Potato-Tuna Bake

Cover of the 1968 cookbook.

The 1950s and 60s were the golden age of American cuisine. Financial prosperity meant access to plenty of meat, and exotic ingredients such as ripe olives, gelatin and “Chinese sauce.” Modern science gave us the miracle of canned meat, and flavor enhancers like monosodium glutamate. And with modern appliances like blenders, dishwashers and electric can openers, there was no limit to what a housewife could achieve!

This recipe comes from “San Luis Presents Nancy Wards’ QUICK FIX Potato Recipe Book”. Published by San Luis Valley Potato Administrative Committee. 1968.

The opening paragraph about the author reads:
“Nancy Ward, wife of San Luis Valley potato grower, Jerry K. Ward, mother of two daughters, Susan Kay, 9, and Betsy Jo, 2, and news editor of the Monte Vista Journal, shares a problem with other busy homemakers and career women throughout the country. Her husband and children are real ‘meat and potatoes’ lovers, but her full schedule of activities and household chores leaves little time to prepare fresh potatoes for every meal. Nancy’s solution? ‘Planned leftovers’ and this delightful collection of Quick-Fix Potato Recipes.”

There are so many great recipes in this book, I had a hard time narrowing it down (I passed over the “pig in a spud”, “chix ‘n chop dip” and “chop suey” recipes), but finally decided on this classic recipe. Feel free to try this one at home, if you’re adventurous enough!


“Mix together two 7 oz. cans chunk-style tuna, three 2 1/4 oz. can shoestring potatoes, 1 can evaporated milk, 1 can cream of mushroom soup, one 3-oz. can mushroom pieces and 1 can chopped pimentos. Bake in greased 2-quart casserole at 375 degrees for about 1 hour. A can of salmon can be substituted for tuna. Serve with green vegetable, fruit salad and bread. Serves 6-8.”

What could be easier than this recipe? I can’t think of the last time I saw the flavor combination of pimento and evaporated milk. Genius. Funny thing, I still know plenty of folks who use canned cream of mushroom soup. I don’t know about you, but I’m going against the recommendation for salmon and sticking with tuna!

I’m in the mood for a martini. Cheers!

Author and busy homemaker, Nancy Wards


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