Baked tuna and noodles is a casserole recipe that was published in a mayonnaise advertisement in the 1970s. It is a good basic recipe that can be varied easily. It is excellent to serve for dinner in cold weather. Because all of the ingredients are those you probably have on hand it is useful for winter days when running to the store isn’t an option. The recipe can be put together quickly and does not spend a long time in the oven. Put the casserole together the night before and bake it when you get home from work. It is a tasty casserole that your entire family will enjoy.
Tuna was first commercially canned in 1903. The producers had to convince housewives that the canned product was as good as other sources of protein. They created recipes using canned tuna and gave those out in leaflets available in grocery stores that sold the product. Cookbooks began including recipes using canned tuna. Food historians say that canned tuna was not really accepted by the American public until the 1950s although recipes using it can be found from far earlier dates. Two of the most popular uses of canned tuna is tuna salad and tuna casserole.
Recipes for modern style casseroles can be found in cookbooks from the late 1800s into the early 1900s. Those usually called for a homemade cream sauce to bind the ingredients. Casseroles gained popularity during the Great Depression because they were economical and casseroles have remained popular ever since because they not only save money, they are gosh darn easy and quick to make. Any recipe that could put a one pot meal on the table quickly is sure to remain popular.
This recipe for tuna noodle casserole does not make use of canned soup as most recipes do, instead it uses mayonnaise for the creamy sauce to hold the ingredients together and add flavor. It really is one of the best tasting tuna casserole recipes I’ve tried through the years. You can easily add your own touches to the recipe.
The recipe will serve 6. Round out the meal with hot bread, a green salad and a light dessert.
Baked Tuna and Noodles
- 1 tablespoon of margarine
- 1/4 cup of finely chopped onion
- 1/4 cup of finely chopped green pepper
- 1 can (4 oz.) of mushrooms, drained or 8 oz. fresh mushrooms sliced
- 2 cans (7 oz.) of tuna, drained and flaked
- 1 medium tomato, peeled, chopped and drained
- 1 tablespoon of lemon juice
- 1/4 teaspoon of salt
- 1/8 teaspoon pepper
- 3/4 cup of mayonnaise
- 1 package (8 oz.) noodles, cooked
- 1/2 cup of shredded cheddar cheese
Heat the oven to 400 degrees F. and grease, butter or spray a 2 qt. casserole. Cook the noodles according to directions on the package. Drain well, mix a teaspoon of margarine with the hot noodles to keep them from sticking together and set aside.
Melt the tablespoon of margarine in a deep skillet over medium heat. Add the onion, green pepper and the mushrooms. Stir and cook about 5 minutes or until the vegetables are tender. Stir in the next 6 ingredients. Stir in the cooked noodles and mix well. Pour the mixture into the casserole dish and sprinkle the shredded cheese over the top. Bake uncovered for 20 minutes until completely heated and the cheese on top has melted.
Any type of mayonnaise or mayonnaise style salad dressing can be used such as MW. I never use ‘real’ mayonnaise because I don’t like the taste as well. Mom never used it either.
A half can of stewed tomatoes drained and chopped can be used instead of the fresh tomato. Save the rest of the can and the liquid for soup or other uses.
Instead of noodles you can use any shape of pasta you have on hand.
You can use a combination of leftover cheeses for the topping. While you can use other toppings the cheese adds the right touch to this casserole.
5 to 8 tablespoons of crushed corn flakes or bread crumbs can be used as a topping. Mix with a tablespoon or so of melted butter.
You can use canned salmon in the recipe. Drain, remove all skin and bones, flake well and use the same as the tuna.
The mushrooms and green pepper can be left out and other vegetables added in their place. Sliced black olives are very good in this recipe.
Other meats can be used in place of tuna such as lobster, chicken or turkey. Leftover roast pork could be used instead of the tuna.