Recipe Friday: Mama's Tuna Roll

Knowing that I’d be out of sorts this week and that the server work would be underway I put together this recipe about a week and a half ago. I don’t know about you, but after cooking in the kitchen I can completely lose my appetite. But I had to taste this though, right? After one bite I remembered once again why this dish is good as a comfort dish, a very inexpensive dish (especially when there are coupons involved) and can even hang out with other dinner party dishes to boot! Who knew that you could “entertain” using canned tuna fish? Martha Stewart would definitely dispute that point, but I think we’ll just have to let your taste buds decide.


Any slightly sweet bread dough will work in lieu of the crescent roll dough, so don’t let that stop you from making this. You could also use a vodka infused pie crust with spectacular results. (the vodka in the crust assures a light and flaky texture that would make any home cook scream with envy).


If you use freeze-dried peas in this, not only will you get a nice splash of color, but that color is more likely to remain at that vibrant green color instead of going to that yucky brown color reminiscent of mushy canned vegetables.


Mama’s Tuna Roll (Serves 8 – 10)


2 cans of tuna, drained

1/2 cup Miracle Whip (you can use regular mayonnaise but you’ll get a little more zip in the flavor if you use Miracle Whip)

½ cup of Italian shredded cheese mix such as Costco’s 4-Cheese Italian Cheese Mix

½ package (4 ounces) of cream cheese, cut into cubes then brought to room temperature

1 can of cream of celery soup

½ T. granulated onion

1 T. Italian herb seasoning (I like Shirley J’s Pizza Pasta Seasoning)

1 cup of freeze-dried peas (optional)

1 can of Pillsbury crescent rolls or crescent rounds—slightly chilled for easy handling




1 can of cream of mushroom soup

1 cup of parmesan cheese (I like to use Costco’s grated 4 cheese Italian cheese mix)

1/2 cup of milk or half and half

¼ cup of finely cut Flat Italian Parsley

1 stick of butter

1 sleeve of Ritz crackers, crushed


Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.


In a medium sized bowl, mix the tuna, mayo, cream cheese, cheese mix, celery soup, and peas together in a bowl. Add salt and pepper to taste.


Roll out the crescent rolls all together until they form one flat rectangle.


Spoon the tuna mixture over the bread dough leaving about a ½ inch border of the dough, all around, without the tuna filling. You do not want to put this mixture on too thick as it will make the dish too heavy.


Once you’ve finished spreading out your mixture, carefully roll the dough up like a “jelly roll”. (I like it to be as long as possible.


Spray a 9 x 13 casserole dish with a non-stick spray and then carefully place your jelly roll in the middle of the dish, seam side down.


Bake at 350 for 12-15 minutes


Meanwhile, in a medium-sized sauce pan, mix together the cream of mushroom soup, the cheese, and quarter cup of milk.  Stir and warm on medium high heat just until the ingredients are mixed well together and the mixture is nicely warmed through and slightly thickened.


When the tuna roll is finished cooking, it will be slightly golden brown. Remove it from the oven and set aside.


Mix together the crushed cracker crumbs and melted butter to create a butter crumb topping. Top the tuna roll with all but about ¾ cups of the mixture. (Reserve the ¾ cup of warm mixture to serve as a gravy on individual portions of the tuna roll.) Then top with the crumbled cracker mixture.


Return the tuna roll  to the oven for about 10 minutes..


Serve in 1 ½ inch to 2 inch slices topped with a little more of the topping and the chopped parsley.


Serve warm.




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That sounds SO good! I'm going to have to try it soon. (Payday?)
Thanks for sharing it.

Don't mean to nit-pik here Kellene but...How many ounces of tuna? (tuna used to be 6 oz. a can, now it's 5 oz., with water, oil, drypack?). You mentioned vodka infusing your roll dough if making homemade. Can you refer to a recipe or explain at what point you add the spirits and how much. This technique is new to me. What I love about the recipe is it can be done with food storage, it is comfort food and the basic premis could have million twists. Downside..very calorie laden, but in hard times probably very necessary and comforting. I love to hear about resurecting " Mom's recipes ". It is a testimony to their resourcefullness and positive memories of their love.

The vodka in the recipe enables for a flaky crust as the simple result of science. Alcohol binds with water during cooking and contributes to the gluten development so you can use more liquid which gives you a more tender, easy to roll dough. The flavor does bake out during the baking process, though more of the flavor is retained when it's baked with a filling, b/c that gets in the way of some of the alcohol vaporizing.
Here's the recipe I use thanks to Cook's Illustrated:
•2 1/2 cups (12 1/2 ounces) unbleached all-purpose flour
•1 teaspoon table salt
•2 tablespoons sugar
•12 tablespoons (1 1/2 sticks) cold unsalted butter, cut into 1/4-inch slices
•1/2 cup cold vegetable shortening, cut into 4 pieces
•1/4 cup cold vodka
•1/4 cup cold water
Process 1 1/2 cups flour, salt, and sugar in food processor until combined, about 2 one-second pulses. Add butter and shortening and process until homogeneous dough just starts to collect in uneven clumps, about 15 seconds (dough will resemble cottage cheese curds and there should be no uncoated flour). Scrape bowl with rubber spatula and redistribute dough evenly around processor blade. Add remaining cup flour and pulse until mixture is evenly distributed around bowl and mass of dough has been broken up, 4 to 6 quick pulses. Empty mixture into medium bowl.
Sprinkle vodka and water over mixture. With rubber spatula, use folding motion to mix, pressing down on dough until dough is slightly tacky and sticks together. Divide dough into two even balls and flatten each into 4-inch disk. Wrap each in plastic wrap and refrigerate at least 45 minutes or up to 2 days.

Oh, and 5 to 6 ounces is fine. It's not that finicky of a recipe.

Hi Kellene,
I love reading about all the recipes you share with us. But I was wondering. Some of the recipes call for a lot of ingredients. Plus some you have to bake or use things that would be kept cold in the fridge. I do not think that would be possible to have cold things and to be able to bake in the case that the world goes South. Power outs and such. We would have to depend on open fires to cook, camp stoves or if lucky the solar ovens. What recipes do you have that can be made using just self-staples? And ideas would be great and thank you.

Deborah, I have 12 different ways to cooking, baking, etc. and not a single one of them requires an open fire. (Open fires are as bad for the lungs as living with a smoker.) Might I suggest that you search on the Fuel Preparedness Icon (it's the one with the flame in the
middle of it). This will bring up all Fuel Preparedness articles for you and will help you see what kind of great possibilities there are to make fabulous dishes without electricity. With only one notable exception, every recipe I post here can be created in a crisis environment, void of many of the luxuries that we enjoy presently.

As for ingredients, you betcha. I'm not about doing the boring stuff. And when I'm assembling my dishes in buckets with all of their ingredients, it's easy peezy for my husband to "just pick a bucket for dinner."

If you do a search on "recipes" with the quotation marks in the search bar, you'll see lots of some of my favorite recipes.

When it comes to creating fabulous dishes, I'm quite serious about being able to do so in nearly any circumstances.

Can you use canned chicken instead of tuna. I am not a fan of tuna, unless it is on a cold sandwich. The recipe sounds wonderful and my husband will eat anything I fix, I am the pickie eater when it comes to fish.
Hope you are feeling better.

I don't think canned chicken would taste as good here because the sauce is heavier in order to match the strong taste of tuna.

Thank you
I am going to give this recipe to my neighbor he likes to cook and
makes casseroles so this will be different for him and his family. Keep
up the great work.


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