Dear John Recipe: Quick Tuna Noodle Casserole
I do mean quick, John. About 15-minutes to put together and then another 15-20 minutes in the oven to warm it up. That’s quick.
So, here’s another way to kill off a tin or two of tuna, get one or two of your 5-a-day fruit and veg, a bit of calcium from the milk, and still have a few coins leftover in your pocket for a pint at the pub with Gaby. Serve with a green salad.
I tried this one out on Dad last night, and I can confirm that it keeps warm in the oven at a low temperature when the train (typically) runs late. He liked it. I had one serving; he finished off the rest. Don’t be put off by using Campbell’s canned condensed soup as the backbone for a sauce. Even though it’s a bit high in salt, it’s healthier than a take-away or a kebab, and homemade is always preferable to pre-made, packaged meals that you pop into a microwave.
Tuna Noodle Casserole with Peas or Corn (serves 2-3)
2 cans (drained) chunk light tuna or Albacore tuna in water
1 cup frozen peas or 1 tin (drained) crispy sweet corn
½ (125ml) cup milk
1 teacup Ritz crackers, crushed to chunky crumbs
4-5 nest dried egg tagliatelle noodles
1 can condensed Cream of Mushroom soup
1 teaspoon garlic powder or 1 grated clove garlic
1 teaspoon dried thyme or oregano
1/2 teaspoon black pepper
Preheat the oven to 180°C/Gas Mark 5/375°F.
Cook the noodles one minute less than the time specified on the package instructions. You want them very “al dente”. If using frozen peas, add them to the boiling water during the last minute of cooking so they’re thawed. Drain noodles and peas thoroughly in a sieve or colander in the sink. In the sink …duh … sorry about that.
In a separate medium bowl, mix together soup, milk, black pepper, herbs and garlic powder/grated fresh garlic clove. Gently stir and fold in the cooked, hot noodles, peas/sweet corn, and tuna. Break up the tuna with a fork if it’s in large chunks, but not so much that it falls apart into stringy bits.
Transfer this mixture into an over-proof casserole dish. Give the dish a bit of a wiggle so it levels out.
Place a large handful of Ritz crackers into a plastic bag, grasping the end with one hand so the crackers don’t fly all over. To protect your work surface, wrap the bag in a thick tea towel, and then give it a good bashing with a rolling pin (Don’t have one? Use your fist or the bottom of a pot) until the crackers are chunky crumbs. You don’t want dust, just chunks.
Sprinkle the cracker crumbs evenly over the top of the casserole dish.
Bake 15-20 minutes until heated through. If the crumbs start browning too much, lower the oven temperature by 10° and/or cover the dish with foil.