Chef P’s Tuna Casserole

Sometimes you just get the weirdest cravings…I probably haven’t had tuna casserole in 30 years, but today, out of the blue, I just had to have some. I looked up Mom’s old recipe (ie: The Betty Crocker Cookbook) made a few upgrades, and whipping up a VERY tasty one-pan dinner.

Very nice on a cold, rainy night!

Here you go,  Joella!

The Best Tuna Casserole

Chef P’s Tuna Casserole

1 (12 ounce) package egg noodles
1/4 cup sweet onion, chopped
1 cup shredded Cheddar cheese (I like Cabot’s), divided
1 cup shredded Grueyre cheese
2 cups frozen sweet green peas
1 lb home-canned tuna (Or, if you must, 3 (6oz) cans, drained)
12 oz. homemade cream of mushroom soup, reduced (it’s super easy, here’s the first step) or 2 cans condensed cream of mushroom soup
1 cup unseasoned breadcrumbs, or, for hardcore comfort-foodiness, crushed Ritz Crackers.
1 tsp garlic powder
1 tsp. chili powder
1 tsp. sweet paprika
2 tsp. black pepper

Preheat oven to 425 degrees F (220 degrees C).

Cook pasta in a large pot of salted water for 8 to 10 minutes, or until al dente; drain.

In a small bowl, toss breadcrumbs, half of each cheese, chili powder, garlic powder, black pepper, and paprika. (You can take this up a notch, btw, if you’re making your own mushroom soup, roast some peeled fresh garlic along with the ‘shrooms. Add these into the next step.)

Thoroughly mix cooked noodles, onion, remaining cheese, peas, tuna, and soup. Transfer to a 9×13 inch baking dish, and top with breadcrumb/cheese mixture.

The Best Tuna Casserole
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Bake for 15 to 20 minutes in the preheated oven, or until breadcrumbs are golden brown.

A casserole is basically just a very thick stew, and like a stew, it gets better with a little time. I like to make mine the day before, or let it rest at least an hour before serving. For the day before preparation, let the cooked casserole cool to room temp before you wrap it that. This keeps the breadcrumbs from getting mushy from condensation.

Serve with a fresh green salad, and enjoy!

~ Chef Perry