Tuna Pasta Pea Salad

When I was about 10 years old, one of my favorite things to do on the weekend was to drive to the Southdale Mall with my mom to go shopping.  We’d go to Dayton’s (before it was Marshall Fields and then Macy’s) to shop for clothes, shoes, whatever my mom needed for the house…  It always felt like such a treat to wander this huge store and to take the place in. Growing up in a small farming town there was nothing of this magnitude within a 30 minute drive so it always felt special to me to visit.  Our shopping trip always included a stop for lunch at the top floor of the Dayton’s store in the deli where they served all sorts of salads and soft serve ice cream.  I ordered the tuna pasta salad with peas EVERY SINGLE TIME I went there.  Seriously.  Every. Single. Time.  And in my lifetime the number of store visits with lunch probably exceeds 50.  That’s a lot of pasta salad.  I’m not a fan of variety when I find what I like. 

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And look at that – what’s not to like?  This salad is a breeze to make and gets better the next day, so go ahead and make this for a light lunch, a shared salad for a party or an easy-to-transport lunch to bring to work.  Just beware that there’s mayo in this recipe so if you’re enjoying it outside in the hot summer months be sure to keep it on ice.  Food poisoning is no joke, people.

So on that light and happy note – let’s get down to business with the recipe!  Just a few considerations:

  • Canned tuna – this salad is best with Solid Albacore Tuna in water.  That’s not to say you can’t use Chunk Light or a tuna in oil, but I’ll go with Solid Albacore 100% of the time when I have the option.  The flavor is lighter and the color of the tuna is lighter in color as well. 
  • Pasta shape – I prefer to make this salad with the small rings you see in this photo, but really you can use any shape pasta you like, or a gluten-free one, too.  Just know that the larger your pasta shape, the more mayo you’re going to need to maintain the same moisture level given the increased pasta surface you’re trying to cover.
  • Mayo – I prefer the Hellman’s or Kraft brands but you could add some kick to this using Miracle Whip or another seasoned dressing instead or in addition to the mayo, like Dijon Mustard.

That’s it!  Enjoy, my food friends, and share feedback or ideas in the comment section!

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Tuna Pasta Pea Salad
This chilled pasta salad with tuna, celery and peas is a refreshing and light meal for a warm summer day.
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Prep Time
30 min
Total Time
30 min
Prep Time
30 min
Total Time
30 min
Ingredients
  1. 1 box of small pasta rings
  2. 1 cup mayo
  3. 1/2 bag of frozen peas (do not defrost)
  4. 5 stalks of celery, halved lengthwise and diced
  5. 1 shallot, fined minced
  6. 1 can solid white albacore tuna, drained thoroughly
  7. Ground black pepper
Instructions
  1. Boil water and cook the pasta according to the instructions, being sure to add salt to the water during the cooking process.
  2. Drain and rinse the pasta once done cooking.
  3. In a large bowl, combine the mayo, peas, celery, shallot and tuna and stir to break up the tuna into smaller pieces.
  4. Add the pasta to the bowl and stir to combine all ingredients.
  5. Add fresh ground black pepper to taste, stir to combine and taste for flavoring.
  6. Refrigerate at least 1 hour before serving, or overnight.
Notes
  1. This salad is easy to modify to make gluten free - just substitute a gluten free noodle and make sure the mayo you use is gluten free - that's it!
In Bryna's Kitchen http://www.inbrynaskitchen.com/

Broccoli Grape Salad

It’s about time I add some variety to this blog, meaning some vegetables, as the last few posts have been about delicious yet not necessarily good-for-you foods.  This recipe is not only great for you but it’s delicious, and is best when made the day before, so if you like get your work done ahead of time in order to enjoy the party or meal, this one’s for you.

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My mom is the source of this Broccoli Grape Salad recipe and made it for us all the time as kids.  Imagine her glee that her 4 kids gobbled up this salad like it was dessert despite it containing broccoli, celery and nuts!  To be fair, this salad contains juicy grapes as well as a decadent dressing, so it’s not like you’re going to win some health nut contest for preparing this, but you’ll probably still get points for Vitamin E, fiber and protein – little known fact – broccoli is a good source of protein!

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Alright, food friends, a few more notes before we get to the recipe details:

1. Toasted almonds are optional, but delicious, and best if added to the salad right before serving.

2. This salad needs to be refrigerated at least 4 hours before serving, it not overnight.  You’ve got to allow the dressing time to do its magic and seep into those little broccoli florets.

3. Grapes vs Raisins – you can do either, or both, but I prefer fresh grapes, both green and red (seedless!!!) if available.  In the case of the batch I made for this post, you can see I didn’t have any grapes so opted for raisins and it is still great.  I’ve seen variations of this recipe online that call for yellow raisins or dried cranberries, so as I usually say on this site, add whatever makes you happy.  There’s no point in following a recipe to the letter of the law if you think a substitution could improve it.

 Enjoy!

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Broccoli Grape Salad
Serves 10
This salad is best served cold a day after preparation.
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Prep Time
30 min
Prep Time
30 min
Ingredients
  1. 3 bunches of broccoli, cut into bite sized pieces
  2. 4-5 green onions, cut into 1/2 inch pieces
  3. 5 stalks broccoli, cut into 1/2 inch pieces
  4. 3 cups of green and red grapes, washed and sliced in half
  5. 1/4 lb bacon, fried and chopped (or 1 package of bacon bits)
  6. 1 1/2 cup mayo
  7. 4 tsp white vinegar
  8. 3/8 cup white sugar
  9. 1/2 cup slivered almonds
Instructions
  1. In a large bowl combine the broccoli, green onions, celery, grapes and bacon.
  2. In a small bowl combine the mayo, vinegar and sugar, stirring to combine.
  3. Pour the dressing over the contents of the large bowl, stirring to combine and fully coat the salad ingredients.
  4. Cover the bowl and place in the refrigerator to chill for 4 hours or overnight, before serving.
  5. In a small saucepan, turn on the heat over low, and add the almonds. Stir almost constantly under they begin to brown and you can smell a nutty aroma. Immediately remove from the heat and pour the almonds onto a small plate to cool.
  6. When ready to serve, garnish the salad with almonds.
Adapted from Patricia Remes
Adapted from Patricia Remes
In Bryna's Kitchen http://www.inbrynaskitchen.com/

Mother’s Day Brunch

As Mother’s Day came ’round this year I was excited to host my sister and her family as well as my parents at our place.  Last year we went out to brunch at my parents’ golf course and while it’s a nice spot, it can be less-than-relaxing to dine out at a nice restaurant with two 2 year olds and all their stuff in tow, so I was more than willing to have everyone at my place for a more low-key morning meal.  In my mind, the key to any good party is to make most of the food in advance so you can be a part of the fun and not stuck in the kitchen.  Here’s what we served up this Sunday morning to honor the three mommas – photos and recipes below!

Scrambled Eggs with Green Onions 

  • The key is to cook these “low and slow” and you’ll get incredibly soft and moist scrambled eggs!
  • This is your item to make at the last minute – they will dry out if you hold them in a warm oven

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Green salad with Champagne Vinaigrette, Candied Almonds, Dried Cranberries and Mandarin oranges

  • Make the candied almonds in advance and toss this together just before serving

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Triple Berry Salad with Vanilla Bean-Infused Syrup

  • The simple syrup can be infused with other flavors than vanilla – think mint, orange or basil!

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Lemon Lime Bundt Cake

  • Use any blend of citrus you have on hand – this cake is delicious and easy to make with any combination of orange, lemon, lime or grapefruit

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Scrambled Eggs with Green Onions
Serves 8
These scrambled eggs are incredibly tender and moist - ensure you cook them low and slow and you'll wonder how eggs could taste this good!
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Prep Time
5 min
Cook Time
10 min
Total Time
15 min
Prep Time
5 min
Cook Time
10 min
Total Time
15 min
Ingredients
  1. 16 extra large eggs
  2. 1 1/2 cups whole milk
  3. 1 1/2 tsp salt
  4. 1/2 tsp ground black pepper
  5. 6 Tbsp butter, divided in half
  6. 2 Tbsp green onions, minced, green and white parts
Instructions
  1. In a large bowl, whisk together the eggs, milk, salt, and pepper.
  2. Heat 3 tablespoons of butter in a large non-stick sauté pan.
  3. Add the eggs and cook them over medium-low heat, stirring constantly with a rubber spatula, until the desired doneness. Eggs should still appear wet and not stick to the pan.
  4. Off the heat, add the remaining 3 tablespoons of butter and the green onions.
  5. Stir until the butter is melted.
  6. Serve immediately.
Adapted from Barefoot Contessa Family Style
In Bryna's Kitchen http://www.inbrynaskitchen.com/
Candied Almonds
Keep your eye on these almonds while cooking them - once cooked and cooled they can be stored in an air-tight container for up to two weeks.
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Ingredients
  1. 1/2 cup sugar
  2. 1/2 cup slivered almonds
Instructions
  1. Heat a medium saute pan over medium-high heat.
  2. Add the almonds and sugar and stir nearly constantly until the sugar has caramelized and coated the almonds, about 3 minutes, being careful to not let the almonds burn.
  3. Pour the almonds onto a piece of parchment paper in a single layer to cool.
  4. Store in an air-tight container for up to two weeks.
In Bryna's Kitchen http://www.inbrynaskitchen.com/
Green salad with Champagne Vinaigrette, Candied Almonds, Dried Cranberries and Mandarin oranges
Serves 8
This green salad is coated in a light, refreshing champagne vinaigrette and topped with a trio of toppings - almonds, cranberries and oranges.
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Prep Time
5 min
Total Time
5 min
Prep Time
5 min
Total Time
5 min
Ingredients
  1. 6 cups organic mixed greens
  2. 2 Tbsp Girard's Champagne Dressing
  3. 1 small can of mandarin oranges
  4. 1/4 cup dried cranberries
  5. 1/2 cup candied almonds
Instructions
  1. In a large salad bowl pour the salad dressing and "dress the bowl" coating it with the dressing.
  2. Quickly add the greens to the bowl and toss to cover with the dressing.
  3. Top the center of the salad with the mandarin oranges, cranberries and almonds.
  4. Serve immediately.
In Bryna's Kitchen http://www.inbrynaskitchen.com/
Triple Berry Salad with Vanilla Bean-Infused Syrup
This simple syrup can be infused with many different flavors other than vanilla - try orange zest, mint or basil!
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Ingredients
  1. 1 cup water
  2. 1 cup sugar
  3. 1 vanilla bean
  4. 4 cups strawberries, hulled and quartered
  5. 2 cups raspberries
  6. 2 cups blueberries
Instructions
  1. In a small sauce pan over medium heat combine the water and sugar, whisking to dissolve the sugar.
  2. Heat the sugar-water mixture until simmering, then remove from the heat.
  3. Slice the vanilla bean lengthwise, scraping the beans from the pod, and place them in the syrup. Place the vanilla bean in the syrup as well.
  4. Let the syrup infuse with the vanilla bean for 2-4 hours off the heat.
  5. Once infused, remove the vanilla bean from the syrup and discard.
  6. Store the syrup in an air-tight container in the refrigerator for up to a week.
  7. In a large bowl, combine the berries and drizzle with 2-4 Tbsp of the syrup.
  8. Serve immediately.
Notes
  1. Simple syrup is a great ingredient to have on hand for many purposes! It's great to top fruit or ice cream or to flavor your beverages!
In Bryna's Kitchen http://www.inbrynaskitchen.com/
Lemon-Lime "7-Up" Bundt Cake
Serves 16
This cake is perfect to make a day in advance and store in a covered container. I don't use 7-Up as this recipe traditionally calls for and substitute a mix of orange juice and carbonated water to add some more flavor to the cake batter.
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Prep Time
20 min
Cook Time
1 hr 20 min
Total Time
1 hr 40 min
Prep Time
20 min
Cook Time
1 hr 20 min
Total Time
1 hr 40 min
Ingredients
  1. CAKE
  2. 3 sticks Butter
  3. 3 cups Sugar
  4. 5 whole Eggs
  5. 3 cups All-purpose Flour
  6. 1/2 teaspoon Salt
  7. 3/4 cup carbonated water
  8. 1/4 cup orange juice
  9. 1 Tablespoon Lemon Zest
  10. 1 Tablespoon Lime Zest
  11. GLAZE
  12. 2 cups Powdered Sugar, Sifted
  13. 1/4 teaspoon Salt
  14. 1 Tablespoon Lemon Zest
  15. 1 Tablespoon Lime Zest
  16. 1 Tablespoon Lemon Juice
  17. 1 Tablespoon Lime Juice
  18. 1 Tablespoon Water
Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 325 degrees.
  2. In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, cream together butter and sugar.
  3. Add eggs one at a time, mixing after each addition.
  4. Carefully add the salt, then the flour, one cup at a time, mixing after each addition.
  5. With the mixer on low, slowly add the carbonated water and orange juice until just combined.
  6. Add 1 tablespoon of both lemon and lime zest and fold into the batter with a rubber spatula.
  7. Scrape the bowl ensuring the batter is thoroughly combined.
  8. Spray a bundt pan very liberally with nonstick baking spray.
  9. Evenly pour the batter into the pan, evening out the surface.
  10. Bake for 1 hour and 20 minutes until lightly browned and risen.
  11. Remove the pan from the oven and let it sit in the pan for 15 minutes.
  12. Using a knife, carefully lift the cake away from the pan, then invert onto a cooling rack to cool completely.
  13. Place the cake onto a serving platter.
  14. Combine all the glaze ingredients in a bowl and whisk until combined and drizzles off the whisk. Slowly drizzle the glaze over the cake.
  15. Let the glaze set for at least 2 hours before slicing and serving.
Notes
  1. Try any combination of citrus - orange, lemon, lime or grapefruit!
  2. I don't use 7-Up as this recipe traditionally calls for and substitute a mix of orange juice and carbonated water to add some more flavor to the cake batter.
Adapted from Pioneer Woman
Adapted from Pioneer Woman
In Bryna's Kitchen http://www.inbrynaskitchen.com/