Tuna Casserole

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Retro comfort food tuna noodle casserole topped with crushed potato chips, and made with canned tuna, egg noodles, mushrooms, broccoli, cream of mushroom soup, and cheddar cheese.

Photography Credit: Elise Bauer

My father and I have been reminiscing lately about my mom’s tuna casserole, the one she used to make in the 60s, with cream of mushroom soup, broccoli, lots of cheese, and a crushed potato chip topping.

Mom has only the vaguest recollection of a tuna casserole (“I think it had broccoli in it.”) In fact, today she said she had no memory of it at all.

Did she really make it? Or are dad and I remembering something instead from a school cafeteria?

In any case, I attempted to reproduce it for today’s lunch, in honor of the weekend and long forgotten family traditions.

Entering our pantry for the first time in 20 years was a can of Campbell’s Cream of Mushroom Soup (really must use this one, no other will do.) Also, I used Kettle potato chips – very good quality.

The verdict? Yes, it’s just what you want in a classic tuna casserole! Filling, cheesy, crunchy topping, not too tuna-y.

The visiting picky eater kids (okay, not that picky, thank God) had three servings.

Tuna Casserole Recipe

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  • Cook time: 55 minutes
  • Yield: Serves 6

Ingredients

  • 12 ounces wide egg noodles
  • 1 Tbsp salt
  • 8 ounces sliced fresh mushrooms
  • 1 medium onion, chopped
  • 2 Tbsp butter
  • 2 cups chopped broccoli (about 1/2 lb)
  • 2 (6-ounce) cans tuna, drained
  • 1 (10 3/4 oz)can Campbell's cream of mushroom soup
  • 2 1/2 cups grated cheddar cheese
  • 1/3 cup milk
  • 1 Tbsp cream
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • 1 cup crushed potato chips

Method

1 Cook the noodles and broccoli: Preheat oven to 400°F. In a large (6 qt) pot, bring 4 quarts of water to a boil. Add a tablespoon of salt. Return to a boil. Add noodles. Cook uncovered on high heat on a rolling boil.

Just before pasta is al dente, (firm but cooked through, earliest cooking time minus 2 minutes), add the chopped broccoli to the pasta and cook for 2 more minutes.

Drain in a colander and set aside.

2 Sauté mushrooms: While the pasta is cooking, dry sauté the mushrooms in a frying pan on medium high heat (no need to add butter or oil, mushrooms will cook in their own juice).

When mushrooms have given up their moisture (about 5-10 minutes), remove from heat and set aside.

3 Cook the onions: After the pasta is done and is draining in a colander, heat a large oven-proof pan on medium heat, add 2 tablespoons of butter. Add the onions and cook them until translucent.

4 Combine pasta, broccoli, mushrooms, tuna, can of mushroom soup, cheese, milk, cream: Add the pasta and broccoli mixture back into the pot; stir in the mushrooms. Stir in the tuna, can of cream of mushroom soup, grated cheese, milk and cream. Add salt and pepper to taste.

5 Top with crushed potato chips: Spread crushed potato chips over the top of the mixture.

6 Bake: Cook for 20 minutes at 400°F in the oven, until the topping has browned.

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Showing 4 of 43 Comments

  • Karen

    MMMMM, so good, BUT, must have sweet peas in it, not brocolli, to match my childhood memories. It’s still a family favorite.

  • Kim

    Hmm…I might have missed it, but when do you put in the grated cheese? I’m assuming you put it in with the milk, cream, and cream of mushroom soup, but I could be wrong. It still sounds delicious!

  • Habanero

    I agree with Karen, must have sweet baby peas.
    Also I use the sea shell shaped noodles instead of the wide ones. Thanks for the memory.

  • Elise

    Hi all, thanks for your comments! Yep I remember a pea version too. I was going to make it but mom and dad insisted on broccoli. The real trick with this recipe is the crumbled potato chips. I had completely forgotten about them being in tuna casserole when dad brought it up.

  • Matthew

    Made this last night and — yes — it is delicious. I used the mushroom soup “with roasted garlic” which added a delicious dimension to it, as well as substituting sharp white cheddar for the last 1/2 cup of cheese (all I had). It was roundly praised. “Not too tuna-y” is correct. Being a guy I wish there were some more meat in there but alas I know not what it would do to the flavor of the dish. Oh well…anyhow, a delicious recipe, better than my mom’s old improvised version (sorry, Ma, love you). Bon apetite.

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Tuna Casserole