Checkerboard Bake with Kraft Dinner and Spam – A Retro Recipe Test

Posted on May 2 2012 - 6:37am by RetroRuth

Did you know that it has been over a year since I made a SPAM dish for this blog??

I know, I know. Shameful.

But that is all behind us now, because not only have I made it all good by making a dinner with SPAM, I’ve upped the ante by making a dinner that includes both our favorite canned luncheon meat AND Kraft Macaroni and Cheese Dinner.

And I managed to make a checkerboard on top of said concoction with the aforementioned luncheon meat.


How’s that for retro?

I have to admit, it’s pretty good.

Kraft Main Dish 001

This week’s recipe comes from Kraft’s Main Dish cookbook, which was published in 1970 and has the distinction as being my favorite cookbook right now. Seriously. Not only is it filled with references to extinct Kraft products (Kraft Mexican Style Macaroni Dinner, anyone?), but it also has about 30 or so recipes for what do to with Kraft Macaroni and Cheese Dinner besides just mixing it up and eating it straight out of the pot. Highlights include adding copious amounts of sour cream, chilling it and mixing it into salads, stuffing it into pie plates filled with meat and, of course, adding ridiculous amounts of cream of something soups to it.

Kraft Main Dish 002

The checkerboard of luncheon meat makes it hearty and elegant!


I know it doesn’t look like much from this angle, but there is a whole can of cream of celery soup in here.


There. Now you can see it.


As a side note, I drastically undercooked my Kraft Dinner before I covered it with slices of SPAM. As I have previously ranted in the past, I hate overcooked Kraft Dinner. Then I pretended that by mixing frozen peas into this mess I was actually cooking.

Remember: Hearty and elegant!


But, I have to admit, we had some very happy cats who wanted to share our dinner.

“Please? Please? Please? I am ever-so-good and sitting on your lap so patiently. And it looks hearty and elegant!”

No dice, cat.  No matter how cute you are.


“It tastes like soup.’

“Really? I was kind of hoping it was going to turn into some sort of magical glorious version of Kraft Dinner.”

“Nope. Just soup. Celery soup.”

“Good thing you like soup.”

“I don’t think anyone likes cream of celery soup this much.”

“You are probably right.”

The Verdict: Fine. It tasted like Cream of Celery soup with noodles and peas in it. The taste of Kraft Macaroni and Cheese Dinner was sadly and completely eradicated by the overwhelming taste of celery. In a secondary, but slightly less disappointing, failure, only half of the SPAM slices were brown. The parts that were hidden from the heat didn’t get that lovely fat crust, and stayed slimy.

3.0 from 1 reviews
Checkerboard Bake
Recipe type: Main Dish
SPAM, Kraft Dinner and Cream of Celery Soup. What else do you need?
  • 1 box Kraft Macaroni and Cheese Dinner
  • 2 cups cooked peas
  • 1 can condensed cream of celery soup
  • ½ cup milk
  • ½ tsp salt
  • 1 12 oz can luncheon meat, cut in half lengthwise and sliced
  • Pimiento strips
  1. Prepare dinner as directed on package.
  2. Add peas, soup, milk and salt. Mix well.
  3. Pour into 12x8 inch baking dish. Arrange luncheon meat slices in a checkerboard pattern; garnish with pimiento.
  4. Bake at 350 degrees for 30 minutes.



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

  1. veg-o-matic May 2, 2012 at 11:12 am - Reply

    This is basically how I make Tuna Casserole, subbing tuna for the Spam. I generally use Kraft Deluxe dinner because the cheese sauce it makes is a little “goopier” and harder to be overwhelmed by the Cream of Celery.
    Love Tom’s expression in the last pic!

    • RetroRuth May 2, 2012 at 5:43 pm - Reply

      Really? You made Tuna Casserole with Kraft Deluxe dinner??? That actually sounds pretty good. I might have to try that one!

      • veg-o-matic May 4, 2012 at 11:45 am - Reply

        Absolutely. It’s delightfully trashy! Sometimes I will substitute chopped broccoli for peas.

  2. Eartha Kitsch May 2, 2012 at 11:13 am - Reply

    Sad! It’s really pretty though. I give it the highest amount of pretty points! And wow, that kitty has the eye of the tiger.

    • RetroRuth May 2, 2012 at 5:44 pm - Reply

      Thanks, hon! Glad it passed the pretty test, at least!

      And yes, Midnight really, really gets serious when she is focused on something she wants.

  3. Sean May 2, 2012 at 11:56 am - Reply

    You lost me at the peas – and I normally love peas…..

    • RetroRuth May 2, 2012 at 5:45 pm - Reply

      Yeah, this dish pretty much ruined peas for me for a while, too…

  4. Sara In AZ May 2, 2012 at 12:05 pm - Reply

    Ha! Midnight is too hee-larious! 🙂

    I can only imagine what this recipe really tasted like since it was so overpowered by the Celery Soup…..uggghhhhh!

    • RetroRuth May 2, 2012 at 5:46 pm - Reply

      It wasn’t great, I’ll tell you that!

      And yes, Midnight is a funny girl!

  5. ae May 2, 2012 at 9:43 pm - Reply

    Love that cat!

  6. Cathy Wood May 3, 2012 at 9:29 am - Reply

    OMG my mother in law used to serve something similar to this but she added pineapple slices on top. She made a big deal one time about inviting my parents to supper and she served this I was mortified….

  7. Lauren May 3, 2012 at 3:08 pm - Reply

    My mother made versions of this – with cream of chicken and broccoli or hotdogs, too. Although, not broccoli and hotdogs at the same time. She, I think, was trying to make do with what we had around and not following a recipe. We lived 20 miles from the grocery store.

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