Monday, February 18, 2013

The Joy of Tradition

Growing up, birthday's were a special occasion. We could always count on a small family gathering, perhaps a few friends, a few presents, but always an evening of your choices and the sublime feeling of being special! I have quite the memories from childhood!

The major decision we had to make on our Special Day was the type of birthday cake/dessert we desired, and what we wanted for our birthday dinner. This was an amazing choice; we could pick anything (within reason - we didn't have a lot of money growing up) so we would search the recesses of our memories and taste-buds to come up with our favorite meal. The choice was never too difficult to make :-) My choice, almost every year, was my grandma's enchilada casserole and my families 7-Layer Tuna Salad, along with my mom's chocolate cake with a sour-cream chocolate ganache frosting! It was definitely a feast to remember!

I guess I'm somewhat of a creature of habit, because on my birthday this year (January) I began craving the familiar tastes of that 7-layer salad and my mommas chocolate cake...almost like clockwork!

My parents had planned on coming out to see me (they live about 3-hours away; across the mountain range) but because of weather and life, they were unable to visit the weekend of my birthday. So instead, we planned a weekend, when they would be able to stay for several days, for them to come. That weekend was this last one...our three-day weekend!

Now, I was just expecting a very fun time visiting and catching up with my folks...stress-free, relaxing, and enjoyable. And this is exactly what I got.

But I also received something else that visit. My mom remembered my favorite birthday meal and made it for me (one part of it anyway) to wish me a belated happy birthday. It was so special and I felt so much love at that moment; it was amazing.

So this is the recipe I want to share tonight. It is not only delicious but it holds such a special place in my heart as well as fantastic memories.

7-Layer Tuna Salad
2 c. salad dressing
1/4 c. green onion slices
2 tsp. Dijon mustard
1 tsp. dill weed (optional, but somewhat crucial in my opinion)
2 (6 1/2 oz.) cans of tuna, drained
4 c. shredded iceberg lettuce
1 1/2 c. (4 oz.) medium shell macaroni noodles, cooked and cooled
2 c. chopped, seeded cucumber
2 c.chopped tomato
1 (10 oz.) package frozen peas, thawed
6 bacon strips, crisply cooked and crumbled (my favorite is turkey bacon)
1 c. shredded cheese
Combine salad dressing, green onions, mustard, and dill. Set aside.
In a 3 qt. serving bowl layer lettuce, shells, cucumber, tomatoes, tuna, peas, and bacon.
Spread salad dressing mixture over bacon, sealing the edge of the bowl. Sprinkle with cheese and cover with plastic wrap.
Chill several hours or overnight for the best flavor.
When ready to eat, toss to combine all ingredients (sometimes easier if you dump into a larger bowl) thoroughly, and serve.

I hope you give this a try for yourself! It is always delicious on a hot summer day, but if you are like me, you don't need to wait until warm weather arrives to dig into this delicious masterpiece!


  1. Yum! I remember eating this at your birthday parties growing up!! It's delicious! I wish I could have some right now! Love you Jen!

  2. It was delicious! But I wish you could have been with us...that would have been perfect! Love you too Julia, thanks!