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Old-fashioned tuna casserole is as retro as it gets since it’s a mid-century favorite.
Retro Tuna Casserole
There’s quite a number of mid-century meals that have never gone out of style. Meat loaf with mashed potatoes in one of them. The other is this old-fashioned tuna casserole.
This is one of those dinners you either love or hate. I can’t understand the negatives about it since if it’s made right, it’s pretty delicious.
This was never on the meal rotation when I was growing up so I don’t have a childhood history with it. The reason being is my father just didn’t like tuna and my mother wasn’t into making separate meals so she cooked what we’d all eat. I actually developed a love for this because a neighbor would make it. I loved it so much that she’d make it for me specifically. This is her basic recipe and it’s delicious!
This tuna casserole, like most of the numerous recipes for it, are made with simple ingredients that most people already have on hand in the pantry.
It contains the obligatory cream of mushroom soup and of course, tuna. I think that many of us have these ingredients lurking around. And who doesn’t have pasta in the cupboard. If you don’t have a bag of wide or medium egg noodles, then elbow macaroni or any tubular pasta can be substituted.
When it comes to the cheese, a mild cheddar is very nice, but again, use what you have. Often my neighbor would substitute grated Parmesan if she didn’t have the cheddar on hand. So instead of two ups of shredded cheese, you’d reduce the amount to 1/2 cup if you’re using Parmesan. Try it with Parmesan. It’s different and makes it a bit more fancy and updated.
As for the tuna, this is a good place to use chunk light tuna. Solid white albacore works well too, but I feel the light tuna gives it a bit more flavor.
About The Topping
I used Ritz crackers for the topping because I’m crazy for buttered Ritz crumbs, but my neighbor always used the dregs of a bag of potato chips. It tastes very good with the potato chips and it’s a great use for those teeny pieces that end up getting thrown out.
Old-Fashioned Tuna Casserole
- 12 oz egg noodles 1 package
- 1/4 cup chopped onion
- 2 cups shredded Cheddar cheese
- 1 cup frozen green peas
- 10 oz tuna, drained 2 5-ounce cans
- 21.5 oz condensed cream of mushroom soup 2 standard cans
- 4.5 oz sliced mushrooms small can
- 1/4 cup melted butter
- 30 butter crackers like Ritz crushed
- Preheat oven to 425 degrees F. Lightly spray a 13 x 9-inch baking dish or 3-quart casserole with cooking spray.
- Mix crushed crackers with melted butter in a small bowl; set aside.
- Cook noodles per package directions until al dente; drain and place in a large bowl.
- Mix in the onion, shredded cheese, peas, tuna, soup and mushrooms. Mix well and turn into prepared pan. Top with crumbs
- Bake for 20-25 minutes or until crumbs are golden brown and casserole is bubbling around the sides.
- Serves 6-8