Kitchen Tip Tuesdays: Tuna Can Comparisons (and a tuna salad substitution tip)

Kitchen Tip Tuesdays

I've always wondered which kind of canned tuna I should be purchasing. Chunk Light tuna is the cheapest per can, but it never seems as meaty as the more expensive ones.

When we were first married 10 years ago, I would stock up on the Chunk Light tuna when it was $0.25/can at Kroger. Now, twice that price is about the lowest I've seen it get recently.

(Anyone have cheap[er] tuna tips? Our family could easily use 5-7 small cans of tuna for a light tuna salad lunch... which is why we don't have tuna salad very often.)

I decided to compare the 3 kinds of canned tuna in my cupboard. The Chunk Light tuna (top) was $0.60 on sale; the Solid White tuna (middle can) was $1 on sale, and I can't remember how much the Albacore tuna from Costco (bottom can) was.

Tuna can comparison

I opened all three kinds (Chunk Light - left, Solid White - middle, Albacore - right).

Tuna can comparison

I drained them well.

Tuna can comparison

I weighed them each on my kitchen scale.

Tuna can comparison

I figured out the price per ounce for the drained tuna meat...

...and they were all right around the same price per ounce. :)

So instead of a tip about which can of tuna is the cheapest, here is a tip for making tuna salad!

Tuna salad substitutes

You can change up the flavors when making tuna salad by substituting various things in place of the mayonnaise. Try:

White salad dressings (like Ranch or Caesar)

Sour cream

Plain yogurt

Cream cheese (at room temperature, or whip with some milk to make it easier to incorporate)

Tuna salad
Tuna Salad

Depending on what you use (like plain yogurt!), you could even end up with something a little healthier than normal. :)

I don't have a tuna salad recipe online, but here is what we like in ours:

Canned tuna, drained well
Mayo (or others from the list above!)
Chopped celery
Minced onion
Finely chopped dill pickles (or dill pickle relish -- easier!)
Garlic, salt, and pepper

Mix until creamy; serve on bread with lettuce added, or serve in lettuce leaf "cups".

To Participate in Kitchen Tip Tuesdays:

Post a kitchen tip in your blog. Link to this post, and then leave your link here, so we know where to find YOU! :) No giveaways or non-tip posts, please!

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Leave your tip links in a comment. I'll manually add them to this post!

1. Tips for braising/stewing (The Local Cook)
2. Make your favorite cookies healthier (Heather at Feel Good About Dinner)
3. Make baked potatoes in the crock pot (Purposely Frugal)
4. Tip for making "drop" cookies (Robin at Happily Home After)
5. Stretching pasta sauce (Kolfinna's Korner)
6. 7 ways to use leftover cornbread (Wholesome Homemaker)
7. Checking the doneness of meat without marring it (Alea at Premeditated Leftovers)
8.

Comments

Here's my favorite recipe for canned tuna:
http://trialanderrorhomeec.blogspot.com/2010/07/wfmw-idiot-tuna.html

Rachel

Love experiments!

Today I'm linking a few tips for braising/stewing http://thelocalcook.com/2012/03/05/cooking-slow/

I'm so impressed that you are hosting this week. I thought for sure you would be passing that on to another site. I hope this means things are going well for you and Channah.

What a helpful post! I always buy the chunk light tuna in water because I thought it was cheapest. I guess the ounces on the can accounts for all of the extra liquid that is discarded. I have been mixing tuna with salsa for a light lunch. Sometimes I add in 1/4 c of beans in addition to the salsa. I know this isn't traditional and wouldn't be appealing to everyone, but I really like it and it is super low in calorie as well as filling. I am just starting to experiment putting yogurt in more things. I haven't tried it in tuna yet. Great idea! I have missed a creamy tuna salad with cucumbers. I think I will have that for lunch today. :)

The tip I would like to share today is about how to make your favorite cookie recipe healthier. http://www.feelgoodaboutdinner.com/2012/03/double-chocolate-oatmeal-cookies.html

Good morning Tammy!

I, too, hope that since you are blogging today....all is going well for you and your family?
Has it gotten even a tiny bit into the new 'rut' yet? Josh on mend?

Anyway, here is how I stretch out the tuna for our family. I use hard boiled eggs in my tuna salad....use the same amount as the tuna (ex 3oz tuna gets 3 eggs). It doubles the protein content, and the tuna carries the flavor, so nobody minds eggs.

Also, I like to make a tuna salad with apples, celery and nuts....sort of a waldorf salad kind of thing....and it is really good too.

You can also make a sea shell pasta salad with celery, eggs, pickles, onion and add the tuna in last. Use a creamy salad dressing to mix it with. This is especially good on lettuce cups to me.

And last, for a hot dinner...don't forget that old favorite....tuna wiggle! Cream of Mushroom soup, seasoned with a shake of cajun spices, thinned out with a little milk, frozen or canned peas added and heated up, then lastadd a can or two of drained tuna.....serve over hot noodles or rice.

We have that every time there is a power outage....cause I can cook all of it from the pantry. It's a Hurricane staple! Fortunately...everyone here likes it.

Thank you, Debbie! We are doing okay; I will post a couple more baby pictures and a family-update-y post soon. :)

I love your tuna ideas! Thanks for sharing!! :)

I read an article awhile back on Costco's tuna, I think it was on The Motely Fool? Anyway, the gist of the story was that Costco wasn't happy witht the quality of the tuna they were selling under a national brand and now has their premium quality tuna custom canned for them under the Kirkland brand.

I love tuna sandwiches! Hope you and baby are feeling good!
Today my tip is how to make baked potatoes in the crock pot. So easy and yummy!
http://purposelyfrugal.com/2012/03/06/crock-pot-tuesday-baked-potatoes/#.T1YhksCsLpE

Evidently you don't have any keyboarding restrictions ... I can't imagine how you are finding time to blog today given the, um, few things going on at home!

Congrats on the newest sweet baby, the two of you look so comfortable with each other already! And continuing best wishes for Joshua's full and speedy recovery.

The tuna salad "recipe" you shared sounds great ... I've never been a tuna salad fan, but the idea of using a Ceasar or Ranch dressing along with {my fav} Greek yogurt sounds like it would give the salad the zip I've always thought missing. And using the Ceasar dressing with canned chicken also sounds like a great salad sandwich mix to me!

I have a post I'd like to share with Tip Tuesday: the tip is using a small ice cream scoop when making "drop" cookies ... much quicker than a spoon and a way to make consistently sized and shaped cookies (if you're driven crazy by that type of thing like I am). Also the recipe is No-Bake and tasty. The link is: http://happilyhomeafter.blogspot.com/2012/02/peanut-butter-and-chocolate-drop.html

Robin
happilyhomeafter.blogspot.com

Thanks, Robin! :)

Stretching Pasta Sauce
http://kolfinnaskorner.smellygoodstuffs.com/kitchen-tip-tuesday-stretching-pasta-sauce/

I so want to buy tuna, but I'm the only one who likes it at my house. Maybe I should! I too like hard boiled eggs in mine, pickle relish, mayo and a little mustard. That's how my mom always made it. We always bought the packed in water kind since it was "healthier" when I was growing up.

It is the level of mercury in the different types of tuna that is of concern. The chunk light is know to have the least.

Love your blog and all the yummy looking recipes. Wish I could hire you to cook for me! ;-)

http://wholesomehomemaker.com/2012/03/06/7-ways-to-use-leftover-cornbread/

I've been making a lot of cornbread lately (because we love it) and posted some different ways to use any leftovers. I found some new ideas I want to try!

Ladies, thanks for all these great ideas. I especially love the idea to use salsa and some beans in tuna. That sounds so good!

Hope everyone is well and getting some rest at your house, Tammy:)

I don't really have a tip posted on my blog, but wanted to share something. I don't care for tuna, but my roomie does. In order to help make it more filling when taking it for lunch, he adds some (drained) kidney beans. It adds some more protein and fiber, and a different texture.

I like the idea of adding some beans to tuna salad! I bet Great Northern beans would be tasty in it, too! :)

We have to use wild planet tuna b/c of food issues it is packed w/o water and only in it's own fish oil and you do not drain it.....it is in a BPA free can, and the Mercury levels are always tested....as well as being line caught. I know not everyone has those concerns but there is tuna out there for those who do....I buy mine off of Amazon and it is about $2 a can once again I know not cheap but so yummy and we only need two or three cans for my 5kids and myself three if my husband eats with us I think it is due to not draining. I just wanted your readers to know if they had concerns about canned tuna there is a great one out there !!!! I myself used to get tuna on sale at Harris Tetter when they were buy two get three free it wound up being .35 a can it was chicken of the sea!!! We love tuna but b/c it is now expensive for us we have it as a nice treat!!!! We bulk it up with salad greens!!!

our neighbor lady adds crushed up saltines to her tuna salad. It's pretty good actually. I bet ritz crackers would be good also.

Congrats on the arrival of Channah!!! Glad you and the baby are doing well.

I love tuna... in any way shape or form. I get whatever tuna is on sale, though I do know that the name brands like StartKist and BumbleBee tend to be better quality.
I make mine with diced celery, some mayo and some sweet relish and some salt/pepper and smidge of garlic powder. Might add a bit of diced onion if I'm in the mood. If you don't like the 'fishy' taste of tuna, add some lemon juice to your tuna salad. I've tried lemon pepper and that helps a little bit with the 'fishy' taste. i personally LIKE the "fishy" taste... after all... it is fish.

My fave tuna salad on toasted bread.. with lettyce and tomato... put on English muffins, topped with cheese and put in toaster oven (or oven) till cheese melty!!! I also make tuna noodle casserole and tuna patties (like my salmon patties but substitute tuna). Yummm-O.

I don't eat fish but my family does they like the solid tuna. Does Costco sell the bigger cans of tuna I know bjs has a bigger can of bumble bee brand not sure if it's cheaper per an once and it would be easier for your large family to have just one big can, you'd need to figure how many little cans the large can equals but that's easy enough.

I always buy the chunk light because it comes from a different part of the tuna. That part has less fat, which means it houses less mercury. I have no fear of fat, but since I've been pregnant or nursing for the last 4 1/2 years I try and be very careful of toxins and mercury so that I'm not passing them on to my babies. Just something to add to the conversation about types of tuna!

I find it interesting that all the tunas were the same per ounce. I just wrote a post on using up leftover salad dressing. I am going to add a link to this post.

My tip is for checking the doneness of meat without marring it: http://premeditatedleftovers.com/cooking-tip-checking-doneness-without-marring-meat/

Alea @ Premeditated Leftovers

Thanks for sharing the tidbit about them all working out to be the same cost--that was interesting!

I always use the light tuna in water since it contains the least amount of mercury. To make it go further, for every two cans, I add three to four hard boiled eggs, celery, minced onion, one can of Great Northern beans rinsed, drained and partially mashed, a little Dijon mustard and homemade Italian dressing, to taste (I don't like mayo). Everyone loves my tuna salad and no one has ever guessed it has beans in it! Sometimes, I used one can of salmon in place of the two cans of tuna. I have made it for my family, omitting the Dijon mustard and Italian dressing and using mayo (less mayo is needed when using beans) and pickle relish. They still didn't know it had beans. I have a friend who extends her tuna and chicken salad using a cup of cooked rice (this is also included in a recipe in a cookbook I own).

I don't buy tuna by price, I buy it by quality and what is in the can - our health is too important.

I know someone else already said this, but I thought I'd second it. I also add beans to tuna or chicken salad. It stretches the meat and adds the beneficial fiber and protein. Last time, I used navy beans, and they worked well. If you don't want so much texture, you could purée them. I think chick peas would work well, too, regular or puréed like hummus. Instead of mayo, I use yogurt. I also love adding other items as I have them available, onions, eggs, celery, raisins or cranberries, frozen pease, nuts, or really any leftover veggie in the fridge. Maybe corn. Add different spices for different favors,

I am sorry, I don't have a tip but I did have a question. I am curious how the taste stacked up against each other. I am a big tuna fish eater, although I am plain Jane and I just like tuna and mayo. Anyway, I have found some canned tuna doesn't taste like Tuna at all to me, I actually thought I grabbed canned chicken by mistake but I did not. I am having trouble finding a really good tuna.

Personally, I prefer the kirkland brand ... its what we always buy when we go to Costco, used to be $9 or so for the 8 cans ... now I think the last time it was $12 so like everything else, the price is going up :( I can't stomach regular tuna anymore ... the texture, flavor, everything about it ... much prefer the albacore :)

I make my tuna salad the exact same way.

My mom always made tuna casserole when I grew up with cream of mushroom soup, chinese noodles (the brown crunchy kind) and tuna. We ate it with cottage cheese on the side. Sounds gross but I love it!

Yesterday the subject of tuna came up between us and my daughter chimed in and asked, "What is tuna?" My husband told her it was fish. She thought about it for a minute and then asked, "But why is it chewy?" We really didn't have a good answer but I thought that was cute and funny. Through a child's eyes....

I make my tuna salad the same way you do. I use Miracle Whip since I don't like real mayo.

We sometimes use the tuna cans for camping. You coil up corrugated cardboard tightly inside and drip candle wax all over the cardboard. When you are ready to use them you light them for a fire source for cooking. The more wax you use the longer it burns. An inverted metal coffee can that's been cut so the tuna can fits inside works well as a cooking surface. These are fun for older kids to cook in nature. "Toad in a holes" are a good thing to cook on these. Add a little butter to the well washed coffee can bottom cooking surface, make a hole in your piece of bread (eat that piece while waiting because you are hungry ;) ) and then cook the bread in the butter for a minute or so. Add an egg in the center hole in the bread and cook until done, flipping after a few minutes. My husband likes jelly on them, I do not. We've also successfully heated canned goods in the cans with the tuna can burners.

One tasty way I've found for making my tuna go further is adding shredded carrots to it. I now make tuna salad with about equal amounts tuna to carrots , add some mayo, squirt of lemon juice & dash of dill weed . This is very good with salmon as well.

Thank you for posting this. I have been looking into what is the best tuna to purchase and my concern is all the fillers and other junk that is put into the cans as well. Mercury is another issue.

In any case, if you are still looking for a good place to purchase tuna, I recommend Amazon's Subscribe & Save program. You can get the good stuff for about the same price as the cheaper brands delivered to your door.

On a side note... I've been putting together a shopping list of what we buy regularly and am pleasantly surprised that I am saving money overall - AND get the convenience of home delivery. How much is time worth these days? I know I would rather spend an extra two hours relaxing than wandering around the store, waiting in line, loading and then unloading the car.

Anyway, check it out. If only for saving on tuna.

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