Macaroni Cheese and Tuna Casserole by Larry Andersen

Macaroni Cheese

Tuna Casserole

I think that all single parents rejoice in the existence of mac and cheese tuna casserole. It is quick and easy to make, economical and nutritious with the added bonus that kids really seem to like it. Coming home from work, picking up the dirty clothes for the laundry, a quick vacuum, check the mail for any unpaid bills and then it was time to get dinner ready Anything quick and easy was, as they say, a godsend.

Like most parents I considered my kid the ideal and perfect child I did note, however, one slight character flaw. He didnt like his vegetables. I added some vegetables, either peas, peas and carrots or mixed frozen vegetables to the mac and cheese mix. Incorporated into the mix they were, if only begrudgingly, accepted rather than being a pile of vegetables to be pushed around on the plate with his fork. Changing back and forth helped to eliminate the boredom factor.

In the beginning, it was a one pot meal; cook, drain, add butter, milk and cheese mix, stir, add tuna and serve. Back then I also learned the a slice or two of the sliced cheese added and stirred into the hot macaroni added to the cheesy ooey and gooey texture adding a bit more cheese flavor which my son appreciated. Although I didnt list it on the ingredients or procedure, I still do that.

Over the years it evolved a bit and eventually became the macaroni and cheese, vegetable and tuna casserole au gratin you see here. I hope you enjoy as much as we did and still do.

Preparation: 20 minutes, baking 20 mminutes Life Experience Recipe
Serves 4 o 6 persons
Ingredients:
  • 2 7.25-ounce boxes macaroni and cheese
  • 1 cup frozen vegetables (peas and carrots or mixed vegetables)
  • 3 tablespoons butter or margarine
  • cup seasoned bread crumbs
  • 1 12-oune can solid white albacore tuna in water, drained
  • 6 slices American sandwich cheese (or other as preferred)*
  • 3/4 cup milk
Procedure
  1. Add a bit of salt to boiling water and add the macaroni. Stir to prevent sticking. When the water returns to a boil add the frozen vegetables and continue to cook per package directions for the pasta.

    I have noticed that some brands of mixed vegetables require more cooking time especially the cut green beans. If your brand is the same I would simmer the vegetables separately in a sauce pan and add to the noodles when adding the butter and cheese mix.

  2. When the pasta is cooked drain into a colander but do not rinse. Return the pasta and vegetables to the cooking pot. Add the bitter and mix until melted and mixed evenly.
  3. Add the milk and cheese sauce mix and fold in to combine.

  4. Ladle the pasta and cheese mix into an 11x7-inch (approximately 6 cups) baking dish. Top with 6 slices of sandwich American cheese slices. Spread the top of the casserole with an even layer of the seasoned bread crumbs (I usually use Italian seasoned bread crumbs). Bake in a pre-heated 350 oven for 20 minutes or until the cheese is melted and bubbly, the crumbs toasted.

    Many years ago when I first started making mac and cheese tuna there was just about only one brand name and it was little elbow macaroni. Since then there are many brands of mac and cheese including store brands and discount Ive never hears of them brands. It is really hard to tell the difference between the finished product when comparing the basic mac and cheese box and not the deluxe versions. As well, there are a variety of pastas now including a discount brands shells as used in todays recipe.

  5. Remove from oven and allow to rest for a few minutes before serving. The mac and cheese will set up making a firmer texture and easier serving. Use a spatula to cut and serve squares of the casserole. A bit of salad or some bread on the side makes a fairly complete meal.

    No bread crumbs? How about some French-fried onions? Or perhaps good thick layer of grated cheese instead. The same basic dish, in many guises; different toppings and different vegetables all make for a kid-friendly casserole that gets them to eat their vegetables if only a bit at a time.

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Latest revision done September 2014
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