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Grandma Lois’ Tuna Casserole

From the Desk of...Grandma Lois
From the Desk of…Grandma Lois

About a month ago, my mother asked me to help her sort through her cookbooks.  She was correct in her belief that I wouldn’t want most of them but thought I might like a couple.  Most of the cookbooks were fairly recent (meaning, less than 10 years old) and have been donated to the thrift store.

There was a box, though, that caught my eye.  I’d never seen it before.  It was a green metal index card box.  I told her that I wanted to borrow it just to see what was in it.

It is my Grandma Lois’ recipe card box and it is filled–no, crammed–with recipes in her handwriting. There are also recipes in my Grandma Daisy’s writing (my great-grandmother).  And, in the back, there are a couple of cards in my own early teenage years writing for Mexican-food inspired dishes. I feel like I’ve found heaven.

For as long as I’ve been married, I’ve been trying to find a tuna casserole recipe that I like.  My Honey LOVES tuna casserole but my attempts had always been “okay.”  He, of course, would always devour it, but, I was never truly satisfied with it.  Until…The Box.

Folded up in The Box was a recipe for corned beef or tuna casserole quickly scribbled on a sheet from Grandma’s memo pad from her job at Sears.  I made it and My Honey loved it and I loved it.  I’ve made it twice now and marvel at the simplicity and speed of it.

The original recipe doesn’t call for canned crispy fried onions but I added them anyway.  I’d add them the last five or so minutes of baking or else they become burnt crispy fried onions.  Just sprinkle it on top of the cheese.  The second time I made the recipe, I used Barilla Plus penne pasta and it was still very good, albeit the pasta had a chewier texture.

Grandma Lois’ Corned Beef or Tuna Casserole

8 oz  package noodles
1 can corned beef (or 1 large can tuna)
1/4 cup chopped green pepper
1 small onion, chopped
1 can cream of mushroom soup
Approx. 1 cup grated cheese

Cook noodles according to package directions.  Drain.

Mix noodles with all ingredients except cheese.  Pour into casserole dish.  Top with grated cheese.  Bake, uncovered, in a 450* F. oven for about 25 minutes.

Julie’s serving approximation: 4 humongous servings; 6 large servings; 8 what our serving-size should probably be servings


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  1. Another great recipe. I never would have thought of tuna and corned beef as interchangeable, though I do sometimes substitute shredded chicken in my tuna noodle recipe. My favorite topping is cornflakes — cereal flakes of some type.

    This recipe reminded me of a comment my mother made in the 1980s. My mother raised children from 1930 through the ’60s. She said she couldn’t believe how expensive some of the foods she had relied on to prepare inexpensive meals had become expensive. She cited canned salmon.

    Oh — and those recipe boxes are treasures. I know just the heaven you visit. I couldn’t believe that I didn’t have to fight my sisters for the recipe box collection.

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