It’s true, Kraft broke my heart.  When they pulled their delectable olive pimento spread from store shelves, I was like Barbra Streisand seeing Robert Redford on the street at the end of The Way We Were.  Or maybe I was technically Robert Redford’s sad, forlorn character, Hubbell.  Either way, I was unhappy.  I’d meander the aisles looking for olive pimento spread only to find pimento (not even close to the same thing), some Old English stuff, and pineapple.

Um, no.  Just. No.

I kept thinking the problem was with my stores.  Like maybe we needed to move to a new geographic region where we could easily purchase olive pimento.  But, alas, I learned Kraft had discontinued my favorite product.

I still can’t figure out why they discontinued such a popular product. So if someone knows, please tell me.  It always flew off the shelves every time I visited a store.  Maybe knowing why will lessen the heartbreak I feel.

When I realized they no longer made the product, I also realized it meant I could no longer make Mom’s famous breaded casserole.  And then I was morose.  I felt kind of like this elephant.

baby elephant in water

Via BuzzFeed – click the pic for more cuteness.

Okay, truthfully, I just want to share this because I love elephants.  That and I want to adopt them.  Over the holidays I came across a conservation effort for baby elephants, and I told K-Hubs I wanted to foster parent an elephant from across the pond, and he didn’t even flinch. So not only did that go better than expected, but I guess we will soon foster elephants.

I digress.

So, the spread and Mom’s casserole and whatever else I was rambling about. I tried to make the casserole with just pimento spread.  No dice.  And my heart remained broken.  But isn’t that elephant just adorable?

Finally, I researched Kraft’s long-lost product and found they shared the recipe on their Facebook page.  Apparently, you just need green olives and cream cheese.  Simple enough. Oh, and I’m not the only lonely heart.  It seems many people are missing this family favorite.  But, I bet cute photos of squishy little elephants would perk them right up.

One lady commented that if they do bring back, then she’ll order a whole case.  I hear that.

Since that isn’t happening any time soon, I thought, what the heck, I miss Mom’s recipe.  I’ll give it a shot and make my own. You should note that you’ll end up with more than the 5 ounces you usually got in their jars.

Olive Pimento Spread

Ingredients

  • 8 oz. cream cheese, softened
  • ½ cup green olives with pimentos

Directions

  1. Combine ingredients in food processor or blender.
  2. Mix until smooth.

I blended the cream cheese with a handheld mixer first.  This gave it a creamy texture.

Olive Pimento Spread 2014 - Blend the cream cheese

But once I added the sliced green olives, the mixer was out of it’s league.

Cheese Spread with olives 2014

We don’t own a fancy food processor.  So I whipped out the blender.  It got the job done but, I’m not sure I should show you the final result.  You know those ugly food photos you see on Facebook and Instagram and here on the blog sometimes {cough, above, cough}?  Yeah, it was kind of like that.  But we’re friends here so I’ll show you the ugly mixture photo.

Ugly Pimento Mixture 2014

I did have to add some olive juice so my blender would play nice.  This made it soupy instead of spreadable.  If you have a fancier blender or food processor, you can probably reach the desired consistency easier  than I did.  I thought it would taste as horrible in Mom’s recipe as it looked.  But it did just fine.

And as for Mom’s casserole?  It takes a little while to make, so K-Hubs and I often had it for celebrations.  Or when we were in the mood for a warm comforting meal during winter.  I was a finicky eater as a child, but any time Mom made this, I was hooked.

Here’s a picture of her recipe card.

Mom's Tuna Fish Casserole 2014

Every time I see her recipe cards I think of how much I love her cursive writing.

Mom’s Tuna Fish Casserole

Ingredients

  • 1 can tuna, drained
  • 5 oz. olive pimento cheese spread (since I had more, I added more, and I wasn’t disappointed)
  • 3 Tbsp green pepper, chopped
  • 2 cups milk
  • 1/4 cup flour
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 2 cups macaroni noodles, mostly cooked through
  • 3 hard boiled eggs, sliced and diced
  • 3 Tbsp butter
  • Bread crumbs

Directions

  1. Combine the tuna and olive pimento cheese spread in round casserole dish.
  2. Add chopped green pepper.
  3. In saucepan, combine milk, flour, and salt.  Stir constantly until thick. Add to casserole mixture.
  4. In another saucepan, cook macaroni noodles.  Add to casserole mixture.
  5. Boil 3 eggs.  Slice and dice when done boiling.  Add to casserole mixture.
  6. In a small skillet, melt butter and add bread crumbs. Spread bread crumbs on top of mixture.
  7. Bake in oven at 350 degrees for 30 minutes.

This recipe does take a little time to make.  Once you find a rhythm, it becomes a lot easier.  I’ll share the rhythm I found.

I start with the milk, flour, salt mixture. The flour curdles at first each time I make it.

Roux Beginning Stages 2014

After a few minutes, it starts to blend together but is still thin.

Roux starting to warm up 2014

About 15-20 minutes in, it starts to thicken.  It’s even bubbling a little in this photo.  That’s when you know it’s ready to go.

Roux ready to go 2014

It takes a while for the roux to warm up, so I don’t constantly stir in the beginning.  Instead, I multitask by starting the eggs.  Like the roux, they take about 20 minutes to reach their desired consistency, so it’s nice to start them at the same time.

All 3 Going 2014

I also start the macaroni noodles.  I don’t cook them all the way through because they’ll continue to cook in the oven, absorbing some of the casserole mixture.

Once the roux is thick, almost like cream of wheat, I add it to the casserole.  I also add the macaroni and sliced/diced eggs.  Because everything gets mixed together, it doesn’t matter what order you add the ingredients.  I plop the macaroni, roux, and eggs in with the tuna, olive pimento spread, and green peppers at the same time.

The last step before baking is to place pieces of bread in a skillet of melted butter.  The bread doesn’t need to cook.  I coat both sides and then top the casserole with them.

Buttered Bread 2014

You can see here how the ingredients are stirred together.  I’ve gotten halfway through covering the casserole with bread at this point.

Breaded halfway 2014

According to K-Hubs, it was, “Exactly how I remembered it.”  Even Toodlebug went for the baked bread topping.  That’s how I started out with it as a child.  Mom let me eat her bread, and I gradually worked my way up to eating my own helpings.  I suspect Toodlebug isn’t far behind.  She was pretty excited to go back for more bread, which happened to be covered in all the other ingredients.  Win.

Finished Product on the Plate 2014

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