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!

Summer Salad with Roasted Corn, Smoked Bleu Cheese, & Pear Vinaigrette

Give me ALL of the salads, please!

Lately, my body has just been craving vegetables, and I can’t be mad at it for doing so. Walking past New York City’s greenmarkets – as a proper social distance, but of course – it’s hard not to be dazzled by large summer squashes, rainbow-colored tomatoes, and sun-ripened stone fruits.

Recently, I was gifted a collection of fruit juices and nectars made in Italy, namely Yoga Pear Nectar, along with some vinaigrette recipes to make with them. I love slightly fruity dressings for my salads – I’m always one to add ample lemon to my vinaigrettes! – but the idea of adding pear nectar never crossed my mind. Pear is one of my favorite fruits, so I jumped at this opportunity. (P.S.: How adorable are these little bottles?) I was told that it pairs well with arugula and bleu cheese, so I took some liberties to create a salad that pretty damn amazing, if I do say so myself!

Summer Salad with Roasted Corn, Smoked Bleu Cheese, & Pear Vinaigrette

Also, I picked up the smoked bleu cheese by accident, and it was one of the best mistakes I’ve made in a long time. Ha! Smoked bleu cheese is superb, and I recommend keeping an eye out for it if you can find it. If not, your favorite usual bleu cheese will be just as delicious in this salad.

Summer Salad with Roasted Corn, Smoked Bleu Cheese, & Pear Vinaigrette

Note: These products from CSO Italy were gifted to me via the Sopexa Agency for editorial review; I was under no obligation to create a blog post, but this dressing was so good, I got inspired to make this salad! As always, all opinions are my own.

Summer Salad with Roasted Corn, Smoked Bleu Cheese, & Pear Vinaigrette

(Makes one large salad for salad enthusiasts like myself, but can make 3 smaller salads for side dishes)

Ingredients:

Summer Salad:

  • 3 cups greens (I used a mix of baby spinach & arugula)
  • 1 cup cherry tomatoes, quartered
  • 1/4 smoked bleu cheese, crumbled
  • 1 ear corn, silk thoroughly removed and kernels stripped from cob

Pear Nectar Vinaigrette (from CSO Italy):

  • 1/3 cup pear nectar
  • 3 Tbsp white wine vinegar
  • 3 Tbsp olive oil
  • ½ tsp Dijon mustard
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • Salt & pepper to taste

Before We Get Started…

  • As mentioned earlier in the post, use your favorite bleu cheese if you cannot find smoked bleu cheese.
  • I did not test this recipe with canned or frozen corn, so I cannot say how well it may roast in the skillet if you use it! Attempt at your own risk. If you prefer unroasted corn, add that to the salad. For comparison, depending on if you use fresh or canned / frozen corn, one ear usually yields roughly 1/2 of corn kernels.

Directions:

1.) In a large bowl, combine greens, tomatoes, and bleu cheese.

2.) In a non-stick skillet, roast corn kernels over medium-low heat for 2 -3 minutes or until some kernels start to slightly brown or char. Keep a close on eye on this! Remove from heat and add to salad.

3.) Whisk together all vinaigrette ingredients until emulsified. Drizzle desired amount over salad and toss to combine. Save any unused vinaigrette in fridge for up to 2 weeks.