My Simple Tuna Noodle Salad

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Here is a picture of my dill plant. Looks a bit scrawny to me but I don’t really know how dill is supposed to look. (I have not googled it yet.)

In hot humid hazy summer weather I do not like to cook. I do not have air conditioning in my kitchen so using the stove, particularly the oven, can make the place unbearable. I still cook but not long elaborate concoctions that heat up the entire room. This tuna noodle is a simple minimal cooking meal. The only cooking is the pasta.

The simplest version of this is to cook the elbow macaroni, chop a stalk or two of celery, throw in a drained can of tuna, mix with mayonnaise, and you are good to go. Well, I added a few extra ingredients because that is what I do!

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In the beginning:

  • a few stalks of fresh dill; when chopped it was about one tablespoon
  • a bit less than a cup of shredded and chopped carrots
  • 2 cans of solid white tuna in water, drained, and the cans given to the cats to lick clean for a treat; oh and drain the cans into the cat’s dishes so they can have tuna gravy to entice them to eat their dry food which we all know is better for them than the wet stuff…right Felix!!!
  • 3/4 box of elbow pasta; a half box will do; cook according to the instructions which is essentially bring your pot of water to a rolling boil, add the pasta, let water come back to a boil (I never have good luck with that so mine just simmers along until I remember to test it for al dente before it gets overcooked!)
  • one cup of mayonnaise; I’m pretty sure my Mom would have used Miracle Whip.
  • 3-4 stalks of celery, chopped
  • zest of lemon equalling 1 teaspoon
  • 1/4 large Vidalia onion, chopped fine; put the chopped onion in a bowl of cold water for about five minutes to mellow out the sharpness of the raw onion; this actually worked! I had read it somewhere and thought I would give it a try…and it worked! of course if you really like the bite of raw onion in your salads don’t bother with this step.

Drain the pasta and rinse with cold water. Mix the chopped vegetables and drained tuna in a large bowl. The bowl needs to be large enough to hold all that pasta. Put the mayonnaise in a glass one cup measuring cup. So I drizzled on a tablespoon or so of olive oil to loosen it up. Add the lemon zest and chopped dill to this and make the dressing. Mix the pasta and the dressing in the large bowl with the rest. Salt and pepper to taste. At first taste I found this to be a bit bland so I added the juice of 1/4 of a small lemon and sprinkled on a bunch of dried dill. I was tempted to dump on a bunch of red pepper flakes but I restrained myself.

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And here is the final product. Well not quite final. For serving I put leftover lettuce salad in bowls and piled this on top. For the second meal I put a handful of baby spinach in the bowls and then piled this on top. Then add a handful of shredded cheddar cheese. Now say Grace and dig in. Hubby and stepdaughter loved it. This made enough for two meals with extra large servings for three people.

In the future:

  • use more fresh dill, maybe 1/4 cup
  • use more lemon zest and juice; half of a large lemon
  • could add chopped red and green peppers for more color, and crunch
  • try green onions in place of the Vidalia
  • try it with Miracle Whip!

I am enjoying the summer warmth but would like a little relief at night to get the humidity out of the house. So we put the itty bitty AC unit in the window of the bedroom. Now it’s nice and cool to sleep!

 

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Pasta with clam sauce

I am finding that in the summer time I am having less motivation to sit with my computer to write. When I return home from work I want to sit out in my backyard soaking in the warm weather now that it has finally arrived. But we do still have to eat…

This recipe is inspired by my Hubby. Who now insists he has made his version for me not too long ago. I think I would remember that! He has talked about it but I don’t remember him making it. But I have just had one of those birthdays that end in O as in “0h, no, I moving into another decade!”

Clams and garlic over angel hair pasta is what he told me. Since I am home first to prepare the meal for the three of us it is up to me to figure out how to put this together. Hubby bought four cans of clams hoping we would get to feed both girls (young women) but just one is coming for dinner tonight. 😦

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I gather together cans of clams, garlic, olive oil, onion, butter, fresh parsley. I love parsley; it adds greenery! The angel hair pasta nests are cool. These get cooked in a pot of boiling water while the clam sauce is prepared.

  • 4 cans of clams with juice
  • 4 cloves of garlic, minced
  • 1/2 a large onion, chopped
  • 1-2 Tablespoons of olive oil
  • 2-3 Tablespoons of butter
  • scant 1/4 cup of flour
  • handful of fresh parsley
  • 7 nests of angel hair pasta cooked in 4 quarts of boiling water

Saute the onion and the garlic in the olive oil. Add salt and pepper as you like. Then add in the butter until melted. Sprinkle on the flour to make a roux. I am thinking this is needed because I will have four cans of clam juice to thicken. Then stir in the four un-drained cans of clams. Let this simmer until the pasta is ready and/or the family comes home. Throw in the parsley to add some color.

I serve this with a salad, Italian bread, and grated Parmesan cheese. We sit outside to eat our dinner, enjoy the warm evening breeze, and each other’s company.

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Poultry Pepper Pesto Pasta

This dish is somewhat inspired by the cover of the April food network magazine. Also by Hubby! When I picked up the magazine at the checkout line I showed him the picture and we both thought that looked good. But Hubby is allergic to shrimp, so it would just be pesto and pasta or trade out the shrimp for chicken.

 

pesto pasta 001I did not even bother to read the recipe. Hubby suggests angel hair pasta. We have some leftover grilled chicken and away we go! I want to add roasted red peppers since I have an almost full jar open in the fridge. I have 3 quarter cup chunks of homemade pesto in the freezer. So Hubby starts naming the dish and it’s a “P” tongue twister so eventually we settle on the title. Hubby wants to add the mushrooms but I don’t want to. I have no way of knowing if the type of mushrooms name starts with a “P”!

  • 2 pieces of poultry thighs, already cooked, meat cut off the bone and diced
  • 1 jar of roasted red peppers, sliced and diced, save the juice/oil from the jar
  • 1/4 cup pesto
  • 4 nests of angel hair pasta nests
  • Pecorino Romano cheese for serving

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Chop the peppers and poultry. Put in skillet with a little bit of cooking oil or cooking spray. Stir in the pesto and juice from the pepper jar. Heat through. Cook the pasta according to the package.

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When pasta is done divide into two bowls. Top with the pesto-poultry mixture. Sprinkle on the grated cheese. Eat up.

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The aroma was wonderful as was the taste. The mushrooms would have fit in perfectly. Hubby thought it needed a bit of sauce. We put a dollop of sour cream in each bowl and that did the trick. Next time making a bit of a butter cream sauce should be made. This would be done by adding a bit of butter to the skillet and a bit of cream/milk/or half-and-half to get the consistency desired.

 

Bacon and Egg Spaghetti

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Sometimes it is difficult to know what to cook for dinner. I am trying to cook what is in the house to avoid a grocery shopping trip until another week goes by. I like having food in the house so when I go to the store I tend to buy lots! Everyone chooses how to spend their money; some spend it on dining out, entertainment, cars, travel. Me, I tend to spend it on food! And of course reading my fellow bloggers recipes and seeing the photographs of delicious food always inspires me to have enough variety of food in the house so I can cook up an experimental dish on a whim!

The inspiration for this dish is threefold. First and foremost is this blog that I just recently was reading: https://mioshotfood.wordpress.com/2015/12/10/original-italian-carbonara/. This sounded fabulous and I wanted to make this. While thinking about this I remember my brother-in-law talking about making a bacon and egg spaghetti and also in one of the many food magazines I have read over the years there was a page on a quick weeknight dinner featuring a bacon and egg spaghetti. I describe this to hubby and he says it sounds appealing so up from the sofa we get and go into the kitchen.

Here’s what I used:

  • 1/2 pound spaghetti noodles
  • a little bit of olive oil for the skillet
  • 1/4 pound bacon cut into small dice (I use uncured bacon that I keep frozen and just chop from the end what is needed)
  • 1 small onion, diced
  • 1 garlic clove, minced
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried oregano
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried basil
  • 3 eggs
  • 1/4 cup grated Romano cheese
  • 1/2 cup cottage cheese
  • freshly ground pepper
  • dried parsley for garnish

Boil the water for the spaghetti. This is what takes the longest time for this dish. While waiting for the water to boil and/or the spaghetti to cook, dice up the bacon, onion, and garlic. Hubby kindly took care of the bacon while I did the other. Saute these together in the skillet with a little bit of oil. Add the oregano and basil when the bacon is starting to brown and the onion is caramelizing. I read somewhere that fat distributes the flavors so I am thinking this is the time to add the seasonings. This concoction will have your kitchen smelling wonderful!

In a bowl beat the three eggs with a fork and add the Romano cheese. Drain the spaghetti and add it to the skillet with the bacon and onion. Pour on the egg mixture. Cook this over medium heat stirring with tongs to coat the spaghetti. It will start to look like scrambled egg on the spaghetti. We added the cottage cheese here for extra creaminess. Season with pepper. Put in serving bowls and sprinkle with the dried parsley and more pepper to taste.

It served the two of us. This would be nice served with a green salad and crusty bread neither of which I had in the house at the time. I figure the onion is our vegetable, the eggs and bacon are our protein, the cheese is the dairy, and the pasta is the grain. That covers the major food groups and makes this a square meal!