Back in February of 2000 I left my job as an Account Executive for Hilton Hotels to be a stay-at-home. I spent a great deal of time that year teaching myself things that a lot of people probably feel women are instinctively born knowing. My mom has always been a terrific cook. She canned. She sewed. She raised two daughters who had no desire to learn anything our Grandma Thelma had taught mom and Aunt Georgia.
Life has a way of finding you right where you are and impressing things upon you right when you’re ready to be impressed. The saying “When the student is ready the teacher will appear” nearly fits here but not quite. When I mention that a lot of my recipes are so old I’m not able to find their original source, a lot of them came from this period in my life; a time when I scooted my husband out of the kitchen and took the time to figure out for myself how to boil water.
I married a man who knows how to do just about everything and does it all very well. He cooks, grocery shops, gardens, works on our cars, roofed our house, has helped friends install wood floors and cabinetry. I have seen him repair things that do not appear repairable with MacGyver-like skills. So, I guess I kind of rested on my laurels for many years just letting him do what he was adept at doing and went about being the kind of gal who was too independent to take the time to learn to cook.
Funny thing is it wasn’t until I took the time to learn how to cook that I felt more independent. This recalls another bit of wisdom “If you give a man a fish you feed him for a day. If you teach a man to fish you feed him for a lifetime.” This is not to say that every time I walk into the kitchen, I have a huge smile on my face and can’t wait to concoct an amazing dinner but I genuinely take pride in a well-cooked meal that I put together.
Tuna casserole is one of those stand-by, tried-and-true, comfort food kind of dishes. Thing is I make my own condensed soup and have been doing it for so long that I can not stand the taste of the store bought version. Why should I when making it myself takes five minutes and is so much better tasting and better for me? The recipe is not vegan but it considerably healthier than soup out of a can.
The casserole itself I have tweaked considerably. Everyone who’s ever had it says it’s the best tuna casserole they’ve ever had. That’s saying a lot for an old stand by.
Condensed Cream Soup
2 Tbsp margarine
1 stalk of celery, washed and chopped
1 onion, diced
2 Tbsp flour
1/3 C dry milk powder
1 C vegetable broth
Sea salt and freshly ground pepper to taste
Melt butter in saucepan. Saute celery and onion. Blend in flour. Add milk and vegetable broth. Add salt and pepper to taste. Cook until smooth. *Equivalent to 10.5 ounce store-bought can.
Modified considerably. Original source unknown.
1 batch of home made condensed soup
2 cans tuna, drained*
1 C frozen peas (optional)
2 C noodles*
½ C mayonnaise (or vegenaise)
Heat soup in a pan, add tuna and peas (if using) and simmer until peas are thawed. Meanwhile, in a small saucepan, bring noodles to a boil in four cups of water. Cook for five minutes and drain. Add noodles to the soup-tuna mixture. Fold in mayonnaise to coat the dish. Place all in a casserole dish and heat in the microwave for 11 minutes. Makes 4 servings. *I usually double this recipe and instead of doubling the tuna, I add left over salmon and/or buy a can of salmon and add it in. Also, instead of doubling the noodles to 4 cups, I leave the noodles at 2 cups and add 1 ½ cups of brown rice. It is wonderful.