Burns Family Meals

We (the Burns family) have a wonderful family dinner together most nights.
I want to document these meals for several reasons:
☆ so our kids can make them for their own families as they go out into the world
☆ to give me [Carol] reminders/inspiration for my own meal planning
☆ to serve as a (partial) photo history of our wonderful meals together

ONLY ingredients other than staples are listed on this page!
Some meals use only what I normally keep stocked in my kitchen.

Appliances I often use:
air fryer (mine is 3.2 quart)       instant pot (the one I have)       mandoline (the one I have)

I link to some food items at Amazon, just to show what I use.
However, you can probably get these much cheaper at your local markets!
I get all my groceries through Walmart online groceries. LOVE this service!
How I Use the Walmart Online Grocery Service (and why I love it)
Click any photo (below)
to see a BIG version of it here!
Chef Salad with Chicken
air fryer (dessert)
instant pot (chicken)
other than staples:
  • apples
  • puff pastry sheets (fillo dough)
  • whipped cream
  • start with a salad
  • make it a meal: top with cut-up chicken breasts cooked in the instant pot (manual, 8 mins)
  • side dish: cottage cheese in my cute pinch bowls
  • for a simple meal, I sometimes have dessert
  • puff pastry apples (page 210 air fryer cookbook), except:
    • add a few chocolate chips to the apple mixture
    • layer pastry/apples/pastry in my 7 inch cake pan
    • top with whipped cream
Tuesday, November 20, 2018
Ray, Art, Bethany [Carol taking photo]

(I love our Pfaltzgraff rustic leaves bowls.)

All our meals are in
Pebble, the House that Ray Built!
Pot Pies
microwave (pot pies)
  • I get these Banquet pot pies for 88¢ each at Walmart.
    A super quick-and-easy meal for when I'm really tired or short on time.
    (This was the day before Thanksgiving, so I had been cooking/baking all day!)
    Microwave each for about 4 minutes, and they're ready.
  • Add a small side salad, and you've got a meal.
  • I made an extra pumpkin pie, so we had some pre-Thanksgiving dessert!

Wednesday, November 21, 2018
Ray, Art, Carol [taking photo]

Marchesa by Lenox, pleated swirl is the best bowl I've ever had in my life
(very expensive, though).
Lenox Flourish (the dandelion plate)
Pfaltzgraff Patio Garden (the green plate)
Thanksgiving Baked Ham
air fryer (twice-baked potatoes)
oven (ham, pumpkin pie, green bean casserole)
stovetop (cranberry sauce)
instant pot (for fresh pumpkin)
other than staples:
  • ham: apple cider, (real) maple syrup, orange juice, Dijon mustard, 1 orange, bone-in ham, whole cloves
  • twice baked potatoes: jumbo russets, bacon, cream
  • cranberry sauce: orange juice, fresh cranberries, cinnamon sticks, orange zest
  • green bean casserole: french fried onions
  • to drink: sparkling cider
  • pumpkin pie: pie pumpkins, evaporated milk, whipping cream

The oven bag keeps the ham moist and splatters contained.
I use wooden toothpicks in addition to whole cloves to attach the orange slices.

Thursday, November 22, 2018
Happy Thanksgiving at Julia and Tony's house!
Carol, Julia, Antonio (selfie)
SOUP
from whole
Ham/Turkey/Chicken Leftovers
instant pot (stock)
stovetop (soup)
  • I love soup! It's hard to mess it up.
    (That's some cheddar cheese on top of this creamy ham and potato soup.)
    Whenever I cook a whole ham/turkey/chicken, I dump all the bones/fat/scraps in my instant pot.
    Here's my generic (flexible, customizable) soup recipe.
  • The biscuit recipe is on the Bisquick box; it's delicious dipped in the soup.
    I'm tired the day after Thanksgiving/Christmas/Easter, so I want quick-and-easy!
  • Fresh veggies were lacking, so I threw on a slice of cucumber.

Saturday, November 24, 2018
Ray, Art, Bethany [Carol taking photo]

I couldn't find my 6.5" oval Anchor Hocking au gratin dish at Amazon,
but this is similar.
Kielbasa with Stir-fry Vegetables
stovetop
  • This is one of our most common meals—everything is part of my staples.
  • I use my 6 qt Kenmore copper-bottom pot; couldn't find it on Amazon, but this is similar.
  • Cut the kielbasa in small pieces; fry in 1 Tb olive oil.
  • Add 1 bag (about 20 oz) of stir-fry vegetables; cover; heat until cooked, stirring occasionally.
    (Ray loves it when I add a package of frozen spinach.)
  • Serve on a bed of white rice.
  • The tiny loaf of wheat bread was made in my West Bend Just For Dinner Breadmaker, which has been discontinued. But if I ever find another one, I'm going to buy it! I use it all the time. Bread in 45 minutes, and it's always perfect!

Sunday, November 25, 2018
Ray, Art, Carol [Bethany taking photo]

I often mix-and-match dinner plates:
Lenox Marchesa Pleated Swirl dinner plate
Noritake Arbour Green dinner plate

Our silverware is Lenox Butterfly Meadow stainless steel;
put out only what is needed for the meal, to save on washing.
Whole Chicken in the Instant Pot
instant pot (chicken)
stovetop or
Pampered Chef rice cooker
(rice)
other than staples:
  • whole chicken
  • 1 fresh lemon
  • This is messy/greasy to work with and cut up (and I hate messes), so I don't make it very often. But if whole chickens are on sale, or I'm craving homemade chicken soup, then this is my go-to meal!
  • The rice is cooked in the juices left in the instant pot after cooking the chicken, so it's extra delicious.
  • Here's the chicken recipe.
  • Put some tomato wedges on a bed of lettuce to add color and complete the meal.

Monday, November 26, 2018
Ray, Art, Bethany [Carol taking photo]
Shepherd's Pie
stovetop
oven
  • This is a Burns family favorite.
    Ray likes an extra thick layer of mashed potatoes on top!
  • We have this so often, that everything needed is always on hand.
  • Here's the Shepherd's Pie recipe.
  • A small side salad completes the meal.

Tuesday, November 27, 2018
Ray, Bethany, [Carol taking photo],
Art was late!
Homemade Turkey Soup
instant pot (stock)
stovetop (soup)
  • This is a testament to the fact that I make my homemade soups with whatever I happen to have, and they're always delicious.
  • I only had the turkey innards—the bones never made it home. But, I had chicken bones from a recent meal. So, I put in both! Also added turkey meat, carrots, potatoes, and green beans. It came out great (as always)!
  • A mini-loaf of bread (to dip in the soup) completes the meal.

Wednesday, November 28, 2018
Ray, Bethany, Art [Carol taking photo]

Ray believes in fashion freedom for men.
He models lots more outfits in his tour of Pebble.

I got my adirondack bow knife many years ago at a crafts fair near my family's home in Lenox, Massachusetts. It is as beautiful and sharp today as when I bought it! For bread and bagels, I believe there doesn't exist a better knife!
Lazy Lasagne
oven (bake the casserole)
stovetop (noodles)
other than staples:
  • medium egg noodles
  • Lazy Lasagne was one of the first recipes I put online when working with one of my ‘bonus daughters’ on meal prep. (‘Step-daughter’ has such a bad rap!)
  • No meat—just noodles, spaghetti sauce, cottage cheese, mozzarella, and parmesan.
  • easy and delicious
  • side salads

Thursday, November 29, 2018
Ray, Bethany, Art [Carol taking photo]

My daughter introduced me to vinyl wall art.
This dandelion had been in another house,
and it re-applied fine a second time.
Beef and Rice Casserole
oven (bake casserole)
stovetop (cook ground beef)
microwave (use rice cooker)
  • Beef and Rice casserole is another basic quick-and-easy meal. When something this simple gets a near-10 with my husband, it's a definite winner!
  • If you forget to take out the meat a day early (to defrost in the refrigerator), no problem: use the ‘defrost’ feature on the microwave.
  • I often prepare this early in the day, and bake at dinner time,
    in my French White Corning Ware casserole with glass lid.
  • I had some puff pastry sheets to use up, so I brushed them with butter, sprinkled on some cheese, rolled up, and heated for 5 minutes in the air fryer—fast-and-easy cheese rollups!
  • side salads

Saturday, December 1, 2018
Ray, Art [Carol taking photo; Bethany in Tucson]

I usually keep a salad in the refrigerator, in my 4 quart Pyrex mixing bowl with lid (my lid is white, not red). The salad tongs get through all the layers with no problem!
Meatloaf
oven (meatloaf)
electric hand mixer (mousse)
other than staples:
  • tomato juice (for meatloaf)
  • for mousse:
    5 oz high-quality chocolate
    heavy whipping cream
  • Meatloaf is yet another basic quick-and-easy meal. You don't pre-cook the ground beef, so it's particularly easy—just mix all the ingredients together and plop into a baking dish.
  • I usually use my Anchor Hocking 5" x 9" glass loaf dish for this recipe.
  • I often prepare this early in the day, refrigerate, and cook at dinner time.
  • Tossed salad for color and veggies.
    It's also good with mashed potatoes and green beans.
  • Chocolate mousse for dessert!

For many years, Ray made meatloaf
for the Primavera homeless shelter in Tucson.
Here's his recipe:
5 lbs ground beef
one loaf (20 oz) wheat bread
(tear into small cubes, including crust)
about 10 oz mustard
about 32 oz ketchup
Mix everything together in a very large bowl.
Bake at 350°F for about 45 minutes.

Monday, December 3, 2018
Ray, Art, Bethany [Carol taking photo]
Ham slices
(leftover meal)
microwave
air fryer (potatoes)
other than staples:
  • leftover ham
  • frozen broccoli
  • I had frozen leftover ham from Thanksgiving. I thawed the slices overnight in the refrigerator, then heated them in the microwave.
  • Air fryer potatoes are so quick-and-easy: wash, slit, place in air fryer, mist with olive oil, sprinkle with salt/pepper, 30 minutes at highest temperature, turn and mist/season again, 30 minutes. Check for doneness!
  • I often buy Great Value steamable broccoli florets; it can be microwaved right in the bag.

Tuesday, December 4, 2018
Ray, Art, Bethany [Carol taking photo]

The ham slices were microwaved in my French White oval CorningWare dish (not shown).

This is my mister.
One of the great things about an air fryer is that you use much less oil.
Hot Dogs
air fryer
other than staples:
  • all-beef hot dogs and hot dog rolls
  • pickles
  • tater tots
  • I'm doing super-easy meals these days, since I expect at any moment to be running up to Tucson for the birth of Julia's baby, Alex!
  • Since I got my air fryer, I no longer fry hot dogs on the stove (where they splatter and make a greasy mess). I just pierce, plop in the air fryer, mist with olive oil, heat for about 3 minutes, flip/mist, and heat for about 3 minutes more.
  • Put out condiments (ketchup, mustard, relish, mayonnaise) and add some pickles. Bake up some tater tots in the air fryer. A small side salad (always ready-and-waiting in the refrigerator) completes the meal.
  • I was craving sweets, so I made snickerdoodle dough (but added some chocolate powder). I'm keeping the dough in the refrigerator and cooking 3–4 cookies at a time in the air fryer. (Very effective at keeping me from eating too many cookies at once!)

Wednesday, December 5, 2018
Ray, Art, Bethany [Carol taking photo]

The snickerdoodle recipe is on page 23 of Betty Crocker's Cooky Book. I think it's my second-most-made cooky over the years (with chocolate chip cookies taking first place).

Look carefully, and you'll see the beautiful homemade coasters beneath the glasses/cups! Just finished these today, using fabric from scraps.

The berry quilling sampler on the wall (by Ray's head) was made by Carol from this quilling kit. Takes a lot of patience!
Macaroni & Cheese
stovetop
other than staples:
  • store-bought macaroni and cheese (Kraft, Velveeta)
  • Bethany had a sleepover and Ray went to the Nutcracker Ballet on Friday...
  • ... and Alexandra Lucia Fisher Rubio was born to Julia and Antonio on Saturday, December 8, 2018 at 5:36 PM, weighing 7 lb 4 oz!!
  • First meal as Grandma Carol, Grandpa Ray, Aunt Bethany, and Great Grandpa Art!!
  • I got home late in the afternoon from the hospital, so mac-and-cheese it was (with a side salad).

Sunday, December 9, 2018
Ray, Art, Bethany [Carol taking photo]

We had a delicious pumpkin roll dessert—a Christmas gift from friends at church (not shown).
Beef Roast
instant pot
other than staples:
  • beef chuck roast

Monday, December 10, 2018
Ray, Art, Bethany [Carol taking photo]
Pumpkin Bread Christmas Gift
oven
other than staples:
  • canned (or fresh) pumpkin
  • We haven't had many family dinners together lately.
    I've been spending lots of days/nights helping with our new granddaughter, Alex!
  • I did manage to get some ‘pumpkin bread stacks’ put together for Christmas gifts.
  • Here's the recipe for Uncle Ed's Spicy Pumpkin Bread—a family favorite!
  • One homemade mini-loaf goes with the ‘stack’.
  • Also included are instructions and ingredients for making six more mini loaves.
  • Here's the recipe for Uncle Ed's Spicy Pumpkin Bread—a family favorite!

Friday, December 21, 2018

The opposite side of the card gives the instructions
for putting the bread together from the included items.

You can see the can of pumpkin set inside the six mini-loaf pans, and the bag of pre-measured dry ingredients.
Hamburgers
air fryer
microwave
other than staples:
  • pre-formed hamburg patties
  • hamburg rolls
  • pickles (dill, sweet gherkins)
  • tater tots
  • 100% Angus Beef Burgers from Walmart, fried in the air fryer
  • warm the hamburg rolls in the microwave
  • lettuce, tomatoes for the hamburg; other condiments (mustard, relish, mayonnaise, ketchup) go on the table
  • pickles and tater tots complete the meal
  • disposable cups and plates make clean-up extra easy

Monday, December 24, 2018
Christmas Eve

  • Ray got his stocking while on his mission.
    Bethany likes the plain red stocking.
    Carol has her own Mom's stocking (from Nielsen Lane), edited to ‘Bonus Mom’!
  • Love our little ‘Charlie Brown’ Christmas tree;
    the LLBean tree skirt is from Carol/Bob/Julia days
Salisbury Steak Stroganoff
oven (Salisbury steak)
stovetop (stroganoff)
other than staples:
  • Banquet Salisbury Steaks and Brown Gravy Frozen Meal (or equivalent)
  • medium egg noodles
  • mushrooms
  • My schedule with Alex is settling into two nights/three days each week, so we should start having more regular family dinners again!
  • After baking the steaks, cut them into pieces and add egg noodles, sour cream, and mushrooms to the gravy. Not bad for a quick-and-easy meal!
  • I didn't have egg noodles, so I used Ramen noodles instead (without the flavoring packets). Then, I served the stroganoff on a bed of mashed potatoes. I often improvise and ‘make do’ with what I have!
  • a side salad completes the meal

Friday, January 25, 2019
Chicken Tetrazzini
instant pot (cooking the chicken)
stovetop (spaghetti, sauce)
oven (baking the casserole)
other than staples:
  • whipping cream
  • mushrooms
  • lemon (optional)
  • canned quartered artichokes (optional)
  • Chicken tetrazzini is a family favorite for decades! It's a bit of work, so I don't make it often.
  • A lemon slice adds color; squeeze onto the casserole for extra flavor.
  • Double the recipe and freeze one. For a frozen/thawed casserole, sprinkle broth on top of the casserole before baking, and bake longer—until nice and bubbly.
  • a side salad completes the meal; artichokes make it extra special

Saturday, January 26, 2019
  • Put the casserole on the table on a hot plate so it's nearby for seconds!
  • I couldn't find the unique wooden hot plate that I own, but this reclaimed wood trivet is gorgeous.
Salmon Fillets
microwave (heat the green beans)
oven (bake the fillets)
other than staples:
  • frozen salmon fillets
  • A colorful, healthful meal!
  • Put the refrigerator-thawed fillets in a shallow Pyrex dish, sprinkle with lemon juice, brush with olive oil, sprinkle on Old Bay seasoning. Bake at 425° for about 15 minutes, turning once. Delicious!
  • Put a can of green beans (drained) in a small corningware dish; sprinkle with Parmesan cheese and microwave until hot.
  • a side salad completes the meal

Sunday, January 27, 2019
  • I think Bethany likes to be a bit late so she misses the photo!! Hmmm...

Wednesday, January 30, 2019
  • A fun after-meal activity—making marzipan fruits and veggies!
  • No marzipan at Walmart, but I got it at Amazon—not too expensive, delicious, and super easy to work with.
  • Here's the Klutz Candy book from when Julia was a kid. Clearly no longer in print—it's wicked expensive!

Tools/ingredients:
  • paint brushes
  • food coloring
  • toothpicks
  • cocoa powder (for the potatoes)
  • whole cloves (for orange stems)
  • spaghetti (for stems)
  • rolling pin
  • leaf cutter and decorating tip
  • colored sugar
  • water (for rinsing brushes between colors)
  • paper towels (for clean up)

The finished products!
  • grapes
  • apple
  • pear
  • strawberries
  • potatoes
  • peach
  • oranges
  • carrot
  • blueberries
  • banana
  • cucumber
Spaghetti (or other pasta)
stovetop
other than staples:
  • zucchini and/or yellow squash
  • kiwi, orange/mandarin/clementine slices (color on plate)
  • I often use thin spaghetti or angel hair, but there are loads of different fun-shaped pastas for variety: rotini, shells, bowties, penne, farfalle, multi-colored, more!
  • I always put parmesan cheese on the table for pasta.
  • The macarons are a very fancy cooky (a gift from Julia)!
  • We often have a salad with this meal, but a hot vegetable works well too.
  • Kiwi and mandarin slices add extra color to the plate.
  • Improve a store-bought sauce:
    • Brown 1 lb ground beef in instant pot, with chopped onion/scallions and/or mushrooms and/or celery.
    • Add 1 jar store-bought sauce plus 1 can diced tomatoes.
    • Cook pasta, drain, add to sauce, keep warm (crock-pot low) until ready to serve.

Friday, February 1, 2019
  • I only put silverware at each plate that is needed for the meal. We hand-wash everything (no dishwasher in Pebble), so try to minimize dishes.
Kentucky Fried Chicken (KFC)
other than staples:
  • KFC (2970 W Valencia)
    $15.00 for 9-piece meal: thighs/drumsticks, large mashed potatoes and gravy, 4 biscuits
  • An accident on the interstate slowed traffic—no time to prepare dinner!
  • Bethany and Carol both love KFC—a treat for us.
    (Art loves everything!) Ray prefers Banquet (frozen) fried chicken.
  • Cucumber and tomato slices give color on the plate.

Tuesday, February 5, 2019
Bethany, Art, Ray
[Carol taking photo, as usual!]
Fish (frozen)
oven
other than staples:
  • frozen fish (fillets or fish sticks)
  • Such an easy meal! Make tartar sauce early in the day: mayonnaise and relish. (Bethany prefers ranch dressing.)
  • Add a salad ...
  • ... and avacado, mandarins, and kiwi for color on the plate!

Wednesday, February 6, 2019

Art is almost always on time!
(He soooo appreciates the meals together.)
We had carrot cake with cream cheese icing for dessert.
Quiche (crustless)
oven (quiche)
air fryer (bacon)
other than staples:
  • bacon
  • swiss cheese
  • frozen spinach or broccoli (as desired)
  • Quiche is so flexible! Beat 5 eggs, 1/2 cup half-and-half, 1 tsp lemon juice and some salt. Layer (as desired) in a pie plate: grated cheese, spinach/broccoli, bacon (fried and crumbled). Pour in egg mixture. Bake at 350° for about 45 minutes. Yum!
  • Sometimes I buy a pre-made pie crust, but often (as here) I make it crustless.
  • Fry the bacon in the air fryer—it contains all the splatters and is easy to clean.
  • Mandarins and cottage cheese add color and interest.

Sunday, February 10, 2019
Bethany, Art, Ray

Carol and Julia have been working on three Christmas stockings for months.
The first is completely finished!
This is Kitsa, the ‘black panther’ (for Antonio).

Sunday, February 10, 2019

Rolling out sugar cookies—a fun evening activity.
(Bethany needed some for Young Women's on Tuesday night.)
Ray is an expert dough-boy!
Bean Soup
instant pot
other than staples:
  • 13 bean soup mix (mixed beans/peas/lentils)
  • diced ham
  • buttermilk (for biscuits)
  • This is a hearty soup! Soak beans overnight in lots of water; drain. Put beans in instant pot and add (in desired amounts): ham, chopped onion, 15oz can diced tomatoes, diced carrots and celery, 1-2 tsp chili powder, 1 tsp garlic powder, 1 tsp salt, 1/4 tsp pepper. Add water to cover generously; bring to boil on saute/max, then slow cook (high temp) for at least 10 hours. Yum!!
  • Serve with a salad and buttermilk biscuits.
  • If desired, sprinkle the soup with cheddar cheese and add a dollop of sour cream. Lawry's Seasoned Salt also adds good flavor.

Wednesday, February 13, 2019

Short on time?
Here are quicker-cooking methods for the bean soup:
  • Didn't soak the beans overnight?
    Instead, put beans in a large pot with plenty of water; bring to a boil; remove from heat and soak for 1 hour; drain.
  • Don't want to slow-cook all day?
    Instead, put beans and all other ingredients in instant pot; cook on bean/chili setting; quick or natural release.
Chicken with Rice
and Tomatoes Casserole
instant pot
oven

Saturday, February 16, 2019

Here's my French White 2.5 liter Corningware Covered Casserole dish.
Chicken Veronique
(chicken with cream sauce
and grapes)
instant pot
other than staples:
  • white wine OR lime juice
    OR white grape juice
  • whipping cream
  • green seedless grapes
  • wild rice
  • Here's the recipe for Chicken Veronique.
  • This can be done on the stove, but the chicken frying in butter splatters everywhere. Much cleaner to use the instant pot.
  • For the Burns family, I use lime juice or white grape juice instead of wine.
  • Serve with wild rice (or regular white rice).
  • Slice up carrots, boil until tender, drain, add butter, sprinkle with chives.
  • For more color on the plate, serve a small side salad.

Wednesday, February 20, 2019
Bethany, Art, Ray [Carol taking photo]

I love the tiny wooden mushroom salt and pepper shakers!
They originally belonged to my Aunt Helen [Kulpinski] (my Mom's sister).
These are much bigger, but they're cute!
Breakfast for Dinner
(waffles, eggs, sausage)
instant pot (sausage)
stove (eggs, hot chocolate)
waffle maker
other than staples:
  • breakfast sausage
  • We sometimes have ‘traditional breakfast food’ for dinner! I often make (Bisquick) pancakes instead of waffles.
  • Our heart-shaped waffle maker makes them fun! Amazon doesn't have the model we own, but here's a similar one.
  • For our waffle maker:
    • Turn it on; wait for it to beep that it's ‘ready’.
    • Spray both top and bottom with a cooking spray.
      (Be sure and spray again for every batch!)
    • Pour in a heaping 1/2 cup of waffle recipe, starting in the middle and extending outward. You don't need to go all the way to the edges; it spreads out when the lid is closed.
    • The waffle maker beeps when the waffles are ready.
  • I usually use Banquet Brown N Serve original link sausage.
  • Blueberries and oranges (from Art's brother's own tree!) add color.

Sunday, February 24, 2019
Bethany, Art, Ray [Carol taking photo]
  • Here's how I do scrambled eggs:
    • Allow 1–2 eggs per person.
    • Add 1 Tb milk for each egg; mix with a fork.
    • Put butter in a non-stick frying pan and cook.
    • I add chopped tomatoes and grated cheddar cheese near the end.
  • Homemade hot chocolate is a special treat!
    Here's the recipe from the Hershey's Cocoa (100% cacao, natural unsweetened) container:
    • Mix in a saucepan: ½ cup sugar, ¼ cup cocoa, dash of salt
    • Stir in ⅓ cup hot water.
    • Cook and stir over medium heat until mixture boils; boil and stir 2 minutes.
    • Stir in 4 cups milk and heat; DO NOT BOIL.
    • Remove from heat; add ¾ tsp vanilla extract.
    • Of course, it's best with whipped cream on top!
  • We put ketchup, maple syrup, peanut butter and butter on the table for the eggs/waffles. (Different people have different preferences.)
Beef Stroganoff
stove
other than staples:
  • beef sirloin tip steak (thin sliced)
  • shallots or scallions
  • fresh mushrooms
  • white wine (or white grape juice)
  • egg noodles
  • Sirloin steak is expensive, so I don't make this often.
  • For the Burns family, I use white grape juice as a substitute for white wine.
  • Here's the beef stroganoff recipe.
  • Serve on a bed of egg noodles, with a hot side vegetable.
    Kiwi and orange slices add color.

Sunday, February 24, 2019
Art, Ray [Carol taking photo]

Bethany had to miss dinner, so I made a recipe with mushrooms!
(She doesn't like them!)
Cream of Garden Vegetable Soup
stove
other than staples:
  • broccoli
  • spinach
  • zucchini
  • yellow squash


Here's the recipe for Cream of Garden Vegetable Soup.
It's so hearty, it's a meal by itself—just serve with a loaf of bread.

Saturday, March 2, 2019
Carol, Art, Ray [Bethany taking photo]

After months of work, Carol finally finished
scanning and databasing all Ray's (pre-Carol) photos!
I'm pointing to the last completed box, with great excitement!
Tuna Noodle Casserole
stove (noodles)
oven (bake casserole)
other than staples:
  • egg noodles
  • tuna
  • fresh mushrooms
  • Panko bread crumbs


Here's the recipe for Tuna Noodle Casserole.
I always use my French White Corning Ware casserole with glass lid for this dish.

Sunday, March 3, 2019
Bethany, Art, Ray [Carol taking photo]
Turkey (whole)
stove (stuffing, mashed potatoes,
gravy, zucchini)
oven (turkey)


This was a super treat for me! Ray loves turkey throughout the year, so we bought an extra one at Thanksgiving (when it is reasonably priced) and froze it. Ray cooked it at the Timrod house and brought it to Pebble. Thanksgiving in March, with almost no work for me! Here's Ray's method for turkey, stuffing, and gravy.

Saturday, March 9, 2019
Bethany, Art, Ray [Carol taking photo]
Jean's Tomato Chicken
instant pot
other than staples:
  • chicken legs/thighs
  • canned diced tomatoes
  • canned stewed tomatoes


My sister Jean (now deceased) loved this meal!
My Mom did it on the stove, but I use the instant pot:
  • On sauté, melt some butter. (Or, use olive oil.)
  • Brown chicken legs/thighs (as desired).
  • Add canned diced and stewed tomatoes to cover.
  • Salt/pepper as desired.
  • Slow cook until meat falls off bone.
  • Serve on a bed of rice.
  • Add a side salad for color.

Sunday, March 10, 2019
I forgot to take a photo!
So, you get to see the baby stuff organizer
that I just finished, instead!
Hamburger Enchiladas
with Tortillas
stove
oven
other than staples:
  • red enchilada sauce (mild)
  • yellow corn tortillas


In the Burns family, a birthday means you get to choose
whatever meal and dessert you want!
Joshua always chooses hamburger enchiladas, mashed potatoes, salad,
and tres leches (three milk) cake for dessert (not shown).

Wednesday, March 13, 2019

Joshua got Azul as a birthday gift.
He absolutely fell in love with this game!
Taco Soup with Pinto Beans
instant pot (crock pot)
other than staples:
  • tomatoes with chilis
  • diced tomatoes
  • tomato sauce
  • dry ranch mix
  • taco seasoning mix
  • tortilla chips


This is a recipe from Melissa, Ray's first wife.
It's a bit spicy, but nothing that sour cream can't cure!
Here's the recipe for taco soup.

Wednesday, March 20, 2019

See the wrenches at the end of the table?
Ray's wrenches were out of control!
Carol is going to make fabric holders for them (with machine embroidered labels).
Shake 'N Bake Pork Chops
oven
other than staples:


When pork chops go on sale, this is a quick-and-easy meal.
Just follow the directions on the Shake 'N Bake package.
I moistened these with buttermilk instead of water—it turned out delicious.
A side salad and applesauce complete the meal.

Saturday, March 23, 2019

I use a silicone liner inside my pork chop baking pan for easy cleanup.

Notice the first completed wrench holder on the table?!
It turned out great!
Rolled Chicken and Asparagus
oven
other than staples:
  • fresh asparagus
  • scallions (green onions)
  • sesame seeds
  • applesauce


This meal is from Carol's pre-Burns-family days.
It's different than what the Burns family typically enjoys, but is good for variety.
The recipe for Rolled Chicken and Asparagus is here.
A side salad and applesauce complete the meal.

Sunday, March 24, 2019

Super Potatoes
oven OR microwave OR air fryer
other than staples:
  • desired toppings


These have been a favorite for decades.
If you've got time to oven-bake (or air fry), they're best.
If you're only cooking one or two, you can save time by microwaving
(but they're not as good).

You can use lots of different toppings!
Here, they're topped with butter, tomatoes, broccoli, cheddar cheese, and sour cream.
Put out sharp knives to cut into bite-size pieces,
and eat the whole thing (including the skin)!

The recipe for Super Potatoes is here.

Wednesday, March 27, 2019

My go-to knives for almost everything are my white-handled double-D-blade Cutco table knives. They're really pricey, but (in my opinion) are worth it—my favorite knife of my entire life.

I was Joshua's first customer when he briefly sold Cutco. (I also bought a Cutco paring knife, but rarely use it.) After about 7 years of near-daily use, I took advantage of their ‘forever warranty’ and sent them back to be sharpened—they came back as sharp as the day I bought them.
Stove Top Easy Chicken Bake
oven
stove
other than staples:


This recipe is from the stuffing box. Roughly, here 'tis:
  • Prepare the stuffing. (Next time, I'm going to use two boxes—I want a thicker layer on top of the casserole.)
  • Mix together (in desired amounts): bite-size pieces of uncooked chicken, cream of chicken soup, sour cream and/or Greek yogurt, veggies.
  • Pour into a 9" × 13" greased pan. Top with stuffing.
  • Bake at 400°F for 30 minutes (or until chicken is done).
It really doesn't need any sides—but I had salad, cornbread and potatoes
that needed to be used up!

Wednesday, April 10, 2019

Ray and Art look tired—because they are!
Ray worked three days & two nights installing a new leach field for Pebble.
Art worked with him (except for deep night shifts).
Rented a backhoe; 10 tons of leach rock delivered.
They're amazing!!
Baked Parmesan Chicken
oven (chicken)
stove (green beans, corn)
other than staples:
  • Panko bread crumbs
  • fresh green beans
  • corn on the cob
    (can buy frozen, if not in season)


This is a ‘Vreeland-approved meal’ from early on in my life!
  • Mix (about) 1/2 cup mayonnaise, 1/3 cup Parmesan cheese, 1 tsp garlic powder.
    Spread chicken with mixture; coat with Panko crumbs.
  • Bake at 425°F for about 20 minutes.
  • Delicious with: fresh green beans, corn-on-the-cob, small side salad.

Sunday, April 14, 2019

Panko bread crumbs are a bit more expensive,
but they give extra crunch, flavor, and beauty!
(I use the Walmart brand, and they're great.)

Put out butter for rolling the corn!
(Ray likes his corn cut off the cob.)
Tacos
stove
other than staples:
  • taco seasoning mix (mild)
  • taco shells (hard) or (soft) flour tortillas
  • salsa
  • (optional): black olives, avacado


Just follow the instructions on the taco seasoning mix package!
We tend to alternate between hard (Carol prefers) and soft (Bethany prefers) shells.
Always put out: shredded lettuce, shredded cheese, chopped tomatoes, sour cream, salsa.
Other toppings (if I have them): black olives, avacado

Wednesday, April 17, 2019

Gorgeous wild flowers are springing up all over,
so I picked a small bouquet!
Shredded BBQ Beef
instant pot
other than staples:
  • beef chuck roast
  • chili sauce
  • molasses
  • kaiser rolls


I slow-cook a beef roast, then shred it with a fork.
These are awesome! Here's the recipe.
Save any extra sauce—it's great for dipping leftover rolls.
A small side salad completes the meal.

Friday, April 19, 2019

Love Art's expression!
Deviled Eggs
(as the main attraction!)
instant pot
waffle maker


This year, I went for a low-key Easter dinner—deviled eggs and waffles!
Here's the deviled egg recipe that I've used for years.
The deviled egg trays make them easy (and colorful) to serve.

Sunday, April 21, 2019

We did an Easter bunny ‘blind taste test’ this year!
I bought four bunnies: Dove, Hershey's, Lindt, and Russell Stover.
Cut them into chunks; presented them (unidentified) to the family.
We all ended up liking Hershey's the best!
Chicken and Garden Vegetables
oven
other than staples:
  • yellow squash
  • zucchini
  • on-the-vine tomatoes
  • fresh parmesan


This (slightly modified) Chicken and Garden Vegetables recipe
is from my sister Sandy.
The chicken breast is hidden beneath all the yummy vegetables!


This meal overdosed on zucchini!
Here's the zucchini cake recipe.
(Instead of the usual cream cheese frosting,
this uses extra buttercream from Julia.)

Monday, April 22, 2019

Everyone is sad.
We just lost our 2-week free-ranging chicken Jesse to (we'll never know) a hawk, coyote, bobcat, dog...
Steak Diane
stovetop
other than staples:
  • fresh mushrooms
  • beef tenderloin (or rib eye)


Bethany was in the mood for steak!
Here's the Steak Diane recipe.
(I used thin-sliced sirloin instead of beef tenderloin or rib eye; it was good.)
The mushroom/onion/butter sauce is delicious!

Wednesday, April 24, 2019

Ray had a rehearsal for his ballet performance, so he was late.
White Chicken Enchiladas
instant pot (cook chicken)
oven
other than staples:
  • 8" flour soft taco tortillas (10)
  • Monterey Jack cheese
  • mild diced green chilies
  • (optional) fresh grated Parmesan cheese


Ray loves green chilies—I double what the original recipe called for.
To me, these taste even better as leftovers!
Here's the recipe for white chicken enchiladas.

Wednesday, May 1, 2019

Art got the orchid at his 65th high school reunion.
Ray was given the rose on his last day of ballet class.
Pretty flowers to decorate our meal!
Stir-fry Chicken with Feta on Couscous
stovetop
other than staples:
  • couscous
  • Italian-style stewed tomatoes
  • feta cheese
  • black olives


This is a recipe from my pre-Burns days. It's different than what my new family typically enjoys—Bethany didn't like it at all. I love it; Art loves everything; Ray mostly likes it (he says there's something in there he doesn't like, but couldn't identify it). Guess I'll keep it in the recipe collection for me!

Here's the stir-fry chicken with feta recipe.

Friday, May 3, 2019

Didn't get a dinner photo (we ate at different times).
Here are bush beans and cherry tomatoes coming up in earthboxes!
Old-fashioned garden mix and dry climate wildflowers are in the center box.
They were planted on April 24—this is nine days in.
Doing well in the chicken-turned-garden coop!
(We had to catch a pack rat that was living in there—evidently got in when it was small, and then got too big to get out.)
T-Bone Steak
stovetop (steak)
oven (potatoes)
other than staples:
  • T-bone steak
  • A1 steak sauce
  • fresh mushrooms


We only have this once or twice a year; T-bone steak is very expensive.
Oven-baked potatoes, sauteed mushrooms/onions, and a salad
make this one awesome meal!

Here's my stovetop cooking method for steak:
  1. I use my Lodge square cast iron grill pan (with a splatter guard).
  2. 30 minutes before cooking, take defrosted steak out of refrigerator;
    mist both sides with olive oil; sprinkle with salt and pepper
  3. To take advantage of the Leidenfrost effect (YouTube, 2:39), use a very hot pan! Test by sprinkling a few drops of water; if they dance around (instead of evaporating immediately) it's ready!
  4. cook 7 minutes first side, then flip using tongs (not a fork)
  5. cook 7–10 minutes second side; should be slightly red inside

Sunday, May 5, 2019

A special meal deserves a special dessert.
I've made this chocolate cake recipe twice now—best I've ever had!

Substitutions I use:
  • warm water for coffee
  • (1 cup whole milk) + (1 Tb white vinegar) for buttermilk
  • icing: use about half the recommended sugar
I was one cup short of all-purpose flour (eeeek);
substituted 3/4 cup whole wheat flour + 2 tsp half-and-half.
Came out absolutely delicious!!
Stuffed Green Peppers
microwave (rice)
stovetop (prepare filling)
oven
other than staples:
  • Italian pork sausage
  • mozzarella cheese
  • green peppers
  • Prego traditional italian sauce


Bethany won't eat these (she doesn't like green peppers, and isn't fond of pork).
The rest of us love them!
I put it together early in the day, refrigerate, then bake at dinner time.
As usual, a side salad completes the meal.

Here's the stuffed green peppers recipe.

Wednesday, May 8, 2019

I use my Pyrex 3 quart 9" x 13" baking dish.
It has a ‘raised’ lid that covers it in the refrigerator when I prepare dinner early.
If there are leftovers, put the lid on again for storage!
Avocado Tuna Salad
other than staples:
  • tuna
  • English cucumber
  • avocados
  • cilantro (optional)


I serve this on a bed of greens, and decorate with tomato slices.
I like it best after being refrigerated for several hours.
Bethany and Ray don't like cilantro; Carol is neutral; Julia loves it!
Here's the avocado tuna salad recipe.

We had bread pudding for dessert!

Friday, May 10, 2019

Julia was picking up Alex after a day with ‘Grandma Carol’ at Pebble:
she stayed for dinner! What a treat!
(Art was gone for the evening, so this worked out perfectly!)
Stuffed Shells
oven
stovetop (prepare pasta)
other than staples:
  • jumbo shells (pasta)
  • ricotta cheese
  • mozzarella cheese
  • fresh parsley
  • spaghetti sauce


I make this early in the day, and bake at dinner time. Yum!!
(Bethany is not fond of the fresh parsley.)
A small side salad completes the meal.

Here's the recipe for stuffed shells.

Sunday, May 12, 2019

I usually make these in my Pyrex 3 quart 9" x 13" baking dish,
but I had used that for a chocolate cake!
So, I used my Anchor Hocking, 1.5 qt, 5" x 9" loaf pans.
Scalloped Potatoes
oven


A no-meat meal—scalloped potatoes!
Everyone loves these.
A side salad and kiwi slices completes the meal.

Friday, May 17, 2019

Alex slept at Pebble Thursday night; spent Friday here!
She was 5 months old on May 8th.
She had smushed bananas, sitting on Grandma Carol's lap.
(She likes them, but was more interested in Grandma's food!)
Her first two solid foods: bananas and avacados.
Grilled Ham on Rye Sandwiches
stovetop
other than staples:
  • Thousand Island salad dressing
  • coleslaw
  • rye bread
  • thin-sliced cooked ham
  • swiss cheese


Here's the recipe for grilled ham-on-rye sandwiches.
The sauce (thousand island dressing/mustard) makes it extra delicious.
Fresh grapes, Claussen dill pickles, and potato chips complete the meal.

Sunday, May 19, 2019

I use my Lodge square cast iron grill pan for the sandwiches.
Don't heat it too hot;
you don't want the bread to burn before the cheese gets melted!
Cheese Broccoli Soup
stovetop
other than staples:
  • Velveeta
  • frozen chopped broccoli


The soup is made with Velveeta and frozen broccoli—it's quick, easy, and yummy!
Grilled cheese, Claussen dill pickles (the best!) and chips complete the meal.
Here's the recipe for cheese broccoli soup.

Monday, May 20, 2019

I love when Julia joins us for dinner, when she's picking up Alex!
Alex got to eat avocados!
Black Beans with Rice
stovetop
other than staples:
  • green pepper
  • can of diced tomatoes
  • black beans
  • hot pepper sauce
  • lime/mango


This is another meatless meal.
I put out some zucchini slices with french onion dip.
A small side salad, as usual.
Here's the recipe for black beans with rice.
The lime wedges are delicious squeezed on the beans;
the mango slices add color to the plate.

Friday, May 24, 2019

Hmmm... Bethany should be looking happier...
she finished 9th grade yesterday!
Mexican Chicken Corn Chowder
instant pot (cook chicken)
stovetop
other than staples:
  • Monterey Jack cheese
  • cream-style corn
  • chopped green chilies
  • hot pepper sauce


I first made this soup in 1996, so I've been enjoying it for over two decades!
Here's the recipe for Mexican Chicken Corn Chowder.
It's great with a side salad and popovers.

Sunday, May 26, 2019

My daughter Julia bought me these beautiful plates
when she was in Russia for a semester in college!
Zucchini Garden Chowder
stovetop
other than staples:
  • zucchini
  • can of diced tomatoes
  • can of evaporated milk
  • frozen corn


I first made this soup in 1997, so it's another oldie-but-goodie!
Here's the recipe for zucchini garden chowder.
It's great with a side salad and popovers.

Monday, May 27, 2019

Bethany starts summer school tomorrow!
Grands Tuna and Green Chile Melt
oven broiler
other than staples:
  • Grands refrigerated buttermilk biscuits
  • sesame seeds
  • mild green chilies
  • albacore tuna in water


Here's the recipe for Grands Tuna and Green Chile Melt.
Pepperidge Farms apple turnovers for dessert!
(Bethany isn't fond of tuna...)

Tuesday, May 28, 2019

Finished the first (of many) photo holders
for my ‘Burns Family History’ photo collection
(since I married Ray)!
Corned Beef and Cabbage
instant pot (as a slow-cooker)
other than staples:
  • corned beef brisket
  • cabbage


Walmart doesn't usually carry corned beef briskets (except near St. Patrick's Day).
When I can get them, I buy more than one and freeze them.
I slow-cook it all day, adding cabbage near the end;
other vegetables can be added, as desired.
(Here, I added celery, carrots, new and sweet potatoes, and onion.)
The house smells oh-so-good and this is super delicious!
Here's the recipe for Corned Beef and Cabbage.

Friday, May 31, 2019

Alex loved the sweet potatoes that I cooked with the brisket!
We rinsed them after cooking to minimize the salt.
It was the most solid food she actually ate
(as opposed to just playing with)
since she started eating solid food!
Creamy Chicken and Noodles
and Green Bean Casserole
instant pot (as a slow-cooker)
other than staples:
  • condensed cream of chicken soup
  • egg noodles
  • French's french fried onions


When I make Creamy Chicken & Noodles,
I use the same pot for:
  1. frying the chicken
  2. cooking the noodles
  3. putting it all together
This way, clean-up is easy.
Ray and Bethany love this simple meal!
Here's the recipe for green bean casserole.
Mango slices add color to the plate.

Monday, June 3, 2019

Oooh!
Since Alex has started to eat solid foods, I need kid dishes!
I love them all:
Cauliflower Cheese Soup
and sandwiches
instant pot (as a slow-cooker)
other than staples:
  • cauliflower
  • potatoes
  • sandwich stuff: bread, meat, cheese


Here's the recipe for cauliflower cheese soup;
it's creamy and loaded with vegetables.
Sandwiches for dinner isn't common for us,
but we were testing out bread, lunch meats and cheeses
for Bethany's upcoming sweet 16th birthday party!
Since we already have bowls to wash,
paper plates make for easier clean-up.

Wednesday, June 5, 2019

Bethany took the photo—Alex had fallen asleep in Carol's arms.
Julia arrived later, so Carol and Julia ate together,
while Ray fed Alex avocado.

Today, Alex had time alone with Ray, to ‘study’ him while he was working.
When Ray walked in for dinner, Alex gave him the biggest smile!
She's finally getting comfortable with Grandpa Ray—hooray!!