A lot of times in life, we have a tendency to take things for granted, and not realize what we had until it’s gone. We are ALL guilty of this, whether it is family, friends, jobs, or whatever. It can also be something of very little importance in life, which you really don’t think about, until it is gone.

Most people who know me, knows that I have been addicted to sports my whole life, especially the game of football. I have my favorite teams that I follow along with the rest of you. Coincidentally, my love for the game occurred when I was about age 8 or 9. The first team I became aware of, at that age, was a team called the Miami Wardogs, who had an outstanding player on the team at the time named Steve Owens. I can remember when I first started playing Pop Warner football, and when the coaches handed out game jerseys, almost every kid wanted the number 42, because this was Steve’s high school number.

In 1966, I was at my grandparents home watching television one Sunday afternoon and switched on the NFL championship game between the Green Bay Packers and the Dallas Cowboys, this is the first NFL game I remember watching from start to finish, and although they lost, I immediately became a lifelong Dallas Cowboy fan. Along that same timeframe, I tuned in on the Orange Bowl on New Year’s Night 1968, to watch Tennessee and Oklahoma play, because hometown hero, “Ole number 42”, who was now wearing No. 36, was a sophomore at the University of Oklahoma and playing in the game. Instantly, I became a lifelong Sooner fan.

You may be asking yourself what do my favorite football teams have to do with taking things for granted? Well, as an example, for many years after I began following these teams, they didn’t lose very many games, but nothing lasts forever. They have all went through some tough times periodically, since I first started following them. When this happens, it really makes you appreciate the times you took for granted.

For 38 years, I lived in the same house with one of the best cooks I ever knew. She had her favorite meals that she would prepare, as well as my favorites. Her homemade noodles were second to none, and loved by many, but I had them so often that I took them for granted and never considered it a treat to eat them. She also made a killer Tuna Noodle Casserole, which was one of her favorite meals, and would ask me if it was alright if we had it for dinner? Hesitant, I would say, “I guess,” because I knew that I could have this meal anytime and also took it for granted. Well, when she passed away, I no longer had that option anymore, and those meals I took for granted, were gone.

Awhile back, I asked my daughter, if she had her mother’s Tuna Noodle Casserole recipe, because I wanted some, and hadn’t had it since her mother passed away? She said, no, but I know how she made it, and proceeded to tell me the process. After telling me, the next day I went to the store and gathered everything I needed to prepare it, and it was excellent!! Today, I’m sharing that recipe, only with a few minor adjustments I have made to it, particularly the frozen green peas, which I think takes this already great recipe over the top.

Tuna Noodle Casserole

Ingredients

2 lb. package rotini or elbow noodles

2 cans cream of mushroom soup

1 ½ cans of milk

2 cans of white albacore tuna, drained

1 package of sliced Velveeta cheese

1 Parkay squeeze butter

1 cup frozen peas

Green onion (optional)

Salt and pepper

Note: I sometimes like to add one chopped green onion to the casserole for a little added flavor

Directions

Bring a pot of salted water to a boil and add the noodles, cook until tender and drain in colander. In a small pan, heat the soup and milk together.

When noodles and soup are done, mix together in a large bowl with the drained Tuna, frozen peas, and green onion at this time if using. Add salt and pepper

Take a casserole dish and spray with Crisco so not to stick. Layer ½ the pasta mixture in the dish, followed by a generous squeeze of the Parkay butter over the top, and cover with Velveeta cheese slices. Repeat the same process again for the next layer, with the remainder of the noodle mixture, if any soup is left in the bottom of the bowl, pour it over the noodles. Now add more Parkay butter and top with another layer of cheese. Place in a 350 degree oven and cook until heated through and the cheese on top starts to brown. Serve.

Note: you must use the squeeze Parkay as your butter, and there is no set amount to add, just add what you think would be sufficient to your taste.