Mom's Tuna Casserole

Friday 16 March 2018

 I was feeling very nostalgic today, thinking back on the days when I was raising five children. Some days I didn't know whether I was coming or going. It was a very busy hectic time. It seemed like I had a bottomless basket of laundry to wash, fold, dry and put away. I never seemed to be able to keep ahead of it. Then there was the house work, making beds, hoovering, dusting, etc. and of course cooking.  I did not mind the cooking part.  In all truth I didn't mind any of it.  Being a mom and housewife was all I had ever aspired to and I was living my dream.

With five children, three of them boys, I spent a lot of time cooking. And I had to be economical with my cookery also, as there was not a lot of dosh available to be spent. Food took up a large part of our budget after the rent. Here is a funny (now) story. (It wasn't so funny back then.)

My ex-husband was a Military Police Officer, in the Canadian Military, and at one time we were stationed at the British Army Training Unit Services in Suffield, Alberta.   This was the major training area for the British Army in Canada at the time.  The Brits would be going out into the "field" on exercises all the time and when they came back in from the "field" all the unused rations would be dumped. (I know what a gross misuse of government money)  Some of the boxes would have only a few things missing and some would have not even been opened at all. There would be tins containing stewed meat, cheese, vegetables, chicken, fish, crackers, candy, chocolate, apple pie, fruit, etc.

My ex used to retrieve them from the dump and we would clean and sterilize them. We had a nice cabinet filled with them down in the cellar.  Somewhat of a surprise as well, as we never knew what was in what tin until we opened it.  It was always a bonus day when it ended up being a sweet tin! One day a friend was asking me where we did our grocery shopping and my oldest son piped up, "We get our food at the dump! (He was about 4 at the time.)  Talk about being embarassed. Kids, they'll drop you in it every time!

Anyways, I digress.  This tuna casserole was a real favourite that I used to make back in the day, and that my children loved. It uses things I always had in my cupboard, and that were affordable,  boxed macaroni and cheese dinner, tuna, tinned soup and tinned tomatoes.  OH, and some extra cheese, which, when the kids were growing up  was more than likely Velveeta or cheese whiz. Now I use real cheddar, and while I was not afraid to use butter or potato chips to top it back then, I now use crumbled crackers and cooking spray.  Even so, this is some good.  All you need on the side is a salad and perhaps some bread and butter.

*Mom's Tuna Casserole*
Serves 4

This is something I used to make when my children were growing up. (I had to double it back then!)  Its a bit of a cheat in that it uses some convenience foods, but it is delicious, so I hope you will forgive me for that!
1 box (4 serving size) macaroni and cheese dinner
1 (295f) tin of condensed mushroom soup (10 3/4 oz tin) undiluted
1 (400g) tin of whole tomatoes, drained and chopped(14 ounce tin)
1 (170g) tins flaked tuna in water, drained ( 2-6oz tins)
1 small onion, peeled and finely minced
1/2 tsp each oregano, basil and parsley flakes
181g grated strong cheddar cheese (1 1/2 cups) divided
salt and black pepper to taste
cracker crumbs
spritz of cooking spray

Preheat the oven to 180*C/350*F/ gas mark 4.  Spray a 7 by 11 casserole dish with cooking spray.  Set aside. 

Cook the macaroni from the dinner mix according to package directions.  Drain well. Return to pan and stir together with the cheese powder from the box, undiluted soup. tomato pieces, onion, herbs, seasoning, drained tuna and 120g (1 cup) of the cheese. Mix together well and then spread in the prepared casserole dish.  Top with the remaining cheese and a handful of crushed cracker crumbs. Spritz a couple of times with cooking spray.

Bake in the preheated oven for 35 to 40 minutes, until bubbling and golden brown.  Serve hot.

Our Spanish daughter Ariana happened by not too long after we had eaten and happily took home the leftovers to enjoy with her husband Jose. I might be able to get Todd to eat it once, but eating it twice is really pushing it for my pasta hating now- husband.  At least I am lucky enough that once in a while I can get it past him at least once!  He's a sweetiepie.  Bon Appetit!


  1. I haven't heard of this version!!! Sounds like a kid friendly meal for sure!!!

    1. My kids loved it Laurie, and having revisited it yesterday, I can say that I honestly really enjoyed the journey back and the taste. It was every bit as good as I remembered! xo

  2. Aww bless his little boy heart.. :) Kids say the darndest things..Comfort Marie:)

    1. Yes, lol, he thought he was being very helpful! This is true comfort food for sure. xo

  3. I've had a yen for tuna casserole lately so I may well give this one a try. Never had it with tomatoes in it before. Looks good. From the mouths of babes!

    1. I had not made this in years Jeanie. It was every bit as tasty as it was back in the day! I hope you will try it! lol This is the same son who told our neighbor across the way he better keep his cat in the house, or his dad was going to shoot it. The neighbor's cat kept getting into our bins and my ex had threatened to shoot it if it did it again. As you do in the comfort of your own home without really meaning it. LOL. My son thought it was his duty to warn the neighbour. xo

  4. This is one of the sweetest and most heartfelt stories I've heard behind a recipe post. Bless you, Marie. Your recipe sounds clearly better than what I grew up with here in the States. Think: Cat food.



    1. LOL Jane, catfood. Doesn't sound very appealing! This recipe is quite appealing. Seriously. xo


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