It's only every once in a while that I find or conceive of a truly good budget recipe. It's very disheartening to see "economical" recipes with ingredients (say, meat) that already cost good money or are just variations on rice and beans. But just yesterday such a recipe occurred to me.
My tuna (or salmon) repertoire is pretty varied. I am no huge fan of tuna salad (my mother is, which may have something to do with it ;-), but I do like it with red bell pepper (oddly, sometimes cheaper than green) and onions or black olives, or stuffed in a bell pepper, tomato, or celery.
The tuna and black olive concept (with canned olives on sale, of course) also makes a good tuna casserole or tossed with pasta.
Tuna croquettes are good with breadcrumbs, bread, stale chips, cornflakes, matzo meal, or whatever other rapidly molding complex carbohydrate you may have around. They are also fantastic with finely chopped potato peels, and no, you can't tell they're peels. If you haven't had croquettes since cafeteria days, try them again. If you drain them on newspaper and switch the newspaper out a lot, they certainly aren't any worse for you than hamburger, and probably better, in fact, being very low in saturated fat.
If you have no time to assemble and/or inclination to fry the croquettes, make baked croquettes or a loaf. Croquettes are good with dill sauce, tartar sauce, hot sauce, or (no joke) tomato sauce (the tomato sauce in particular makes a whole different meal).
For a change from a tuna melt, or if you have eggs but no cheese, put an egg over easy or even a poached egg on top.
For extra punch, mix a can of tuna with a can of sardines or kippered snacks. (Parents, don't let anyone see this going on. ;-)
But sometimes you are just sick of all the above variations. "No more," you cry. "I don't care that I got it for 67 cents a can." Enter the Tuna Turnover. Do NOT let the biscuit dough concept freak you out. It is not a dough/crust that requires rolling out. It takes absolutely no more energy than tuna salad or a tuna melt. I would absolutely, no question, serve it to company and will do so as soon as I get my house clean.
1 can tuna, drained but not dry
Add-ins of choice (e.g., onions, or for this application only, frozen peas or canned cream soup)
Grated cheese (optional)
Bit of butter or margarine (if tuna is packed in water)
Biscuit dough (essentially the Hillbilly Housewife's recipe)
1 cup flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
Salt to taste
1/8 cup oil
1/3 cup milk (regular, instant, evaporated, or soy all work, or for this, even water)
1. Get a cookie sheet or foil ready for the oven or toaster oven. Grease very lightly.
2. Mix up the dough, adding only enough milk or water to make a dough. Don't knead--it'll be tough.
3. Put the dough onto the foil or pan. Pat it into a circle the size of a dinner plate. Roll it out if you must, but it's not necessary. Spread a little bit of butter or margarine on the dough if you're not using rich fillings.
4. Put the tuna and extras in a strip down the middle of the circle. Fold the dough over and seal. Don't let the tuna be too dry. The biscuit dough can take a little moisture, unlike a pie crust.
5. Bake at 400 degrees in a regular oven or toaster oven. Done when golden brown. Serves 2 with something else to eat or 1 (heartily) by itself. Also good at room temperature. Would be good with a gravy or (gasp) cheese sauce.
Goes very well with soup or:
Corn Salad From the Freezer & Pantry
Canned whole tomatoes
Frozen corn (like the tomatoes, it tastes better on special)
Other vegetables as available (onions, garlic, bell pepper, green onions, grated carrots)
Salt & pepper
Drain the tomatoes very well. Save the juice and any soggy, unappealing tomato parts for another time. Cut them carefully into small, cute chunks so that it is less obvious they're canned. Once chopped, take out any (or even most) excess pulp to use elsewhere. Mix with the corn and other ingredients. (This will also fly with a lettuce salad, believe it or not.) Delicious! A good canned tomato is certainly more tasty than the average winter grocery store tomato.
Bon appétit and happy New Year!