Rena-Ware’s Macaroni Republic Casserole

Posted on May 12 2010 - 12:52pm by RetroRuth

By RetroRuth

Happy Wednesday, All!  This week on the Mid-Century Menu we are cooking out of a cookbook that a lucky lady in 1957 would have received with her brand new, state of the art Rena-Ware.  Published in 1957, this super cute book has tons of recipes created by the Home Economics Department Test Kitchen at Rena-Ware.

What is Rena-Ware, you ask?  You poor sap, cooking your food in water like a sucker, never knowing the amazing advantages of “waterless” cooking!  Rena-Ware is the new, state of the art cookware meant to cook your meals on the stovetop and bring them straight to the table with the minimum of wasted nutrients. Really!  Don’t believe me? Well, this book told me so!

Want to see how it works?  Me, too.

Fascinating, huh? Low temp cooking to “save fuel and keep your kitchen more comfortable”.  Got to love the 1950’s science-y stuff.   But who needs to know anything when you look this good???


Anyway, I flipped through the book and decided to make “Macaroni Republic” because it caught my eye.  I would like to say that it was because of something besides just the name, but…well…I picked it because of the name.

Welcome to the Republic!  Get ready for canned tomatoes and noodles! Yes!

I love recipes with only a few ingredients.

The onions and green peppers, sauteing in a heck of a lot of butter.

Adding canned tomatoes and seasonings.

Happily simmering away.  Notice the random curls of excess butter on top of the tomatoes. Yum.

Throwing noodles on top.

And here is Tom, layering away like mad with shredded cheese.

Ta-da! Fellow Citizens, our long struggle for food freedom is over!  Welcome to the Macaroni Republic! *muted cheering…or maybe it is meowing*

Anyway, I decided to let another member of our household show you what he thought of the casserole. And now…First Bites With Clark The Kitten:

Well, either he wants some, or he is scared that Tom is eating it!  “No Daddy, wait! It’s poison!”

After Tom and I stopped laughing, we decided to actually settle down and finish tasting the food.  It was pretty good, definitely edible.  But Tom thought it was a little bland, and it reminded me of a casserole I was served in my grade-school cafeteria.  Not necessarily a bad thing, as the food there was good, but not a great dish by any means.  Probably due to the 1950’s fear of spices.

The Verdict: Scary to small white cats.

Seriously, it was good and we ate a lot of it, but it was rather bland and just tasted like a macaroni casserole made with canned tomatoes. I won’t make it again. Unless I need to whip Clark into shape…

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I love everything retro, vintage, mid-century, kitsch and all things atomic! A 21st century housewife just trying to fit the 50's. I have a passion for vintage recipes and an enormous vintage cookbook collection that I keep testing, even though by now I should know better. Creator of Mid-Century Menu (, No Pattern Required (, and I Ate The 80's (

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9 Comments so far. Feel free to join this conversation.

  1. Amy May 12, 2010 at 2:47 pm - Reply

    It does sound nice though!

  2. Inky May 12, 2010 at 2:48 pm - Reply

    Small white kitties are good judges of cuisine 😉

  3. sablemable May 12, 2010 at 3:51 pm - Reply

    Like goulash sans ground beef. Looks yummy!

  4. Sara in AZ May 12, 2010 at 5:10 pm - Reply

    Oh, where is Twix? I know he would love him some Macaroni Republic Casserole!!! 🙂

    • RetroRuth May 14, 2010 at 8:50 am - Reply

      Sara!!! Twix got adopted! He is living with a great new family and has been renamed “Max”. I miss the little guy, but he just loves his new house, so everything worked out great. 🙂

  5. Peggy Freemont July 12, 2011 at 12:15 pm - Reply

    RenaWare does last a long time – I’ve had mine for over fifty years but be warned, the bottoms of the pans do warp so if you are ever contemplating a glass-top stove, you’ll have to chuck the RenaWare or give it away as it will rock back and forth at quite alarming speeds.

  6. Randi Schadannfreudé Drew January 21, 2014 at 1:43 am - Reply

    This looks really cool! We haul our own water, so saving it is ideal. What a neat thing! Also, kudos on the cutie being adopted. c:

  7. Alicia January 22, 2014 at 10:26 pm - Reply

    So I am going to try this recipe, but I can’t help but to think that omitting the onions and instead sprinkling the top with a French’s onions might work better. Thank you for posting these! I am having a field day! And Clark is adorable!

  8. Stephanie December 11, 2015 at 8:04 pm - Reply

    I made this tonight, and we liked it a lot. I made a few changes: used seasoned salt instead of salt, added some chicken broth for part of the tomato measure, and tossed in some defrosted, chopped, leftover Thanksgiving turkey. I stirred it halfway through its cooking time and the pasta had absorbed all the liquid, no doubt because I parboiled the macaroni for only 7 minutes instead of the 15-20 it called for. It didn’t taste like anything we had eaten before, but we’d definitely have it again.

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