Tuna Noodle Casserole

This recipe was inspired by the latest issue of True Story, Swear to God, in which Tom Beland talks about making it for his wife. It was his mention of the French fried onions on top that made me think, “oh, that sounds good.”

I surfed around for a recipe, but I didn’t find one that sounded both tasty and easy (because tuna casserole should be cheap and easy, like a frat boy’s dream date). So I took the parts I liked best of all of them and came up with this:

Combine 2 cans of cream of mushroom soup, 2 cans of tuna (packed in water, drained), 1/2 cup chopped onion, 1 cup shredded Cheddar cheese, and 1 12-ounce box of rotini pasta, cooked. (I used the whole wheat kind because it seemed like a good way to eat healthier without it affecting anything too much.)

Put into a two-quart baking dish, lightly greased. Sprinkle on top another cup of shredded Cheddar and a small can of fried onion pieces. Bake at 350 degrees for 25 minutes. It makes lots, so plan to serve for several or have leftovers for days.


21 Responses to “Tuna Noodle Casserole”

  1. Don MacPherson Says:

    Why not ask Tom for his recipe, given that he was your inspiration? :)

  2. Johanna Says:

    Oh, I didn’t even think of that! But it seems such a silly thing to bother him with.

  3. John Says:

    Back in the 70s, my mother used to make it with peas in it and biscuits on top. I eat as much tuna as I can without getting mercury poison, but I haven’t had it in casserole form in a good 30 years. Hmmm.

  4. Tom Beland Says:

    You cannot go wrong with your ingrediants. I do pretty much the same thing as Johanna did, only I add Worcestershire sauce to the soup mixture. I also add corn.

    The other thing I do is sautee the veggies before I make the casserole. This helps soften them up and mellow out the onions. My veggies are usually onions, carrots, celery and occassionally diced fennel.

    But, especially for Lily, the highlight are those crispy french fried onions on top. Heavenly.

    Johanna… you can bother me anytime.

  5. Johanna Says:

    (takes notes) Worcestershire! Of course! And yeah, I think it would have been better if I’d cooked the onions first. Thanks so much for sharing!

  6. Lisa Says:

    What size can of tuna?

  7. Bill D. Says:

    This sounds fantastic. I get to actually work days for a few weeks before the fall semester starts up, and I’ve been looking for dinners to make for the wife and kid. This will definitely be one of them.

  8. Tom Beland Says:

    You can also subsitute shredded chicken meat for the tuna.

    I normally use two standard cans of tuna. But… I prefer using Albacore whole tuna. Chunk tuna is the bottom of the barrell variety. Call me a snob. ;)

    Another thing I love to cook are chicken legs. Fantastic value at the store for a pack of legs. Some people aren’t really into the leg part of a chicken, but it’s the juiciest part of the bird.

    – two chicken legs, skin on.
    – one chopped onion
    – one chopped carrot
    – one chopped fennel bulb
    – a few garlic cloves
    – balsamic vinegar
    – olive oil
    – salt/pepper
    – oven safe frying pan

    • preheat oven to 350 degrees
    • salt/pepper both sides of the chicken legs (you can also add some cayanne pepper to make it hotter)
    • preheat the pan with the oil over medium heat.
    • add chicken legs, skin-side down and cook for about five minutes… until the skin is golden brown.
    • toss the veggies and garlic cloves in a bowl with salt/pepper, balsamic (a splash or two), olive oil
    • when you turn the legs over, add the veggies to the pan and put pan in the oven.
    • cook for about 35-40 minutes.
    You can also serve this with rice, but the veggies come out great and roasted.

  9. Johanna Says:

    Lisa: the regular (small) ones, 6 ounces I think they are?

    Bill: aw, what a great picture of family dinner you evoke.

    Too bad I can’t have y’all over for leftovers — I’ve still got more than half a pan left!

  10. Tom Beland Says:

    Leftover casserole is the greatest! All those flavors blend together better overnight. I can eat tuna casserole for three days, lol. I just put the onions in a separate dish and toast those in the oven as I heat the casserole in the microwave.

  11. Don MacPherson Says:

    Johanna, I think you’ve got a new feature on your hands: What Comics Creators Cook. :)

    Let’s hear it… anyone else want to see a semi-regular recipe feature from comics pros?

  12. Tom Beland Says:

    Lol… Lily was saying tonight that we should publish the TRUE STORY, SWEAR TO GOD COOKBOOK. Perhaps I should look into this.

  13. Johanna Says:

    Don: Great idea, but a lot of work to accomplish, I think. Although testing the recipes would be fun!

    Tom: Yes!

  14. Karen R Says:

    Tuna casserole evokes such horrible memories for me. It always tasted bad and I remember getting sick from it when I was little. That was before I realized I was allergic to peas.

    Am I the only one that thinks tuna casserole was that disgusting thing your aunt made when she didn’t have anything else in her kitchen? Don’t get me wrong – I love comfort food. Mac and cheese: yum. Meatloaf and mashed potatoes – yum.

  15. Johanna Says:

    Oh, it’s definitely an acquired taste… and I think I’ll easily go another six months before I need to make it again.

  16. Tom Beland Says:

    I could eat tuna casserole every freakin’ night. I love it that much. The scary thing is… I think Lily could too.

  17. ADD Says:

    I’m making this for dinner tonight.

  18. Tom Beland Says:

    Maid Rite sloppy joe sandwiches.
    I just found this recipe online and I tried it out, after seeing it on Alton Brown’s FEASTING ON ASPHALT last Saturday. It works quite well! It’s like a White Castle sloppy Joe. I recommend mustard and fresh onion with a slice of american cheese.

    25 min 10 min prep
    2 tablespoons dried chopped onions
    3 tablespoons water
    1 lb lean ground beef
    1 1/2 cups chicken broth (I use Swanson’s)
    1/2 teaspoon salt (less if broth is salted)
    1/2 teaspoon pepper
    6 hamburger buns
    mustard, to taste
    chopped fresh onions, to taste

    Soak the dried onions in the water.

    Crumble ground beef into a hot skillet and cook over medium high heat.

    When the soaked onions have begun to soften and expand, add it and any remaining water (if any) to the beef.

    Stir frequently as the meat browns, using a wooden spoon to break the meat into small crumbles.

    When the meat has browned, add the chicken broth, salt and pepper.

    Cook until liquid is ALMOST gone, about 10 minutes.
    Serve meat on buns with mustard and fresh chopped onions.
    ENJOY!

  19. ADD Says:

    Made the tuna noodle casserole for dinner last night. Some observations:

    1. This was a breeze to make.

    2. It was really, really good. My wife loved it, and wasn’t expecting to. A friend I invited over for dinner loved it more and ate two large bowls full.

    3. It DID make a lot — I brought in a huge dish of it for lunch the next day (today) and it was even better re-heated, the flavors having had time to blend, I’d imagine. I also brought in a dish for a friend who was intrigued by the recipe — she’s having it for dinner tonight.

    4. No one even noticed the fact that it was whole wheat noodles, which I like, because any incremental things that can make a meal healthier are good news in my book.

    Thanks again for sharing this, Johanna!

  20. Johanna Says:

    Oh, I’m so glad it worked so well for you! Next time, I think I’m going to make a half-size portion, because I wound up throwing some away after eating it for several meals.

  21. ADD Says:

    My daughter is a vegetarian, so next time I will probably make two half-size portions, one using Morning Star Farms chk’n strips. I think she’d like it that way…




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