Tuna Noodle Casserole — IT’S THE MIDWEST, BABY!

Even though we eat mostly vegetarian and often vegan, we’re omnivores. We’re especially pescatarian, meaning we eat the poor li’l fishies.

As a native of the American Midwest, I’m under contract from birth to make tuna noodle casserole at least once a year under penalty of or else.

So I did.

TunaNoodleTuna Noodle Casserole

  • some kinda noodles, cooked
  • canned tuna, drained, give the juice to the cat
  • canned peas
  • onion powder
  • crushed soda crackers (saltine crackers, regular ol’ crackers)
  • can of cream of mushroom soup
  • cheese

Now, of course, the cheese should be Velveeta or a generic florescent orange cheese-like substance, but I didn’t have any, so I used good cheese instead. If I had used perfectly broiled tuna steak, frozen or fresh peas, gently sauteed onions, home-made cream of mushroom soup, and home-made croutons or bread crumbs, I would have been de-aproned and forced to wear a big red F for Fancy-Schmancy sewn to my shirt. As it is, I barely squeaked by the Inspector General.

ANYWAY, you mix it all together and bake it until it’s bubbly.

Sticks to your ribs.

A WRITING PROMPT FOR YOU: What is a recipe that’s peculiar — if peculiar is the word I want — for the part of the world your main character comes from? Does your character like that dish or not? Does that dish stir up nostalgia, whether the character actually likes it or not?


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I was born in Louisville, Kentucky, but now live in the woods in southern Indiana. Though I only write fiction, I love to read non-fiction. The more I learn about this world, the more fantastic I see it is.

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One thought on “Tuna Noodle Casserole — IT’S THE MIDWEST, BABY!

  1. Dan

    February 3, 2016 at 7:09am

    I love TNC – My wife, not so much. In years past, a neighbor, whose husband couldn’t stand the stuff, would make it for her and I. She’s not longer with us, and I haven’t had a TNC fix for a long time.

    I’ve never had it with cheese melted on top, but I agree, it probably should be Velveeta or at least Kraft American Cheese.

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    • Author

      Marian Allen

      February 3, 2016 at 8:05am

      You CAN make it yourself, you know. Make it in muffin cups, take out what you’re going to eat that night, and stick the muffin tin in the freezer. When the tuna noodle muffins are frozen, pop them out of the tin and put them in a freezer bag for later.

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  2. Jane

    February 3, 2016 at 9:47am

    Puts me in mind of the forbidden casseroles we cooked up in the ol’ dorm room on the toaster oven (don’t try this at home).

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    • Author

      Marian Allen

      February 3, 2016 at 1:54pm

      I don’t remember cooking in a toaster oven in the dorm room. A popcorn popper, I remember. Two wire hangers crossed over the coils made excellent toast, as I recall. heh

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      • Jane

        February 4, 2016 at 10:29am

        You’re right. We cooked the pizza in the toaster oven. First we turned it upside down to cook the bottom, then right side up to finish it off.

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        • Author

          Marian Allen

          February 4, 2016 at 12:28pm

          Weren’t we the clever ones, though! 😀 I had forgotten that!

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  3. Shelly

    February 3, 2016 at 6:21pm

    I love tuna noodle casserole with canned peas!

    When I was a little girl my mom used to make us Kraft Macaroni and cheese, then she’d throw in a can of drained tuna, and a can of drained peas. Yum! My husband has a fish allergy, so we only eat fish when he’s working out of state.

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    • Author

      Marian Allen

      February 4, 2016 at 7:35am

      Yeah, Shelly; now THAT’S a true Midwestern tuna noodle casserole! You can still make it for your husband, only use ham instead of tuna. That’s good, too!

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      • Shelly

        February 4, 2016 at 11:54am

        Ham is such a good idea! I can’t believe I haven’t thought of that before! I’m kinda excited to make this!

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  4. Patricia Stoltey

    February 4, 2016 at 1:31pm

    I love tuna and noodles and also a tuna casserole using macaroni, mushrooms, and little chunks of cheddar cheese stuck here and there. I gave up fixing the old original tuna casserole that was full of potato chips because of the salt. Yep, I’m from the Midwest too.

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    • Author

      Marian Allen

      February 4, 2016 at 1:33pm

      Ooo, potato chips! We never used potato chips, but I would LOVE that! 😀

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  5. joey

    February 18, 2016 at 10:24am

    I dated this boy/man/guy person for a long time, and his mother made THE BEST tuna noodle casserole I’ve ever eaten in my life! Man, I loved that stuff. Lent at their house was the best, lol!
    I’ve tried many, many recipes, and liked them all, but the one I finally stuck with was the homemade in the skillet version with butter and cream. Then I put some of your ‘good cheese’ and bread crumbs on it and pop that in the oven to crisp up.
    I now wonder if hers just tasted better because I was young and starving…
    Sadly, my kids will not eat ANY of ANY KIND of tuna casserole, but they love a warm tuna pasta dish I make otherwise. Isn’t that nuts?! Anyway, I agree, being Midwestern means you must make tuna casserole and yours looks great! 😀

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    • Author

      Marian Allen

      February 18, 2016 at 12:59pm

      Now I’m wondering what the difference is between your tuna noodle casserole and your tuna pasta dish. Do you use cream of mushroom soup in one and not the other? Is one dryer than the other? Your skillet version with butter and cream sounds DIVINE.

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      • joey

        February 18, 2016 at 2:55pm

        I slice mushrooms for it, but no cream of in the tuna noodle casserole.
        The other tuna pasta thing is so simple, it’s rotini (I do tri-color) cooked and drained, add olive oil, mayo, basic spices, tuna, peas, diced tomatoes, bell peppers (any color). They love that stuff beyond understanding. It’s good, don’t get me wrong, but it’s not even in my top 100! lol It’s something I make on the weekend and then pack in lunches, because it’s good cold as well. And when I eat it cold, I add capers and black olives 😛

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        • Author

          Marian Allen

          February 18, 2016 at 10:45pm

          Well, there you have it, Joey — they like the goopiness of the mayo. Your tuna noodle casserole needs some goopiness in it. ~grin~ That tuna pasta thing sounds A-FREAKIN-MAZING, especially with the capers. I can live without black olives, though. They’re edible, but I’m not really a fan. Maybe I’ve just never had a really GOOD one.

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