers.  I'm thinking you could also freeze the mixture to use in the future.  It was very yummy and extremely fast and easy to make.  The basil pesto gave it some great flavor. 

Chicken Pesto Pot Pie
Makes 6 servings

1 jar (12 oz) reduced-fat turkey gravy
1/3 cup basil pesto
3 cups cubed cooked turkey or chicken
1 package (16 oz)  frozen peas and carrots, or carrots, onions, potatoes, celery
1 package (11 oz) refrigerated breadsticks
Grated Parmesan cheese (optional)
Dried basil (optional)


Preheat oven to 375º.  In a large saucepan, combine turkey gravy and pesto.  Stir in the turkey and vegetables.  Bring to a boil, stirring frequently.  Divide turkey mixture evenly among six 8-oz casserole dishes or ramekins. 

Unroll and separate breadsticks.  Arrange one breadstick on top of each casserole, curling into a spiral to fit.  If desired, sprinkle with Parmesan and basil.  Bake for 15 minutes until the bread is golden brown on top.  (Save the remaining breadsticks for something else)

Thursday, October 17, 2019

Instant Pot Chicken Shawarma

I was in the mood for something International, so I combined a couple different recipes I found online to make this Shawarma recipe.  The marinade has a lot of spices, but it was a fast and easy recipe.  It was very tasty, but not exactly like the Shawarmas I remember eating when we visited the Middle East.  Still, we both enjoyed it.  We'll have leftovers tomorrow, and I think I'll make an actual Greek salad with feta cheese to use in the pita.  That should be really good with the chicken.

Instant Pot Chicken Shawarma
Serves 6


Chicken Marinade:
1 tsp cardamom
1/2 tsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp paprika
1/2 tsp cumin
1/4 tsp coriander
1/4 tsp turmeric
1/4 tsp cloves
1/4 tsp nutmeg
1 tsp salt
1/2 tsp black pepper
1/4 cup plain Greek yogurt
1/4 cup lemon juice
2 Tbsp minced garlic
2 lbs boneless skinless chicken thighs, cut into bite-sized cubes/strips

1/4 cup plain Greek yogurt
1 Tbsp mayonnaise
1 Tbsp lemon juice
1/2 tsp minced garlic
pinch salt

Pita wraps/pockets
Greek salad or Toppings of your choice: lettuce, cucumbers, tomatoes, sliced onions, feta cheese
parsley for garnish

In a large mixing bowl, whisk together the spices, yogurt, lemon juice, and garlic.  Add the chicken to the marinade and stir.  Cover and refrigerate for at least 1 hour or up to overnight.

Transfer chicken and marinade into the Instant Pot (no need to add extra liquid).  Close the lid and pressure cook on high for 5 minutes.  Allow pressure to release naturally for 10 minutes, then quick release.  Stir chicken and sauce and transfer chicken to a serving bowl using a slotted spoon.

While the chicken cooks, whisk together the sauce ingredients in a small bowl (I just mixed it directly in the small yogurt container).

Assemble the Shawarmas.   Warm the pitas if necessary.  Spread hummus on the pita.  Top with lettuce, chicken, sauce, Greek salad, and garnish with parsley.

Sunday, October 6, 2019

Instant Pot Chili Mac and Cheese

I saw this recipe posted on a Facebook Instant Pot Group, and it looked good, so I gave it a try.  It was tasty, but I didn't get as much chili flavor as I expected.  It was more like "chili-inspired" mac and cheese--or fancy Hamburger Helper.  Also, I'm not sure if the Instant Pot really saved much time.  I guess it was nice to use just one pot and dump it all in and go do something else for a few minutes.  Instead of a can of tomatoes, I used garden tomatoes.  I'm thinking I should have stirred some more in at the end along with the cheese.

Instant Pot Chili Mac and Cheese
Makes 8 servings

1 lb extra lean ground beef
1 yellow onion, diced
3 celery stalks, chopped
1 green pepper, diced
4 cloves garlic, minced
1 TBSP chili powder
1 teaspoon cumin
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon pepper
1 can kidney beans, rinsed and drained
1 can diced tomatoes
3 cups beef broth
1 lb dried macaroni pasta
1-2 cups grated or shredded cheddar cheese
fresh chopped parsley (for garnish)

Add ground beef to instant pot and use Saute mode for 4-5 minutes until lightly browned.  Add onion, celery, pepper, and garlic, and saute for a couple more minutes.  Then add spices and stir.  Turn off Saute mode.  Add broth, kidney beans, diced tomatoes, and pasta. Stir to make sure pasta is covered in liquid.

Cook on high pressure for 4 minutes (it will need ~10 minutes to preheat).  When finished, quick release pressure before removing lid.

Stir in cheese and season with salt and pepper to taste.  Garnish with parsley if desired.

Thursday, October 3, 2019

Creamy Lemon Thyme Chicken

I wanted to use some of my fresh garden thyme before it's time to dry it, so I made this recipe.  It's simple and uses ingredients already on hand.  It was delicious.  The creamy sauce was like a lemon-flavored gravy, but it added a lot of flavor and I liked it.  I don't think I really tasted the thyme though.  I served the chicken with roasted Parmesan asparagus and couscous.

Creamy Lemon Thyme Chicken

1 tablespoon olive oil
4 boneless, skinless chicken breasts
1 teaspoon minced garlic
1 tablespoon lemon juice
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon pepper
1 tablespoon butter
1 teaspoon flour
1&1/2 cups milk
1/2 teaspoon lemon zest
1 teaspoon fresh thyme leaves
1/2 teaspoon salt

Rub the chicken evenly with garlic, lemon juice, salt, and pepper.  Let sit to marinate for 15-20 minutes.   Heat oil in a large skillet and add the chicken. Cook for 5-6 minutes on each side or until cooked through (thicker breasts will require more time).  Remove chicken and place on a plate, covered with foil.

In the same skillet, heat butter and add flour. stirring to combine.  Slowly whisk in the milk and stir until there are no lumps.  Simmer until it starts to thicken a bit.  Stir in the lemon zest, thyme, and salt.  Add the chicken back to the skillet, spooning the sauce over the top.  Simmer for a couple minutes.  Serve.