What We Ate In the ’70s

Do you remember this old cookbook? Maybe you or your mom had it around your house in the 1970’s.  It was bound with metal rings, and it had nice color pictures on slick, thick paper:

My mama had this book.  Its cover is the color of Campbell’s Tomato Soup! I love that! I always admired the color, even when I was a little girl.

One of the recipes she made, which I’m sure she got from this cookbook, was tuna-noodle casserole. To me, this remains one of the ultimate comfort foods.  Mom made it pretty frequently, often with a nice green salad alongside it.

I don’t get to have this creamy concoction too often anymore, as my husband refuses to even sample anything called “casserole.” I don’t subject him to it; however, when he leaves town overnight for any reason, this is one of the recipes that I throw together for the boys and myself to enjoy!

Today he called and said he was going to be in Vicksburg overnight; luckily, it was grocery shopping day, so I knew what to do.  🙂 Wide egg noodles, LeSeuer Peas,  cream of mushroom soup….you probably know the drill.  However, just in case you’ve been sheltered from this kind of totally non-gourmet, non-fancy deliciousness, I’m going to share the recipe with you.  Make it with your friends while wearing bell-bottoms and watching re-runs of the Brady Bunch; you’ll have your own little time-travel experience!

Tuna-Noodle Casserole

3 cups dry wide egg noodles; cook according to pkg directions, and drain

2 cans of tuna, drained, or one large envelope of tuna

1 can of cream of mushroom soup

1 2 oz. jar of pimientos, drained (mama didn’t use these, but I like them)

1 small can of slice mushrooms, drained

1/2 cup milk

1 can LeSeuer peas, drained

6 slices of American cheese


In a large bowl (preferably a large glass Pyrex bowl from the ’70s, though a modern one will do…)  🙂   combine soup, peas, mushrooms, pimientos, milk, and tuna.  Add to the hot, drained noodles in their large pot.  Mix well.

At this point, mom had two seasonal methods of cooking the casserole. If  the weather was cool, she would pour the casserole into a baking dish, top with American cheese slices, and bake at 350 degrees until warmed all the way through; I’d guess about 20 minutes.  We loved smelling it baking and feeling the warmth of the oven in our chilly little kitchen.

If the weather was hot, she’d just add the cheese to the mixture in the large pot and stir over medium-low heat until everything was hot and the cheese was melted.  Then she’d serve it in a large bowl in the center of the table.  No heating up the kitchen with the oven!

I did it the warm weather way today. It’s HOT in East Texas, trust me.  I got out my big 1970’s Pyrex bowl that I found in an antique shop here in my little town and served it up to my boys.  They loved it as much as I do!

Just to make it a really old-fashioned kind of night, I gave them Blue Bell Banana Split ice cream for dessert.   They were more than happy about that. Blue Bell does ice cream right, don’t you agree? They have the absolute best flavors!  I like their no sugar added strawberry. It almost tastes like the homemade strawberry we used to make at home when I was growing up. They use real strawberries, not just “strawberry flavor.”  I love Blue Bell.

Blue Bell Banana Split Ice Cream

I hope that you enjoyed this short walk down “Memory Lane” with me. I know these are not the most modern foods to eat, nor are they going to help you lose weight or impress your fancy dinner guests! However, if you want to have a fun night and enjoy yourself and maybe reminisce about growing up in the ’70s, this is a great way to do it.  If you wear your bell bottoms, will you email me a picture? 🙂


6 thoughts on “What We Ate In the ’70s

  1. aahhh this is my favorite comfort food! I had to laugh when you talked about your husband because my husband states the only food dish he despises is tuna casserole. So, I too, when he travels make tuna casserole for just me. It is even more comforting the next day. I make mine pretty much like yours except I may add a small jar of piementos and I use sharp cheddar cheese!

    1. It really is better the next day, Jane, I totally agree. 🙂 I’m sure I’d like cheddar in it, as well; I should try it sometime! I did do the pimientos this time; I like the flavor they added!

  2. I got a kick out of this post. My husband is just the opposite of yours… he has been begging me to try and make a tuna noodle casserole like his mom used to make. She’s no longer with us so I can’t call her for the recipe. I found one online and made it, but apparently I used the wrong kind of noodles. The wide ones called for in your recipe are what he remembered to be in his mom’s recipe. So, I will have to try it again with your recipe. The only difference, and in Tom’s estimation, the most important, is that his mom would put crushed potato chips on top. So, those have to be on there too when I try making it for him again. I’m really thankful that he’s a casserole man. He’ll eat most anything I put in front of him! Sure makes life a little easier for me. 🙂

    1. I remember people using potato chips on top! How funny! I’m sure he’ll love it. You better check with him on the pimientos, though, as a lot of moms didn’t use those! 🙂 Enjoy! You are blessed that he’ll eat casseroles, you are so right.

  3. I was great to see the title of your article. I can’t find anything interesting in the foods these day. Thanks so much!

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