Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Frugal Recipes: Tuna Casserole

IMG_4416Tuna Casserole is one of those recipes, that, when most people hear is on the menu, say, "Tuna Casserole?"wrinkle their noses in disgust and fumble for some reason, any reason, why they will (unfortunately, hmmm, SO sorry) be out of the house at dinnertime.

At our house, it's more like, "Tuna Casserole?  Nom, nom, drool, ohmyG-d what time is dinner again?!?"  Because we love it so much.  David grew up with it in the menu rotation, and so it's comfort food for him, and has become the same for me.  Comfort food on three levels - One, I love the hot, gooey, casseroley-ness, two, I know my husband is genuinely happy with this dinner choice, (that warms the 1950's-era portion of my little heart right up) and three, I know it's not going to kill my grocery budget.

So.  If you're strange like us or if you've always thought Tuna Casserole was gross but never actually tried it, why not make this part of your dinner rotation?  It's easy to prepare a day or two ahead and stash in the fridge to shove in the oven half an hour before dinner time.  It's frugal on two levels - One, the basic ingredients are inexpensive, and two, this is really a tour le fridge type of thing, where if you have some odds and ends (like veggies, or stale bread) about to go bad lying around, you can just throw them in and the Tuna Casserole won't be bothered at all.  "The more the merrier," this dinner says.

Boil up some egg noodles.  Be sure to cook them a little less than you normally would, because they're going to cook a little more in the oven.
Add 3 cans of "cream of" condensed soup.  We use 2 cans of cream of mushroom and one of celery.
Then mix in 3 cans of tuna.  Don't worry about draining them all the way - it's okay to have a bit more liquid in the mix.
Here's where you clean out your fridge.  Sauteed onions, cheese cubes, veggies, can all go in.  I added a bag of frozen peas because we didn't have any scuzzy  veggies lying around and David won't eat peas otherwise.
Now, mix everything up in a big pan.

I layered the top with mozzarella shreds and then bread crumbs.  (Some ladies, like my friend Mara, top theirs with potato chips which I think is awesome but David thinks is inappropriate, so I don't do it.)IMG_4415

A tangent about bread crumbs - I love it when I need bread crumbs because then I can use the heels of challah my little monsters won't eat on Shabbat.  They go right in the blender with some herbs and spices and come out beautifully.

In the oven at 350 (or so) for 30 minutes (or so.)
Here is mine ready to eat.  On my lap.  On the couch. Yes, I eat on the couch, okay?

Here's David's, more disturbingly, smothered in jalapeno peppers.  I think it's gross but he thinks it's probably what manna tasted like.  So whatever.

Enjoy!  Especially because there are lots of leftovers and now you don't have to make lunch tomorrow, hooray!


  1. Looks awesome and so easy -- I'm going to try it! Thanks Leigh Ann!

  2. Thanks for commenting, Debbie! Let me know how yours turns out.

  3. sounds delish. i want some right now. i love love love that you said that david thinks potato chips on top are "inappropriate" - totally cracked me up!

  4. Thanks, Phyl! If I lived in Chicagoland you'd have a pan on your front porch tomorrow.

  5. (a) thanks for the all the linky love and (b) what could possibly be inappropriate about potato chips? Silly man! I once tried using crushed up cheez-its b/c I was out of potato chips... oh lordy the rebellion that ensued.


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