Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Tuna Casserole



Let's face it, Fish, is expensive and incredibly good for you. It doesn't seem fair that all the healthy foods for you are also some of the most expensive. But a great way to get a little fish in your diet, is by using canned Tuna. I'm very fortunate that I can get wonderful tuna for free. My Grandpa was a fisherman and when he passed, my grandma sold his boat to one of his friends in return for keeping her in stock of Tuna and other fresh fish.

Tuna, unfortunately, can be high in mercury...but only if you eat to much. When I was pregnant with Gracie, I lived on Tuna Fish sandwiches with sliced pickles, lot's of mustard and pepper. I was, of course, very careful not to eat to much though. I don't eat many tuna fish sandwiches now...I can only eat them once and awhile, but when I'm pregnant...I crave them, a lot!

As a one income family, I want my kids to love fish. But, fresh fish can be hard on a budget. Growing up, we always had fish in the house and we would eat it quite a bit and I firmly believe that's why I love it so much because from a young age I was introduced to it. I want my kids to love fish too. I'm not worried about Grace, she adores it. But Eden is still growing and still deciding what foods she likes and doesn't like.

This tuna fish meal has been called many names. But we know it in my family as Tuna Casserole...however my brother, along with many other's call it Tuna Noodle. This is a meal I grew up on and loved eating and if you've never tried it, I promise you'll love it too.

Most of the time when I make Tuna Casserole, I make it earlier in the day and keep it in the fridge till Josh calls to tell me he's on his way home. But yesterday, I had a stomach ache that wouldn't go away...so I made it while Josh was on his way home...which actually worked out perfectly because I made Josh run back out into the world and grab a few things for me from the store.



First things first, I always boil my noodles first because they tend to take the longest. Normally I use elbow noodles, but I accidentally used the rest of the elbow when making my macaroni and cheese the other day. So I used mini ziti noodles, and they worked really well. Really, you can use any small pasta you have on hand. It doesn't really matter. Once the water was boiling, I dumped in the pasta and salted the water. *quick tip- to help your water boil faster, put lid of the pot on top and it will boil in about 1/2 the time*

While the pasta was cooking, I went ahead and drained the juice from the tuna and added it to my greased casserole dish  and shredded it up with a couple of forks. I then added the mayo and peas. Your going to want to take the frozen peas out of the freezer a little early so they aren't a clumpy mess...or just throw them in a small bowl and put them in the microwave for about 2 minutes.


I got that all tossed together and then I began making the cheese sauce. In a small saucepot, I combine one can of cream of celery soup, shredded cheddar cheese, and milk. 




I stirred it into a figure 8 motion until it looked like this...




A beautiful mixture of melted cheese and warmed milk...yum! I just kept the saucepot on low once melted while I drained the noodles. I carefully added the noodles to the casserole dish...and then a little bit at a time, I added the melted cheese mixture until it was all combined evenly.




It went in the oven for 25min on a temp of 425. Which left me plenty of time to get the dishes washed and put away. I made a simple easy fruit salad of chopped apples, sliced bananas, and mandarin oranges to go along with this.

At 25 minutes, the Tuna Casserole looked like this, and was done.


Crispy and golden on top, and warm and soft on the inside! Josh likes a little bread and butter to go along with this and it helps compliment and complete the meal.

It was so yummy, I had Josh serve me seconds...and then a smaller third portion...and we have leftovers...which will be dinner tonight :) Grace loves it...normally Eden gobbles it up, but last night she was picky although she ate most of it...and Josh tells me every time I make it, that "he always's forgets how good it is" which I'll take as a compliment. It's a really easy meal that you can make a couple days ahead of time if you like or even freeze and cook later on :)



Tuna Casserole
Mom's recipe
1 can of tuna, drained
3 1/2 cups noodles, any small pasta will work
1/2 cup mayo
1 cup sliced celery, optional and I don't use it
1/3 cup sliced onion, optional and I don't use it ( I like my mom's note here in my recipe card...she wrote "Ya Right" because I barely cook with onions)
1/4 cup green pepper, optional and again I don't use it
1 cup frozen peas
1 tsp salt ( sometimes I don't use any)
1 15oz can of Cream of Celery soup
1/2 cup milk
1 cup shredded cheddar cheese

* I have added the green pepper and celery before to this, but Josh preferred it without and I cook to please. But feel free to use and add those veggies*

Preheat oven to 425
Cook noodles in salted water till done. Drain! Combine noodles, tuna, mayo, veggies, and salt in greased casserole dish.

Blend soup, milk, and cheese in a small sauce pan- heat through till cheese is melted. Add to the noodle mixture- in casserole dish.

Bake 20-25 minutes
Serve & Enjoy!

12 comments:

  1. Mayonnaise?? You wouldn't!! Not mayonnaise! Ok, so the whole thing was sounding good until I read the mayo thing. That ruined the beautiful cheese sauce for me. :) So, I still might have to try this since the pictures are food-magazine-quality and quite tempting, but I am just going to have to leave the nasty mayo out. And put the onions in. And then I'll be happy. Thank you for the good posting.

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  2. This sounds absolutely yummy! Like a comfort food! Unfortunately, Travis doesn't like fish...he likes salmon and tilapia now that I've fixed it a few times but I don't know about tuna...hmm...

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  3. It is truly amazing Karen and I promise you don't taste the mayo...however, I'm sure you could substitute plain yogurt in it's place. It's more of just a glue for the tuna and veggies to stick to :)

    Jenn, I say make it anyways and Travis can just suffer through it, lol! But I'm sure once he tries it... the suffering will end and he'll end up thanking you for once again showing him that it's always best to have an open mind ;)It really is good :)

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  4. I love the crunch from baking it!! One suggestion on the tuna, Wild Planet's albacore tuna is fished and sourced sustainably, meaning lower mercury and higher Omega 3s! Plus it happens to taste amazing:)

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  5. Whatever you call it, your casserole looks absolutely scrumptious!

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  6. Thank you so much! It is really yummy!

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  7. Got to love a good tuna noodle casserole. This is such a classic, and it's been too long since I've had it.

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  8. This recipe is a comfort food. It brings back childhood memories. This recipe is different than my mom's but it sounds yummy. Time for Tuna. Thanks for linking this to My Meatless Mondays.

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  9. :) It's always a nice change of pace from the same old meal circulation :) Thanks for having the link-up :)

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  10. I've never been much for canned tuna, but this recipe looks FANTASTIC - lots of great flavors in there and it's gorgeous! Yum!

    Hope you'll swing by and check out my CSN Giveaway this week!

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  11. I haven't made tuna casserole in forever, but I really should. I think my kids would like it.

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  12. Tiffany, your kids will love it. Mine always clean their plates when I make this :)

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I love reading comments and receiving feedback :)

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