Friday, September 2, 2011

Tuna Noodle Casserole

I didn't grow up in a casserole family. The closest thing I had to a casserole growing up was my mom's pot pie, which was just overflowing with vegetables.

I will admit that, up until a year ago, I thought tuna noodle casserole was the most horrid sounding dish. I ate tuna fish cold, in tuna salad, and that was about it. Tuna heated up with pre-made cream of mushroom soup? I just couldn't imagine how that combination would be good.

Then, about a year ago, a friend set out to prove me wrong. With an elaborate list of ingredients and his mother's recipe in tow, he baked the largest tuna noodle casserole I've ever seen. He scooped more and more into his bowl, but I started with just one tentative bite. I was prepared to hate it, to beg for something for dinner.

But, somehow, the flavors and textures won me over. I loved the crunchiness provided by the breadcrumbs that topped the dish and the noodles that were a little browned on the side. The cream of mushroom soup, when melded with a little cheddar cheese and milk, played a nice supporting role against the tuna. The peas added a delightful brightness to the dish. I eagerly filled my bowl, ate it all and then went back for more.

As I walked through the grocery store directionless this week, I spotted the egg noodles that feature prominently in the dish, and, recent convert that I was, decided to go for it. Rachael Ray's tuna noodle casserole dish served as my inspiration. I was hungry, and I didn't want to spend hours searching for a recipe. I knew that whatever Rachael had to offer, it would be quick.

Rachael Ray was recently selected as number 13 on Gourmet Magazine's list of 50 women game changers in food history. In selecting Rachael, Gourmet wrote: "She's heee-eere. Your TV's haunted by her, and, love or hate the woman, her always easy recipes have cured millions of their kitchen phobia."

My final recipe was quite true to Rachael's, although I added more of everything I love (peas, noodles, tuna), and I threw in some sharp cheddar cheese for good measure. It wasn't quite on the table in 30 minutes or less, but I didn't mind.

Be sure to visit all the other bloggers who made recipes by Rachael Ray this week:
Val - More Than Burnt Toast
Joanne - Eats Well With Others
Taryn - Have Kitchen Will Feed
Susan - The Spice Garden
Claudia - A Seasonal Cook in Turkey
Heather - girlichef
Miranda - Mangoes and Chutney
Jeanette - Healthy Living
April - Abby Sweets 
Mary - One Perfect Bite
Kathleen -Bake Away with Me
Viola - The Life is Good Kitchen
Sue - The View from Great Island
Barbara - Movable Feasts
Kathleen - Gonna Want Seconds
Amy - Beloved Green 

Linda--Ciao Chow Linda

Tuna Noodle Casserole
recipe adapted from Rachael Ray

This recipe serves four as an entree. I added extra noodles, peas and tuna, and was pleased with the results, but I've kept Rachael's original quantities below. Her recipe will yield a slightly soupier casserole; mine was a bit drier, which I preferred. As Rachael says, "It's just delicious."

1 can (10 3/4 ounces) Cream of Mushroom Soup
1/2 cup milk
1 cup frozen peas
2 cans (about 6 ounces each) tuna, drained
2 cups medium egg noodles, cooked and drained
2 tablespoons dry bread crumbs
1 tablespoon butter, melted

Stir the soup, milk, peas, tuna and noodles in a 1 1/2 quart casserole. Stir the bread crumbs and butter in a small bowl.

Bake the tuna mixture at 400 degrees for 20 minutes, or until hot and bubbling. Stir the tuna mixture. Sprinkle with the bread crumb mixture.

Bake for 5 minutes, or until the bread crumb mixture is golden brown.


  1. I am a lover of tuna casserole, but only in the dead of winter ... I know. What's THAT about? Seriously, though ... there is nothing better than a big hot gooey tuna casserole at the end of a cold snowy day. I put cheese in mine too, and mushrooms cozy up with the peas. It's a happy relationship!

  2. Rachel Ray has such an enormous collection of recipes, sure to inspire everyone to try making something new. Tuna noodle casserole was a childhood comfort dish of mine.

  3. Katie, When my kids were young...tuna casserole was one of their favorites! True comfort food! Yours looks great! My recipe was just about the same as Rachel's except I seem to remember some mayo being put into the milk...Yummo! I actually love Rachel Ray and am disappointed I could not participate this week. Have a nice Labor Day!

  4. Your casserole sounds delicious. Tuna casserole appeared regularly on Friday night when I was a child. It was a comfort dish for many of us. I'm so glad you chose this recipe. It brought back some happy memories. I hope you have a terrific weekend. Blessings...Mary

  5. I think I actually made this (or a similar recipe of hers) a few years ago and loved it. Such a comforting meal! I'd love for you to link up to my Saturdays with Rachael Ray!!

  6. Tuna Noodle Casserole is such classic comfort food...this looks just right :D

  7. Tuna noodle casserole - so good. Makes you feel warm and cozy inside. Rachael's critics have said that her 30-minute meals do not include prep time, so maybe this recipe was true to that.

  8. Rachel Ray has lightning hands; ordinary people like us don't chop half as fast as she does :D And I love the crusty bit on top too.

  9. Tuna noodle casserole is certainly one of my comfort foods. I love it and I constantly tweak the recipe trying different things to change it up a little bit.

  10. I love the idea of tweaking the recipe a bit each time. I'm trying it again tonight with mushrooms (they were on sale!).

  11. Tuna casserole is one of my favorites - thanks for the recipe!

  12. Even the best recipes can be modified to be better, I like how you changed it up to be your style. Kudos!

  13. Tuna noodle casserole is great if it's not so boring. I add 1 rib of celery (chopped), 1 4-oz can of chopped mushrooms (drained), 1 chopped onion, half a red bell pepper (chopped), half a green bell pepper (chopped), 1 or 2 handsful of frozen peas, 2 hard-boiled eggs (chopped), 2 cans of tuna (drained), 2 cans of cream of mushroom soup and 12-ounces of egg noodles, salt and pepper to taste and Worcestershire sauce if desired. Try it with all those added veggies, it's fabulous!