Skip to content

Tuna Noodle Casserole – Guest Feature

March 7, 2010

Today’s guest feature comes to you from my dear friend Victoria. Victoria recently made the choice to go organic, and I thought it would be great to use this platform to let her speak to you on why she’s made that choice. Read through the post (she’s got some questions for you at the end), comment if you like, and make the dish for sure. I’m still accepting guest features, so if you’d like to participate – go ahead and comment! Enjoy! –Cupcake.

Tuna Noodle Casserole

The true joy I get out of cooking is from those nights when you’re scrounging around the kitchen, trying to put together something with what you already have. For a week in February, Washington, DC was pummeled by snowstorm after snowstorm [we literally got over 50 inches of snow in a week], and my nearest go-to grocery store was cleared OUT of everything… like milk! Luckily, I try and keep some staples around the house so that I can always make some sort of meal – even if it is just plain pasta and a jar of sauce.

On Monday, after two days of being cooped up in a two-bedroom apartment, I decided I needed to drag myself off the couch and do something. (More after the jump)…

Something Healthy.

Tuna is definitely one of those goods I try and always keep on hand. It’s great for summer pasta salads, sandwiches, and it is one of the few fish I enjoy to eat. My dad likes to advocate weekly fish and frequent red wine consumption (thanks, Dad!), so it’s fun to check the box on my inner “be healthy” list.

Eating fish is not the only way I try to eat well. I’ve also been trying to eat more organically produced food since staying with my cousin, B, on vacation in Montana. B and her husband are truly conscious about what they put in their bodies and are also aware of how different foods affect their mood and behavior.

If you’ve never really heard about the principle behind organic foods, the general idea is that through using natural fertilizers and no pesticides, the food you put in your body will be more natural and less chemically processed. There remains a debate on whether the organic food industry achieves this goal, but even if organic foods are not 100% pesticide free, they contain a lower amount of trace chemicals than other foods. So for me, I see it as an investment in my body, my environment, and my values. Also, certain foods naturally absorb less pesticide anyway (think of foods with hard exteriors like oranges and avocados), so you don’t necessarily have to go all the way to reap benefits. There is a mountain of research and debate on organic produce, the impact of pesticides on the environment, humane animal treatment, and on and on, so if this sounds interesting just search online for more info.

Off my soapbox, it helps that it is super easy to find organic shops and grocers in D.C.! And once the food is in your fridge – you actually cook it the same way as non-organic food! 😉 There are also many different frozen organic veggies, breakfast food, stuffed pasta, and other goodies. Frozen and organic?! Can’t get any better than that for this working girl. Anyway, the recipe I’m about to share uses a lot of organic products, but these are obviously not essential or the critical element to the end result.

Tuna Noodle Casserole.

I started with a recipe from a Texas A&M Cookbook my mother gave to me in college: “Recipes Even an Aggie Can Cook!”… I ate a lot of frozen meals in grad school and apparently my mom got a little worried! The cookbook compiles recipes from the cookbooks of a local Aggie Mom’s club, and are usually really easy to make, although they usually need a little pizzazz to spice things up a bit.

Even an Aggie Can Cook!

The Summertime Tuna Pasta Salad out of this mini book is a great starter recipe and one of the first things I ever “cooked” on my own. It’s basically tuna, noodles, spicy mayo, and chopped veggies. When I looked in my freezer on Day 3 of the storm (at 7pm with 12 inches of snow outside) I realized I was out of veggies!

I almost resigned myself to completing the recipe without veggies but had second thoughts. Instead of admitting defeat, I reached for another cookbook gift (from my great friend, N), entitled “The Everything Classic Recipes Book – perfect for beginners.” Apparently my lack of cooking ability is very much public knowledge. I don’t use either cookbook that often, but this book is great because it covers a lot of basics for any type of dish – appetizer to dessert. It also has an index!

Looking up “tuna,” I found a fun Tuna Noodle Casserole. SCORE! I modified the recipe for what is written in the book, so the recipe I ended up using is below.

Ingredients:

• One bag, 16 oz, of natural tomato spinach fusilli from Whole Foods, cooked per package instructions. Any short pasta will work. This bag had red, green, and white fusilli, which added a lot of color and a subtle flavor.

• 1 can of Whole Food’s brand organic cream of mushroom soup. The recipe called for sliced mushrooms, peas, and milk. Didn’t really have that so I substituted this great soup which already had carrots. I also had half a bag of organic green beans so I tossed that it too.

• 2 tbsp of flour. I put my flour in air-tight canisters, so I don’t know whether this was organic, all natural, or regular.

• 1 tbsp of organic salted butter. The recipe called for two, but I used one, and mostly just to add flavor to the mushroom soup. The most common organic brand that I find at my neighborhood Giant is Nature’s Promise, and we consistently buy their milk, butter, and eggs. The milk is hormone free and their chickens roam freely on their farms.

• Two 6 oz cans of chunky, light tuna, drained. This tuna is from Whole Foods as well, and is dolphin safe, has no additives, and is packed in spring water. The can does not say wild-caught now that I look at it, but there are many other brands, like Wild Planet, which do not farm their fish.

• Dill, salt, and pepper to taste.

• 3 handfuls of shredded cheddar cheese. Unfortunately, this cheese was non-organic because I bought it that day. Like I said, our grocery was stripped of anything deemed mildly essential because of the snowstorm.

1. Preheat oven to 375 and grease a 9×13” casserole dish. Lay cooked noodles in dish.

2. Sauté mushroom soup, sprinkle with flour, add butter, and cook until hot. Stir in tuna. Cover the mix with dill, and season with salt and pepper as needed. Stir well.

3. Pour tuna and mushroom mixture over noodles and gently toss if necessary to distribute evenly.

4. Sprinkle with shredded cheddar and bake for 15 minutes. While waiting, toss packaging in your recycling bag or bin. Rinse tuna cans and other “dirty” packaging before placing in bin.

5. Remove from oven and serve, with extra cheddar if desired.

End result: FANTASTIC!

I only minimally broke up the tuna when I added it to the mushroom sauce, so each bite of the casserole is different. It is more like a salad with a mix of ingredients rather than an all-one-taste casserole. The dish was lightly seasoned by the flavorful sauce. After eating a week full of leftovers, I might double the mushroom soup portion, and it would be easy to change up the vegetables, or even switch the tuna for chicken. Making a dish for the first time is a little nerve-wracking, but even my roomie loved it and went back for seconds – such a compliment.

You may consider serving with a salad, for contrast, or by itself, as a warm and hearty winter dish. In the comments, let me know:

• Do you use organic products? Why or why not?

• If you live in the DC area, what was your favorite nickname for the snowstorm this February? Mine: SNOMG

Thanks to Lisa for the post and thanks for reading!

– Victoria

<!–[if !mso]> <! st1\:*{behavior:url(#ieooui) } –> // bw + bsl && x + aw – ah / 2 – cw >= bsl )
{ c.style.left = x + aw – ah / 2 – cw; }
else
{ c.style.left = x + ah / 2; }
if (y + ch + ah / 2 > bh + bst && y + ah / 2 – ch >= bst )
{ c.style.top = y + ah / 2 – ch; }
else
{ c.style.top = y + ah / 2; }
c.style.visibility = “visible”;
} } }
function msoCommentHide(com_id)
{
if(msoBrowserCheck())
{
c = document.all(com_id);
if (null != c && null == c.length)
{
c.style.visibility = “hidden”;
c.style.left = -1000;
c.style.top = -1000;
} }
}
function msoBrowserCheck()
{
ms = navigator.appVersion.indexOf(“MSIE”);
vers = navigator.appVersion.substring(ms + 5, ms + 6);
ie4 = (ms > 0) && (parseInt(vers) >= 4);
return ie4;
}
if (msoBrowserCheck())
{
document.styleSheets.dynCom.addRule(“.msocomanchor”,”background: infobackground”);
document.styleSheets.dynCom.addRule(“.msocomoff”,”display: none”);
document.styleSheets.dynCom.addRule(“.msocomtxt”,”visibility: hidden”);
document.styleSheets.dynCom.addRule(“.msocomtxt”,”position: absolute”);
document.styleSheets.dynCom.addRule(“.msocomtxt”,”top: -1000″);
document.styleSheets.dynCom.addRule(“.msocomtxt”,”left: -1000″);
document.styleSheets.dynCom.addRule(“.msocomtxt”,”width: 33%”);
document.styleSheets.dynCom.addRule(“.msocomtxt”,”background: infobackground”);
document.styleSheets.dynCom.addRule(“.msocomtxt”,”color: infotext”);
document.styleSheets.dynCom.addRule(“.msocomtxt”,”border-top: 1pt solid threedlightshadow”);
document.styleSheets.dynCom.addRule(“.msocomtxt”,”border-right: 2pt solid threedshadow”);
document.styleSheets.dynCom.addRule(“.msocomtxt”,”border-bottom: 2pt solid threedshadow”);
document.styleSheets.dynCom.addRule(“.msocomtxt”,”border-left: 1pt solid threedlightshadow”);
document.styleSheets.dynCom.addRule(“.msocomtxt”,”padding: 3pt 3pt 3pt 3pt”);
document.styleSheets.dynCom.addRule(“.msocomtxt”,”z-index: 100″);
}
// ]]>

The true joy I get out of cooking is from those nights when you’re scrounging around the kitchen, trying to put together something with what you already have. For a week in February, Washington, DC was pummeled by snowstorm after snowstorm [we literally got over 50 inches of snow in a week], and my nearest go-to grocery store was cleared OUT of everything… like milk! Luckily, I try and keep some staples around the house so that I can always make some sort of meal – even if it is just plain pasta and a jar of sauce.

On Monday, after two days of being cooped up in a two-bedroom apartment, I decided I needed to drag myself off the couch and do something. Tuna is definitely one of those goods I try and always keep on hand. It’s great for summer pasta salads, sandwiches, and it is one of the few fish I enjoy to eat. My dad likes to advocate weekly fish and frequent red wine consumption (thanks, Dad!), so it’s fun to check the box on my inner “be healthy” list.*

Eating fish is not the only way I try to eat well. I’ve also been trying to eat more organically produced food since staying with my cousin, B, on vacation in Montana. B and her husband are truly conscious about what they put in their bodies and are also aware of how different foods affect their mood and behavior.

If you’ve never really heard about the principle behind organic foods, the general idea is that through using natural fertilizers and no pesticides, the food you put in your body will be more natural and less chemically processed. There remains a debate on whether the organic food industry achieves this goal, but even if organic foods are not 100% pesticide free, they contain a lower amount of trace chemicals than other foods. So for me, I see it as an investment in my body, my environment, and my values. Also, certain foods naturally absorb less pesticide anyway (think of foods with hard exteriors like oranges and avocados), so you don’t necessarily have to go all the way to reap benefits. There is a mountain of research and debate on organic produce, the impact of pesticides on the environment, humane animal treatment, and on and on, so if this sounds interesting just search online for more info.

Off my soapbox, it helps that it is super easy to find organic shops and grocers in D.C.! And once the food is in your fridge – you actually cook it the same way as non-organic food! 😉 There are also many different frozen organic veggies, breakfast food, stuffed pasta, and other goodies. Frozen and organic?! Can’t get any better than that for this working girl.[LMM1] Anyway, the recipe I’m about to share uses a lot of organic products, but these are obviously not essential or the critical element to the end result.

Tuna Noodle Casserole.

I started with a recipe from a Texas A&M Cookbook my mother gave to me in college: “Recipes Even an Aggie Can Cook!”… I ate a lot of frozen meals in grad school and apparently my mom got a little worried! The cookbook compiles recipes from the cookbooks of a local Aggie Mom’s club, and are usually really easy to make, although they usually need a little pizzazz to spice things up a bit. The Summertime Tuna Pasta Salad out of this mini book is a great starter recipe and one of the first things I ever “cooked” on my own. It’s basically tuna, noodles, spicy mayo, and chopped veggies. When I looked in my freezer on Day 3 of the storm [VM2] (at 7pm with 12 inches of snow outside) I realized I was out of veggies!

I almost resigned myself to completing the recipe without veggies but had second thoughts. Instead of admitting defeat, I reached for another cookbook gift (from my great friend, N), entitled “The Everything Classic Recipes Book – perfect for beginners.” Apparently my lack of cooking ability is very much public knowledge. I don’t use either cookbook that often, but this book is great because it covers a lot of basics for any type of dish – appetizer to dessert. It also has an index!

Looking up “tuna,” I found a fun Tuna Noodle Casserole. SCORE! I modified the recipe for what is written in the book, so the recipe I ended up using is below.

Ingredients:

  • One bag, 16 oz, of natural tomato spinach fusilli from Whole Foods, cooked per package instructions. Any short pasta will work. This bag had red, green, and white fusilli, which added a lot of color and a subtle flavor.
  • 1 can of Whole Food’s brand organic cream of mushroom soup. The recipe called for sliced mushrooms, peas, and milk. Didn’t really have that so I substituted this great soup which already had carrots. I also had half a bag of organic green beans so I tossed that it too.
  • 2 tbsp of flour. I put my flour in air-tight canisters, so I don’t know whether this was organic, all natural, or regular.
  • 1 tbsp of organic salted butter. The recipe called for two, but I used one, and mostly just to add flavor to the mushroom soup. The most common organic brand that I find at my neighborhood Giant is Nature’s Promise, and we consistently buy their milk, butter, and eggs. The milk is hormone free and their chickens roam freely on their farms.
  • Two 6 oz cans of chunky, light tuna, drained. This tuna is from Whole Foods as well, and is dolphin safe, has no additives, and is packed in spring water. The can does not say wild-caught now that I look at it, but there are many other brands, like Wild Planet, which do not farm their fish.
  • Dill, salt, and pepper to taste.
  • 3 handfuls of shredded cheddar cheese. Unfortunately, this cheese was non-organic because I bought it that day. Like I said, our grocery was stripped of anything deemed mildly essential because of the snowstorm.

  1. Preheat oven to 375 and grease a 9×13” casserole dish. Lay cooked noodles in dish.
  2. Sauté mushroom soup, sprinkle with flour, add butter, and cook until hot. Stir in tuna. Cover the mix with dill, and season with salt and pepper as needed. Stir well.
  3. Pour tuna and mushroom mixture over noodles and gently toss if necessary to distribute evenly.
  4. Sprinkle with shredded cheddar and bake for 15 minutes. While waiting, toss packaging in your recycling bag or bin. Rinse tuna cans and other “dirty” packaging before placing in bin.
  5. Remove from oven and serve, with extra cheddar if desired.

End result: FANTASTIC! I only minimally broke up the tuna when I added it to the mushroom sauce, so each bite of the casserole is different. It is more like a salad with a mix of ingredients rather than an all-one-taste casserole. The dish was lightly seasoned by the flavorful sauce. After eating a week full of leftovers, I might double the mushroom soup portion, and it would be easy to change up the vegetables, or even switch the tuna for chicken. Making a dish for the first time is a little nerve-wracking, but even my roomie loved it and went back for seconds – such a compliment.

You may consider serving with a salad, for contrast, or by itself, as a warm and hearty winter dish. In the comments, let me know:

  • Do you use organic products? Why or why not?
  • If you live in the DC area, what was your favorite nickname for the snowstorm this February? Mine: SNOMG

Thanks to Lisa for the post and thanks for reading!

– Victoria


[LMM1]Like it.

[VM2]Not sure how to address this now that significant time has passed. Sorry! Do what you will – I’m cool with whatever you decide.

Advertisements
6 Comments leave one →
  1. March 7, 2010 9:40 pm

    Ooh! I’ve been looking for a variation on my tuna noodle casserole recipe. I make it the same way all the time and am getting a little tired of it. This looks guud.

    We do use a lot of organic products in the house. I try to use natural cleaners – no sulphates and whatnot. Most of our food is organic, but my biggest concern is whether the food is a) whole, or b) local. I try to stay away from heavily processed foods – ya’ know, mac and cheese from a box. We eat lots of beans, different types of rices, whole grain breads, blah blah blah. And yes, DC and its surrounding areas is a wonderful place to be if you’ve decided to make the organic switch!

    Snowpocalypse, with SNOMFG coming in second. I’m from South Texas, man, this stuff seemed downright apocalyptic.

    • March 7, 2010 9:42 pm

      holy grammar lapse batman! Pardon me, it’s past my bedtime.

      • lisam permalink
        March 8, 2010 1:42 pm

        Haha – awesome. I’m so glad you’re checking up on ze blog, Monica! And I can’t wait to see some shots of your garden again (once the snow dissipates).

  2. Heather permalink
    March 8, 2010 9:31 pm

    I try to buy organic, especially fruits. I also try to use natural cleaners and personal products (shampoo, etc). It’s a process.

    • March 10, 2010 4:14 pm

      Nice post! I also agree that what you put in your body can strongly affect how you feel and look. I will give the example of my cats to illustrate this point (it may seem weird, but I think it really shows how much what we eat matters!). So for years, my husband and I were feeding our 2 cats relatively expensive so-called healthy cat food. The cats loved it and it looked like it was nutritous (the packaging did, seriously, I’m a sucker for marketing) so we stuck with it. However, we also had a big problem with their fur – they are both long-hair whiteish grayish cats that shed like none other and so we were constantly cleaning up fur or hairballs and other lovely things. Our vet recommended switching to an all-organic cat food that had a higher content of protein and fat as opposed to just the equivalent of sawdust that was in our nicely marketed but overall unhealthy food. And I am not kidding – those cats’ fur changed within a week into a soft, silky coat, we haven’t even seen a hairball in months and hardly ever have to sweep up the fur from our apartment. Plus, they are actually nicer to us now! I was so shocked by the immediate turnaround that it really got me thinking about how integral your food quality is to your overall health. Anyway, long story short, eat better!

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: