Origins of MacTunaPea

The Origins (and Recipe) of MacTunaPea
OR… as some people call it, TunaMacPea

by Jeff Salter

I should probably explain that I’m not handy in the kitchen and I’m loathe to prepare dishes with multiple, complicated steps. My basic rule for meals is two steps: (1) open container and (2) nuke in microwave. I’m willing to stir contents or rotate the package – whatever – but no further ministrations.

So, with that explanation, you may well imagine a meal involving THREE containers and a total of FOUR steps… is already stretching the limits of my skill-set.

I can’t claim to have invented the combination of macaroni and tuna fish… in fact, it may be printed right on the box somewhere. But I know for a fact that I originated the addition of green peas to the mix. It was some time in the mid-1980s as best I can recall. [Note: I’ve since seen instructions for some sort of casserole which uses my primary ingredients – plus something else – and I’m certain they stole that idea from me.]


* 1 (12 oz.) box of Kraft macaroni shells with the cheese ‘sauce’ in a pouch [do NOT try to use the powered cheese substance — it’s nasty]

* 1 (12 oz.) can of white albacore tuna [I prefer StarKist, but any major brand will do as long as it’s packed in water and NOT in slimy oil]  Note: you don’t really need 12 full ounces, but it needs to be quite a bit more than the standard 6 oz cans.

* 1 small (8.5 oz.) can of green peas [the peas are mainly for color… and to keep my wife from eating it — ha]


* Boil water in medium-size pot

* Add macaroni

* Boil for 10-12 mins. (or whatever the box says)

* Drain off water

* Squeeze ALL the cheese goop from the pouch… and mix well

* Dump in tuna… and mix well

Important note:

If your spouse is willing to eat MacTuna but despises Peas… this is the time to scoop out a bowlful and set that aside.

* At the very last minute, add the peas… but do not mix-in too vigorously (because it breaks the peas open and they get mushy).

* Serve in a large bowl and enjoy.

Note: MacTunaPea also tastes very good the next day (assuming you properly refrigerate the leftovers). Just add a teeny bit of water to the leftovers before you nuke it.

* Nuke for about 45 seconds

* Stir and nuke again until it reaches desired temperature

CAUTION: bowl will be hot!

– – –

Important Note:  I can no longer eat this version of MacTunaPea because I learned, in late 2011, that I’m allergic to GLUTEN.  Substituting the G-F pasta for the Kraft macaroni makes for a fairly nasty blend.  I do still eat it occasionally, but it’s a far cry from the REAL Stuff.


About Jeff Salter

Currently writing romantic comedy, screwball comedy, and romantic suspense. Fourteen completed novels and four completed novellas. Working with three royalty publishers: Clean Reads, Dingbat Publishing, & TouchPoint Press/Romance. "Cowboy Out of Time" -- Apr. 2019 /// "Double Down Trouble" -- June 2018 /// "Not Easy Being Android" -- Feb. 2018 /// "Size Matters" -- Oct. 2016 /// "The Duchess of Earl" -- Jul. 2016 /// "Stuck on Cloud Eight" -- Nov. 2015 /// "Pleased to Meet Me" (novella) -- Oct. 2015 /// "One Simple Favor" (novella) -- May 2015 /// "The Ghostess & MISTER Muir" -- Oct. 2014 /// "Scratching the Seven-Month Itch" -- Sept. 2014 /// "Hid Wounded Reb" -- Aug. 2014 /// "Don't Bet On It" (novella) -- April 2014 /// "Curing the Uncommon Man-Cold -- Dec. 2013 /// "Echo Taps" (novella) -- June 2013 /// "Called To Arms Again" -- (a tribute to the greatest generation) -- May 2013 /// "Rescued By That New Guy in Town" -- Oct. 2012 /// "The Overnighter's Secrets" -- May 2012 /// Co-authored two non-fiction books about librarianship (with a royalty publisher), a chapter in another book, and an article in a specialty encyclopedia. Plus several library-related articles and reviews. Also published some 120 poems, about 150 bylined newspaper articles, and some 100 bylined photos. Worked about 30 years in librarianship. Formerly newspaper editor and photo-journalist. Decorated veteran of U.S. Air Force (including a remote ‘tour’ of duty in the Arctic … at Thule AB in N.W. Greenland). Married; father of two; grandfather of six.
This entry was posted in authors, Jeff Salter, Life, Miscellaneous, recipe and tagged , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

13 Responses to Origins of MacTunaPea

  1. I’d be one to omit the peas,Jeff and it has too many carbs for me now, as much as I do like the ‘extra-fancy’ versions of mac&cheese. Looks like it’s off the menu for us, but I would have loved it! I am pleased with your effort,though!


    • jeff7salter says:

      oh, the peas make this dish


      • I don’t care for peas; I make tuna casserole with cut green beans. I woman knew told me that she, also, made tuna casserole with green beans.She made it with peas when she first got married and her husband told her that he hated peas, so please leave them out. At the time they had been married for twenty years and she made the casserole several times a year, but each and every time her husband would tell her, “Don’t put peas in it!”.


  2. Sounds like something my kids would like. I think I will be making it for them.


  3. jbrayweber says:

    So…I’ve never been much of a cook. Just doesn’t appeal to me, much to the chagrin of my kids. Way back in the day, I used to make this goulash. It consisted of egg noodles, a can of beef vegetable stew and frozen green beans. I got really frisky by adding garlic powder, salt and pepper. It was wholesome and somewhat healthy. But no one liked it. So much so that when I made it, my roommate and my boyfriend (these two despised one another) would head to the nearest fast food joint…together…without me…


    • jeff7salter says:

      Wow, Jenn. Must’ve been quite a dish if it united two enemies and ran both away.
      My daughter has a “goulash” recipe which I love, but it does not resemble the concept I had formed of goulash as a heavy Russian stew.


  4. pjharjo says:

    I love macaroni/cheese/tuna casseroles., Jeff! But your recipe looks a little too processed for me. GRIN Back in the day, though, I had a recipe for a tuna casserole that everybody LOVED. (can’t find it now) Since I’ve gotten more conscious about the evils of processed foods I now have a recipe I make completely from scratch (don’t know where it is, either) But I’ll find it if I ever have reason for the inclination to make it again. You just made me hungry; I might have to go find it. (don’t hold your breath)


  5. Patricia Kiyono says:

    This sounds a lot like the first meal I ever cooked for hubby – back before he took over the kitchen – except I made it from scratch. And I can’t eat it now, either. It does terrible things to my waistline.


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s