My love of tuna came early on. It might be attributed to the fact that my grandpa worked at the Starkist headquarters and therefore I had a lot of it when we were visiting him. In fact, when I was a little girl with pigtails in my hair and small enough to still sit in the chair on the shopping carts, my mom would push me around the grocery store, checking off her list, while I would be singing, "My Grandma makes the tuna, my grandpa makes the tuna. If you love tuna then YOU LOVE MY GRANDPA!" (This was during my phase when I did not yet realize that the world was not a musical like "Annie". This singing was not limited to just tuna. My poor mother.)
Later, after years of tuna sandwiches for lunch (alternately switched with PB&J... no turkey and cheese for me, no sirree!), I hit a vegetarian streak in my life. I gave up chicken and hamburgers without that much of a problem. But I sure did miss those tuna sandwiches! Luckily for me, there was Tuno. Yes, Tun-O. Looks kind of like tuna, smells kind of like tuna, comes in a can like tuna. Except that can doesn't just say, "Dolphin friendly" on it. Oh no, it says, "Tuna and dolphin friendly". I don't think it was soybean friendly, though... Apparently I liked it enough because I ate so much of it that for Christmas I got a shipping box full of cans of Tuno.
I kid you not.
I snapped out of this fake-meat mode when I moved for a bit to the beautiful islands of Micronesia to teach school. You don't eat fake meat in Micronesia, you eat fresh-from-the-sea meat or chicken-snatched-from-the-bushes meat. That, and canned meat. Spam, people LOVE spam over there. Me? Spam? Nah. But the love of canned tuna came back along with the experience of eating fish straight off the bone. Both were delicious, but only one made a killer sandwich. Tuna sandwiches, tuna dip, grilled tuna Reuben's... I was the Bubba Gump of tuna.
|(Enjoying some of that fresh fish in Ebeye)|
This being said, I guess there should be no surprise that we eat a lot of tuna casserole in our home. The great thing is that even though this is a simple food, the Brazilian half of our extended family thinks that it is a gourmet dish simply because it is not common in Brazil. Imagine my relief when I have the pressure of making something fabulous to feed my mother/father/sister/aunts/uncles/cousins-in-law and they ask, "Ooohhh, do you think you can make tuna casserole?" And then they turn and smile at each other, sending the same message back and forth: Tonight we are going to be eating GOOD!
The great thing about this dish is there is no-one-way to do it. Basically, if you have the main ingredients of Cream of Something (mushroom or celery) Soup, Tuna, and noodles, you can change it up however you want. Below is the Tiffany version of Tuna Casserole. I make it without a recipe and sometimes add more or less, but this is what I did today and it was great.
- 1 pack egg noodles
- 2 cans tuna
- 2 cans cream of mushroom soup
- 1 heaping Tablespoon of mayonnaise
- 1/4 cup milk
- 1/4 onion, chopped
- 1 half bag of frozen peas
- Mrs. Dash or other seasoning
- salt and pepper, to taste
- bread crumbs
- Preheat oven to 425. Bring water to boil in large pot and add egg noodles. Cook for 7-8 min.
- Meanwhile, in large mixing bowl add the rest of the ingredients except the bread crumbs. Stir in egg noodles after they are cooked and drained.
- In large casserole dish, dump contents in and sprinkle bread crumbs on top. Cover with aluminum foil and bake for 40 minutes. (Remove the tin foil for the last 5-7 minutes to give it a golden crispiness on the top.)
Plus bread w/ butter and sliced tomatoes = $1.93 per serving