Around the Table with the Burkes: Survival is the Main Ingredient

Meal planning is a really useful tool for making sure we don’t have McDonald’s every day, but sometimes my ambition on Saturday doesn’t match up with my energy level on a Monday evening. Flexibility and a Plan B helps.

Crib rails and baby gates are merely training devices for the youngest’s future Ninja Warrior care er.

Crib rails and baby gates are merely training devices for the youngest’s future Ninja Warrior career.

Greetings Beacon readers! After a short hiatus Around the Table has returned with more tales of survival and food from the Burke household, survival being the key ingredient these days. I have been suffering from an overdose of tired lately. A death in my family, whirlwind travel, and major changes coming to my household have caused my brain to short circuit. Additionally, my youngest child (2) has decided that a.) he’s never going to sleep again, and b.) crib rails and baby gates are merely training devices for his future Ninja Warrior career. Meal planning is a really useful tool for making sure we don’t have McDonald’s every day, but sometimes my ambition on Saturday doesn’t match up with my energy level on a Monday evening. Flexibility and a Plan B helps.

Last Saturday I had a meeting all afternoon and was out later than I planned, so we ended up ordering pizza. Highlight of the evening was my food allergy kid getting his first slice after months of trialing different pizza components. He was so excited! Can I just serve pizza every day and still maintain “Okay Mom” status?

Sunday I planned on Beef Stew for “Hearty Superb Owl Man Food.” I was going to go with my quick and easy McCormick packet cheat, but that only works if you actually have a packet on hand. So I took to googling recipes and made a bit of a FrankenStew using my Instant Pot. Positives: delicious stew beef from the Farmer’s Market made ultra tender by the Instant Pot. Negatives: waaaaaaay too much tomato paste, and not enough beef broth. Not my finest dish, but not entirely inedible.

IMG_1404.JPG

My good friend got chickens last weekend. The live, future-egg-laying variety. They’re pretty cute, and I am a bit of an animal nut, so hanging out with chicks instead of working was how I spent most of my days this week. Monday evening rolled around and I threw together some baked pork chops, noodles, and corn. Some days the most basic home cooked foods are a win. Tuesday’s dinner was leftovers. Thank goodness we had some.

Wednesday I shocked my husband by making “real” food – chicken chili and biscuits.


White Chicken Chili:

  • A pound and a half of chicken cut into bite size chunks (I use breasts, thighs also work)

  • 3 cans of white beans, drained and rinsed

  • Seasoning mix (per pound of chicken, I double this for 1.5 pounds):

    • ½ tsp sugar

    • ½ tsp corn starch

    • 1 tsp garlic powder

    • ½ tsp cayenne pepper

    • 1 tsp cumin

    • ½ tsp oregano

    • ½ tsp cilantro

  • 1 cup frozen or canned corn

  • 2-3 cups water

Brown the chicken on all sides, then add water, seasoning mix, and beans. Bring to a boil and cook for 10 minutes. Add the corn and cook another 6-10 minutes. Serve with something you can use to mop sauce!


Thursday I shocked Travis again with meatloaf, squash, and spaetzle. I also did dishes. Travis thinks I might be very sick.

As for tonight, I’m at a loss. I see turkey burgers on my plan, but that seems like a lot of effort. In all likelihood we’re going to end up having pancakes and French toast for dinner. Plan Brinner.

One of these days I’ll head back to the Farmer’s Market and one of these weeks I’ll have myself back on track with my goals for the year.