HOME > Chowhound > Home Cooking >


The nectar of the Gods, tuna noodle casserole....

What is your fav recipe? I made one last week and it was lack lustre. I used macaroni, cream of mushroom, frozen peas and topped with lays potato chips but it did not taste like the delicious tuna noodle of my youth. Please give me your recipes or advice. I need a tuna noodle that tastes like my gran made it. No cheese topping allowed, must be potato chips.

  1. Click to Upload a photo (10 MB limit)
  1. I can't remember my grandma's recipe, but I DO remember that she didn't drain the tuna, and added the oil/water (she almost always bought oil-packed tuna, but I don't remember which she used in casserole) right along with the tuna into the dish.

    1. Mine does not use canned soup but I promise you it will be great. Slice and saute mushrooms until brown, add chopped onion and celery and saute lightly. Sprinkle with a little bit of flour and then add milk and/or cream, stirring until it thickens. Add grated cheddar and stir until melted. Add tuna packed in olive oil that you have drained well, along with noodles. If too thick, add more milk. Crumble potato chips on top (I'm just guessing on this part because I don't use them) and put into hot oven until bubbly and brown on top.

      2 Replies
      1. re: escondido123

        Just made this - divine! Sneaked in leeks, carrots and no chips on top - and had no mushrooms so used frozen cêpes and girolle mushrooms! I loved it, the kids loved it....One to remember

        1. re: escondido123

          Yes! That's the way I would do it, except with a splash of sherry in the sauce and crumbs on top instead of potato chips.

          In your face, Campbell's Cream of Mushroom!

        2. I'm 75 so I probably qualify as a tuna noodle expert. First off you MUST use oil packed tuna. DO NOT drain. You also need to use two cans of tuna for each can of mushroom soup The cans have shrunk since your grandma's day. I use half a 12 oz. bag of wide egg noodles. Right on with the potato chips. Good eats.

          3 Replies
          1. re: Plano Rose

            I totally agree with you about the proportion of canned soup to tuna, the correct noodle and the oil-packed tuna (I try to get the Italian tuna, packed in olive oil).

            But you left out the canned/botttled pimento...gotta add the pimento/red peppers: the fresh red pepper, even sauteed, do not work nearly as well as the jarred.

            Personally, I don't feel the need to add cheddar cheese...but that is a matter of taste and debate...the crumbled potato chips are not...they are what makes this dish memory-inducing.

            1. re: LJS

              I'm SO adding the little jar of pimiento next time. Thanks for suggesting it.

              1. re: LJS

                Never had it with potato chips, always a thin layer of cheddar. But pimento strips are mandatory

            2. This is actually the recipie I'm using tonight as I have some leftover turkey. When I do make it with tuna i use 2 cans. This recipie has always turned out great.


              12 Replies
              1. re: geminigirl

                This recipe is close to what I've come up with. I use tuna in oil but drain the oil off. Two cans minimum. And must be Campbells Cream of Mushroom in there.

                I've gotten away from cheddar, I add a soup can of Hellmans mayo and another can of milk to add creaminess instead.

                Extra mushrooms (I like to use dried exotics rehydrated in sherry, but regular are good too), lemon juice, worcestshire all make an appearance. While the noodles are boiling, I saute the mushrooms, some celery and onion in all the liquids plus a pat of butter til almost dry.

                The only thing I cannot go for is potato chips, so I use toasted bread crumbs for a topping.

                Oh and I like to add frozen peas to make it healthy.

                1. re: coll

                  Who makes tuna noodle casserole without peas? It's totally not the same without frozen peas added.

                    1. re: EWSflash

                      I don't like peas, so I have never made it with those nasty green orbs.

                      I use the cooks illustrated recipe.

                    2. re: coll

                      THAT'S IT COLL YOU MAKE IT I'M COMIN

                      after all mayo is a food group right?
                      I'll even let you slide and will enjoy the peas right along with you

                      1. re: iL Divo

                        Mayo is a great secret ingredient when baking, I use it in some casseroles and also to coat baked fish. Must be Hellmanns (or I guess Best for you) they add lots of eggs so it makes the dish puff up nicely, and the emulsification doesn't break.

                        I have a thing for peas, it was the only vegetable I truly enjoyed when I was a kid. But frozen only; Mom did like to also serve those pale Leseuer canned ones at times and they were not to my liking, not one bit.

                        1. re: coll

                          peas are possibly my favorite veg. they are without a doubt the kids' favorite. I was making dinner one night, he came in and said, "mom can I have 2 cans of the tiny peas for dinner please." ummmm ok honey

                          1. re: iL Divo

                            I agree, only I could never stomach canned peas, but the frozen baby ones? I just love them!

                            1. re: EWSflash

                              he's a mini me. love canned peas, always have, always will, so that gorgeous kid, that love of mine, is a male version of me

                          2. re: coll

                            I totally agree with coking with mayo.
                            I got "yucked" for recommending using mayo when grilling a sandwich, but I don't make grilled cheese (and whatever) without it.
                            It makes casseroles luscious.

                      2. re: geminigirl

                        A couple of years ago when I used to stock my mother's freezer so she would have meals on hand that she could heat up quickly, this casserole from Epicurious was one of her favorite recipes. I'd sometimes use panko instead of breadcrumbs and substitute gruyere for the cheddar, and would also add frozen peas.

                        1. re: JoanN

                          I often use buttered panko, too, since I tend to have panko on hand rather than regular breadcrumbs. I often add cremini mushrooms, sherry and thyme, as well.

                          Will have to try a TNC with gruyere. :)

                          Last night, I made a very quick stovetop version- not a proper casserole, but tasty for a 6 ingredient, 20 minute supper: pasta, cream cheese, tuna in olive oil (I use an Italian brand, that comes in personal size cans that are handy when making quick meals for one), frozen peas, dried thyme and freshly ground black pepper.

                      3. I sometimes do the Sandra Lee.... uh no.... I mean the Martha Stewart tuna casserole: http://www.marthastewart.com/340388/m...

                        One change I make to that recipe is that I re-use the oil drained from the tuna to saute the bell pepper and then make the roux.

                        I usually use Cento tuna in olive oil. The better the canned tuna, the better the casserole... but the sky's the limit on prices of the really high-end canned tuna.

                        1. This week I am trying out the recipe in the last issue of Cooks Country magazine - complete with potato chip topping and egg noodles. I'll report back.
                          When I was 19 I always made the Kraft Mac and cheese and mushroom soup variety on Friday night- I was a starving art school student and it was the highlight of my week

                          1 Reply
                          1. re: Berheenia

                            I made a double batch of this- it made a ton- 2 large aluminum pans and a two person casserole. I used a big food processor for lots of the many steps. Cheddar and monterey jack are grated, The topping is a combo of butter, white bread, chips and some of the grated cheese and processed in the food processor, The tuna is flaked and combined with warm olive oil, lemon juice s&p. Chopped red pepper and onion are sauteed separately in butter as are sliced white mushrooms. The sauce is made with a roux and chicken broth and half and half - cheese added at the end, Egg noodles are cooked al dente.and frozen peas straight from the bag are the final ingredient. All combined and topped with chip mixture, 15 minutes at 425 . Heavenly.

                          2. I don't know what's traditional, but I put onion in it, usually white. And black olives (Kalmata, definitely not traditional).

                            1. I hadn't made TNC in decades until a year ago. It was disappointing, I think because tuna is no longer the quality it once was. I used oil-packed albacore, can't recall which national supermarket brand. For that matter, I don't think the cream of mushroom soup has the flavor it once did, either. If I make it again I will splurge on imported canned tuna.

                              I had a friend years ago who made a wonderful upscale TNC. She made a cream sauce with onions, roux, milk, and cream cheese. She added sliced olives and drained jarred artichoke hearts and topped it with parmesan bread crumbs.

                              1 Reply
                              1. re: greygarious

                                Try it again with chunk light tuna- far more flavor. Albacore is kind of squeaky and overcooked in the canning process these days (maybe it always was)

                              2. I add a bit of Dijon to add zip.

                                4 Replies
                                1. re: monavano

                                  I add a big spoonful of mayonnaise to add a little tang.

                                    1. re: monavano

                                      The mayo really is the secret, I find. When I try to cut back, it's just not that good.

                                      1. re: coll

                                        Will one of you please adopt me? I LOVE tuna noodle casserole! :)

                                2. My first dinner I made for my family (while growing up), I made a tuna casserole, with a flour and water paste as thickener. With green food coloring.
                                  They didn't have seconds. But were encouraging. ha!
                                  Every time I see the title of this thread, I am imagining a pureed casserole, drunk through a straw.

                                  2 Replies
                                  1. re: wyogal

                                    Me too - the more fitting reference would have been "ambrosia of the Gods". Nectar liquid; ambrosia solid.

                                    TNC was taught in 7th grade home ec, thus becoming the first thing I ever cooked for my parents.
                                    No food coloring, though - what made you use *that*?

                                    1. re: greygarious

                                      I remember thinking that it looked dull, needed something green.

                                      or simply, "food of the Gods"
                                      ambrosia makes me think of that fruit salad.

                                  2. Ever since I found the original recipe on the side of a bag of dry curd cottage cheese at Safeway many long time ago, this has been my favorite recipe for TNC. Of course, like any recipe, it has been subject to modification over the years.

                                    Gourmet Tuna Casserole - makes about 8 generous servings

                                    12 Oz Pasta (fettuccini or small shells work well)
                                    1 Lb. Dry curd cottage cheese *see note
                                    2 6 ½ Oz Cans Tuna, drained (or if oil packed, not)
                                    1 cup Sour Cream
                                    2 Cans Mushroom soup
                                    1 Med Onion – minced
                                    1 cup Celery – diced
                                    2 Cloves Garlic - minced
                                    1 Tsp Salt
                                    Pepper to taste
                                    1 Tbsp Worcestershire sauce – or more
                                    4 Oz Parmesan cheese – shredded

                                    Cook pasta al dente and drain. Combine all ingredients except Parmesan and mix well.
                                    Pour into large casserole and sprinkle generously with Parmesan.
                                    Bake about 1 ¼ hours, or until bubbly and cheese starts to brown.

                                    Note* If dry curd cottage cheese is not available, you may rinse regular creamed cottage cheese in a strainer under running water and let it drain. One large container ( 1 ½ #) works out about right.

                                    This recipe is easily halved.

                                    Quantities are flexible. I usually use more onion, celery and garlic.

                                    1 Reply
                                    1. re: Purrkins

                                      there you go, looks good. now just add your own bechamel and omit the CCoM soup and you got me all in

                                    2. My family's secret is anchovies!!!
                                      My Nonna makes hers the " traditional " way with the mushroom soup.
                                      I always knew when I made it at home that something was missing. She revealed her
                                      Secret ingredient to be a couple of anchovy fillets minced really small.

                                      I will never go back, it just adds the extra punch the tuna is missing and adds a bit of saltiness.

                                        1. Thanks for the suggestions. I mixed a few of the suggestions and am just finishing up the end of my TNC. I did use oil packed tuna as well, made a huge difference.
                                          So here was my recipe:
                                          -small bag of egg noodles
                                          -2 cans campbells cream of mushroom
                                          -2 cans oil packed tuna (I did not drain1, drained the other)
                                          -about half a red pepper chopped finely (thats what I had on hand)
                                          -maybe about 1/2 a cup of frozen peas
                                          -1/2 cup of mayo (this was my fist time trying this)
                                          -pepper, i goofed and though I added too much
                                          -topped with crumbled chips

                                          Verdict: Delicious. I think the oil packed tuna makes the difference. The mayo did add tang as well. I thought the amount of pepper I added would be too much, actually was nice with the creaminess. Will be making this again. Although it was very rich, served with some steamed brocolli it was a perfect comfort meal. Thanks again.

                                          1. My key is to use Rotini Tri-Color Pasta. Tuna and sauce cling great to the twist and it looks great too!

                                            1. Won't help you at all at this point but my favorite recipe I made last September using oil canned albacore we had canned ourselves, cream of mushroom soup I had made using Chanterelles we had foraged ourselves and really great Italian pasta (http://www.ritrovo.com/i-14800cas-pan...). It was probably the most expensive tuna casserole ever but oh man was it good.

                                              I still use the pasta and our tuna when I make the casserole now (I froze some of the soup but I'm out). I like to add a little celery for texture and just a little lemon zest as well. I use campbells cream of mushroom and a little dijon - sometimes a spoonful of mayo. I top it with French's fried onions - that's our favorite topping by far but I'm sure potato chips would be great too.

                                              1. This is a late response, but i know these threads keep getting read, just as I found this one through Google!

                                                I have a few things that really jump start my TNC; one is lotsa jarred ginger. I use almost all of the small jar. Another is using Trader Joe's Lemon Pepper Papardelle pasta, and the last is herbs. use fresh herbs if possible,and whatever is currently available of cilantro, basil, oregano, thyme, chives and tarragon; herbs add so much! Get my crumb topping from blenderizing herb/butter croutons. I also use saltine cracker crumbs browned in butter, and like potato chips too!
                                                All this is very nice with the usual onion and celery.

                                                1. I love a good TNC, and I'm surprised that no one has mentioned our traditional topping - cornflake crumbs. Have any of you heard of this or tried it? I thought it was standard, but I guess not.

                                                  Also in our house, we always used the cheap tuna (chunk light in water), probably because my family couldn't afford the good stuff. It's definitely provides a fishy taste, but in a good way.

                                                  After reading this thread, I'm going to make a batch using good tuna in oil and a few minced anchovies.

                                                  Lastly, we definitely add mayonnaise and never cheese of any sort in our TNC. This is a great thread, thanks for contributing!

                                                  13 Replies
                                                  1. re: MrsPatmore

                                                    My advice, drain off most of the oil. I learned the hard way.

                                                    1. re: coll

                                                      Thanks for the advice, coll! I'm making it for relatives soon, so I don't want to mess it up.

                                                      1. re: MrsPatmore

                                                        You don't have to strain it dry, but don't dump the whole can in either!

                                                        You could save a bit of it to brown the topping in a cast iron pan, I do that with breadcrumbs myself.

                                                        1. re: coll

                                                          I confess that I'm a bit worried because a some of the diners are kids . . . albeit not picky eaters. For anyone who has compared the oil-packed-tuna to the water-packed-tuna: is there a hugely fishy difference?

                                                          If I can find time this week, perhaps I'll do a small-scale comparison! (Sounds like a fun project to me)

                                                          1. re: MrsPatmore

                                                            No the oil only makes it taste richer, but not fishier.

                                                            1. re: coll

                                                              Thanks again, coll! I'm keen to try my beloved TNC with oil-packed tuna. Will report back. (BTW, I'm still curious to know if anyone else uses cornflake crumbs in lieu of breadcrumbs, saltines or potato chips)

                                                              1. re: MrsPatmore

                                                                I'm sure people use cornflake crumbs, I know a lot of fish stores that use that for their "secret" breading. Kelloggs does sell them pre-ground just for that purpose. I even knew one that was totally different and used sugar coated frosted flakes for his fried goods, to great acclaim.

                                                                1. re: coll

                                                                  Oh boy, coll, that reminds me: there was a hugely popular seafood place near me that was famous for *house special* coconut fried shrimp. I never understood why the dish was famous or popular, as I found it to be sickeningly sweet. Many years later, I had a client who used to work there and he told me that the "secret" ingredient was crushed Capt'n Crunch cereal in the batter with shredded coconut! And the "citrus dipping sauce" was melted orange marmalade! o_0

                                                                  1. re: MrsPatmore

                                                                    I'm not surprised at all! And if it sells, then why not. I guess if you have a younger clientele I could see it.

                                                                    A restaurant owner once told me that Applebees dip for their coconut shrimp was the greatest in the universe, then found out it was just orange marmalade and one other spicy ingredient. Variations on a theme!

                                                      2. re: coll

                                                        Agreed. Otherwise it gets really greasy (duh, but it does add flavor)

                                                        1. re: coll

                                                          coll > yep some kinds of fat you just don't want in there

                                                          1. re: iL Divo

                                                            I do dribble a bit into some olive oil to toast my bread crumb topping, but the first time I threw the whole can in, oil and all, it was a disaster.

                                                      3. Wow! I've never heard of Cream of anything soup in Tuna Casserole.
                                                        I drain the oil from two cans of tuna into the pan. Add a couple tablespoons of butter. Add flour to make a roux. Add milk to the point it starts thickening. Dump handfuls of cheese in. Salt, pepper, some smoked Paprika and a titch of ground red pepper flakes. Toss in my pasta. Pour everything into a casserole, cover with more cheese and put in the oven until the cheese is nice an bubbly.
                                                        Have never had Tuna Casserole with a "topping" either. Interesting...

                                                        4 Replies
                                                        1. re: AngelaID

                                                          Many folks come from or learned from making casseroles starting with cans of soup.
                                                          I didn't know what a roux was or how to make it until way after I left home!
                                                          It's great to learn how to build from scratch from the beginning.
                                                          Every once in a while, I sort of wish I stocked cream of soup cans (haven't bought in years), but I bet I'd be disappointed with the end result after so many years of not using them.

                                                          1. re: AngelaID

                                                            I used to make my tuna casserole with a base of mac and cheese, and more cheese on top, but I've moved on ;-)

                                                            1. re: AngelaID

                                                              ok, that's it, when are you fixin this for dinner, I can drive :)

                                                              1. I like a cold tuna noodle/macaroni salad with mayo, celery, green onions, olives, etc.

                                                                1 Reply
                                                                1. re: Antilope

                                                                  I love this too.
                                                                  I've taken to eating leftover tuna salad scooped up with my favorite tortilla chips.
                                                                  It's one of those "I'm home alone and can eat like this" pleasures.

                                                                2. My mother made one of these very often, but cream of celery soup was used, not mushroom. As others mentioned, there was no water-packed tuna back in the day, only oil-packed; that may also affect the flavor. Lastly, the undrained weight of canned tuna has dropped in the past several years, you may need to add an additional can (or two) depending on how large a casserole you're making.

                                                                  3 Replies
                                                                  1. re: mcsheridan

                                                                    Really good point about the amount of tuna in cans nowadays.
                                                                    The only brand I buy for how firmly/thickly it's packed, and for taste and quality, is Costco's Kirkland.
                                                                    Other brands that I've bought recently are like eating backfin crab vs. lump, and I can't believe how little there is left in the can once drained.

                                                                    1. re: monavano

                                                                      You might want to look at Wild Planet tuna also (I've seen it on sale recently at Costco for much less than the local grocery). Little to no water, very firmly packed and, allegedly, little by-catch.

                                                                    2. re: mcsheridan

                                                                      Re mcsheridan's mention of cream of celery soup, the Lobster Bisque recipe from the ORIGINAL Hamburger Hamlet (several LA locations owned by Marilyn and Harry Lewis) had cream of celery soup as one of the supporting ingredients. Since the chain was sold, (to cut costs, I'm sure) the recipe was modified, and for those who have a wonderful, visceral memory of that creamy, lobster-chunk, peachy-colored bisque, the altered version (around now for many years) is not even in the same ballpark. A real loss for the older foodies.

                                                                    3. I give the drained liquid from the tuna to my dogs, they think it is a wonderful treat mixed with their Taste of the Wild.

                                                                      1 Reply
                                                                      1. re: Nanzi

                                                                        That's a great idea- 3 dogs and my liquid has been going down the drain!

                                                                      2. We always added finely chopped celery that was sautéed, toasted cashew nuts, a dab of sour cream or Best Foods mayo (whatever was on hand) cream of mushroom soup, and plenty of salt and ground black pepper. Using good meaty oil packed tuna drained well helps. We only used egg noodles and we added frozen peas. Lots of crushed plain potato chips on top. Even with all that my father refused to *eat that damned glop* so mom made him a separate dinner:)

                                                                        2 Replies
                                                                        1. re: MamasCooking


                                                                          You had it good MamasCooking.

                                                                          My mother just dumped Campbells Cream of Mushroom soup into a sauce pan with some milk, heated, added drained oil packed Starkist tuna and added either canned or frozen peas.

                                                                          No yummy celery.
                                                                          No extra goodies.
                                                                          No cruncy toppings.
                                                                          No extra baking.

                                                                          Served over nice wide egg noodles, but still on the edge of what I call now, "palateable."

                                                                          I"ve not had TNC in a decade or more as a result.

                                                                          Guess I may have to dip my toes back into that water.
                                                                          LOL. :-)

                                                                          1. re: jjjrfoodie

                                                                            Watching my father turn green and gag at the smell of it baking was always fun:)

                                                                        2. I use the oil from the tuna to make white sauce. With a little butter too :). Lately have been adding a couple of anchovies or maybe a few more than that. Usually some onion sauteed in the oil prior to adding flour and milk. Oh, and mushrooms too, sliced thinly and sauteed as well. Celery is another good addition. I add frozen peas just before it goes into the oven. Wide egg noodles. I normally top my tuna noodle casserole with cheddar, and add a bit of sharp cheddar in small dice with the peas. I've been sort of considering a toasted breadcrumb topping, had this at a restaurant and it was tasty, added some crunch.

                                                                          2 Replies
                                                                            1. re: Teague

                                                                              Just realized, I mentioned this elsewhere but not on this thread: Recently discovered that Trader Joe lemon pepper pappardelle pasta in a tuna casserole is a match made in heaven!

                                                                            2. Recipe found...somewhere in a book. White sauce seasoned with Old Bay or a spicier equivalent. Dried porcini and used liquid in sauce as well. Peas, noodles, etc. as desired. Little to no cheese because I seldom had any in fridge. Scarfed down by TC-loving late spouse.

                                                                              1. I make about twice a year, the most unhealthy, delicious tuna casserole ever. It is a hold over from my childhood and pot luck dinners at church.
                                                                                Tuna drained of oil, a huge bag of potatochips smushed to smitherines(in the bag) can of mushroom soup, milk, butter, and lots of pepper. Mix together and bake 350 til top is nicely browned and crunchy. If I have mushrooms on hand I saute them in butter, garlic & pepper and add.And serve with green peas on the side.(peas tend to go sour easily if left over and cooked in the casserole, or so I've been told).

                                                                                4 Replies
                                                                                1. re: Nanzi

                                                                                  Someone had told me the "sour" thing about leaving carrots in soup too, but...maybe my taste buds aren't as sensitive as some, but I never found either of these theories to hold true.

                                                                                  1. re: Nanzi

                                                                                    This is closest to what I want. Chips essential. Noodles, not so much. Frozen petite peas a must.

                                                                                    1. re: Nanzi

                                                                                      Nanzi - your recipe has intrigued me ever since you posted it. I kept waiting for someone else to ask for specifics. And yet nobody did:-) How many cans of tuna and what do you consider a large bag of chips? That type of thing.

                                                                                      1. re: Nanzi

                                                                                        The "lots of pepper" in the casserole is also a good tip.

                                                                                      2. I can't believe I've never made homemade TNC! lol Its not something my mom made. In Canada we have something called Hamburger Helper which is absolutely gross. But the Tuna Helper TNC is actually good when your starving and don't feel like cooking. its a real comfort food I have it about twice a year. I am a 99% by scratch cook and will love to make my own, minus potato chips and canned soup.

                                                                                        1. This is the recipe I remember from my youth. I think it was printed on the Velveeta box, but since it also uses Miracle Whip I'm pretty sure it was a Kraft recipe. Also, I think Mom left out the celery.

                                                                                          1. Tuna Casseroles through the years.
                                                                                            Recipes from old newspapers:
                                                                                            San Jose News - Jan 11, 1934
                                                                                            Lodi News-Sentinel - May 27, 1938
                                                                                            Reading Eagle - Jul 4, 1938
                                                                                            The Pittsburgh Press - Aug 11, 1939
                                                                                            The Daily Times - Oct 16, 1941
                                                                                            The Daily Times - Jan 30, 1942
                                                                                            Spokane Daily Chronicle - Jan 17, 1946
                                                                                            The Spokesman-Review - Sep 28, 1946
                                                                                            The Miami News - Nov 13, 1947
                                                                                            Daytona Beach Morning Journal - Jul 21, 1949
                                                                                            Toledo Blade - Nov 21, 1952
                                                                                            Sarasota Herald-Tribune - Feb 27, 1955
                                                                                            Reading Eagle - Nov 5, 1959
                                                                                            The Pittsburgh Press - Sep 1, 1960
                                                                                            Pittsburgh Post-Gazette - Sep 26, 1963

                                                                                            2 Replies
                                                                                            1. re: Antilope

                                                                                              Thank you for posting; I read the links and they are GREAT

                                                                                              1. re: Antilope

                                                                                                Ditto on thanks for posting. Those were fun to read. I adored reading old recipes.

                                                                                              2. Just made a large TC.
                                                                                                Three cans of solid white albacore in water.
                                                                                                Made a classic bechamel sauce.
                                                                                                Sauteed sweet onions/fine chopped red bell peppers/celery. Added some fine chopped dried lobster mushrooms we picked last fall. I good amount of fresh dried thyme from our garden. Pinch of nutmeg. Pinch of powdered garlic. Cup of small frozen peas. Few drops of real truffle oil. Whole box of Barilla elbow pasta just barely cooked through. Seasoned with S&P. Combined in large bowl. Adjusted the thickness of bechamel sauce using hot whole milk to get just the right texture knowing that the pasta/bread crumbs would absorb some of the liquid. Nothing worse than 'gluupy' TC. Covered in fine layer of homemade bread crumbs. Into two large glass oven casserole dishes. Into 325F oven uncovered until bread crumbs turned golden brown.
                                                                                                We had a LARGE helping each. Gave a large container to our daughter. Next morning I had enough for four large yogurt containers which I froze.
                                                                                                Adding up what it cost to make.....including the fairly expensive cans of tuna it turned out to be pretty cheap but excellent food.

                                                                                                1. Thanks for reminding me of this dish!

                                                                                                  I made some for lunch today, adapting a recipe by Cindylc from www.food.com plus the hints from ecsondido, piano rose and ljs in this thread.

                                                                                                  6 oz egg noodles,
                                                                                                  5 oz canned tuna,
                                                                                                  1/4 cup mayo
                                                                                                  1/2 cup frozen peas
                                                                                                  1/3 cup mushroom pieces
                                                                                                  1/4 cup diced onion
                                                                                                  1/2 can cream of celery soup
                                                                                                  1/4 cup milk
                                                                                                  1/4 cup canned pimentos
                                                                                                  1 cup Colby cheese, shredded
                                                                                                  taco chips, crushed for topping
                                                                                                  Sauteed mushrooms and onions
                                                                                                  Combine al dente noodles, tuna,mayo,onion,mushrooms,peas,pimentos.
                                                                                                  Blend soup,milk in pan over low heat. Pepper to taste.
                                                                                                  Stir in cheese tip melted. Mix in with noodle in Casserole dish.
                                                                                                  Sprinkle crushed tacos on top.
                                                                                                  Bake 20 min at 425°F.

                                                                                                  DW says its best tuna casserole she's tasted!

                                                                                                  4 Replies
                                                                                                  1. re: DonShirer

                                                                                                    From another thread: Next time I'm making a 'deconstructed' TC. I won't forget the pimentos. LOL

                                                                                                        1. re: DonShirer

                                                                                                          poophead....you could have anticipated&saved a small container

                                                                                                    1. Just the topic.

                                                                                                      Looking for a post-modern TNC recipe without canned soup or mayo. Got tuna, eggs, matzo meal, cottage cheese, frozen peas, onions, Worcester sauce, mustard on hand. And other stuff.


                                                                                                      9 Replies
                                                                                                      1. re: Crabpaws

                                                                                                        Here's a good jumping off point for canned-soup-free TNC: http://www.epicurious.com/recipes/foo...

                                                                                                        IMHO, you got to let the spirit move you when making a good TNC . . . a little more of this, a little less of that, whatever appeals to you at the moment. I'm sure that I've never made it exactly the same twice

                                                                                                        Personally, I would not use the cottage cheese but hey, it's your casserole. LOL Happy cooking!

                                                                                                        1. re: MrsPatmore

                                                                                                          Thanks! I belong to the Chopped school of cooking. I'll figure the cottage cheese replaces the milk, broth, and cheese.

                                                                                                          1. re: Crabpaws

                                                                                                            Do you puree the cottage cheese? I have an image of little round white balls interspersed with tuna and noodles! o_0 I confess that I haven't done a lot of cooking with cottage cheese, although I've always liked the flavor when served cold. Perhaps I've erroneously assumed that it would somehow just curdle or break the sauce of any cooked dish. You've got me intrigued about this bit, now.

                                                                                                            1. re: MrsPatmore

                                                                                                              I haven't conducted this experiment yet. I intended to just mix sauteed mushrooms into the cottage cheese.

                                                                                                              When I've used cottage cheese in casseroles before, it's disappeared. It doesn't retain that texture, it must melt or something.

                                                                                                              Will let you know how it goes.

                                                                                                        2. re: Crabpaws

                                                                                                          You need to make a classic roux then use it in a classic bechamel sauce. Loose the CC and WC and mustard IMO.

                                                                                                          1. re: Puffin3

                                                                                                            I sauteed 1/2 lb. mushrooms last night with a little mashed roasted garlic, salt, and smoked paprika. I don't think the additional seasonings will be necessary, or the roux.

                                                                                                            Haven't made the TNC yet, will report back.

                                                                                                            1. re: Crabpaws

                                                                                                              So you don't need a 'roux'? What are you going to use for the liquid?
                                                                                                              Don't tell us you'll just use some butter and flour and milk instead OK? LOL
                                                                                                              Classic cream of mushroom soup is made using a 'roux' and adding hot milk.
                                                                                                              Note 'Step 3'. That's called making a 'roux'.http://www.food.com/recipe/homemade-c...

                                                                                                              1. re: Puffin3

                                                                                                                I'm gonna pass on the roux. The cottage cheese has the liquid. There's some oil in the sauteed mushrooms.

                                                                                                                It may turn out to be questionable. It's an experiment.

                                                                                                                1. re: Crabpaws

                                                                                                                  Funny about that. Cottage cheese and durian fruit are the two foods I will not eat for any amount of money. Why bother? I'd 'toss' them immediately anyway. LOL

                                                                                                        3. I remember Tuna Noodle Hotdish from my elementary school cafeteria days with horror.

                                                                                                          7 Replies
                                                                                                          1. re: John E.

                                                                                                            Here's a link to a current copy of the USDA school cafeteria recipe - Tuna and Noodles (for 50 & 100 servings):

                                                                                                            USDA school cafeteria Tuna and Noodles

                                                                                                            USDA Recipes for Schools, Alphabetical by Recipe Name

                                                                                                              1. re: Antilope

                                                                                                                Actually that doesn't look too bad.

                                                                                                                1. re: calumin

                                                                                                                  Yes, and I don't see a 6-pound can of cream of mushroom soup in the ingredients. That's a plus.

                                                                                                                  1. re: Crabpaws

                                                                                                                    Martha uses OO instead of butter to make a roux. Anytime a fat and flour are combined and heated it's a roux. Heating flour causes dextrinization.

                                                                                                                2. I made TNC with tuna, noodles, frozen peas, sauteed mushrooms with roasted garlic, and cottage cheese -- it was fine.

                                                                                                                  The cottage cheese, which is very bland, provided the right gloopiness while adding protein. After all, TNC is just noodles and tuna mixed with some gloop.

                                                                                                                  Only thing, the smoked paprika and fresh dill I put in didn't work, they accented the sourness of the tuna. So forget getting fancy with herbs, etc. Bland is the way to go, let the tuna flavor the thing.

                                                                                                                  1 Reply
                                                                                                                  1. re: Crabpaws

                                                                                                                    Thanks for reporting back - I am glad to know that cottage cheese works. I will definitely avoid herbs (although I do typically add some finely chopped fresh parsley, but I'm a parsley fanatic)

                                                                                                                  2. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LzyI_...

                                                                                                                    Jean Redpath duetting with Garrison Keillor on his "Tuna, the food of my soul", sung to the melody of "Whispering Hope".

                                                                                                                    Her glorious, lilting Scottish voice is no more. Jean Redpath was 77. In the 80's and 90's, she was a semi-regular on Prairie Home Companion, where her quick wit and sly humor danced through the airwaves. I am happy to have seen her perform live back then.

                                                                                                                    1. This comes from a 1962 church cookbook:

                                                                                                                      TUNA NOODLE CASSEROLE

                                                                                                                      1 (12-oz) package wide egg noodles (cooked)
                                                                                                                      1 (7-oz) can tuna
                                                                                                                      1 (4-oz) can (or 1/4 pound fresh) mushrooms
                                                                                                                      2 hard boiled eggs
                                                                                                                      1/2 green bell pepper
                                                                                                                      1/2 (4-oz) can pimientos
                                                                                                                      6 stuffed green olives
                                                                                                                      1 (3-oz) package pimiento cream cheese
                                                                                                                      2 1/2 cups white sauce (if using canned mushrooms, use liquid in white sauce)

                                                                                                                      Melt pimiento cheese in white sauce. Add tuna, seasoning, chopped egg,
                                                                                                                      pepper, olives, mushrooms and pimiento to the sauce. Pour over boiled noodles (in buttered casserole). Cover with bread crumbs. Bake about 1/2 hour in moderate oven (350-F). Serves 4 or 5.