Thursday, August 18, 2011

Classic Comfort - The Tuna Noodle Casserole

You can go back for generations and you'll find a recipe for this classic comfort food - the tuna noodle casserole. Tuna, egg noodles, peas (sometimes a peas and carrots mix), and a sauce made from scratch or using a cream soup such as celery, mushroom or a combination of both. It can be quickly mixed together, baked in no time and a real fill-you-upper kind of meal. It was especially found in households that practiced the "fish on Friday" requirement of some religions. While some children won't eat fish, the majority won't turn down tuna fish (the canned variety, not the fresh type).

The food companies even tried capitalizing on the love of this basic dish by selling a boxed skillet version which contained a packet of dry sauce and peas mix and a packet of noodles; just add tuna and, bango...tuna casserole in a skillet. No, sorry, I don't think so; it's not that hard to make it from a recipe and use the oven to make a proper casserole.

There's comfort food and then there's "I'm really lazy food"; for me, I'll go the comfort route any time.

Tuna Noodle Casserole

2 tablespoons butter
1/4 cup each diced celery, onion and mushroom 
1 can (5 oz) chunk light tuna in water; undrained and flaked
1 can (5 oz) albacore white tuna in water; undrained and flaked
1 can (10.5 oz) cream of mushroom soup
1 can (10.5 oz) cream of celery soup
1 cup milk
1 cup frozen peas or peas/carrots mix
8 ounces noodles, cooked and drained
1/2 cup bread crumbs mixed with 2 Tbsp melted butter

In a large skillet, medium-high heat, melt butter; sauté celery, onion and mushroom until tender.  Combine this in a large mixing bowl with all other ingredients except the buttered bread crumbs.  Spread evenly in the baking dish; top with the buttered bread crumbs.

Bake for 30-35 minutes; until bread crumbs are browned and sauce is bubbling.

Makes 6 servings.

Mary Cokenour
August 18, 1982

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