I grew up pretty poor.  I mean I don’t wanna say that we were poverty stricken but I’ve eaten many a Ketchup sandwich my friend….many.  Poor or not there are some meals I think it’s safe to say that everyone had on their dinner table at least once in the 80’s and 90’s.  Some of them we hope to never see again and would rather not talk about but if you’re like me there are some meals you’d love to sit down to again.

The following is a list of the meals I remember having in my household along with the recipe, in case you feel like busting out those old matching jump suits for a Family flashback fiesta!


Tuna Noodle Casserole-This was not my favorite.  In fact, if I knew my mom was going to make this for dinner I would Beverly Hills Ninja steal some pop tarts to eat before dinner and then act like I just wasn’t hungry.

Maybe TNC is your thing though, if so here’s the recipe I found in my mom’s old recipe box and a few others you might remember.

Tuna Noodle Casserole

12 oz. medium egg noodles, cooked and drained

2 cups cooked green peas

2 cans condensed cream of mushroom soup (or cream of chicken)

½ cup milk

1 ½ cups sharp cheddar cheese

2 cans tuna, drained

Salt and pepper

½ to 1 cup crunched up Doritos (Nacho not the cool ranch)

1 tablespoon melted butter

Heat Oven to 350F

Grease a 2 ½ to 3-quart casserole dish

Combine noodles, peas, soup, milk, cheese and tuna.  Add salt and pepper to taste.

Spoon into the prepared baking dish.

Toss Dorito crumbs with butter and sprinkle over the top.

Bake for 15-20 minutes, until hot and bubbly.

Goulash in my household was more just spaghetti with macaroni noodles and whatever cans of vegetables my mom could find in the pantry and occasionally ground beef, depending on when pay day was that month.

Ghetto Goulash

1 can spaghetti sauce (any kind)

1 package of macaroni noodles (or whatever noodles you could get your hands on)

1 pound ground beef (optional)

1-3 cans of whatever canned vegetables you had in the pantry, drained

Salt, pepper and Italian seasoning to taste

1 cup cheddar cheese (optional)

Cook ground beef (if you have it) drain, add spaghetti sauce and drained vegetables, salt, pepper and Italian seasoning.

Top with cheese and put a lid on it so it’s nice and melty

Beanie –Weenie’s

1-2 packages of hot dogs cut up into chunks

1-2 cans baked beans

2/3 cup ketchup

¼ cup Worcestershire sauce

1 ½ teaspoon garlic powder

Combine all in a skillet over medium high heat and serve warm

Ambrosia Salad

½ cup heavy cream

1 tablespoon sugar

4 oz. sour cream

6 oz. mini marshmallows, about 3 cups

1 cup clementine orange segments, about 6 clementine’s

1 cup shopped pineapple

1 cup grated coconut

1 cup toasted, chopped pecans

½ cup drained maraschino cherries

Mix the heavy cream and sugar in a bowl with a stand mixer with the whisk attachment, whisk until heavy peaks form.

Then throw the rest in.

Hamburger Helper-Beef Stroganoff was my favorite, and one of the only things I could cook when I was a teenage, mostly because it’s all in the box.

Tri-Colored Pasta

1 box tri-colored pasta, cooked

1 can drained black olives

2 cups Italian dressing

Mix and serve.

Of course there was meatloaf and shepherd’s pie and old school Salisbury steak (but that you would only get from the school cafeteria) and Rice-a-Roni and potato skins and Swedish Meatballs and French bread pizza and macaroni and cheese with spam or hotdogs or anything else you felt like throwing in it….but I didn’t find those in the box.  If you have the recipes to these throwback favorites don’t hold out!

More From The Basin's Classic Rock