Homemade dinner for a night when that seems impossible

by katie

As I’ve said before, our go-to quick dinner is juevos rancheros.  But this week has been busier at work than usual, and we’d already gone to the juevos well by Monday!  When we got home long after 8:00 pm last night, we just wanted to bag it.  Our rule is that if we can’t get a homemade dinner on the table by 9:00 pm, we eat out.  Cooler heads prevailed, however, and we ended up making a healthy, light dinner that tasted great, and was on the table by our deadline.  This is a recipe I got from my mom ten years ago.  She got it from an ancient issue of Good Housekeeping, and the original recipe is miraculously still available online.  I’ve made it a million times and can honestly tell you that it takes literally five minutes.  Five minutes, y’all.  Over time, I’ve modified the recipe to mix up ingredients and amp up flavor.  The current iteration is below.  Stock your pantry with a few easy (and inexpensive) items, and you too can have a homemade dinner when it seems impossible!

Five-Minute Tuna Salad

1. Zest and juice one medium/large lemon into a big mixing bowl.  Open a can of black beans, rinse them under cold water, drain, and add to the lemon juice and zest.

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2. Open a can of cannellini beans, rinse them under cold water, drain, and add to the bowl.

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3. Open two cans of tuna packed in olive oil and flake them into the bowl, adding the oil to the bowl along with the fish.

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I’ve said it before, and I’ll say it again: tuna packed in olive oil, rather than water, is awesome.  Buy it.  We went extra fancy this time and used “pole caught” wild tuna in olive oil.  True confession: I bought it because the label was pretty.

4. Drain a 12 oz jar of roasted red peppers, dice the peppers, and add them to the bowl.  Do the same thing for about 1/4 cup of banana peppers or pepperoncinis, and add those to the bowl.  Add about a tablespoon of fresh parsley to the bowl.  Mix everything together.  Salt and pepper to taste.  Depending on how much olive oil was in your tuna, you may need to add an additional glug or two of oil to the final salad.  Up to you.

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We used fresh parsley from our garden, but I’ve used a smaller amount of dried parsley (1-2 teaspoons) with fine results.  If you use dried, this recipe might take 10-15 minutes because you’ll want to let the finished salad sit while the dried herbs reconstitute.    

5. Put a bunch of arugula in a pasta or salad bowl.

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6. Pile on a few scoops of the tuna salad, and garnish with crostini (optional).

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