PTO is whack: White Bean, Artichoke and Tuna Salad

August 20, 2014

Readers, I meant to post this last week, but things got crazy. Better late than never, right?

Okay, do you remember my little rants here and here about the PTO and the way they try to be “creative” with the teacher luncheons/dinners in our school district? And how “creative” = Pain in Ass?

I think someone new is in charge this year, because when I got the email about providing food for the Back-to-School Teacher Luncheon, there wasn’t a theme or a creative twist in sight.

This should be good news, right?

It is good news, but the bad news is that the new person in charge isn’t making things any easier. When I looked at the sign-up sheet, my jaw kinda dropped.

Instead of signing up for a dish to bring (to feed 12 people), we now have to sign up for a dish to feed 25 people. Whaa? 25 is a lot of people to feed. Can you imagine the price tag for the poor fool who signs up to bring a meat/cheese platter to feed TWENTY FIVE? We’re talking at least 50 bucks–which probably explains why that slot on the sign-up sheet is still empty.

Actually, a lot of slots on that sign-up sheet are still empty. I’m pretty sure everyone took one look at that sheet, became completely intimidated at the prospect of making a dish to feed 25 people, muttered “&%^$ it,” and got out their checkbook to make a donation instead. I considered that option, believe me. School starts in a matter of days–everyone’s running around like a crazy person trying to get things in order. Making potato salad for 25 probably isn’t something anyone needs on their to-do list right now.

But I couldn’t just send off a check. I felt guilty even thinking of doing that. Because our district employs seriously dedicated, talented, caring, kick-ass teachers. We are so lucky to have them and they work really hard, and they deserve a nice Welcome Back! lunch. They do.

So I signed up for my pasta/potato/bean/grain salad option and then had a little panic attack, wondering what the heck I was going to make to feed 25 people that a) wouldn’t take forever to put together and b) wasn’t going to destroy the wallet.

I immediately nixed the idea of potato salad. I am not peeling potatoes for 25 frigging people, no matter how kick-ass they are. I toyed with pasta salad, too, but the idea of cooking 5 pounds of pasta in summertime heat wasn’t very appealing, either.  Couscous or quinoa was doable, but I hate both of those things, and who wants to bring something to a potluck that she wouldn’t eat herself? Wild rice salad? Oh, wait. A single batch of wild rice takes an hour to cook. Nope.

Eventually, I settled on this white bean salad. Beans are cheap (even the ones already cooked in cans) and easy and if you gussy them up with some artichokes and tuna and a few other things, you’ve got yourself a pretty nice lunch. Settled. Although I must admit, there are more glamorous salads out there. This one’s a little beige, but hey. Beggars can’t be choosers. It tastes good, so there!

I won’t post the recipe that feeds 25 people, but if you ever need to do such a thing, just multiply the ingredients called for by about SIX and you’ve got yourself a winner. Then all you need to do is run out to buy a gi-normous Tupperware container to hold the stuff.

Welcome back to school, readers. Miss M. is apprehensive and Miss D. is depressed and downright scared. We’re going to need some luck and some positive vibes coming our way. Fingers Crossed.


White Bean, Artichoke and Tuna Salad

serves 4


2 (15-oz.) cans white beans, drained and rinsed

1 (14-oz.) can artichoke hearts, drained and rinsed

2 cans water-packed tuna, drained

2 stalks of celery, chopped

3 shallots or scallions, chopped

1/2 cup chopped sun-dried tomatoes

1/2 cup chopped flat-leaf parsley

6 tablespoons olive oil

2 tablespoons red wine vinegar

1/2 teaspoon Dijon mustard

salt and pepper to taste


Combine beans, artichokes, tuna, celery, shallot, sun-dried tomato and parsley in a large bowl.  In a small bowl, whisk together olive oil, red wine vinegar, Dijon mustard and a dash of salt and pepper. Add to the bean mixture and toss well. Season to taste with salt and pepper.

{ 7 comments… read them below or add one }

Shannon August 20, 2014 at 10:43 am

Sending positive back to school vibes your way!


Arnebya August 20, 2014 at 1:34 pm

No beans. You can’t make me.


Lisa @ The Meaning of Me August 20, 2014 at 2:40 pm

Thank you – this just might be dinner tonight because I am still not feeling well and am totally uninspired. This looks great – minus the celery. Celery is probably the one vegetable I can’t tolerate. I just don’t see its purpose.
Anyway, perhaps if this was on the menu for a back-to-school teacher luncheon (or if we had a back-to-school teacher luncheon at all…) I’d’a stuck around instead of taking off for the great unknown. Maybe. I won’t pretend I can’t be bought with food. :D
Sending lots of positive thoughts to you and your girls for back to school…hang in there!


Sherri August 21, 2014 at 3:23 pm

Positive thoughts your way. Dropped my oldest off at college yesterday – had first day of school for the kids in grades 1, 3, 4 this am …. and, have to say, the emotional college drop off was far more fun than dealing with all THAT this morning (and by THAT, I’m not sure what I mean, but it did not feel pleasant …. my little ones are in a tailspin too – can sympathize). Anyway…. good thoughts to you AND big points for signing up to do a dish at all! Nice of you :).


pamela August 21, 2014 at 4:42 pm

May the force be with you. We start tomorrow with all the same feelings. Salad looks awesome!


Alison August 24, 2014 at 11:51 pm

Ah, you’re a good egg, you are.
Good luck and positive vibes to your girls!


Tiffany September 2, 2014 at 6:16 pm

25????? That’s crazy! You are so sweet to do that for the teachers!


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