Like any college girl, I get homesick sometimes. And when I get homesick, I tend to do one of two things: I go to the local diner and get a grilled cheese sandwich served to me by a waitress who calls me “sugar baby” (yes, they really do still exist), or I make a casserole. Yes, despite growing up in hippy-dippy Berkeley, California, I managed to eat casseroles throughout my childhood. And my absolute favourite, the créme de la créme, is tuna noodle casserole.

So, when I was feeling kind of down and missing my friends (and mourning the fact that there is no good Chinese food here), I whipped up a batch, and remembered to take pictures. So, here is my recipe for that old casserole classic, straight from my family to you, my homesick collegiates:

You will need:

1 package of pasta, about 8 oz. (I recommend “short” pasta like bowtie or macaroni, but you could use something like spaghetti or linguine– just be sure to break the pieces up to make it more manageable)
1 can of tuna (whatever kind you prefer. Tuna in water is cheaper, but I prefer the kind in oil)
1 can of condensed Cream of Mushroom soup
1 cup of milk
1 cup of crushed potato chips (one single-serving bag of potato chips is the perfect size for this)

Most of these ingredients are pantry staples in my world, save for the potato chips– I recommend stocking up on pasta and tuna, since they’re shelf-stable and pretty dang cheap, too.

Alright, now we cook. First off, bring a pot of water to a boil and cook the pasta according to the directions on the package (I don’t really need to detail this, do I? I’ll do a “how to cook pasta” post later this week). While a watched pot does, in fact, boil, it will feel like eleventy million years if you just sit there and stare at it. Instead, you can take care of the rest of the prep for the casserole.

First, preheat your oven to 375 degrees Farenheit (190 degrees Celsius), and lightly grease a casserole dish– mine is 8″ x 12″. As for the greasing agent, I love cooking spray, but I totally won’t tell if you want to use butter.

After that’s done, combine the milk and the soup in a small bowl, and stir to combine:

(yes, I realize how disgusting this will look. I promise, it’s worth it)

and open and drain the can of tuna:

Once the pasta’s done cooking, drain the excess water out and pour it into your prepared dish, then top with a layer of tuna:

(you’ll probably want to break the tuna up with a fork before you put it onto the pasta. That way, you’ll avoid big chunks and get a more even tuna distribution pattern)

Then, pour the milk/soup mixture over everything, pressing a little on the pasta to make sure every noodle is covered:

(yeah, yeah, I know. It looks disgusting. Bear with me.)

Finish by topping it with a layer of crushed potato chips, then bake in the oven for 25 to 30 minutes until golden brown and delicious!

I couldn’t resist have a big heaping portion of it before taking a picture of the finished product– it’s just that good. Also, this does fantastic in the freezer; portioned up and tightly wrapped, it’ll keep just fine for a month or two. The potato chips get a little funny if you reheat it in the microwave, but if you’re lucky enough to have a toaster oven it does beautifully.

Also, don’t tell anyone… but I can totally eat a whole pan of this in one day if no one’s looking. I love living by myself sometimes.


2 responses to “Casse-rolled

  1. So, this is considered a pretty normal, American-as-apple-pie dish. Yet my housemate seemed disturbed by me putting relish in my egg before frying it (and I don’t think she noticed the splash of soy milk).

    I mean, is my dish really that different from a casserole in terms of being yummy despite seeming potentially gross?

  2. Verisimilidude

    I always cook up some frozen green peas and add them to it. Balances the nutrition (a little) adds some visual interest to an otherwise blandly colored dish. In my family we always referred to these casseroles as “glop” – because of the sound they make as you shake that gooey goodness off the serving spoon onto the plate.

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