Tuna Melt

After I was done in college I was able (and luckily enough) to take a trip in Europe. I went to Vienna, Salzburg, Prague and Munich. It was AAAAAAHHH-MAZING.

One of the first place we went after we landed in Salzburg was a little chain deli. I remember the experience vividly because I was freaked out by being in a country were I didn’t speak a word of the language and we were trying to order some lunch.

Whatever I ordered they were out of, luckily my friend was able to understand enough German to get that. I was completely clueless.

So I quickly picked something else that would work, a Tuna sandwich, even though Tuna wasn’t my favorite. I was able to get the message across and the language crisis was over. Whew.

I used to panic a lot when I was first figuring out the world in my twenties. Especially when I traveled. Living in the UK for a year was enough to give me panic attacks for MONTHS before I moved there.

Anyway, back to the story.

To my surprise, I really liked the Tuna Melt. I wasn’t used to tuna sandwiches hot with melted cheese on top. The only problem was it was slightly cold in the middle, but there is no way with my insufficient German to be able to make any kind of complaint.

Since then I do like a good tuna melt every once in a while. Maybe just to fix it the right way.

Here is my favorite way to make them:

Tuna Melts
1 biggish serving

2 slices of whole wheat bread (thick sliced if possible)
1 tomato, thinly sliced
1 can of white tuna
1/2 tablespoon of mayo
1 tsp dill pickle relish
1/2 tsp lemon juice
1/4 tsp salt
1/4 cup cheddar cheese
butter

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F.

Butter the bread and place it butter side down on a baking sheet. Place the thinly sliced tomato on the bread in a single layer. Set aside.

Mix tuna, mayo, relish, lemon juice and salt in a small bowl. Adjust the mayo to get it the consistency you like. Some people like it drier and other like it more moist, so keep an eye on that.

Spread the tuna mixture on the bread. Then sprinkle the sandwiches with the cheese. Once again, use as much as you prefer. I like a generous amount so I use all the cheese and then some. 🙂

Let bake in the oven for about 5 minutes or until the cheese is melted and the bread looks toasty. Keep an eye on it, so it doesn’t burn.

If you prefer sweet relish, feel free to substitute. I personally think sweet pickle relish taste like poo, but that is just a preference.

This is one of my favorite lunches to make when I don’t have any leftovers to eat. It is filling, cheap and easy. Yummy!

 

Also every time I make it, I have fond memories of travelling in Europe with some good friends. That is worth remembering.

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Oh Popcorn, Perfect Popcorn

I love popcorn. If I run out of popcorn I have a nervous breakdown.Seriously. One day we ran out of popcorn and I just about had a melt-down. Then I found the back-up popcorn I had stashed in the pantry and we were saved.

 

Yes I have back-up popcorn.

 

The first year of our marriage, my hubby was amazed at how much popcorn I eat. Just about every night.

Actually, it is pretty good for you if you don’t drown it in butter.

A note on popcorn types. Not all popcorn is created equally. For basic every day popcorn I like Orville Redenbacher. It is kind of spendy, but it isn’t full of old maids (unpopped popcorn) or hard, kernally popcorn. It is more tender and fluffy than the store brands or cheaper stuff you can get. Gourmet popcorn is nice too, but I have to order it online and it is usually a bit out of my price range. Orville Redenbacher is usually a pretty good happy medium between price and quality.

The Perfect Popcorn

3 tbsp oil

1/3 cup popcorn kernels.

1/2 teaspoon salt

3 quart heavy bottom saucepan (with a lid)

2 tbsp of melted butter

Heat the oil in the sauce pan over medium-high heat. Put about 3 kernels in and wait until all three pop. Then add the rest of the popcorn and salt and shake it really firmly to coat all the popcorn in the oil and salt.

Crack the lid, so that the steam doesn’t drip on your popcorn. Leave it alone and wait until the popcorn is popping about 15-20 seconds apart. You can give it a shake if you want to , but I find that it doesn’t need it. It usually takes about 5 minutes, but listen just in case. Burnt popcorn is not yummy.

Pour it out into a giant bowl and drizzle with the melted butter. Use the bowl you melted the butter to stir the popcorn. Then it is time to chow down. Nom, nom, nom…..Everyone at our house LOVES popcorn, so we fight over it until it is gone.

 

This is a pretty good Soda to go with it:

Sipp

 

This stuff is 100 calories a bottle and sweetened with agave AND its organic. My favorite is the Ginger Blossom, but don’t dis the Lemongrass flavor. Yummy. Our local Organic store has these as well as a local organic burrito place. We might live in the sticks, but it is touristy enough we have a few trendy places around here.

Put the kids to bed, kick back on the sofa, pull up a warm blanket, turn on the fireplace and watch something on VidAngel. Or Netflix, but VidAngel has new releases for a dollar. Shoot, I should really be getting paid for all this free advertising I’m doing!

 

 

Split Pea Soup – Surviving February

We are having an early spring. My tulips are coming up, and I keep yelling at them: DON’T, YOU’RE GOING TO DIE IN A SNOWSTORM!!!!

For we have snow storms  all the way until April some years. A few years ago in February it snowed EVERY DAY OF THE MONTH. Or nearly. I think it was 24 out of 28 or something.

Something about the coming of spring screams SPLIT PEAS. I think it is the spring-y flavor of the soup, earthy, warm and sunny.

Can a soup taste sunny? I’m not talking about bright and sparkly, more that warm, toasty feeling you start to get from the sun again in the Spring after freezing your butt off all winter.

Well, this soup does its best. It is the promise of summer and the earthy smell of dirt in the spring. Mmmmm….

Okay, so here it is.

Split Pea Soup

Ingredients:

2 tablespoons butter

3 carrots, cut into pieces

1 onion, diced

3 medium celery stalks

1 medium apple, cut into pieces

1 package of spicy sausage of choice (and as much as you want)

2 bay leaves

1 (1lb) bag of split peas

6 cups of water

½ tablespoon salt

Directions

In a large sauce pot, melt butter over medium high heat. Add carrots, onions, celery and apples and cook 20-25 minutes or until vegetable mixture is tender and golden, stirring occasionally. Meanwhile, cook sausage.

To vegetable mixture in sauce pot add sausage, bay leaves, split peas, water and salt. Heat to boiling over high heat. Reduce heat to low; over and simmer 1 hour or until peas are very tender. (or you can chuck it in the crock-pot and cook on low 6-8 hours or on high for 4-6 if you want)

Remove bay leaves and serve!

This is really good, and one of my hubby’s favorites. I like it too. It is very….earthy. Pair it with a crusty loaf of bread and you have a cheap easy dinner! You can find the dried split peas in the bean and rice aisle at the grocery store.