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

Thursday, January 23, 2020

Spinach-Artichoke Pasta with Italian Sausage- Instant Pot

I think this was the best Instant Pot recipe I've made so far.  Definitely not on the lighter side as far as calories, but it does have some vegetables in it, so I'll give myself a pass.  Comfort food is needed sometimes.  There was a good sausage-to-pasta ratio and I enjoyed the creamy spinach-artichoke mixture.  The tomatoes cooked all the way down and got lost so I'd add more in the future.   This was an easy recipe with very little prep and a very short cook time.  Best of all, it only used a cutting board and knife, measuring cup, and the Instant Pot making for easy cleanup!  This is another successful recipe from Pressure Luck Cooking.  I'm looking forward to the leftovers.

Instant Pot Italian Sausage Pasta
Makes 6-8 servings

4 tablespoons (1/2 stick) butter
1 medium onion, diced
4 garlic cloves, minced
1 lb raw Italian Sausage (sweet or hot), sliced into 1/2" pieces
3 cups chicken broth
1 cup white wine
1 tablespoon Italian seasoning
1 teaspoon dried parsley
10 oz cherry or grape tomatoes
1 lb (1 box) medium pasta shells
5-6 oz baby spinach
1/3 cup heavy cream or half & half
5 oz cream cheese
1 - 1&1/2 cups grated Parmesan cheese
14 oz can artichoke hearts, drained and roughly ripped by hand.

Set Instant Pot to "Saute" on high and add butter.  When it melts, add the onions and saute for 2-3 minutes.  Add the garlic and sausage and cook and stir for 2 minutes. (The sausage will not be fully cooked yet).  Add in the broth, wine, Italian seasoning, parsley, and tomatoes.  Stir well.  Stop Saute mode.

Add the pasta shells to the pot, but DO NOT STIR.  Press down with a spoon to submerge a bit, and there will be some above the liquid which is okay.  Add the spinach, and DO NOT STIR.  The spinach will come up to the top, but it will cook down to almost nothing.

Secure the lid and Pressure Cook on high for 5-6 minutes (depending on how you like your pasta).  Quick release the pressure when done.

Stir in the cream, cream cheese, Parmesan, and artichokes for a couple minutes until the cheese is melted.  Let rest a couple minutes to thicken and enjoy! 

Tuesday, January 21, 2020

Instant Pot Pot Roast

I tried this Pot Roast recipe from Pressure Luck Cooking and followed the ingredients and directions exactly (except for leaving out the mushrooms).  I was so excited to dig in that I forgot to take a photo the first night.  So this is a photo of leftovers we had the following night.  It was really, really flavorful and the meat was fall-apart tender.  I'd say the overall process was a little more fussy than a slow cooker, but it only took 60 minutes to cook (plus extra for preheating and pressure release).  The flavor was worth it.   Note:  I used a 3-lb roast which fit nicely in my 6-qt Instant Pot.  A bigger roast may have been tricky.

I don't want to steal the recipe since I made no changes except the mushrooms, so here is a link to the website:  https://pressureluckcooking.com/recipe/instant-pot-roast/

Baked Ranch Pork Chops

I was in the mood for pork chops so I found a recipe online and adapted it a bit.  Super easy and relatively quick.  The ranch flavor was pretty subtle, but the seasoning was tasty.  I only made 3 pork chops, and I had leftover seasoning.   In the future, I'd add baby potatoes using the same seasoning mix and bake at the same time.

Baked Ranch Pork Chops

Pork Chops, 3/4-1" thick  (I used boneless)
1-2 tablespoons olive oil
1 packet (1 oz) Ranch Seasoning and Salad Dressing Mix
1 teaspoon paprika
1 tablespoon dried oregano
1/2 tablespoon dried parsley
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon pepper

Rub oil over pork chops.  In small bowl, stir together the Ranch mix and all the seasonings.   Rub mix all over the pork chops (there may be extra depending on the number and size of chops).   Bake at 400º for 20-30 minutes until chops are cooked and reach internal temperature of 145º.

Sunday, January 12, 2020

Gluten-free Blueberry Pie with Almond-Oat Crust

Here is another dessert I brought to Christmas.  Blueberries were on sale at the store, so I wanted to make a blueberry dessert and also have a gluten-free option.  The blueberry filling was great, but the crust had way too much honey and made the crust a little too wet for my liking and also overpowered the flavor.  If I made this again, I'd cut back on the honey, probably to 1/4 cup or less.  Once again, I forgot to photograph the pie before we dug in.

Gluten-free Blueberry Pie with Almond-Oat Crust

2 cups fresh blueberries
1 tablespoon sugar
2 teaspoons corn starch
zest of 1/2 lemon

1&1/4 cup ground almonds or almond flour
1 cup old-fashioned oats
1/2 cup honey  (I would recommend cutting back to 1/4 cup or less)
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
5 tablespoons unsalted softened butter

In a medium bowl, toss together the blueberries, sugar, corn starch, and zest.  Set aside.

In another bowl, combine the ground almonds, oats, honey, baking powder, and salt.  Add butter and use your fingers to combine until coarse crumbs form.  Reserve 1/2 cup of crumbs for topping.  Press the remaining crumbs into a 9-inch pie plate or tart pan. 

Pour blueberries over the crust.  Sprinkle the reserved crumb topping over the top.  Bake at 350º for 20 minutes, then tent with foil to avoid over-browning, and bake for another 20-25 minutes until the filling is bubbly and the crust is golden brown.   Cool completely before serving.

Peach Cobbler Pie

Recipe for the peach pie I made for Christmas.  I used a store-bought frozen pie crust to save time.  I forgot to take a photo before everyone started digging in.  It was delicious, in my opinion.

Peach Cobbler Pie

Pie crust
5 cups fresh or thawed frozen peaches
2/3 cup sugar
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
1 tablespoon lemon juice
4 tablespoons cornstarch

Crumble Topping:
12 tablespoons cold butter, diced
1/3 cup sugar
1/3 cup brown sugar
1&1/2 cups flour

In a large bowl, stir together peaches, sugar, lemon juice, cinnamon, and cornstarch.   Place store-bought or homemade pie crust in a 9-inch pie plate and pour peach mixture over crust.

To make crumble topping, combine all the ingredients in a large bowl.  Using a pastry cutter, work the butter into the flour and sugar until it resembles coarse crumbs.   Sprinkle over the peach mixture.

Bake pie at 425º for 10 minutes, then at 350º for 30-40 minutes until crust is baked and golden.

Instant Pot Parmesan Ranch Chicken and Potatoes

I'm starting to use my Instant Pot more, and this is a fast and easy recipe that also tasted great.  The chicken was juicy and the seasoning was tasty.  We didn't really detect the ranch flavor though.

Instant Pot Parmesan  Ranch Chicken and Potatoes
Serves 4

4 boneless skinless chicken breasts
2 pounds baby red potatoes
3 tablespoons olive oil
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon pepper
1 teaspoon garlic powder
1 teaspoon dried thyme
1/2 teaspoon dried basil
1/2 teaspoon dried rosemary
1/2 teaspoon dried oregano
1 packet Ranch dry seasoning
1 cup chicken broth
3 tablespoons grated Parmesan cheese

Put the chicken and potatoes in a large bowl and toss with olive oil.  Combine all the seasonings (except Parmesan), reserving 2 teaspoons of the Ranch seasoning.  Sprinkle mixture over the chicken and potatoes, tossing to distribute evenly.

Add chicken broth to Instant Pot and and place chicken in the pot.  Top with potatoes.  Lock the lid and seal the vent of the Instant Pot.  Pressure cook on high for 15 minutes.  Quick release the steam. 

Use a slotted spoon to transfer the chicken and potatoes to a platter.  Sprinkle with Parmesan cheese and remaining Ranch seasoning.