Friday, July 20, 2012

An American Classic: Tuna Noodle Casserole





As a child, I groaned whenever I came to the dinner table and saw tuna noodle casserole waiting for me. It might not be the most exciting meal to serve, but that doesn't make it any less of a classic American dish. Not only is tuna noodle casserole a comfort-classic that's easy to prepare, it's also a very frugal dish. Casseroles, like the tuna noodle casserole, became popular in the 1950s. They're relatively easy to prepare and many are one-dish recipes which makes them the favorites of many busy cooks.

Fortunately for me, two things happened as I got older that gave me a new appreciation for tuna noodle casserole:  1) I found a recipe for a much creamier tuna noodle casserole than I grew up eating and 2) I discovered chicken worked equally as well in the recipe. Many traditional recipes for tuna noodle casserole call for a crunchy topping (usually made of potato chips), but you'll notice my recipe does not have a crunchy topping. You can certainly add one, if you like. Many cooks also like to add peas to the casserole; I prefer mushrooms. Almost any vegetable can be used in tuna noodle casserole. It's a very versatile dish. The recipe I'm sharing with you this week can be made in a slow cooker or the oven. It's been so miserably hot here, I was loathe to turn on my oven, so I opted for the slow cooker. My children prefer the chicken version to the tuna, so that's usually what I make.

In our home, thanks to the creamy, delicious recipe below, there's no groaning at the dinner table whenever tuna (or chicken) noodle casserole is served. It's become one of our favorite comfort foods.


Slow Cooked Tuna (or Chicken) Casserole




1/3 cup chopped onion

1 cup sliced mushrooms

1 tsp. salt

1/2 tsp. pepper

1 (10 1/2 oz.) can cream of chicken soup

1 (10 1/2 oz.) can cream of mushroom soup

1 cup mayonnaise

1 cup Colby (or cheddar) cheese, shredded

1 (9.25 oz.) can tuna or 2 cups chicken, shredded or diced

1 (12 oz.) pkg. uncooked medium noodles (about 3 cups)


Spray the crock of your slow cooker with non-stick cooking spray.

Combine the onion, mushrooms, salt, pepper, soups, mayonnaise and cheese in the slow cooker crock; mix well. Stir in the tuna (or chicken) and uncooked noodles. Set slow cooker temperature to low, cover and cook for 6 - 8 hours or until noodles are tender.




If you'd like to make your casserole in the oven, bake it for 35 - 45 minutes at 350° F. Tuna casserole can be frozen - after cooling completely - for 3 to 6 months. Be sure to store the casserole in a freezer-safe container with a good seal.

Enjoy!








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22 comments:

  1. Replies
    1. Me too, Ellen! Especially now that our household is getting smaller as children go out on their own. I'm still learning to down-size my cooking! Thank you for stopping by! Have a wonderful weekend!

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  2. tuna is always good. I found this via Simple Living with Diane Balch. I linked in a spicy and crunchy coleslaw. Cheers.

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    Replies
    1. Hi Carole! Thank you for visiting me and especially for letting me know about your Food on Friday link party! I hope you're having a great weekend!

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  3. This is such a comforting dish! Perfect because it can be frozen!

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    Replies
    1. Hi Lin! It really is a great and completely under-appreciated dish, isn't it? I love that it can be easily frozen. Thank you for stopping by! I hope you're having a great weekend!

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  4. I just stumbled onto your blog. New follower and hope you will follow back. Funny, I was just thinking about Tuna Casserole too.

    http://recipesonthecheap.blogspot.com/

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hello! Thank you so much for being my newest follower! I'm following you back and I have to say, I LOVE your site! I really like how you've divided everything by decade and/or era. You have some great recipes on your site and I'll be back. Thanks, again!!

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  5. This sounds and looks like heaven, especially the chicken sub, thank you Stephanie!!!

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    Replies
    1. Hi Didi! Thank you for stopping by and also for your wonderful comments. Salmon and crab also work really well in this casserole. It's more of a grown-up taste - we haven't progressed past chicken in our house, yet!

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  6. oh man this brings back memories for me! thanks for sharing, great take on this classic dish!

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    1. Hi Jenn! Doesn't it bring back memories? Even though I didn't appreciate this casserole as a child, it's one of my favorites now. Thanks for stopping by and leaving your wonderful comments! Have a great week!!

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  7. I've always been curious about tuna noodle casserole. Having grown up Italian-American I never had noodles with anything but a red sauce. It looks delicious. Can't wait to try it.

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    1. Hi Diane! Thank you for visiting me! Please let me know if you give the casserole a try. I'd be curious to know what you think of it. And I am now completely jealous of you (and every other person who grew up in an Italian home) - I LOVE Italian cuisine!

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  8. Wow, this looks great! I am pinning for future reference. I'd love for you to link it up to my Marvelous Mondays party. http://www.jamscorner.com/search/label/Monday%20Party

    Also, I am your newest follower via GFC. I'd love for you to check out my cooking/DIY blog and follow back! :)

    Julie
    www.jamscorner.com

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    Replies
    1. Hi Julie! Thank you for coming over and also for your wonderful comments. I'll be over on Monday to see you at Marvelous Mondays. Thank you for the invitation!

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  9. This is such a classic. I have started to appreciate it more since my older one is such a big Tuna fan. Loved the post.

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    Replies
    1. Hi Minnie! It's funny, most people who didn't care for tuna noodle casserole as a child enjoy it more as an adult. Go figure! I wish my children liked tuna more. Maybe when they get older?

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  10. I am a chicken noodle casserole girl myself! This looks delish and like you said, so versitile. Thanks for sharing on Tout It Tuesday! Hope to see you tomorrow.

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    Replies
    1. Hello! Thank you so much for hosting Tout It Tuesday. I love all the great links and the opportunity to connect with other foodies and bloggers. See you soon!

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