Growing up with divorced parents, my brother, sister, and I split our time between week nights at dad’s and weekends at mom’s. Everyone once in a while, we’d have to flip flop our schedule, and it seemed when those rare occasions popped up both mom and dad had an unspoken urge to make them special. On those weekends, dad would make breakfast: dippy eggs, buttery toast, and his breakfast potatoes. I do believe my love affair with potatoes started with these very ones around the age of eight. Sure I’d take an egg and a small piece of toast, but the remainder of that 10-inch plate was devoted solely to those piping hot slightly crunchy potatoes and the biggest squirt of Heinz 57 my kid muscles could muster. Recently, I texted my dad to finally, after all these years, ask what he put in his breakfast potatoes. (By the way, it still makes me giggle to think of him texting.)
After our bodies worked through the haze of early morning overeating, dad would move on to lunch. Lunches were varied, but one of my favorites were the tuna melts he’d make on cold days, rainy days, or days that otherwise demanded a comforting hot melty sandwich. After the recent potato-text heartbreak, I didn’t bother asking dad what he put in those tuna melts. Rather, I choose to focus solely on the memory: jumbo kaiser rolls loaded with mayonnaise-laden tuna, hunks of fresh cheddar cheese, and chopped up dill pickles. He’d wrap those giant sandwiches in foil and toss them right into the oven—no cookie sheet needed (which I remember wordlessly opposing). After a half hour or so, he’d reach into the oven with a giant pot holder. We’d line up, plates held tightly in our little hands, and dad would plop a massive foil pack on each one.
I still put pickles in my tuna on occasion, just for nostalgia sake, but more often than not I go with this lightened up tuna recipe. Chopped celery and red onion give the tuna bulk and a desirable crunchy texture. Pickles, optional. And if you use Miracle Whip, I will personally come to your house and flog you.
- 4oz solid white albacore tuna (drained)
- 1 tablespoon light mayonnaise (such as Hellmann’s)
- 2 tablespoons fat-free plain Greek yogurt
- 1 teaspoon mustard (Dijon, stadium, or brown)
- 2 tablespoons diced red onion
- 1/4 cup diced celery
- 1/8 teaspoon black pepper
- 1/8 teaspoon garlic salt
- 1/8 teaspoon dried dill weed
- 1/8 teaspoon celery seed (optional)
Step 1: Combine all ingredients in a small bowl. Serve as a sandwich or atop a bed of mixed greens with tomato, cucumber, or veggies of choice.
Stats on the tuna salad: 196 calories, 7g carbs, 6g fat, 26g protein, 1g fiber, 2g sugar