Mom’s Tuna Casserole!

One of my favorite memories of childhood was coming home from school and hearing that tonight was “tuna casserole night”! Sure, my mom’s recipe was nothing fancy – in fact, I’m sure you can find quite similar recipes in any United Methodist Women’s cookbook – but still… nothing makes me feel more like “home” than eating this. I make this at home today and end up missing my mom!

I’ve also included some variations at the end of the recipe, in case you don’t care for any of the main ingredients.

Ingredients:

2 boxes of Kraft Macaroni and Cheese mix (do not skimp by buying the “store brand”)
2 cans tuna in water
1 can cream of chicken\mushroom soup
1/2 soup can milk
A couple of tablespoons pimentos
Around 1/4 to 1/2 of a bell pepper
1 onion
1 can (or jar) of mushrooms
1 stick of butter (for the mac & cheese)
1/2 cup milk (for the mac & cheese)
A couple of handfuls of shredded cheese (optional, use any type cheese you like)

Hardware:

1 large pot, with tight-fitting lid
1 large spoon
1 can opener
1 measuring cup
1 strainer
1 2 or 3qt. casserole dish
Pam (or other non-stick spray)

1) Preheat oven to 325F.  Spray the interior of the casserole dish with Pam and set aside.

2) Add water to pot and cook the pasta according to manufacturer’s instructions.

3) While pasta is cooking, chop vegetables.  Also, open and drain the tuna.

4) Once pasta has been drained, add cheese sauce packet, butter and milk and stir until mac & cheese is done.

5) Add all remaining ingredients, stirring until thoroughly mixed. The pimento and bell pepper are mostly for color, so add only enough to make the casserole “pretty”.

6) Pour into the casserole dish and cover with shredded cheese (if desired).

7) Bake at 325F for around 30 minutes, or until edges of casserole begin to bubble.

Don’t like tuna? Can’t eat it ‘cos of allergies? Try using two 6oz. cans of chicken breast instead. Don’t care for mushrooms? Shame on you! But you can use just about *any* “Cream of…” soup you’d like – I recommend Cream of Chicken for this dish. Also, instead of (or in addition to) the canned mushrooms, try some chopped water chestnuts.

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