Wednesday, April 18, 2018

The Last Tuna Fish Casserole

I made my last tuna fish casserole the other night.
            I think. Maybe. Probably.

I made two of them, one with cheddar and one with Boar's Head Gold Label Swiss Cheese that is lactose free for RH, with his lactose free milk.

I felt swamped by nostalgia as I made it for the last time, this dish that I had fed my children so often while they were growing up, the recipe that I tripled once they had all left home, one each going to Gurn and Zack to take home for their suppers.

It has been an old friend, the makings of which were almost always in my pantry and fridge.

For there was always a box of macaroni on the shelf and cans of tuna fish. Always the red cans of Campbell's Cream of Chicken and Cream of Celery. Always chicken broth. Always milk in the fridge and cheese, and usually frozen green peas.

Add a salad and French bread and there was dinner.

It was comforting, creamy, and with the addition in later years of crushed Golden Flake Dill Pickle chips on top, almost addictive. And fettucini recently instead of macaroni made it gourmet, kind of.

I will still keep tuna fish in my pantry even though now I prefer the Italian brands. And I may always have an emergency can or two of tomato soup for puny days or chicken noodle for stuffed-nose days when I don't feel like making homemade. But now there are other brands of those that have less chemicals, less additives, and no MSG.

And I make excellent homemade soups myself so those cans really need to go. Hear that, RH? No more stocking up for a year when Progresso soups are BOGO.

So these were my last tuna fish casseroles.

            I think. Maybe. Probably.

Here's my recipe for it just in case my kids someday wonder how Mom made them in the old days:

For 3 Tuna Fish Casseroles:

1. Stir in very large bowl: 2 cans Campbell's Cream of Chicken Soup, 2 cans of Cream of Celery Soup, and 1 can Cream of Mushroom Soup (no mushroom soup if Defee's eating it). Stir in 2 teaspoons curry powder, 1/2 teaspoon ginger, 1 teaspoon tumeric, 2 teaspoons dill, S & P. 

2. Stir in a cup of mayonnaise (or more). 

3. Stir in 1/2 cup fresh lemon juice.

4. Stir in 9 cans of tuna fish.

5. Cook 2 boxes macaroni or fettucini, drain and add.

6. Stir in small bag of frozen petite green peas.

7. Stir in 2 cups milk and enough chicken broth to make it soupy.

8. Add 3 cups of shredded sharp cheddar cheese.

9. Pour into 3 casseroles and top with more cheese plus parmesan.

10. Crush 3 bags of Golden Flake Dill Pickle chips and top each casserole with one bag each.

11. Dot with pats of butter and dust with paprika.

12. Bake at 350 degrees for 25 to 35 minutes, don't let chips burn.

Sweets are still around in my kitchen and if I don't make them, RH is going to buy them at the store anyway, with all those chemicals and HFCS. 

So why not a homemade cake or cookies instead of Nabisco Vanilla Wafers that are loaded with them, and linger past the sell-by-date?

Two boxes of vanilla wafers, RH? Really?

Here's what I made for dessert just because I had a bottle of Martinelli's Apple Juice that I didn't use for a pork recipe. I found this cake recipe for Apple Juice Cake at Pies and Plots.

There is no dairy in it, safe for RH, but it does call for Crisco type shortening, bad for all of us. I keep a small can in the pantry for using with butter for pie crusts and for my Grandmother's coconut cookies that RH craves sometimes, find the recipe here at a previous post called Who Ate the Cookies.

I remember when I used to keep a large can of Crisco shortening in the pantry. That's another product that I probably ought to banish, maybe use lard instead, according to some. 

This cake was so good, even better the longer it sat. More of a coffee cake than cake and delicious toasted with butter. I did send half of it and lots of casserole to the job one day.

But no more. I think. Maybe. Probably.

Oh, the foods of the past that we thought nothing of eating!

"I refuse to believe that trading recipes is silly.

Tuna fish casserole is at least as real

as corporate stock."

Barbara Grizzuti Harrison