Tuna Macaroni Salad

Classic summer dish, coming right up!

There have been many requests for this Tuna Macaroni Salad recipe since I first started posting it on my Instagram Stories over the summer. A childhood summer food staple in my household, this checks off so many boxes. It comes together in less than 30 minutes, you can chill and save it if you’re making some lunches or dinners for the week, the textures and flavors run the gamut, and it’s the ultimate dish for those hot summer nights when you just can’t stand the thought of even a warm dinner. 

I’ll occasionally vary what I add to this dish – if I don’t have enough celery, I’ll double up on bell peppers to ensure there is enough *crunch* to the dish – but the basics largely remain the same. 

Even as the months cool down as we move closer to autumn, I will still be whipping this up because, above all else, I find this dish to be comforting.

I recently took a day trip to visit my parents, and I whipped this baby up, alongside some summer vine-ripened tomatoes, mozzarella, and some basil from their little baby garden out front. What a perfect little meal!

Tuna Macaroni Salad

(Makes a lot of servings…like…a lot.)

Ingredients:

  • 1 16 oz. box elbow macaroni
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 large bell pepper, diced (no matter the color!)
  • ½ large red onion, diced
  • 2 large celery stalks, diced
  • 1 can tuna, drained & flaked – I opt for solid or chunk for optimal flaking
  • 10 oz. mayonnaise (Use. Real. Mayo! 🤤)
  • 1 tablespoon mustard
  • 1 teaspoon white vinegar
  • Salt + pepper, to taste

Directions:

1.) Fill a large pot with water, bring to a boil, and add macaroni and eggs. Cook macaroni until slightly past al dente, roughly 8 – 10 minutes. Remove eggs and add to an ice bath. Pour macaroni into a large colander, rinse well with cold water, and drain thoroughly. 

2.) Once drained, place macaroni into a large bowl to combine with other ingredients.

3.) Remove eggs from shells and roughly chop. 

4.) Add chopped eggs, bell pepper, onion, celery, and tuna to the macaroni and toss thoroughly to combine. 

5.) In a small bowl, stir together mayonnaise, mustard, and white vinegar. Pour over macaroni and toss to combine. If your macaroni looks a little dry after this step, add more mayonnaise by eyeballing it. 

6.) Serve immediate, or chill in the fridge for 30 minutes for a cool meal for a hot day! Stores in the refrigerator for up to three days if you have leftovers or are meal-prepping. 

Chive & Ricotta-Stuffed Squash Blossoms

It’s never a bad time to revisit – and possible punch up and tweak – older recipes.

Back in 2016, I posted a BA-inspired version of their Ricotta-Stuffed Squash Blossoms. (Nowadays, B*n A*****t almost seems like a vile term, but that’s 2020 for ya. 😂 ) Many weeks ago, I was involved in a Twitter convo that rolled into the topic of squash blossoms, with a few of my followers encouraging me to bring this recipe back when I mentioned it. It inspired me!

I did like my previous recipe, and, in hindsight, the photos aren’t as bad as I thought they were at the time. Still, nothing like a little makeover!

A screenshot from my original Ricotta-Stuffed Squash Blossoms recipe; earlier this year, I realized that those “wild honeysuckle” I used to eat in the woods were actually Red Columbine. Still, they were damn tasty. Ha!

First the journey to find squash blossoms was hard and arduous, with not as many vendors at my local farmers’ markets selling them as I thought they would. A grand journey to the Union Square Farmers’ Market yielded blossoms so big, I could stick half a hand into them! Still, I found them at one of the last stands I visited, so it was lucky that I got one of the two last pints they had.

After jumping back into that rhythmic tedium of gently cleaning each blossom, removing their stamens, and collecting any bugs inside of them and placing them gently outside of my bedroom window – I’m too damn kind! – a peace washed over me as I prepared to cook them up. Finally! My precious blossoms!

Freshly-cleaned Squash Blossoms

I tweaked my previous recipe and added in about two tablespoons of fresh chives and a 1/2 teaspoon of dried dill, and boy oh boy, did that punch up the flavor.

Ricotta-Stuffed Squash Blossom, kind of looking like Cthulhu.

Another thing: Anyone that posts beautiful photos of ricotta-stuffed squash blossoms is a liar. I said what I said. Making these photogenic is impossible, no matter how hard I try. Please, share your witchcraft with me, fellow bloggers that have posted similar recipes. What do I have do to to join your coven? I’m down for anything. An. Y. THING. All that matters is that the crisp exists, the middle is creamy, and the chives bring it all home.

Be sure to get your fill of this recipe before the squash blossom season comes to an end!

Chive & Ricotta-Stuffed Squash Blossoms, as “beautiful” as they come!

Herbed Ricotta-Stuffed Squash Blossoms
(Makes 8 – 10 blossoms)

Ingredients:

  • 8 – 10 squash blossoms, stamens removed (See Before We Get Started…)

Filling:

  • 8 oz. ricotta
  • 1 tablespoon Parmesan cheese, grated
  • 2 tablespoons fresh herbs of choice, finely minced (For this reboot, I went with chives, as well as 1/2 teaspoon of dried herbs. But! You do you!)

Breading:

  • 1 cup breadcrumbs, plain
  • 2 large eggs, whisked
  • 1/4 cup olive oil, for frying
  • Salt & Pepper, to taste

Before We Get Started…

  • The stamens must be removed from the blossoms prior to cooking. If we can mentally go back to our respective 4th grade sciences classes, the stamen, in laymen’s terms, is the part that sticks out in the center of the flower. To remove the stamens from your blossoms, take great care to spread the blossoms’ pedals apart, reach in with your thumb and forefinger, and gently pinch them out. If you choose to think that you’re emasculating them while listening to “Maneater” by Hall & Oates, by all means, do it! Gently rinse them with cold water for a moment, making sure to remove excess dirt or pollen. (Though, certainly, a little of each likely won’t kill ya.) Place them on a paper towel to drain; lightly pat dry with a paper towel or tea towel – if necessary – to remove excess moisture.
  • If you don’t have a piping bag, use a plain ol’ resealable plastic bag. After filling the bag with the ricotta mixture, craft a piping tip by cutting off a small corner of the bag.

Directions:

1.) Prepare squash blossoms as mention in Before We Get Started…; set aside.

2.) In a large bowl, mix together ricotta, Parmesan, and herbs.

3.) Transfer the ricotta cheese mixture to a piping bag or resealable plastic bag. (See Before We Get Started...) Pipe mixture into cleaned squash blossoms.

4.) Heat olive oil in a large skillet over medium heat. While oil is heating, place breadcrumbs in a baking dish or bowl. Lightly beat eggs in another bowl. Dip blossoms in egg, then breadcrumbs, shaking off excess breadcrumbs.

5.) Gently place blossoms into oil and fry for two minutes. Carefully flip blossoms, then cook on the other side for an additional two minutes or until golden brown on both sides. Remove and drain on paper towels; season with salt.

6.) Eat while warm and ENJOY!

Cucumber Watermelon Salad

Cucumber Watermelon Salad

The deeper into summer we get, the more I am craving summer fruits and vegetables. The crisper and juicer, the better.

When I was home in Connecticut a few weeks ago – for a much-needed, yet socially-distanced & masked visit to my parents’ house – I took advantage of a quiet kitchen and a wide-open backyard to whip up & enjoy some foods. Cooking at my parents’ house absolutely hits differently than cooking in my NYC kitchen, despite my apartment’s kitchen being HUGE by NYC apartment standards. (No exaggeration, I can stand in the middle of the kitchen and not touch anything if I stretch both of my arms out. Nothing short of miraculous!) It’s a more peaceful and pleasurable experience.

Feeling invigorated, I whipped up some smashburgers and this salad, with my mom coming in hot with her potato salad, which is better than your mom’s potato salad. (Don’t @ me. Facts are facts.) This salad – admittedly, inspired by an ad I saw on Instagram for Stop & Shop toting their recipe for it! – hit all of those crispy and juicy notes I was craving. The addition of feta gave it a hint of saltiness, while the mint added a mellow coolness.

Cucumber Watermelon Salad
Cucumber Watermelon Salad

This is a super easy recipe to pull off, and it’s great for keeping in your fridge for when you need a quick meal side or a snack. It’s been a rough few months, embrace dishes that have minimal effort involved.

Cucumber Watermelon Salad
Cucumber Watermelon Salad

Cucumber Watermelon Salad

Ingredients:

Salad:

  • 4 cups watermelon, seeds (if any) removed & cubed; this equates to roughly 1/4 of a watermelon chunk you’d see at the grocery store.
  • 1 large English cucumber, peeled & chopped
  • 1/2 small red onion, thinly sliced
  • 1/2 cup feta cheese, crumbled
  • 1/2 cup mint, roughly chopped

Dressing:

  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • 2 tablespoons lemon juice
  • Pinch of salt

Before We Get Started…

  • You can substitute a regular large cucumber for an English cucumber, just remember to remove the seeds before dicing!

Directions:

1.) In a large bowl, toss together all salad ingredients.

2.) In a small bowl, whisk together dressing ingredients until emulsified.

3.) Pour dressing over salad and toss thoroughly to combine. Serve immediately! (See? Told you this was an easy recipe.)

NOTE: Salad can be kept in fridge for up to 7 days. This is reported back from my parents that told me they ate the leftovers of this salad seven days after I made it. Ha!