How to Make Easy Tuna Fish Casserole

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  • Start to Finish: 50 minutes

  • Servings: 4 to 6

  • Difficulty: Beginner

Even as comfort food has made it to restaurant menus and been featured on countless food shows, one dish rarely is seen outside of home kitchens: the humble tuna casserole. It's economical, satisfying and simple to prepare. If you didn't inherit a recipe from a family member, you easily can create your own. Start with the basics and add some special touches.

Ingredients

  • 8 ounces wide egg noodles

  • 1 tablespoon kosher salt

  • 1 can cream of celery or cream of mushroom soup

  • 1 cup half-and-half or whole milk

  • 1/2 teaspoon black pepper

  • 2 5-ounce cans chunk white tuna, drained

  • 1 long celery stalk, thinly sliced on the diagonal
  • 1 tablespoon butter

  • 1 medium yellow onion, chopped or diced
  • 1 small can sliced black olives, drained (optional)

  • 1 cup fresh peas or thawed frozen peas (optional)

  • 1/2 cup panko or seasoned breadcrumbs

  • 3 tablespoons grated Parmesan cheese
  • Olive oil spray or other cooking oil spray

Tip

  • Cream of celery soup has a less identifiable flavor than mushroom soup and little kids are less likely to pick out a bit of celery and shriek, "Ew!" This recipe also easily works with chunks of chicken and cream of chicken soup. If you have an aversion to canned soup, you can find many gourmet recipes for this homey dish.

Directions

Preheat the oven to 375 degrees Fahrenheit. Coat a 2-quart casserole dish with cooking spray.

Boil the egg noodles with the salt for two minutes less than the package directions specify. Drain the noodles and return them to the pot.

Add the soup, half-and-half, pepper, celery and tuna to the noodles. Stir gently so the tuna doesn't completely fall apart.

In a small skillet, briefly sauté the onions in the butter -- just until they soften a bit. Add the onions to the noodle mixture.

Add the extras such as peas and/or olives.

Mix it all up and pour it in the casserole dish.

Bake and Serve

Sprinkle the top of the casserole with breadcrumbs. Japanese panko crisps up a little better, but regular or seasoned crumbs do the job. Whichever you choose, spray the top with oil.

Bake for 30 minutes.

Open the oven, sprinkle on the cheese and broil for five minutes or until the cheese browns.

Allow the dish to cool for at least five minutes before serving. The casserole will hold its heat for at least 15 minutes if you need more time to make a salad or get everyone to the table.

Tip

  • Old-school tuna casserole has a topping of crushed potato chips. If you take this route, don't spray the topping with oil since the oil in the chips do the trick. For kids, consider a topping of Goldfish crackers.

Serving Suggestions

  • Serve with bread sticks and a tossed salad of lettuce, tomato and onion.

  • Cornbread muffins with honey butter add contrasting flavor as an accompaniment.

  • Serve with fragrant broiled garlic bread.

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