Whenever I’m in zombie mode, my survival kit always contains three critical items: coffee, dark chocolate, and a box of leftovers. I’m too risk-averse to gamble on hospital vending machine grub.

For my mid-shift meal, I reheated some braised beef shanks and Asian cauliflower fried rice.

After zooming home post my 10-hour shift, Big-O was the first person to greet me with a cheery smile. 

We’re both morning people (despite my crazy work schedule), and our wide-eyed perkiness baffles and annoys my husband and Lil-O – both of whom have to be dragged out of bed, squinting and blinking and cringing at the sunlight. Unfortunately, Big-O also shares my genetic predisposition towards messiness; his toy bins are exploding in a haphazard jumble – just like my kitchen drawers.

My idea of organization (if you can call it that) is “toss it in there and I’ll look for it later." Shameful, I know. 

Sure, I could’ve spent a few hours putting my things away neatly, but my pillow beckoned.


I managed to pass out for a solid seven hours during the day before popping up to make dinner. I’d been craving spicy tuna cakes ever since I received sample packets of cooked tuna in coconut oil from my friends at Itsumo Ahi Jerky.

It’s been ages since I made a batch, so I wrestled an iPad away from one of the kids ("HEY! MOM! I’M USING THAT!”) to review the recipe in my cookbook app.

Straight out of the packet, the tuna was incredible. I had to stop myself from eating the whole pouch. 

With coconut oil already mixed in with the cooked fish, I decided to omit the ghee from the original recipe. Instead, I added a smidge of coconut flour to absorb the extra moisture.

After swiping through all the steps of the cooking process to jog my memory, I grabbed a few green onion stalks and minced them up…

…coated a muffin tin with ghee..

…and tossed the ingredients in a bowl.

I squished everything together with my hands…

…scooped the mixture into the muffin pan…

…flattened the cakes a bit…

…and popped them in the oven.

While the tuna cakes baked in the oven, I stir-fried baby kale with homemade bone broth, minced garlic, and Red Boat Fish Sauce.

This simple dinner was ready in about 30 minutes.

I even had time to make a fancy dessert. I call it “Slices of Watermelon.” You’ll never guess how I made it.

Out of curiosity, what’s your go-to quickie work night meal?

About Michelle Tam

Hello! My name is Michelle Tam, and I love to eat. I think about food all the time. It borders on obsession. I’ve always loved the sights and smells of the kitchen. My mother was (and is) an excellent cook, and as a kid, I was her little shadow as she prepared supper each night. From her, I gained a deep, abiding love for magically transforming pantry items into mouth-watering family meals.

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