my _Mad Hungry_ week!

I did it, folks! I cooked the whole week from one cookbook: Lucinda Scala Quinn’s Mad Hungry: Feeding Men and Boys. Well, ALMOST a week. Friday was beach day and yes, a pizza did find it’s way into the house. And let me tell you, it was yummy! You need a day off, right??!!

And before I even really get started, no, i did not do pictures. Again. I don’t know why not. So you’ll have to just imagine some beautiful dishes and instead see some cute pics of sweet baby Gabriela.


lunching with her buddies

All in all I was very pleased with all the recipes. None were too time consuming (other than the (braised beef short ribs) . These guys need to be marinated overnight (or at least 6 hours) so really get the taste to go throughout the ribs. Unfortunately, I could only find the long skinny type of ribs here on the island. If you can, I totally recommend that you try to find the thick, shorter versions of the ribs. Braising really takes a bite out of the overall amount of meat you start with (so I also suggest over-shooting the amount you need/the recipe calls for. Left-overs are always a bonus). Because mine were on the thin and long side some didn’t start off with very much meat so by the time 3 hours go by the only thing you’re left with is just a bone. Bummer. But that flavor does enhance the sauce. So moral of the story: get extra meat! The sauce was very rich and it was pretty good mixed with the mashed potatoes.

I grilled (in the rain) LSQ’s flat roast chicken. If you’ve never spatchcocked a chicken (or turkey for that matter) I highly suggest you give it a try. AND get a brick or two, wrap them in aluminum foil and put them on top of the chicken to help press it down and to get a really good even sear. It’s a little daunting at first but once ou get confident in breaking down your chicken you’ll want to do it instead of buying an already cut up chicken, which can cost a little more.

I also rubbed some butter mixed with extra herbs under the skin of the breast to boost the flavor and to make sure it didn’t dry out. It really does make a difference. 

We love shrimp around here so I of course had to do her Shrimp scampi. This is very simple and straightforward. I like this version because it really does make the shrimp the star, enhanced by the sauce. I may have put in more bitter than what was called for but I can neither confirm or deny that. Seriously, for a quick weeknight dinner that just feels fancy, give this a try! 

I had mixed reviews on the Pork chops with apples and onions. Mixed being it was just my dad and me trying them out and not anything bad, just a difference of opinion on combining savory and sweet all together on one plate. I’m saving this debate for my ‘I wonder wednesday’ post so be sure to check back. 🙂 My father cleaned his plate so I’m sure it wasn’t THAT bad. 

I’m a sucker for a good soup and I seem to always have lots left over so my freezer stash consists of chicken and dumplings, beef barley, and now a very hearty Lentil soup. The cookbook version is vegetarian (you can either add chicken or vegetable broth) but my guys like meat so I added ground beef. I cooked off the beef in the same pot while I was sautéing the onions, carrots, and celery. I don’t normally season too much at this point because I drain the fat and you don’t want to lose much flavor. I also added frozen spinach for some extra nutrients. Loved. It! I served it along with a grilled cheese. What could be any better? 


So there you have it: my week in review. There’s still plenty more recipes I want to try so I’ll be keeping this cookbook in the mix. It’s a shame her show is no longer on air. It was always neat seeing her cook with her three boys, mother, siblings, husband…anyone. Food really does bring people together. 

I’ll be doing dishes from Ree Drummonds new cookbook Dinnertime. This is my first book of hers and I love it because it’s like reading her blog, but in a book. Great photos and her personality sure does shine through! 

Oh—- GARDEN UPDATE!!!! So my veggie garden was pretty much destroyed over the summer because of our drought. Being somewhat lazy I left two tomato plants hanging out because they were still producing fruit here and there but nothing substantial. I figured they’d feed some birds. Fast forward a few months, after pulling everything out, turning the soil, fertilizing, and dropping in more soul, we started seeing little tomato seedlings  popping up. Everywhere. Apparently the dropped fruits started to seed and I had (at least) 20-30 new plants growing. Without any intervention from me! I thinned them out, replanted some throughout our yard, gave to friends and now we’re left with 16 tomato plants (I couldn’t bear the thought of killing them off. Yep, I’m odd.)

multiple plants starting from a cherry tomato

one square filled with seedlings. another square was just as filled as well as seedlings scattered all around.

Along with the crazy tomatoes, I was able to get lots of seeds into the ground and within weeks our garden has exploded! 


just planted seeds


zuchinni, squash, beans, and cucumbers


little seedlings popping up


bananas from our tree


our first zuchinni: easter egg. so fresh tasting. and white globe radishes.


See you soon, friends! 

3 thoughts on “my _Mad Hungry_ week!

  1. Barbara Schutt December 24, 2015 at 8:11 am Reply

    I love lentil soups and yours looks so tasty 🙂 I’ve heard of people getting tomatoes again from fallen seeds. We plant tomatoes every year but really don’t let the freebie tomatoes take off and we just yank them out. But I’m curious if yours will produce the same size tomatoes or will they be small/wild type…you’ll have to keep us updated. Also, I’ve a question what are the colorful cages in the garden?

    I wish you and your family a very Merry Christmas!

    • Jen December 24, 2015 at 11:20 am Reply

      Hi Barbara! I didn’t even think if the tomatoes would be stunted! Hhhmmmm I’ll definitely keep you posted on their progress and what they produce. The cages are actually for said tomatoes. It’s very windy on the northwest side of the island and our first crop sorta leaned to a side. I tried tying the plants off but that just turned out to be a big mess and waist of string. I found these wooden cages, which my amazing father built and painted, and they hold up much better to the winds here. Here’s where I got the idea:

      I hope you and your family have a very merry Christmas as well. 🙂

      • Barbara Schutt December 25, 2015 at 5:10 am

        Oh, I should have thought they were for the tomatoes, duh. We have built cages out of fencing that are about 5.5 feet tall and 3 foot around for our tomatoes…works pretty well. Have a great day today!

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