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April 14, 2010

Grown Up Tuna Casserole

Grown Up Tuna Casserole

I have to admit I didn't grow up with tuna casserole. My mom wasn't a fan, so we skipped over that version of culinary "delight" but many of my friends complained about their mother's subjecting them to the horror that was tuna casserole.

I never actually encountered a tuna casserole until the last full year I lived in Knoxville, Tennessee, which would have been 1996. I worked at this really horrible, hole in the wall sort of preschool/daycare. It was a definite step down from the preschool/daycare I had worked at before, but this place actually had a cook on staff. Most of what she made was very good, but I dreaded, as did the children, the days that tuna casserole would make an appearance on the menu. It was a sloppy, icky mess, and even back then my mind went in to gear and I thought there had to be a better way to make a tuna casserole that was actually good.

Years passed, and that little thought was filed away into the "I'll do that someday!" file and I never got around to getting back to the idea. Recently I decided it might be time to pull out that little thought, dust it off and see if I couldn't come up with something a little more sophisticated than the standard tuna casserole fare. And you know what? It worked! If you want a tuna casserole that is a little more grown up and not a big old sloppy mess, this is the casserole for you!

What You'll Need:
4 cups of uncooked egg noodles, cooked according to package directions
Extra virgin olive oil
Sea salt
Finely ground black pepper
1 large tuna steak
1/2 a large red onion, chopped
6-8 Crimini mushrooms, chopped
1/2 - 16 ounce package of frozen peas
1/2 cup of half and half
1/3 cup of light sour cream
1 cup of Parmesan
Harvati cheese, shredded
Panko bread crumbs

Preheat oven to 375 F.

Cook egg noodles, drain and set aside:

Grown Up Tuna Casserole: Egg Noodles

In skillet add a little extra virgin olive oil and place your tuna steak in the heated pan sprinkling it with some sea salt and a little finely ground black pepper:

Grown Up Tuna Casserole: Tuna Steak Cooking

Cook tuna steak until it is browned on both sides and mostly done through:

Grown Up Tuna Casserole: Tuna Steak

Once tuna steak is cooked use a fork and flake the steak into pieces:

Grown Up Tuna Casserole: Flaked Tuna

In the same pan that you cooked your tuna steak add a little bit more olive oil and saute your mushrooms and onions with a little sea salt and some finely ground black pepper until tender:

Grown Up Tuna Casserole: Onions and Mushrooms

Next stir in peas and cook for 2-3 minutes until mostly thawed:

Grown Up Tuna Casserole: Veggies

Stir flaked tuna in to the vegetable mixture:

Grown Up Tuna Casserole: Tuna and Vegetables

Next mix tuna/vegetable mixture with noodles and stir to mix. Add sour cream, half and half and Parmesan and stir to incorporate:

Grown Up Tuna Casserole: Filling

Pour mixture into a baking dish that has been brushed with olive oil:

Grown Up Tuna Casserole: Ready for Cheese

Sprinkle with Harvati cheese:

Grown Up Tuna Casserole: Havrati

Then sprinkle with Panko bread crumbs:

Grown Up Tuna Casserole: Ready to Bake

Bake for 25-30 minutes until slightly browned:

Grown Up Tuna Casserole: Baked

Serve immediately.

Note: You could add other vegetables if you liked. This method could be used with a salmon steak too, but I'd add in some dill if you were using salmon.

Posted by Dianne at April 14, 2010 11:03 AM

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Now that's a yummy looking tuna casserole!!! I happen to like it but, like you, I like to put fresh mushrooms and frozen (never canned!) peas in it and good cheese. Some people make it with canned soup and velveeta--ick! Yummmy

Posted by: Glenna at April 14, 2010 11:46 AM

Wow. I'm usually not a big casserole fan, but that looks amazing.

Posted by: Allie at April 16, 2010 7:28 PM

I can't imagine canned soup and Velveeta in a tuna casserole, but maybe that's what my friends were complaining about! Ick!

I'm usually not much of a casserole person either, but one in a while!

Posted by: Dianne at April 19, 2010 10:48 AM

Tried this tonight and it was *very* good. I never thought of using fresh tuna and it made a world of difference. It wasn't one bit fishy. One question - my casserole was a little dry. You think I need to add more sour cream or half and half (or both) in order to compensate for the egg noodles? I used "regular w/ egg yolk" noodles. Great recipe and it made a bunch of leftovers! I can't wait for tomorrow night! lol :)

Posted by: Stacey at May 10, 2010 10:51 PM

More sour cream and/or half and half would be fine! Sometimes the ingredients just absorb more of the moisture, so you might have to add a bit more. Glad you liked it!

Posted by: Dianne at May 11, 2010 1:08 PM

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