Easy Peas-y Tuna Mac ‘n Cheese
We eat this a lot in my house ~ even the ‘pea-haters’ in the family absolutely love this meal!!
The trick to making really good macaroni and cheese, whether you add different ingredients than it calls for on the box, is to have everything ready so it can be mixed up quickly. While you’re waiting for the water to boil, you will have plenty of time to open the mac and cheese boxes, take out the packets of cheese powder, open your cans and drain your tuna and your peas, and even measure your margarine and your milk. If your water begins to boil before you’re done making preparations, then simply put your pasta in the boiling water, set your timer for 3-1/2 minutes, and continue getting things ready.
It’s important not to cook your noodles too long also. The time that is listed in the instructions on a macaroni and cheese package is actually much too long and will result in a mushy noodle, rather than the ‘al dente’ product that yields the best texture and flavor. You can drain these while they are still a bit underdone, since you will be putting them back in the pan and on the same burner, which will remain hot for a short period even after you turn it off, so they will continue to cook a little bit more and should be perfect. My husband prefers noodles that are firmer than most, so after you have made this meal once, you can adjust your boiling time in increments of 30 seconds until the noodles are to your liking.
Do not attempt to double this recipe! The more noodles that you try to cook at one time, the more difficult it is to control how evenly they cook. Some noodles may be overcooked while others are undercooked. Two boxes of mac and cheese seem to be ideal. If you require more, you may want to just transfer the first pan of Easy Peas-y Tuna Mac ‘n Cheese into a covered casserole dish in a warm oven while you whip up another batch!
(UPDATE: We went over to my mother-in-law’s house one evening and whipped this up, and my hubby made it with 3 boxes of mac ‘n cheese, 2 cans of cream of mushroom soup, 1 can of tuna and 1 can of peas. I think we could have even doubled the tuna and it would have been good, but the dish turned out delicious!!)
Prep time: 5 min
Cook time: 10 min
Ready in: 15 min
Yields: 6 to 8 servings, one cup each
- 2 (7.25 oz) boxes macaroni & cheese, any brand
- 1 (5 oz) can chunk white tuna in water, drained
- 1 (15 oz) can peas, drained
- 1 (10.5 oz) can cream of mushroom soup, undiluted
- 4 tbsp margarine
- 1/2 cup milk
- Fill a 3- to 5-qt saucepan with water; add 1 tsp. of table salt. Bring to a full boil. Add macaroni noodles and cook until al dente, approximately 3-1/2 minutes, not the time specified on the box.
- While noodles are cooking, open your cans and get them ready. Get half a stick of margarine and 1/3 cup milk ready to add as well.
- Once noodles are done, turn the burner off, drain the noodles in a colander, and put them back in the pan. Place the pan back on the hot burner used to cook the noodles. Quickly stir margarine into the hot noodles to melt completely, then add the milk and the cheese powder from both boxes of mac and cheese. Next, add the tuna, the soup, and the peas and stir until everything is well blended.
- Remove from the hot burner and serve immediately. Delicious and ready in less than 20!!!!