Mighty Tuna Casserole

I was going to name this “Healthy Tuna Casserole” but that sounded boring, “Mighty” is a much cooler word and I think it sort of means the same thing.  If you are healthy you are also mighty, that’s just a fact.  Okay, moving on…I love me some tuna casserole for dinner and I had been craving it for weeks, the stars finally aligned and the rest is history (wow, I’m getting pretty dramatic over this casserole already…I can’t help it.)

This dish is what you should eat before going to battle at the DMV or the Social Security office…it will sustain you.  Here’s why…

1 pound – whole wheat shell pasta
2 cans – cream of celery soup
2 – 12 oz. cans of tuna in water
1 bag – frozen peas
1 cup (2 small cans) – canned mushrooms
8 oz – shredded cheese (optional)
5 slices cheese (optional)
1/2 cup – bread crumbs
olive oil
salt and pepper

This is one of those “dump it all in a bowl and stir” recipes…I LOVE those.  This recipe also feeds like 10 people no joke, so cut it down by half if you want to.

Start by boiling the water for the pasta…

I used whole wheat pasta for this because I felt like it, and because I’ve done it before and it works well in this dish.  I ran into a small hiccup when I went looking for my whole wheat shells in the pantry but could not locate them, this was strange because I had bought them earlier that day and specifically remember putting them in the pantry.  I looked everywhere, scanning every shelf (of my very small pantry).  I then enlisted the help of my husband, he knows that I have a gift for not being able to see things that are right in front of my face.  So he looked…still no shells.  Now I knew they weren’t in that pantry…but where the heck did they go!  I was super annoyed, so I poured myself a glass of chardonnay which helped to bring my annoyance level down (slightly).  I scoured the kitchen, even checking the fridge multiple times…finally I threw my hands up and asked the sky (sort of loudly) “where are the damn shells?!”.  My oldest must have heard my cries for help because he yelled from the playroom that he knew where they were.  I went back there and he pointed to a large bin that holds balls and other random crap…here is the bin…

See anything weird in there?  I didn’t even have to ask who the culprit was, my two year old was to blame.  Of course he was no where to be found, I’m guessing he was hiding in a corner somewhere laughing at me.

Anyway, back to the casserole.  When the water is boiling throw in some salt and then the pasta.  Cook it for about 7 minutes and then drain it and throw it in a large bowl.

Now throw in two cans of cream of celery soup…I used this stuff.

It’s not condensed and it only had 2 grams of fat per serving…and it tasted good!  

You can totally use the old fashioned campbell’s condensed soup, just add a half can of milk for each can of soup if you do that.

Now add a bag of frozen peas, the mushrooms, and 2 cups of shredded cheese (optional!)  I actually don’t usually put cheese IN the casserole but I had a block that was burning a hole in my fridge so I threw it in.

I stir that all together and then add the tuna last.  I do this so that the tuna doesn’t break down too much…however this albacore I got at whole foods looked like one big slice of tuna!

This is a very good thing but it goes against my theory of why it needs to go in last…I had to work to get this all distributed!  Obviously it’s going to depend on what you buy…you’ll figure it out.

So after everything is incorporated, taste it and then add salt and pepper to your liking.  I added about 3/4 tsp. salt and 1/4 tsp. pepper.  

Then dump the whole thing into a buttered 9 X 13 glass dish.

Then top it with some cheese (optional!)…I like to stay true to my roots on this part and use american slices like my mom used to.  You can buy american cheese that is actually real cheese at whole foods, that’s what I did…

But Kraft works too, or any other sliced yellow cheese for that matter.

Now lay the slices down in a pretty geometric pattern, see…

Or just plop them on…and then cover the cheese with the bread crumbs.  If you’re forgoing the cheese, just put the bread crumbs on top of your casserole.

Then drizzle some olive oil over the whole thing, you can also use dollops of butter if you’re going for decadence.

Now cover your casserole with foil being careful not to let the cheese meet the foil or it will stick to it and that’s a crime.  Then use your muscles to get that dish full of goodness into a 350°F oven.  Cook it for 45 minutes and then remove the foil and let the top get nice and golden.

This is good stuff right here folks!

I know you’re all thinking that there’s no way this could be healthy but really it is…I actually did a little calculation on this and one serving has about 4 grams of fat, which means you should eat 3 servings…kidding!  I eat the leftovers for lunch throughout the week and it still tastes amazing reheated.  

I know that tuna casserole isn’t the most popular dish among kids but my boys devour this stuff!!!  If you haven’t made this in a while (or ever) give this easy recipe a shot!  I have to go because my kid just peed on our cat in the tub…don’t ask.


The Good Cooker

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