Nothing seemed more appropriate to make for our main meal this lazy, rainy summer Sunday than tuna noodle casserole. My mom’s favorite & one of America’s most beloved easy-to-make family meals, this delicious casserole provides a whole lotta yumminess in one big dish. I will always remember how my mother enjoyed preparing this dish, which always came accompanied by the grunting and pouting on behalf of my repulsed dad & 3 brothers, who till this day cannot stand the smell or taste of canned tuna. For whatever reason, my mother still chose to make it through-out the years despite the fuss it brought, and I was not one to complain, I still love it oh so very much!
Deemed an “excellent emergency dish”, it’s easy to see how casseroles of this kind because a popular household dish in the 1950s…mainly because ingredients were cheap and easy to find at the store. Originally prepared with a can of tuna, a can of vegetables, a can of soup, and a package of elbow macaroni; you had a quick & easy prepared family dinner in no time! Casseroles also quickly became popular dishes to bring to potlucks or as a gesture of kindness for someone who’s sick or grieving. Over at our house, it just means I was feeling lazy & we were feeling hungry.
Before I continue with the recipe, I wanna write a bit about canned fish. Tuna & sardines are most popularly consumed canned, and why would that come to be? The ‘father of canning’ is Nicolas Appert, a Frenchman who began experimenting with ways to can fish in jars way back in 1795! He won a competition where the French government offered a prize to anyone who could devise a cheap and effective method of preserving large amounts of food, needed during the period of the Napoleonic Wars. His invention in glass jars, however, presented challenges for transportation, so shortly after the British inventor & merchant Peter Durand patented his own tin can method – the modern-day process of canning foods. Not only does food have an incomparable shelf life, it’s also easy to transport & provides great availability in times of recession. Canned food today is popular today among financially stressed individuals who engage in cocooning, a term that describes the phenomenon in which people choose to stay at home instead of adding expenditures to their budget by dining out. So, today, we cocoon!
For the Tuna Casserole
- 2 cans of tuna, drained
- 2 cups of cooked elbow macaroni
- 2 tablespoons of minced onion
- 1 can of condensed cream of mushroom soup
- 1 can of green peas, drained
- 3/4 cup of milk
- 1 teaspoon of Worcestershire sauce
- 1 tablespoon of mayonnaise
- 1/2 cup of dry bread crumbs
- 3 tablespoons of butter, melted
Preheat the oven to 375°F (190°C) and grease a medium-sized casserole baking dish. Cook the elbow macaroni in salted water. Drain & set aside. Sauté the onions with a small amount of vegetable oil and add the tuna, breaking it up with a fork. Remove from heat and add the can of soup, the green peas, milk, Worcestershire sauce, & the mayonnaise. Stir until just combined. Add and blend in the elbow macaroni.
Turn this mixture into the prepared dish. Mix together the bread crumbs & melted butter; sprinkle evenly on top. Bake until the top is bubbling & browned, about 25 minutes.