Sorry, Charlie

When I was a youngster, I always felt sorry for poor Charlie:

(C’mon. Watch the video. It’s only 34 seconds.)

He was being excluded. His feelings were being hurt. This made me feel badly for him.

Then, somewhere along the line, I realized that by being turned down, it meant he was NOT being turned into a tin of tuna. Although I loved tuna then — as I do now — I had trouble wrapping my pre-adolescent mind around why in the world Charlie would WANT to be turned into a can of tuna.

Twelve years of intensive psychotherapy followed. 😉 (Just teasing.)

I’ve eaten tuna for as long as I can remember: As a snack,  on saltine crackers, just straight from the tin (or now, more usually, the “no-drain” foil packet)…in a comforting casserole I learned to make when I was in college and still make today…as an occasional splurge, a delicious tuna steak (my late father proudly introduced me to tuna steak when he purchased and grilled some for supper one night as part of the extended celebrations of my graduating university)…and, of course, mixed as salad filling for a sandwich at lunch or supper.

On this Oscar Sunday, we’re having another gray, cloudy, and humid day. It’s 77F/25C, but will be cooler tomorrow, the forecast says. Thunderstorms are predicted. Sid (our 90+-pound dog) is already panting nervously from the impending weather. Ally, our soon-to-be 13 year old beautiful calico cat, spent the morning outside, happily sniffing the wind. (Ally is usually intrigued by storms — if Ally’s scared, then you know it’s a bad storm.) And Little Black Kitty (LBK), a gorgeous black cat with startling green eyes who joined up with our family during Hurricane Ike, and who, at roughly 3 years of age, is the youngest — has been staying curled up inside for the most part. Having made her way here, as a stray, during Hurricane Ike, LBK shares Sid’s point of view on storms.

Provided our electricity and our TV satellite remain connected through any storms we might have, we have decisions to make today regarding our entertainment this evening. Watch the Oscars? Or the third and final installment of “Any Human Heart” on KERA (PBS)? And what about that episode of “As Time Goes By” that I haven’t yet seen that will be shown during the last 30 minutes or so of the Oscars?

Decisions, decisions, decisions. And I’m thinking at times like this, it doesn’t seem like such an extravagance that we have two TVs hooked up to satellite.  😉

Given all the entertainment and weather turmoil, I kept lunch simple — tuna salad sandwich. Hubby and I had ours on Mrs. Baird’s Honey 7 Grain bread. YUMMY!

Like most things, tuna salad can be very, very simple — I remember my cousin Paul simply mixing tuna with some mayonnaise or salad dressing and some sweet or dill relish if he were feeling “fancy” — or more elaborate.

There are times when I still make the simplest version of tuna salad, but usually, I prefer to make the more “elaborate” version that I made today. Not only does it make the tuna stretch further, but it adds in more nutrition (vegetable vitamins and calcium) and more texture, as well.

Missie’s Fully Decked Tuna Salad (I don’t have any real measurements — I do it all by taste and preference in relation to how much tuna I’m working with and how many folks I’m feeding)

  • Tuna (I prefer all-white tuna packed in water), drained (I’m really enamored of those “no drain” foil packets)
  • Some diced onion (I had some red onion already diced that I used, but yellow or white works well, too)
  • 1 or 2 hard-boiled eggs, peeled and chopped (optional, but I do like them in it)
  • Dollop (usually 1 to 3) of reduced-fat (lite) salad dressing (such as Miracle Whip) or reduced-fat (lite) mayonnaise — (seriously, start off easy on the salad dressing or mayo and add in more as you need to; it really doesn’t take all that much)
  • Healthy squirt or two of yellow mustard
  • 1 to 3 healthy spoonfuls of dill and/or sweet relish
  • Chopped dill (my preference) and/or sweet pickles to taste (I LOVE pickles, and adding chopped pickle adds a layer of crunch and flavor that the relish lacks)
  • 1 to 2 stalks celery, sliced
  • Shredded cheese to taste (today, I used some reduced-fat sharp cheddar and some Monterey Jalapeño Jack cheese, but whatever you have on hand and have a desire for will work)
  • Coarse ground black pepper (I LOVE coarse ground black pepper)
  1. Flake drained tuna into a medium-sized bowl. (Gives you more room to stir and mix.) Add in a dollop of mayo or salad dressing, squirt of mustard, diced onion, sliced celery, relish, chopped pickle,  and shredded cheese — in other words, everything else except the diced hard-boiled egg(s).
  2. Stir/toss together gently with a fork. Give it a wee taste; add in more salad dressing/mayo, mustard, pickle, relish, etc. as needed. Just keep doing this until you have the desired flavor and consistency.
  3. Gently stir/toss in the diced hard-boiled egg.
  4. Use as a sandwich filling on bread; use it as a filling for a hollowed-out whole or half tomato; place a mound of it on some salad or spinach greens, eat it on saltine crackers.
  5. Refrigerate leftovers.

TIP 1: If you are fortunate enough to have some fresh, delicious tomato, adding sliced tomato to the sandwich will transform it from delicious to heavenly perfection. Honestly.
TIP 2: If you want to pack it for a lunch or pack it for a picnic, you can pack the tuna salad and bread separately and assemble the sandwiches as you eat them; OR, you can lightly, and I do mean lightly, spread the insides of the sandwich bread (the sides that will be facing the filling) with butter or margarine (honestly, it takes very little), then assemble the sandwiches — the butter or margarine will help keep the bread from getting soggy.
TIP 3: If you want to pack the tuna salad (as a salad or sandwiches) for lunch but don’t have access to refrigeration, fill a water-proof plastic bag (such as a Ziploc) with ice and place your wrapped sandwich or sandwich filling on top of that to keep it chilled.

However you enjoy your tuna salad — simple or more elaborate — I hope you find that it tastes yummy!


About MissieLee

I love tasty food prepared in a healthy way with a budget in mind.
This entry was posted in Fish/Seafood, Salad, Salad Filling, Sandwich and tagged , . Bookmark the permalink.

6 Responses to Sorry, Charlie

  1. JanAshby says:

    I’m going to try your recipe. I have tried and tried to duplicate the tuna salad from Whole Foods, so I’m always on the hunt for new tuna recipes.

  2. Norma says:

    We love our simple tuna salad too. Has to have light mayo and boiled egg! Sometimes some dill relish or maybe just a sliced pickle instead. Tomato adds a great touch, if they look good in the store. (Which is rare right now!) Jesse and I prefer to dump a can of tuna into a box of freshly made mac and cheese. Dad does not share our passion for this tasty pairing, so we do it for lunch whilst he’s at work! 😉 Good ol’ tuna.

  3. LinnieGayl says:

    I’ve always been of the more “simple” tuna salad, usually just adding in a bit of lite mayo and some dill pickle relish. I used to do sweet pickle relish, but like the dill better. However, I really like the notion of making the tuna stretch further, and adding in more veggies, by adding in the things you’ve suggested. It never occurred to me to add either hard boiled eggs, or a bit of shredded cheese, but they both seem like naturals.

    • MissieLee says:

      Thanks, Linnie! When I was growing up and I was in college, tinned tuna was a staple because it was affordable, but it seems pricey now — as does everything else, of course — so stretching it can be a good thing.

      I’ve also found that people who think tuna tastes “too fishy” enjoy it when it’s more combined with other flavors.

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