Monthly Archives: September 2012

Week in a Day

September 30, 2012

Sunday mornings fall into a routine for us here at the Stump household.  I take out my handy dandy notebook, sit down with this week’s grocery ads, a cup of coffee, and our meal plan board.

(isn’t it lovely?)

After gathering everything, the same question is always asked :

“What do you feel like eating this week?”    We make a list of everything that sounds good, try to match up with what’s on special that week, and go from there.  I also take into consideration our weekly schedule, so that meals will coincide with our days.  Days where we have to work late = meals with less planning and cook time.   Once that is complete, 7 meals are assigned to a day, and a grocery list is made.  I write down the meals on our planner board, noting where the recipe can be found if it is new.

Here’s what’s on the line up this week:

Monday: Baked Sweet Potatoes stuffed with roasted vegetables and chicken
Chop 1/2 a red onion, 1 zucchini, 1 yellow squash, and some tomatoes- I just use grape tomatoes.  Toss in oil, salt, and pepper… place on a baking sheet @ 425 for roughly 20 minutes.  In the last 8 minutes, pop 2 sweet potatoes into the microwave- make sure you poked those babies, or they’ll explode.  Once roasted, remove the veggies and add pre-cooked chicken chunks ( my go to are tyson’s diced roasted chicken, precooked and frozen- they go in the microwave for about 3 minutes)  Split open your baked sweet potatoes, add butter, salt, and pepper… fill with a few hearty scoops of the chicken and veggie mix, and you’re good to go!

Tuesday- Parmesan Crusted Tilapia with Sauted Spinach
Pretty standard in our house, and really easy- this is what I call a 15 minute meal.  Take out your tilapia filets.  Again, I go frozen- they come individually packaged and are thawed out under luke warm water in a matter of minutes.  Flour- eggwash (beat an egg), and then a breadcrumb/parm cheese mixture- heavy on the cheese!  Pop into a skillet that has a thin layer of hot oil- roughly 2-3 minutes until they are golden in color,  then flip.   The spinach is equally as easy.  Heat up a tiny bit of oil and minced garlic in a skillet.  Add an entire bag of baby spinach- it looks like a ton but wilts down fast.  Add some lemon juice…toss around until wilted. Done.- It takes literally, 3 minutes from start to finish to do the spinach.

Wednesday- Pizza Pot Pies

New recipe for us straight from, you guessed it, Pinterest! This recipe is for 2. You’ll need 3 ounces pepperoni, chopped, 1/2 cup of shredded mozzarella cheese, 1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese, onions and peppers, olives or mushrooms, chopped- if so desired.   1 cup of tomato sauce, and refrigerated pizza crust- yep, pillsbury will work!

Preheat your oven to 375.  Find some smallish ramikens, and lay out your pizza dough (you’ll have extra- get creative!)  Lay ramekins on the dough and trace around your ramekins w/ a pizza cutter. Combine your sauce, pepperoni, and veggies.  Toss in the ramekins and top with yummy cheese.  Add your pizza crust on top and brush it with some olive oil.  Pop in the oven for 25 minutes, or until your crust is golden.  When you take them out, crack the dough so that it will vent and you don’t burn your mouth with molten cheese.

Thursday- New England Turkey Burgers with Onion Rings

I love these.  It sounds like a lot of effort..but honestly, if you only make one recipe from this week- make these.  The combination of the turkey with the cheddar and granny smith apple- it’s like fall on a bun. 
You’ll need : ground turkey, honey mustard, scallions, dried cranberries, a granny smith apple, cheddar cheese, and english muffins.   Combine the turkey with sliced scallions and dried cranberries, add 1 tbsp of honey mustard to hold it all together and keep it moist- form into patties.  Put a little “thumb dip” in the center- it’ll make them cook even and without the bulge in the middle… and you wont be tempted to squash them down flat, losing all the juices.  Cook them up in a skillet.  Toast your english muffins, and top them with some honey mustard on the top part.  Slice the apple.  In the last minute of cooking the burgers, top with cheddar cheese- I like sharp white, but use what you like!  Assemble your burgers- muffin, burger, apples, muffin.  I serve these with either sweet potato fries or onion rings.

Friday- Apple & Sage Pork Chops w/ red potatoes

This is made with a McCormick Recipe Inspirations Season Pack- the recipe and everything I need aside from the pork, apples, and potatoes… is in this nice little sectioned off pack- if you watch the stores, a lot of times they go on sale 10 for $10- STOCK UP.  The recipe card is on the back of the packet.

Saturday- Caprese Paninis with Garden Tomato Bisque

Ok- this one is kind of a cop out.  Safeway makes the best organic Garden Tomato Bisque.  I heat it up and make these paninis that are reminiscent of Panera’s  Tomato Mozzarella Panini.  We also have a new panini press.  So, while the soup is heating, I grab some ciabatta bread or rolls, slice them open, and make sandwiches- thick sliced tomatoes, topped with thick slices of fresh mozzarella, topped with basil leaves, then topped with the other part of the bread.  Onto the panini maker they go for a few minutes until delightfully grilled.   Easy dinner- big on taste.

Sunday- Cilantro Thai Chicken over rice

Another pinterest wonder… from here:

I love her stuff, and haven’t made this one yet.  I might be brave and tackle marinating a WHOLE chicken with this and roasting it. We’ll see… it IS a Sunday meal, after all.

So, that’s our week, planned in a day!  Hope you find 1 that you’ll try out.  Let me know how it goes!

Happy eating,


It’s hard to be a culinary mastermind while living in Suburbia hell.

September 23, 2012

Today I am disappointed to say that my brioche, goat cheese, and quail egg topped wonder sandwich will not be occurring.  I’ve discovered that is incredibly difficult to be a culinary mastermind while living in suburbia hell.  Don’t get me wrong, suburbia hell is great for other things… all the houses look the same, every road ends in a col-da-sac, and there are roughly 4 Walgreens within 5 miles.  But try to find gourmet ingredients for a killer meal, and you’re totally screwed. 

For what it’s worth, I retract my previous statement of “you can get quail eggs at Wegmans, who knew?!”…. You cannot.  After this sad realization the wild goose, ok… quail,  hunt began! Bless my poor, yet very patient husband.  You also can’t get them at Harris Teeter, Trader Joe’s, or the local farmer’s markets. At least not in Northern VA.  For what it’s worth, you also won’t find Brioche.  It’s apparently a “holiday” item. 

I now know how Julia Child must have felt when surrounded by a world of Tuna Noodle Casseroles and Jello Molds.  I’m reading Dearie and I can relate, because she talks about so many challenges that she faced in those times, along with everyone thinking she was a total nut.  She was tired of the ho-hum, and she loved food!  Me too, Julia, me too… and while we don’t have tuna noodle casseroles today like they did in the 60’s, we do have pre-made EVERYTHING.  I can walk into my local store and get 4 different types of meatloaf, already made, or a rotisserie chicken with mac n cheese, mashed potatoes, or collard greens…. but I’ll be damned if I can get some quail eggs.  I wonder how many times Julia was looked at like she had 3 heads.  The lady at Wegman’s bakery was like “this hallah bread will be a good stand in for french toast”  UM, I never said I was making french toast.  I tried to explain my masterfully planned dish, and she just said “oh.”  Sigh. 

It’s like that strange scene they do in movies where the world is moving around you, and you’re standing still like no one can see you or understand you. I stood clutching my empty shopping basket in the middle of Wegmans, feeling rather disappointed at the whole situation.  All around me were shopping carts full of modern convenience.  I wanted to scream at the top of my lungs “STOP THE INSANITY!!!” but, I figured that would cause a scene.  Plus, I’ll admit- some of those things are in my kitchen for days when I just don’t feel like it, or want something really quick, or want to pack one of those items for my lunch.  But it makes me sad that food, dinner in particular,  is no longer an experience. How did we come to this?  When did the go..go…go… suddenly mean that dinner as something special is gone..gone..gone.  It’s hard- I get it, and it’s true for us too.  The go, go go, takes it’s tole.  During the week, dinner is quick- a planned out weekly menu made on Sunday, pre-prepped and ready to roll.  Usually something homemade and with love, with great flavor, and variety of colors on the plate… but quick.   (I’m Jennifer Stump,  and I make 30 minute meals!  I even sound like RR this week with my sexy, raspy voice.) Weekends are different though- weekends, I try to make an experience where we can sit, relax, talk, and enjoy our time while enjoying a great meal.  Our weekend days revolve around the  food.  I feel very misunderstood in this modern world of hectic schedules and zero time. 

The cheese stands alone.  (mostly because, that was the only ingredient I could find- HA!)

A tiny update, and The best thing I ever ate…

September 22, 2012

Hey friends!

It’s been a while, and life has been the usual tornado!  But now, as a lot of you know, I’m a married lady!  I have a super great husband, and we had a wonderful day with family and friends.  Following that, we went on an incredible honeymoon to Lake Tahoe.  Completely breathtaking.  And now, with the school year nearly a month in, and everyone settling in, I am back to my happy little blog world- tea in hand.  And that means…..

Tomorrow is the day.  I have decided. I’ve been shaking in my boots a little bit since I posted about The Chef’s Table, and attempting to recreate some of the items on my own… especially after the chef commented!

However, a promise is a promise, and tomorrow, my quest for greatness begins.
My new knives, cutting board, pots, and pans are all ready. (getting married does super cool things for your kitchen)

Tomorrow is the day that I attempt to make the best thing I ever ate.  Flash back to earlier in the summer, and this post:

“Grilled Brioche and Goat Cheese Sandwich served with 2 over easy quail eggs, and a banana pepper jelly
I will never eat a regular grilled cheese again. Ever.  My world has distinctly been placed into two periods of time… life before this grilled cheese wonder, and life after.  This is the 1 dish that I am most looking forward to trying to recreate.  I felt like I should have been alone in a dark room with that grilled cheese and quail egg mix, it felt that naughty to sit there and eat something so decadent- and the banana pepper jelly?! WELL… rest assured that when I perfect that little baby, I’m going to can it, and you all will receive some with a note that says “Make the grilled cheese”.   I don’t need “50 Shades of Grey”… just a grilled cheese, and if that’s wrong, then I don’t want to be right.
  Also- you can find quail eggs at Wegman’s!?  WHO KNEW?!”

Am I nervous? A bit… excited?  You bet.
Stay tuned, bloggies… this one is either going to be genius, or a disaster.