Pharm Fresh

The foodie alter-ego of a pharmacy student

Turkey Tenderloins with Bacon Shallot Sauce November 17, 2009

Filed under: main dish,pork,turkey — pharmfresh @ 4:50 pm
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I’ve come a long way from when I first started cooking.  I used to be so afraid to deviate from a recipe because I didn’t want to mess it up.  I would check and double check my measurements, and not even change the amount of salt and pepper the recipe called for.  And don’t even get me started on what happened when the recipe didn’t give exact amounts of salt and pepper!  I’m proud to say now that unless I’m baking something very finicky, I pretty much throw caution to the wind and tweak almost every recipe I try to fit my tastes.  This recipe is by far my most successful tweak yet!

If you saw the original recipe that I based this off of, you probably would barely be able to tell that it’s the same thing.  The general method is still the same, but I changed quite a few steps and ingredients to fit my tastes better.  To begin with, the original recipe was supposed to have a thinner sauce with sage and pancetta, but I really think it tastes better with bacon and shallots.  But really, what doesn’t taste better with the addition of a little bacon?

This is a little more time-consuming than your average weeknight meal, but it’s definitely not impossible.  I actually make this quite often on weekdays – after you get the general method and steps down, it’ll probably take you about 30-40 minutes to prepare.  I like to cut the turkey tenderloins crosswise into about 1 inch thick medallions so that they cook faster, and are easier to cut and eat at the end.  The sauce for this is phenomenal – I love the combination of the salty bacon and chicken broth with the sweet and fruity white wine.  Reducing them all together creates a really deep and savory flavor combination.  The more you reduce the sauce, the saltier it gets, so I would recommend using reduced sodium chicken broth and unsalted butter, then adding a little salt at the very end if needed.

Turkey Tenderloins with Bacon Shallot Sauce

Adapted from: Cooking Light

Makes: 4 servings

1 pkg. (about 1 lb.) turkey tenderloins

2 tbsp. olive oil

8 slices bacon, sliced crosswise into medium-sized pieces

2 shallots, finely chopped

3/4 c. white wine

1/2 c. chicken broth

3 tbsp. butter, cut into small pieces

Rice, for serving (if desired)

1) If desired, cut turkey tenderloins crosswise into 1 inch thick medallions.  Sprinkle with pepper only.  (Remember, the sauce itself is going to be really salty, so we don’t want to add any extra salt until the very end).

2) Heat the olive oil in a large skillet over medium heat until hot.  Place the tenderloin medallions in the pan and let cook without touching for about 1 minute, or until nicely golden on that side.  Flip over and cook until completely cooked through, about 2-3 more minutes.  Remove from the pan and set aside, covering with foil to keep warm.

3) In the same pan the turkey was cooked in and still over medium heat, add the bacon and cook, stirring constantly, until crisp, but not burned.  Using a slotted spoon, remove the bacon from the pan and set aside on a paper towel lined plate.  Keep 2-3 tablespoons of bacon grease in the pan; discard the rest.

4) Reheat bacon grease over medium-low heat until hot (still in the same pan that we started with) and then add shallots.  Saute until softened, about 2 minutes.

5) Carefully add the wine to the pan and cook over medium-high heat, stirring occasionally, until reduced to about 1/4 cup.

6) Add the chicken broth to the pan and cook, stirring occasionally, until reduced to about 1/2 cup.

7) Take the pan off the heat and add the butter and most of the bacon (reserving a little bit for garnishing) and stir until the butter has melted and the sauce has thickened slightly.  Taste the sauce and add salt and pepper to taste, if needed.

8) Place the turkey medallions on a plate and spoon the sauce over the top.  Sprinkle with remaining bacon pieces.  Serve with rice, if desired.


Marinated Drumsticks November 5, 2009

Filed under: chicken,main dish — pharmfresh @ 9:38 pm
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I’m back!  I know, I was doing so good with posting and then I disappeared for a whole MONTH!  And trust me, it’s been a ridiculously busy month! I’ve just resigned myself to the fact that I will probably never be able to update this on a regular basis.  It’s unfortunate, I know, but my schedule is just way too variable depending on how many exams and other activities I have each week.  But don’t worry, I’ll definitely still keep posting recipes!  And now that we’re getting into the holiday season, I will for sure be cooking (and hopefully posting) more often.

It’s starting to get cold here, and I finally broke down about a week ago and turned my heater on.  For some reason, I hate doing that.  Not because I’m worried about increasing my utility bills or anything, but because that it means we’re in the inevitable downward slope towards snow.  Ugh, I hate snow.  I’m hoping it’ll hold off until at least after Thanksgiving.  A girl can dream, right?

As I’m sure is true with just about everyone, the cold weather makes me want to cook more often.  A lot of times during the summer I’ll just throw together a salad or a quick pasta salad for dinner, but now I’m craving warm, comforting food.  I decided to experiment a little bit with a cut of meat I don’t usually eat very often – the drumstick!  I’m really more of a boneless chicken breast girl, but I’m really glad I tried this recipe.  It’s super easy to make – just throw together the marinade in a plastic zip-top bag, toss the chicken in and let it sit for a few hours or up to a day, and then cook!  I really like the combination of garlic and honey in the marinade – the sweetness of the honey curbs the bite of the raw garlic and the extra bit of sugar helps the chicken caramelize really nicely in the oven.

Feel free to play around with the marinade and make it the way you like it.  I think next time I’m going to try leaving out the soy sauce entirely and adding in a few tablespoons of chopped chives.


Marinated Drumsticks

Adapted from: SimplyRecipes

Makes: 6-8 drumsticks

8 cloves garlic, roughly chopped

2 tbsp. honey

2 tbsp. Dijon mustard

1 tbsp. soy sauce

2 tbsp. fresh lemon juice

1/4 c. olive or canola oil

1 tsp. salt (more or less, to taste)

1 tsp. pepper

6-8 chicken drumsticks

1) Combine all ingredients except drumsticks in a large zip-top plastic bag.  Seal the bag and squeeze it until all the ingredients are mixed well together.

2) Open the bag and add the drumsticks, squeezing the bag again until they are all well coated.  Place bag in a large mixing bowl (just in case it leaks!) and put in the refrigerator.  Let the chicken marinate for at least an hour, or up to one full day.

3) Preheat the oven to 400 degrees.

4) Line a baking sheet with foil and spray with cooking spray.  Remove the drumsticks from the bag of marinade and place on the baking sheet.  Discard remaining marinade.

5) Bake for 30-40 minutes, until the meat is cooked through and the outside is golden brown.


Pot Stickers September 1, 2009

Filed under: main dish,pork — pharmfresh @ 4:26 pm
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Over the summer I worked as an intern at a Walmart pharmacy.  It was by and far one of the best jobs I’ve had, mainly because of my coworkers.  The two pharmacists I worked with were both super nice and supportive, and all the pharmacy techs were really fun.  We had a bunch of fun working together, and I miss them all!  I really liked that I was able to make friends with all of my coworkers – usually you just try to get by and stay away from the ones that you really don’t like, but I didn’t have to do that here.  On my last day working there, they even had a potluck for me!  Our pharmacy closes for 30 minutes every day so the pharmacist can eat lunch, so everyone brought a dish to pass and we had a mini party during the lunch break.  There was some amazing food at that potluck, and very diverse food too!  Both pharmacists, Anuya and Manisha, are from India so I got to try some real, authentic Indian food and one of the pharmacy techs, Tomoko, is from Japan and she brought these pot stickers.

I’ve always wanted to try branching out and cooking some more Chinese/Japanese food, but I feel like I just don’t know enough about the ingredients and the cooking methods to do it successfully.  There are so many different ingredients that I don’t use on an everyday basis or have never used at all, so when I see them in a recipe I have no idea how they will taste or work with everything else in the recipe.  So when I ate these at our potluck and realized how delicious they were, I knew I had to have the recipe!

This recipe makes a TON (probably over 100) pot stickers, so if you’re not sure if you’re going to love them, I’d definitely recommend halving the recipe and then deciding if you want to make more after you taste one. The good news is that the uncooked pot stickers freeze very well, and cook up without any change in the consistency.  Just make sure they’re completely thawed before you cook them.

These are a little bit time consuming, but the taste totally makes up for it.  Filling the pot stickers takes the most time, but as soon as you get used to the process it goes a little bit quicker.    Also, the recipe calls for round wonton wrappers, but I could only find square ones and then proceeded to cut each one into a circular shape.  Huge waste of time!  Next time, I’ll keep them square and just make rectangular shaped dumplings.

One last tip:  make sure and use a nonstick pan for this.  If you don’t, they will definitely live up to their name and completely cement themselves to the bottom of your pan.  Trust me, I know this from experience.

I was able to find the sesame oil and miso paste in the ethnic foods aisle in my grocery store, but I couldn’t find sake anywhere, so I just left it out.  I couldn’t really tell a difference in taste between the ones I made (without the sake) and the ones that Tomoko made (with the sake), so if you can’t find it, it won’t make much difference if you leave it out.  Tomoko did say that though the miso paste might be kind of hard to find, it makes a big difference in taste, so don’t leave it out unless you absolutely can’t find it.  The same goes for the sesame oil. And definitely don’t skip the dipping sauce – it only has two ingredients in it (both of which you’re very likely to already have on hand) and it makes a HUGE difference in the overall taste.


Potstickers (also known as Gyoza)

Source: Tomoko DeKilder

Makes: a lot! (Probably around 100)

2 pkgs. wonton or Gyoza wraps

1 lb. ground pork

1/2 green cabbage

2 bunches green onions or scallions, finely chopped

2 tbsp. grated fresh ginger

2 cloves garlic, minced or grated

2 tbsp. sake

1 tbsp. soy sauce

2 tbsp. sesame oil

2 tbsp. miso (soy) paste

salt and pepper, to taste

1-2 tsp. olive oil

1/4 – 1/2 c. water

Dipping Sauce

Equal parts soy sauce and white vinear

(for just me, I do 2 tbsp. of each – for a crowd, I’ll usually 1/4 cup of each)

1) Boil the cabbage whole for 3-5 minutes.  Drain and let sit until it is cool enough to handle.  Roughly chop.

2) Lay a clean, dry kitchen towel out on the counter.  Place half of the chopped cabbage in the middle of the towel, and pull up each side  and gather at the top to form a little bundle.  Squeeze and twist to extract as much water as possible.  Repeat with the remaining chopped cabbage.

3) Combine all pot sticker ingredients except the wonton wrappers, water and olive oil in a large bowl.

4) To form the dumplings, place one wonton wrapper on the counter.  Place about 1 teaspoon of filling into the middle of the wrapper.  Brush a little bit of water around the edges of half of the wrapper.  Bring the dry edges of the wrapper up to meet the wet edges and press to seal.  The dumplings should sit with the crimped edges at the top.  At this point, the pot stickers can be cooked or frozen for later use.

5) Heat the olive oil in a nonstick skillet over medium heat.  Once the oil is hot, place the pot stickers in the pan.  They should sit straight up with the sealed edges at the top.  Cook 1-2 minutes, until the bottoms are nicely browned.

6) Add the water to the pan and cover.  (The size of your pan will determine the amount of water you use – there should be about an inch of water in the pan)

7) Cook, covered, for 5-7 minutes until the wrappers become translucent and slightly wrinkly.  Remove the lid from the pan and cook until all of the water has evaporated and the bottoms have re-crisped a bit, about 3-5 minutes more.

8) For the dipping sauce, combine the soy sauce and vinegar and place in a small bowl.  Serve beside the pot stickers.



Chicken Marsala June 2, 2009

Filed under: chicken,main dish — pharmfresh @ 8:30 pm
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This is the last of the recipes from the cooking extravaganza that my friend Jen and I had a few weeks ago.  I’ve always wanted to try chicken marsala, so I was really excited when I saw that this was on the menu.   I love cooking with boneless skinless chicken breasts because they’re so easy to cook with and I always have them on hand.  However, sometimes it’s hard to find new and exciting ways to cook them and I get bored really easily with the same old chicken dishes.


Jen was in charge of pounding the chicken breasts.

I really liked that this recipe was super simple.  You could definitely pull off this dish from start to finish in 30 minutes, easy, which makes it perfect for a weekday meal.  And even though you use very few ingredients, you still get a really nice, rich flavor in the end.

There are a few different ways to pound out the chicken breasts for this recipe, but my favorite is to use plastic wrap.  Place a piece of plastic wrap (about a foot long) on the counter, and then place one chicken breast in the middle.  Cover the piece of chicken with another piece of plastic wrap.  Using a meat mallet or a heavy-bottomed cup, whack the chicken until it’s about 1/2 inch thick.  This way it keeps the counter and your hands relatively clean, and it makes for a really easy clean up — just fold the plastic wrap over so the part the chicken touched is on the inside, and throw away!


Chicken Marsala

Adapted from:

Makes: 4 servings (1 chicken breasts each)

1/4 c. flour

1/2 tsp. salt

1/2 tsp. pepper

1/2 tsp. dried oregano

4 boneless skinless chicken breasts, pounded to about 1/2 inch thickness

8 tbsp. olive oil, divided

8 tbsp. butter, divided

1 c. sliced mushrooms

1 c. Marsala wine

1/2 c. cooking sherry

1) In a shallow bowl or plate mix together the flour, salt, pepper and oregano.  Dredge the chicken in the flour mixture, making sure it’s well coated.  Shake slightly to remove some of the excess flour.

2) In a large skillet, heat 4 tbsp. butter and 4 tbsp. olive oil over medium heat.  Once hot, place two of the chicken breasts in the pan and cook until lightly browned.  Turn the chicken over and add the mushrooms.

3) Pour in the wine and cooking sherry.  Cover the skillet and simmer for 10 minutes, turning once, until the chicken is cooked through and the juices run clear.  Repeat with the remaining two chicken breasts.


Jen and her husband Frankie with their respective bowls of chicken (Jen likes mushrooms, Frankie doesn’t)

Aren’t they adorable?


I’m Back! Plus Crock Pot Turkey Chili May 31, 2009

Filed under: main dish,turkey — pharmfresh @ 10:50 pm
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Hello again!  It’s been a while, hasn’t it?  I bet you almost forgot about me, didn’t you?

I can’t believe it’s been over a month since I last posted.  I feel terrible!  In my defense, I haven’t actually cooked almost anything this past month.  It’s not like I’ve been cooking these fabulous things and just not sharing.

This past month has been, well, stressful.  I managed to get sick, break up with my boyfriend, take all of my finals, and decide to move to a city I’ve never lived in before all in the space of about a week.  Not my best week, obviously.  Needless to say, I was a bit stressed.  I didn’t really eat anything that entire week.  Like literally, there were a few days when I would be getting ready for bed and realize “oh, I didn’t eat dinner.  Wait, or lunch.  Uh-oh, or breakfast!”  And even when I did eat, it was either pre-made TV dinners or cereal.  I couldn’t really bring myself to cook anything.  I feel like I lost my cooking mojo for a bit, but luckily I’m starting to recover.

I moved to Kalamazoo for the summer to live with my little sister.  It was an incredibly last-minute decision, but so far I’m really happy with it.  We get along surprisingly well when my parents aren’t around, haha.  My friend Jen also lives in Kalamazoo, and she had me over for a little cooking extravaganza.  She usually tries to cook a ton of food in advance  and then freezes it, so her and her husband don’t have to cook a lot during the week, and so her husband eats something other than beef jerkey and crackers when she’s off in Big Rapids during the week taking classes.

I had so much fun cooking with Jen!  Her house (and especially her kitchen) is absolutely gorgeous, and I was so excited to finally get to see it!  It was nice to get back in the kitchen and actually cook.  We made three entrees, all of which I’ll be posting, the first of which being turkey chili in the crock pot.  I’m ashamed to admit that I walked out of her house without actually having tasted anything, but from what I’ve heard from Jen and Frankie, everything was delicious.  I can tell you that at the very least, everything smelled amazing as it was cooking!

IMG_4058 Everyone, meet Jen!  She’s very enthusiastically browning the ground turkey for the chili.  Also, isn’t the backsplash in her kitchen really pretty?

This is a really great recipe for chili that I will definitely be making sometime in the near future.  I love that it uses the crock pot, because it frees up so much time that you would normally be spending standing by the stove, stirring the chili on the stovetop.  With this recipe, you chuck everything in the crock pot, turn it on, and then let it be.  It’s awesome.

With chili, I’ve found that it’s really important to taste often as you’re adding spices.  Everyone likes their chili a certain way, and you’ll never know if it tastes right to you if you don’t, well, taste it!  We started by adding about half of the spices that the recipe calls for, and then tasting and adding more as we saw fit.  If I remember correctly, we increased the amount of cumin and cayenne pepper to about 1 teaspoon each to fit Jen’s tastes. Also, this makes a TON of chili.  It completely filled up Jen’s extra large crock pot, so if you only have a normal sized crock pot (and unfortunately I don’t know the volumes of each, but you can see the size of Jen’s from the picture below) I would recommend halving the recipe, or making it in batches.


Crock Pot Turkey Chili

Adapted from:

1 1/2 tsp. olive oil

1 lb. ground turkey

1 onion, coarsely chopped

2 c. water

1 can (28 oz.) crushed tomatoes

1 can (16 oz.) kidney beans, drained and rinsed

1 tbsp. garlic, minced

2 tbsp. chili powder

1/2 tsp. paprika

1/2 tsp. dried oregano

1 tsp. cayenne pepper (or less, depending on your tastes)

1 tsp. cumin

1/2 tsp. salt

1/2 tsp. pepper

1) Heat the oil in a large skillet over medium heat.  Add the ground turkey and cook until it’s no longer pink.  Place the turkey in the crock pot.

2) Add all other ingredients into the crock pot and mix well.  If desired, start by adding only half of all the spices, and then adjust to reach the flavor that you like.

3) Turn the crock pot on high and cook for 2-3 hours.


Crispy Onion Chicken April 17, 2009

Filed under: chicken,main dish — pharmfresh @ 11:55 am
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I am so glad that it’s Friday.  Three weeks and counting until I’m done with my first year of pharmacy school.  I can’t even begin to wrap my head around all of the things I need to do before the end of the semester.  So, if my posts are a little sparse for the next three weeks or so, you know why!

I made this chicken last night and was really surprised at how good it was.  I’ve had this recipe forever, but never got around to making it…I always found something that seemed more interesting.   This has very few ingredients, but those few ingredients really pack a punch.  The flavor is fabulous.  It’s salty and crunchy and a little bit tangy.   Even better, this uses mostly basic ingredients so you’re likely to already have everything in the house to make it.  It comes together really quickly, and would be perfect for dinner on a weeknight.

Like usual, I’ve written the recipe for 1 serving, but this can be easily increased to however many servings you want.


Crispy Onion Chicken

Makes: 1 serving

1 tbsp. butter, melted

2 tsp. Worcestershire sauce

1/4 tsp. garlic powder

1/4 tsp. pepper

1 tsp. Dijon mustard

1/4 c. french fried onions, crushed

1 boneless, skinless chicken breast

1) In a medium sized bowl, combine the melted butter, Worcestershire, garlic powder, pepper and Dijon mustard.

2) Place the french fried onions in a shallow dish or a plate.

3) Dredge the chicken breast in the butter mixture, covering well.  Then dip the chicken breast into the onions, making sure it’s well-covered.

4) Place the chicken breast on a greased baking sheet.  Top with remaining sauce and onions.

5) Bake at 350 degrees for 20-30 minutes, until chicken is cooked through and onions are crisp and browned.


Panko Crusted Chicken with Sour Cream Chive Sauce March 16, 2009

Filed under: chicken,main dish,sauces etc. — pharmfresh @ 1:16 pm
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I can’t believe it’s been almost two weeks since I last posted!  I have a good excuse though — this past week was spring break.  My boyfriend and I went on a road trip to Nashville, Tennessee.  It was a ton of fun!  We stayed at the Opryland Hotel, which if you’ve never heard of it, is this absolutely HUGE hotel that’s made to look like a rainforest.  There are real, living tropical flowers and trees all over, and the entire place is kept at relatively warm and humid to emulate the rainforest.  There were about 7 different restaurants and 3 or 4 bars in the hotel alone, a ton of interesting shops and even a nightclub!

It was a pretty long drive from here to Nashville (about 8 hours), but we managed it quite well!  On the way back we stopped in Kentucky to visit my aunt and uncle, who have a gorgeous house out in the country, complete with two of the most adorable dogs ever.

But now I’m back to the real world of school and studying.  I love traveling, but it is kind of nice to be home.

This is a dish that I adapted from a Cooking Light recipe in their October 2008 issue.  It was originally for pork chops, but I’m not a huge fan of pork…in the chop form, at least.  I’ve tried it both with pork chops and chicken, and I definitely prefer it with chicken.  I thought the combination of seasonings in the flour coating sounded a little strange at first, but it really works.  And the sauce is fantastic.  I could put it on just about everything.  It’s creamy, it’s tangy and it has just the right of onion flavor. I’ve used both chives and green onions in the sauce, and I didn’t really notice any change in taste.

Panko bread crumbs are from Japan and they’re a lot chunkier than regular bread crumbs.  They make a fantastic coating on meat because they’re very crispy.  I usually find panko in the Japanese section of the international aisle of my grocery store, but they might also be near the regular bread crumbs.


Panko Crusted Chicken with Sour Cream Chive Sauce

Adapted from: Cooking Light

Makes: 2 chicken breasts, and about 1/2 c. sauce

1/4 c. flour

1 tsp. chili powder

1/2 tsp. garlic powder

1/2 tsp. onion powder

dash cayenne pepper (to taste)

1/2 tsp. salt

1/2 tsp. pepper

1 egg white

1 tbsp. soy sauce

1 c. panko bread crumbs

2 boneless, skinless chicken breasts

2-3 tbsp. olive oil


4 tbsp. sour cream

1 tbsp. mayonnaise

2 tsp. red wine vinegar

2-3 tbsp. chives, finely chopped

1-3 tbsp. milk

salt and pepper to taste

1) In a medium sized bowl, combine the flour, chili powder, garlic powder, onion powder, cayenne, salt and pepper.

2) In another medium sized bowl, beat the egg white and soy sauce.

3) Place the panko in a third medium sized bowl (I used cereal bowls for this, but you can also use plates if that’s what you’ve got laying around)

4) Heat the olive oil over medium heat in a frying pan.

5) Dredge the chicken breasts first in the flour mixture, then the egg white mixture, then cover with panko.  Press the panko into the chicken to make sure it’s nicely coated.

6) Once the oil is hot, add the chicken and cook about 2 minutes on each side, until well browned.  If the chicken is not cooked through, transfer to a greased cookie sheet and bake at 350 degrees for 10-15 minutes, until fully cooked.

7) For the sauce, combine the sour cream, mayonnaise, red wine vinegar and chives.  Add enough milk to reach the desired consistency (I liked mine kind of thick, so I only added 1 tbsp.  If you want it to be more saucy, add more milk.)  Add salt and pepper to taste.