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Sunday, February 8, 2009

Classic Tuna Noodle Casserole

Ordinarily, I am not a big fan of tuna. However, the rest of my family really enjoys it, so I try to serve it a few times a month for them to enjoy. That usually takes the form of tuna salad sandwiches or tuna pasta salad for lunch. Rarely does tuna make it on to the dinner rotation.

When I do make a tuna dish for dinner, I rely on an old-standard - tuna noodle casserole. I make it a little bit different every time by varying the spices a bit. I actually really enjoy this dish. Every time we have it I think I should make it more often. Maybe I'll start now!

Tuna Noodle Casserole
  • 1 lb. elbow macaroni, fully cooked and drained
  • 1/4 c. butter or margarine
  • 4 stalks celery (including leaves if from the heart), diced
  • 1/2 onion, diced
  • 1/4 c. flour
  • 1 t. salt
  • 1/2 t. black pepper
  • 1 1/2 c. milk
  • 1-2 cans water-packed tuna, fully drained
  • 3/4 c. mayonnaise
  • 2 c. frozen peas
  • Spices to play along with, in any amount and combination - curry, dill, cayenne pepper, Italian seasoning, cumin, thyme, lemon pepper, Herbs de Provence
  • Salt and pepper to taste
1. In a small saucepan, melt the butter or margarine over medium heat. Stir in celery and onions. Cook for 3 minutes, until veggies are slightly cooked but still crispy. Whisk in flour, salt and pepper. Cook 2-3 minutes. Whisk in milk, bring to a boil and simmer until thickened to a condensed cream-of soup consistency. Cool.

2. In a large bowl, combine cooled sauce, tuna, mayonnaise and peas. Stir in any additional desired seasonings and salt & pepper, to taste. Add cooked noodles, stir to coat and pour into a large casserole dish. (Can be refrigerated until dinnertime at this point.)

3. Bake at 350 degrees for 20-25 minutes, until heated through and bubbly.

Some optional topping ideas: shredded cheese, breadcrumbs mixed with melted butter, crushed potato chips or crackers, crushed goldfish.

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3 comments:

Sonshine said...

sounds yummy! I wish that I had more in my family that liked tuna! :)

When I have done tuna casserole up(one of my standby meals to take to a new mom!), I make up really creamy mac & cheese and add tuna to it. :) Yummo! :)

Jodi said...

Last night we had tuna-potato casserole. Boil some cubed potatoes till softened (but not mushy). Add some frozen peas and carrots before draining. Then after draining, add a can or 2 of tuna, some undiluted cream of mushroom soup (I use fat-free) and some cheese (cheddar is good). Easy, tasty and cheap! A nice change of pace from tuna noodle casserole. You could also substitute cheddar cheese soup for the cream of mushroom.

tammy said...

Oh yum! I am excited that I have now found a recipe for tuna casserole that doesn't use a can of cream soup. I just never thought to make my own version of the cream soup...but how much healthier. I can pronounce all the ingredients. :)