Tuna Noodle Casserole

tunanood1Mr. MarthaAndMe LOVES tuna noodle casserole. He asks for it for his birthday dinner every year. I never had tuna noodle casserole until I met him (my parents fooled around with all kinds of crazy food things, but never anything so traditional!). And I have to admit I’ve never been a big fan of it. Over the years, I’ve learned to make it so that I can choke it down. Usually I use 2 cans of tuna, one can of cream of mushroom soup, and egg noodles and I add in mushrooms, broccoli, peas, Worchestershire, Italian herbs, and lots and lots of cheese. Even so, I’ve never really cared for it.

In the September edition of Martha Stewart Everyday Food, Martha has a section on foods made using a bechamel sauce, one of which is tuna noodle tunanood2casserole. I knew Mr. MarthaAndMe would be happy to find tuna noodle casserole on his plate for dinner, so I gave it a try. First I made the bechamel sauce, which is very easy – cook some onions (1/4 cup chopped) in 3 Tbsp butter, add flour (1/4 cup – I doubled this to make it thicker) to make a roux then stir in milk (4 cups) and let it thicken. It does take some time to make, but it’s not hard at all.

I cooked the green beans (10 oz – what a great idea – I never thought to add those!) and then cooked my whole wheat spirals (1/2 lb). I mixed the tuna (2 cans) with the noodles, beans and bechamel sauce and poured it into a casserole dish. Then I used some whole wheat bread (5 slices) to make breadcrumbs and mixed them with melted butter (2 Tbsp) and poured them on top. That was it! This was incredibly easy.

I baked it at 350 for about 45 minutes and it came out bubbly, warm and pretty. And here’s the newsflash. I actually liked it! All these years that I’ve been making this for him, it never occurred to me to substitute a real sauce for that nasty canned cream of mushroom soup. If only I’d known! This was simple, but very tasty. I loved having the beans in it. They gave it some substance and balanced out the creaminess of the sauce. The breadcrumbs on top are the perfect touch (in the past, I’ve used crumbled crackers or potato chips). This is really a terrific recipe.

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10 Responses to Tuna Noodle Casserole

  1. Alisa Bowman says:

    I’ve never liked this dish, but it’s because I don’t like canned tuna. Which sort of creates a problem, doesn’t it? But if you could choke the recipe down–and in fact like it–maybe I can, too. Definitely willing to give it a try.

  2. marthaandme says:

    I think you could definitely make this with fresh leftover tuna.

  3. One of the favorite dishes of my childhood — along with other cream-of-mushroom-soup concoctions. This looks divine.

  4. Frugal Kiwi says:

    I had the same experience when I made a grown-up version of green bean casserole last year for an expat Thanksgiving dinner. I never much liked it, but it was what I was asked to bring. With homemade french fried onions and a sherry and mushroom sauce, it was a whole other dish than with gloopy cream of mushroom soup.

  5. marthaandme says:

    That does sound good. I’ll have to think of what other traditional/childhood dishes can be remade using grown up ingredients. I already make a killer mac and cheese which is nothing like the one in the box.

  6. Okay, I just want to say that I love Tuna Noodle Casserole. And…this blog always makes me hungry. 🙂

  7. Kerri says:

    I like tuna noodle casserole, but my husband doesn’t. Maybe this is the recipe that he’ll finally like!

  8. marthaandme says:

    It seems like people feel strongly one way or the other about tuna noodle casserole – you love it or you hate it! I have to say that this recipe is more like a nice pasta dish than traditional tuna noodle casserole, so it may bridge the gap.

  9. This could not have come at a more perfect time…I’d been searching high and low for a quasi “antique” tuna casserole recipe – this one sounds even better. Thanks 🙂

  10. Kerry Dexter says:

    my grandmother made this when I was a kid — I remember being just tall enough to see over the edge of the stove and watch her cook this (she used real sauce too, not soup). this and chili were the two things she really liked making from scratch, as I recall. thanks for bringing back the good memory…

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