Friday, January 4, 2013

Tuna Casserole without Cream Soup

Tuna Noodle Casserole Revamped
One of my husband’s favorite meals is Tuna Noodle Casserole.  Two of our daughters and I like it really well too.  However, at one point I noticed I hadn’t been making it as much since evaluating the health value of store canned cream soups.  It’s a good way to get healthy fish in our diets, so I began considering ways to replace the cream soup from our traditional recipe.
When a Sunday Night Noodles recipe came through my email from Mr. Food, I thought, “Aha!  Maybe this will work with tuna!”

I tweaked Mr. Food’s noodle recipe some to accommodate what I had on hand and to make it more like Tuna Noodle Casserole.  I made a few adjustments after the first few trials to make it more to our liking and here is what we now use:  A Tuna Noodle Casserole without canned cream soup.

  • 1 pound medium egg noodles
  • 6 oz sautéed button mushrooms, sliced or chopped
  • 1 medium onion, chopped and sautéed
  • 1 cup cottage cheese (I pureed mine due to a picky eater in our house)
  • 1 cup sour cream
  • 1 cup shredded Cheddar Cheese
  • 1 cup chunked Butter Cheese
  • 1 family size soft pack of tuna (consider pureeing this for non tuna lovers)
  • 1 cup chicken broth or stock
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon black pepper
  • 1 teaspoon Italian seasoning
  • 1 tablespoon butter, melted
  • 1/4 cup dry bread crumbs
I followed Mr. Food’s instructions fairly closely, making the appropriate substitutions and additions. 
  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Coat a 9- x 13-inch baking dish with cooking spray.
  2. In a large pot of boiling salted water, cook noodles to desired doneness; drain.
  3. In a large bowl, mix tuna, sauteed vegetables, cottage cheese, sour cream, Cheddar cheese, Butter Cheese, salt, pepper, and Italian seasoning. Stir in noodles then spoon mixture into prepared baking dish.  Drizzle with chicken stock.
  4. In a small bowl, combine melted butter and bread crumbs. Sprinkle over noodle mixture then bake, covered, for 45 minutes.
I have made this half a dozen times and now our non-fish eater will even eat it - and sometimes asks for seconds!

If I don't have mushrooms, I substitute celery or something else to be similar to cream of _____ soup (use whatever you like).  I have also had success with using cream cheese in place of the cottage cheese, although cream cheese provides a richer flavor and fuller texture.

I buy Butter Cheese at a bulk foods store in Bremen.  It melts down smoothly and has a mild yet pronounced flavor that complements the tuna and noodles well.  While the total cheese used in this recipe may seem like a lot, our first attempts with less cheese were a bit dry.  

This makes a simple weeknight meal.  Enjoy!  

How does your family like to include fish in your meals? 


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