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Wednesday, June 28, 2017

Stretching a Small Can of Tuna

I know I am not the only one who does this; so tell me what do you add, to stretch a can of tuna?

The size of canned tuna that I have always thought was the "regular" can is now the 5-ounce can. It used to be 7 ounces. When I was growing up, there were three sizes, the jumbo, large family size ( I don't even know how many ounces that was), the "regular" size can, that up until a few years ago was 7 ounces, and the individual size can, which I think was about 3 ounces.  That "regular" can has shrunk over the years. A 7-ounce can used to be large enough to make 3 or 4 sandwiches.  Shrinking down to a 5-ounce size, it's pretty tough to get enough tuna for that many sandwiches. So, I stretch tuna.

Friday, I made tuna salad on beds of lettuce, to go with fresh-baked bread.  To the tuna, I added cooked rice, chopped celery, chives, lots of relish and mayo, and 1 chopped, boiled egg.  It was easily enough for 4 mounds of tuna. Obviously, we're not getting the amount of protein that we used to get from a 7-ounce can. However, I'm hopeful that by adding a chopped egg, we've added some protein.

So, what do you add to stretch a can of tuna?


Cat said...

In this house, we have to stretch at least two cans (simply due to having 7 people). For the tuna salad, we'd add more eggs, probably at least two per can. But most of us don't care for tuna salad so that is pretty rare. My mom taught me to make it like salmon cakes--chopped onion, saltine crumbs (saltines are .79 a box at Aldi), eggs, salt and pepper. One other thing I've found to do with it is tuna quesadillas, though it's not necessarily cheaper due to the cheese. However, if you have plenty of cheese, they're pretty tasty!

Belinda said...

I use celery, when I have it, and add pickle relish and mayonnaise. You could also add it to pasta and make a pasta salad with it that will help to stretch it as well.

Alice said...

We also don't eat tuna but the chicken in the cans are along the same lines of thought. I'm finding that those have a whole lot more liquid than I remember so after draining that there is very little meat left. I use mayo, relish and an egg although most people in my family just want the mayo. In fact, that is what I made for my lunch this morning! I would make chicken from chicken breast meat but I can't get it to taste like the can (yes, the canned chicken salad tastes so good!).

I like making a big bowl of pasta/chicken salad also with lots of dill. That is accepted really well with my kids.


Anonymous said...

We make what we call tuna bunstads in my house..tuna, hard boiled eggs, cheese chunks, relish, mayo. We place on buns and microwave a few seconds. Or if we have time we wrap them in foil and warm them in the oven. This is an old recipe that my mother used to make to feed large groups of people for just a few pennies. She use to make it with olives instead of relish.

Kris said...

We don't eat tuna salad, either, but I do sometimes make tuna noodle casserole--the noodles and cheese on top help to stretch it. I was irritated when the can size began to shrink!

Lili said...

Hi Cat,
Yeah, I could see how it would take 2 cans, even that would still barely make servings for 7 people. Good idea for the fish cakes and quesadillas. I may add one more chopped boiled egg next time. Have a great day, Cat.

Lili said...

Hi Belinda,
Pasta salad sounds like a delicious way to stretch the tuna. I will give that a try this week, I think. That would be such a quick and easy supper. Thank you for the idea. Hoping your day is off to a great start.

Lili said...

Hi Alice,
I've never bought the canned chicken, but you just reminded me that my mother used to buy that for chicken salad. So, you like the taste of the canned better. That's interesting. I guess it's odd that while I don't care for the taste of fish, in general, I will eat tuna salad or tuna sandwiches made with canned fish.
The cans of tuna seem to have more water to me, too. And the particles seem smaller. I strain mine through a mesh sieve, so that no small bits go down the drain.
Have a great day, Alice.

Lili said...

Hi Susan,
In grade school, the cafeteria occasionally served tuna boats, which were tuna salad in hot dog buns, topped with American cheese and toasted until the cheese was melted. This was the only way that I ever ate fish willingly as a child; so they must have been tasty. I would think that you could make the bunstads in small buns, to serve a large group as a snacky sort of item. Making these for a group is a really great idea. I'll keep it in mind for after-church gatherings.

Lili said...

Hi Kris,
I used to make tuna-noodle casserole when my kids were small. I just haven't done that in a while. Maybe it's time to resurrect an old favorite. The recipe in my mom's cookbook had the casserole topped with biscuit dough-cheese pinwheels and baked. A lot of starch, but really good.
Eventually, the cans will get so small it will be ridiculous. Have a great day, Kris.

Anonymous said...

Creamed tuna served over rice, tuna/eggs in a macaroni salad, or tuna/tomato with spinach fritata are my husband's favorite ways to cook with tuna. We rarely eat sandwiches. I think because we haven't perfected making soft breads. Our homemade breads taste best fresh hot or toasted. Otherwise it is dry and crumbly. My husband uses a bread maker and he never seems to measure the ingredients. I don't want to nag him to be more precise, so we live with what is lol

I don't quite remember the different tuna can sizes and how they shrank over the years (but there seems to be a lot that I forget these days). I like the idea of tuna quesadillas, and may also try burrito style to use any leftover fritata.

Nice to read your blog posts every weekday morning again. I look forward to learning about creative ideas on the subject of frugality. It is still my favorite subject when I talk to my children and grandchildren.

Have a lovely day!!


Anonymous said...

BTW, your tuna salad looks so yummy. I like the idea of adding rice to stretch it. Next time the grandchildren are over, I think I'll serve tuna salad with rice and eggs included. Looking back to the days I made tuna sandwiches with commercial bread slices for our family's lunch, I often just added some rice in the mixing bowl to scrape the last morsels of tuna salad, and that was my favorite way to eat it, so adding rice to the salad should be tasty too. Thanks for the idea!


Anonymous said...

So strange, I lost an earlier comment. But our favorite uses for canned tuna are creamed tuna served with rice, sometimes adding potatoes to make a chowder, tuna in macaroni salads, and tuna/tomato fritata with some spinach greens added.

Have a good day!!


Lili said...

Sometimes, Blogger puts comments into the spam folder. That's what happened with yours. When I read that your comment was "lost" I checked and found it there. I think soft bread is a must for tuna sandwiches!

What kind of flour are you using in your bread maker? If you're using all-purpose, you could try switching to a bread flour. Some brands of all-purpose flour are better for bread-making than others, due to the wheat that is used. Other people have had greater success with homemade bread when they switched to bread flour, or added gluten to their all-purpose flour.

Hmm, I've never heard of tuna in frittatas. Interesting. My mom used to make creamed tuna, with peas, served over puff paste shells. The puffed paste shells were a frozen item that she liked to use. I don't think I've seen them in years. I know that creamed tuna over toast was also a popular item from years' past.

Have a great day, YHF.

Kris said...

I tend to keep a can or two of tuna around in case I need a quick protein source that doesn't have to be thawed. While it's gotten pricier, it's still cheaper than take-out! I have made the tuna topped with biscuits before as well as tuna-noodle. It tastes good to me on a chilly day. I didn't always like tuna--one of my college roommates ate it constantly and I got to the point where I couldn't stand the smell. Funny how things cycle.

Precious People Preschool said...

Lots of really great ideas! I add lots of dill pickels onion and boiled eggs celery. I am not a huge tuna fan and I like fish. Maybe twice a year. I do like to use canned chicken. I add apples,oranges,cranberries,carrots any fresh fruit and mayo served on bread and over lettuce.


Live and Learn said...

From reading the above comments, I see that tuna is very versatile and can be used in a lot of different ways. We like tuna melts, tuna in mac-n-cheese, tuna casserole, and tuna cakes. I'll have to expand my tuna thinking and try some of the other ideas.

Shara said...

I can't eat tuna anymore, but when I did I would stretch it with fork mashed chickpeas. Then I added all the usual ingredients.

Anonymous said...

We've been using the bread flour sold at Costco. We found it better than the bread flour at Sam's Club, so as you mentioned, could be the wheat that is used. Is adding gluten safe? I read that it could mess up the digestive tract, and cause an unhealthy gut.


Kathy said...

I like adding an apple to tuna along with a little mayo. It really helps stretch it and we like it.

EcoCatLady said...

I don't eat tuna very often anymore - though I may start again since I've finally found a source (Sprouts Market House Brand) that is still packed in water rather than vegetable broth (which contains celery, which I'm violently allergic to.)

I do like the idea of adding a hard boiled egg - sounds delicious - but in all honestly, if I had hard boiled eggs on hand I'd probably just make egg salad. Tuna is a food of last resort for me - something I turn to when I need a good shot of protein but haven't got the time or energy to prepare something "real". So I generally just eat the whole can with a bit of mayo (well - the cats each get a small tuna treat because otherwise they'd be crawling all over me trying to get some!) Boring and not very thrifty, I know... but there you have it!

Anonymous said...

I read somewhere awhile back that oatmeal could be used to stretch tuna. I tried it using the quick oats and 2 cans for hubby's lunch and was able to make 2 thicker than normal sandwiches. He said the you can't taste the oats so it was a winner.

Lili said...

Hi Patti,
I've never added dill pickles to tuna. hmm. Your chicken salad sounds particularly yummy, and a great way to stretch the one can.
Have a great day, Patti.

Lili said...

Hi live and learn,
I went through a phase where I loved tuna melts, even without really liking other fish. They're especially good on soft burger buns, I think.
Hope your day is off to a good start, live and learn.

Lili said...

Hi Busy Bee,
the mashed chickpeas sounds like a great way to add inexpensive protein to stretch the can, and wouldn't add much flavor or texture change. Great suggestion!

Lili said...

Hi Kathy,
I have never heard of adding apple to tuna. Do you use a sweet or tart apple? Sounds interesting.

Lili said...

Hi Cat,
That is such a shame that the bulk of tuna is canned with vegetable broth. But I'm glad you found one source for water-only tuna.

Good point about just making egg salad, instead of mixing in egg with tuna. It does sound simpler.

Lili said...

Oh my goodness, oatmeal, wow! I never would have guessed. Years ago, I had an inexpensive source for TVP and I added rehydrated flakes of TVP to tuna and the texture and flavor were undetectable. I'll keep the oats in mind!

Lili said...

And as a "meat" tuna isn't that much higher in price than beef, especially if you find it on sale.

Lili said...

I've not heard that about adding gluten to bread-making and the digestive tract. Interesting.

EcoCatLady said...

Oooo... now that's actually a great idea for using TVP! I have a hard time figuring out what to do with it since it's essentially flavorless on its own.

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