Tuesday, February 16, 2021

College Bound Tuna Mac #AllGirlsBlogParty

Please join our party today with The Book Club Cookbook crew and author Emily Layden. Publisher St. Martin's Press provided me with a pre release copy of All Girls.  I'm excited to share my review with you.  As always, all opinions are strictly my own.

All Girls Blog Party Logo

You can learn more about this party over at Judy's invitation page.  Judy is the author of blog and cookbook, The Book Club Cookbook.
Judy invited some foodie bloggers who love to read to join her in celebrating the release of this novel by Emily Layden.  This is Layden's first novel however she has had articles published in well known magazines.  Layden's background is as an English Teacher in a private school which appears to have given her an amazing insight into the lives and angst of teenage girls coming into adult hood. 

Here are links to the other bloggers who are attending this party.  You will find their reviews and the recpes they were inspired to make by clicking on their names.

I am anxious to see what the others thought of this novel about young women coming of age in a prestige, private, all girls school.  The novel is written by the perspective of the girls, all of whom come from different backgrounds with different reasons for having been placed in this boarding school.  

The book was well written.  So well written that it disturbed me.  Several years ago, my husband and I adopted the Teen, who you see featured in many of my blog posts.  The Teen is now 16 1/2 yrs. old and she suffers a lot of teenage angst which comes out as a lot of teenage drama.  This novel may have hit a little too close to home for comfort for me.  I deal with this teenage trauma every day....this book was not a relaxing escape for me.

There was a fair amount of food mentioned in the novel.  Girls who suffered from anorexia and had to force themselves to eat.  Girls who are used to eating at the best, most expensive restaurants in NYC.  Girls who, like my teen, have very limited food experience having grown up eating fast food, burgers, ramen noodles and spaghetti.  My Teen's favorite food is mac and cheese from the little blue box.   She would eat that every day, if allowed.  

I try to limit her intake of those types of meals and introduce her to new and different foods as often as possible.  Some of these recipes meet with success, some don't, but that boxed mac and cheese is still always her favorite.

novel, box of pasta, package of tuna

So for the recipe I decided to make, I tried to meet the Teen halfway.  I made up a box of orange mac and cheese instead of blue. This pasta is made with chickpeas offering more protein and fiber and less carbs than the other.  

una Mac

I also added in a package of tuna and some frozen peas to add additional nutrition and color. I find a healthy dose of ground black pepper is always welcome in any mac and cheese dish that I make.

The verdict on the recipe:  The Teen prefers the Mac and Cheese in the famous blue box...no additions.  My husband hates canned tuna.  I thought if I am going to eat boxed Mac and Cheese at least this version has some nutritional value.

The verdict on the novel: It was well written.  While it isn't my genre of choice if you enjoy coming of age and drama ridden novels, I think you will enjoy this book.

kid friendly, quick, easy, seafood, tuna
Entrees, Seafood
Yield: 3 servings
Author: Wendy Klik
College Bound Tuna Mac

College Bound Tuna Mac

Boxed Mac and Cheese is a staple for many teenagers and young adults just starting out. This version adds a little more protein, flavor and color to the dish.
Prep time: 2 MinCook time: 15 MinTotal time: 17 Min


  • 1 lg. pkg of your favorite boxed mac and cheese
  • 1/2 c. frozen peas
  • 1 pkg. tuna, drained if needed
  • salt and pepper, to taste


  1. Place the frozen peas in the bottom of your colander.  Cook the pasta per package directions.  Once pasta is cooked pour into the colander over the peas, to drain. 
  2. Add the ingredients for the cheese sauce to the pasta cooking pot and return to low heat , stirring until creamy and warmed through.  Add the pasta, peas and tuna.  Stir until coated and warmed. Season to taste with salt and pepper.


Inspired by the novel, All Girls by Emily Layden



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  1. Sorry your "College-Bound" dish didn't meet more rave reviews. I'm really intrigued by that orange box and the chickpea pasta. I did enjoy the novel (but not as much as Big Lies. I like your perspective from a mother of a teen. Stay safe and warm!!!!

    1. Thanks Debra...Sun is out and even with a foot of snow it is a beautiful day.

  2. Ahhh...the blue box! Ha. My kids have yet to try that. It might become a college staple. Or not since they are such critics, at least my younger one. LOL.

  3. Your version of mac & cheese sounds good, though I usually just make my own cheese sauce for pasta rather than open any box. I've never tried chick pea pasta.

    Eliot definitely didn’t make me want to read the book. I'm afraid that your review didn't make it sound any better. The characters all sound very un-likeable, as well as being too numerous to imagine that the plot could be cohesive.

    be safe… mae at maefood.blogspot.com

    1. Yes, it was not my genre of choice but some of the reviews were much more positive.

  4. Dealing with teenage angst is thankfully in the past for us! The grandkids' aren't nearly as difficult. The recipe would be a quick and easy one for dorm students. And fairly nutritious. Of course, us foodies wouldn't be caught dead in the market with one of those boxes:)

    1. LOL..you are right Claudia...we thought the teenage angst was in the past for us too but the good Lord had other plans for us.


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