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.


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?


Baked Ziti June 1, 2009

Filed under: main dish,pasta,turkey — pharmfresh @ 3:58 pm
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Happy first day of June! I’m so glad it’s finally getting warm here. I love summer!

This baked ziti was the second thing that Jen and I cooked during our cooking extravaganza. I love baked pasta dishes, because they’re always so easy to make and they freeze and reheat really well. This one was a little bit different than the baked ziti I always make, because it calls for adding some fresh basil (always a good thing!) and ricotta cheese. I will definitely be making it sometime soon!


That’s me!  Mixing spaghetti sauce into the cooked ground turkey.


Mmmm, look at that fresh basil and garlic!

(And wine and Wheat Thins…hey, we can’t have hungry cooks!)


Jen and I with the finished product!

This recipe is really easy to customize to fit your own tastes.  You can use ground beef or turkey and you can add more or less cheese and fresh herbs.  Instead of using plain tomato sauce, we used spaghetti sauce, which will bump up the flavor quite a bit.  My favorite is Prego Fresh Mushroom, but you can use whatever kind you like.  Instead of using shredded mozzarella cheese, Jen ended up buying a few balls of fresh mozzarella.  We cut it up into chunks and mixed about half into the pasta mixture and then sprinkled the rest on top right before baking.  I actually liked this better, because then there’s little pockets of cheese inside the pasta, along with the nice little blobs of it on top.


Baked Ziti

Makes: One 13×9 inch pan (about 8 servings)

Adapted from:

1/2 lb. ziti pasta

4 tsp. olive oil

1/2 c. chopped onion

1 1/2 cloves garlic, minced

1 lb. ground turkey

2 c. tomato sauce (or spaghetti sauce)

1/3 c. fresh basil, chopped

1 c. ricotta cheese

2/3 c. grated mozzarella cheese

1/3 c. grated Parmesan cheese

1) Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil.  Add the pasta and cook until just shy of being done (you want them to be still slightly chewy in the middle), about 8-10 minutes.  Drain and set aside.

2) Meanwhile, heat oil in a large skillet over medium heat.  Once hot, add the onion and saute until translucent and soft, about 5 minutes.  Add the garlic and saute for one minute more.

3) Add the ground turkey to the skillet with the onion and garlic, seasoning with salt and pepper to taste. Cook until turkey is completely cooked through.  Drain off any excess fat.

4) Add the tomato sauce to the skillet and mix until combined.  Heat over low heat until bubbly, about 5 minutes.

5) In a large bowl, mix together the turkey mixture, pasta, basil and ricotta cheese.  Spoon mixture into a greased 13×9 inch pan.

6) Sprinkle the mozzarella and Parmesan cheese evenly over the pasta mixture.

7) Bake at 350 degrees for about 15-20 minutes until the cheese is melted and browned and the mixture is heated through.


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.


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.


Meatballs! January 26, 2009

Filed under: beef,main dish — pharmfresh @ 2:58 pm
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Spaghetti and meatballs is usually my standard whenever I go to an Italian restaurant.  I’ve been trying to branch out a little lately and expand my culinary horizons, but I’m kind of a picky eater.  I’m willing to try just about anything once, but when it comes to some normal, everyday ingredients, I’ll only eat them in certain ways.  Take tomatoes, for instance.  I love ketchup and tomato soup, but I won’t touch the raw fruit unless it’s on nachos.  Why nachos?  I have no idea.  I’m also really picky about cheese.  I LOVE cheese, but really only by itself.  Sharp cheddar cheese sticks are probably my most favorite snack, but when it comes to cheese actually in things, I rarely like it.  I don’t like cheese on sandwiches, or in pasta, which brings us back to my difficulty with Italian restaurants.  Cheese manicotti?  Not so much.  Cheese ravioli?  Mmm, no.  Of course there are plenty of other things that I’ve tried and absolutely loved, so not all is lost!  And now that I’ve mastered the art of making meatballs at home, I’ll probably move on to something more interesting next time I go out.

I really, really like these meatballs.  I like the slight hint of heat that the cayenne gives to it, and the salty richness from the Parmesan.  I like grating the onion so there’s no chunks in the meatballs, but I’ve made them both ways and the overall taste isn’t any different.  I’ve kept these pretty simple, but you can go crazy with all the different things you can put in these, if you feel like it.  Maybe a little garlic powder, dried parsley, basil, or oregano would be delicious, too.



Source: me!

Makes: about 30 small meatballs

1 lb. ground beef (I recommend using the leanest possible)

1/2 of a small onion, grated or finely minced

2 cloves garlic, finely minced

1 tsp. onion salt

pinch of cayenne pepper (or more if you like the heat!)

1/4 tsp. salt

1/2 tsp. pepper

1 egg

1/4 – 1/2 c. Italian breadcrumbs

1) In a large bowl, break up the ground beef with a spoon.

2) Add in the onion, garlic, onion salt, cayenne, salt, pepper and egg.  Mix until well blended.

3) Add in enough breadcrumbs to make the mixture dry enough so that you can easily roll them into balls without sticking too badly to your hands.  (I used just a little over 1/4 c.)

4) Roll into balls of desired size (mine were about 1.5 inches in diameter), remembering that they will shrink as they cook.  Place meatballs onto a greased cookie sheet (for easy cleanup, cover the cookie sheet in tinfoil, and then grease the foil)

5) Bake for 10 minutes at 350 degrees.  Remove from the oven and flip all of the meatballs so that they’ll brown evenly.  Bake for an additional 10-20 minutes, until no longer pink in the middle.


Chicken Parmesan January 15, 2009

Filed under: chicken,main dish — pharmfresh @ 7:50 pm
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Sometimes I really just crave pasta.  Which is weird, because not too many years ago, I didn’t like pasta at all.  I can remember whining up a storm every time my parents wanted to go out to an Italian restaurant because I “didn’t like anything there!”  But now, what can I say?  I’m still not a huge fan of cream-based sauces, but give me a good marinara and I’m sold.

This is one of my all-time favorite recipes.  The chicken is tender on the inside and crispy on the outside, with the right amount of salty cheesiness.  It’s fantastic, especially paired with some angel hair and marinara.  And even better, this is super easy and fast to make.  I made this from start to finish in about 25 minutes!  I’m going to give the recipe in amounts for two people, but this can easily be halved for one (like I did), or increased to as many servings as you want.  There’s nothing in this recipe that needs exact measurements, so feel free to add or take away as you see fit.

Chicken Parmesan


2 boneless, skinless chicken breasts

1/4 c. Italian breadcrumbs

1/4 c. grated Parmesan cheese

1/2 tsp. garlic salt

1/4 tsp. freshly ground pepper

1/4 c. flour

1 egg, beaten

3-4 tbsp. olive oil

pasta, whatever kind and in whatever amount you like (I used about 2 oz. of capellini)

1-2 c. marinara sauce (I’m a huge fan of Prego)


Combine breadcrumbs, Parmesan, garlic salt and pepper in a medium sized bowl (I used a cereal bowl).

Place the flour in another medium sized bowl.

Place the beaten egg in a third medium sized bowl.


Bring a pot of salted water to a boil, then add the pasta.


Place the olive oil in a pan over medium heat, until the oil is very hot and smoking slightly.

While the oil is heating, dredge the chicken breast in flour so that it’s lightly covered, then soak in egg mixture.  Dredge the chicken breast in the Parmesan and breadcrumb mixture, making sure that it’s thoroughly coated.

Place the chicken breast into the pan.  Let it sit for 30 seconds to one minute, until nicely browned, then flip and cook the other side until nicely browned as well.  Repeat with the other chicken breast, or do them both at the same time if you have a frying pan big enough to fit them.

Note: I always use relatively thin chicken breasts, so mine are always cooked through by the time both sides have browned.  For thicker chicken breasts, once both sides have browned, transfer them to a greased baking sheet and bake for about 20 minutes at 350 degrees, until the breasts are cooked through.


Once the pasta is done, strain it, then place it back into the pot and add the marinara sauce.  The residual heat from the pan and pasta should be enough to warm the sauce, but you can also put the pan back on the heat for a few seconds.

Place the pasta onto a plate, and top with the sliced chicken breast.