A cooking and baking journal

Homemade Tuna Noodle Casserole (Without the Can!)

The condensed soups, be it tomato, chicken noodle, cream of this or cream of that, they all have personal recipe books to their name. Instead of choosing the pot o' soup route, you can take your condensed soup and make Southwest Chili or Garlic Chicken.

Or arguably the most famous condensed soup based recipe: Tuna Noodle Casserole.

Cream of mushroom soup, the star of the Tuna Noodle Casserole stage, was actually my favorite Campbell's soup when I was growing up. And it was one of the few meals that I could cook for the family when I was eleven. (Yeah, it was basically soup and cinnamon toast then!)

Using the cream of mushroom as a base for Tuna Noodle Casserole is always a fast and effortless way of pulling a casserole together, but sometimes this is not always possible. Such as last week. I proposed the idea of making Tuna Noodle Casserole that week and since we haven't had it in SUCH a long time, the family was getting kind of excited about the whole thing. I started check-boxing the ingredient list in my head. . . "So I will need peas. Check. Cheese. Check. Tuna, cheese, milk. Check, check, check. Think I'm all set. Wait a minute. I don't have any cream of mushroom soup. Actually no cream of soup at all!"

I just couldn't bring myself to burst the Tuna Noodle Casserole bubble for the family so I scoured the internet searching for a recipe that didn't include the "can." I found one at "Sing for Your Supper Blog." It it not your traditional Tuna Noodle. It uses spaghetti, olives, canned mushrooms, etc. Not many flavors or textures the family would like. But the recipe has good bones, especially when speaking of the roux. So I took some components from this recipe, added a few of mine and produced a casserole that we think is better than the Campbell version. And hey, making Tuna Noodle Casserole from scratch also means less salt and the sometimes "chalky" aftertaste you get from a canned soup. Not a bad comeback!

Homemade Tuna Noodle Casserole
click here for printable recipe

Yield: One 5 quart casserole

Prep Time: 1 hour
Cooking Time: 40 minutes


1/2 lb. jumbo elbow macaroni (use any pasta shape you like!)
2 cups chicken stock (I use chicken bouillon cubes. To make: Drop in two cubes into two cups boiling water. Boil until cubes have dissolved)
4 medium onions
1/2 stick butter
5 tbsp flour
1 cup milk
3 tablespoons dried parsley
1 quart frozen peas (I use whole sugar snap peas. Alternatively, you can use two 15 oz. cans of shelled peas)
2 cans chunk white tuna (5 oz. cans)
2 cups shredded cheddar or monterey jack cheese
2 packets of Ritz crackers, crushed (Tip: Put two Ritz cracker packets into plastic bag and crush by hand until crumbs resemble large bread crumbs)


Preheat oven to 400F. Boil 4 quarts water in 6 quart pot. In the meantime, chop onions into small dice. Add macaroni to pot and boil until fully cooked (around 11 minutes). Drain pot and pour cooked pasta into separate bowl. Return pasta pot to medium-high burner and add 1/2 stick butter. As soon as butter is melted add onions, salt, and pepper. Put lid on pot and cook onions until softened, about 10 minutes. Next, add 5 tablespoons flour to onions, stir vigorously and cook onion-flour paste for 2 minutes. Slowly begin adding chicken stock and milk to pot and stir continuously. Simmer until thickened. As soon as liquid has thickened, add in dried parsley, salt, pepper, cooked macaroni, frozen peas, tuna, and cheese. Bring pot to a simmer. Pour tuna noodle mixture into casserole dish that has been either buttered or sprayed with nonstick spray. Pour a little milk at the sides of the dish to prevent a dry casserole. Top casserole with cracker topping. Place dish into oven and bake for 10 minutes or until cracker topping is slightly brown. To avoid an overly browned topping, top casserole with aluminum foil and return to oven to cook for an additional 30 minutes. Look for a ready casserole that is golden brown and bubbling around the edges. Enjoy!

Watch and Cook

I also filmed a how-to video on this Tuna Noodle Casserole of mine. Be sure to watch it before you tie on your apron!

click the image to see the video

No comments:

Post a Comment