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)
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
  • 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.
  • 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
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
  • 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!
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!

Monday, December 3, 2018
Ray, Art, Bethany [Carol taking photo]
Ham slices
(leftover meal)
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
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
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.
air fryer
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)
stove top (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!

  • 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)
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.

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)
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
  • This casserole uses only staples (things I always have in stock).
  • It has been a family favorite for decades!
    My preparation has changed a bit, though—I now use the instant pot.
  • Serve with a salad.

Saturday, February 16, 2019

Here's my French White 2.5 liter Corningware Covered Casserole dish.