Remember tuna casserole? It was all the rage during the 1950's, 60's, and 70's. Money was tight back then, especially during the depression. Our grandmothers had to be really creative with their cooking, and make due with what little they had. While my budget isn't quite as sparse as my grandmother's was, it's pretty close! So I'm big on being creative with what I have on hand, and making due with cheaper types of meat. Tuna, the main ingredient in this casserole, is inexpensive and can be made into quite a few delicious dishes.
This post is part of a new group I joined, hosted by my bloggy friend Wendy from A Day in the Life on the Farm. She wanted to incorporate more fish in her diet, and thought a monthly link up, where her friends could share their seafood/fish recipes, would be a good way to get some new recipes for us all to try. Our group, which is called Fish Friday Foodies, will meet up on the third Friday of each month, and share our newest seafood recipe. There will be a blog hop included, so everyone can easily visit the other participants recipes, with just the click of their mouse. Now back to the recipe.....
I hadn't had tuna casserole in years, when one day a craving for it hit me, and I couldn't for the life of me, figure out why I had never made one of my favorite childhood dishes for my own family. I put a few spins of my own on the original recipe though. When my mom prepared it she used cream of mushroom soup. I'm allergic to mushrooms now, so I replaced the soup with a homemade white sauce. Most of the recipes out there for this casserole call for noodles as well, something my mom never added. Since my husband doesn't care for pasta anyway, I left it out. I also added a little cheese, since my family members are cheese addicts and love it so much. The resulting cheesy, savory, nostalgic casserole has comfort food written all over it.
My husband and daughter both gave this casserole two thumbs up, and that's saying a lot. They're both picky, with different ideas about what's good and what isn't when it comes to food. They rarely agree on the same dish so unanimously. When your family asks you when your going to make the recipe again, before they've even finished eating, you know you have a winner.
Old-Fashioned Tuna Casserole
2 tablespoons butter
2 green onions, finely chopped
1 stalk celery, finely chopped
3 - 6 ounce cans tuna (packed in water), drained well
1 cup peas (optional)
2 cups white sauce (recipe below)
1/2 cup shredded Colby/Jack cheese
2 cups crushed potato chips
4 tablespoons butter
4 tablespoons flour
2 cups milk
Sea salt and fresh ground pepper to taste (I start with 1/4 teaspoon of salt, and 3 or 4 grinds of the pepper mill, and adjust the amounts at the end of the cooking time if needed)
Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
Grease an 8 x 8 inch casserole dish. Set aside.
In a medium sized skillet, melt 2 tablespoons of the butter over medium heat. Add the onion and celery, and saute until onions are translucent, stirring occasionally. (This should only take a minute or two)
Place onion mixture in a large bowl, along with tuna, and peas if using. Stir to combine, then set aside and prepare white sauce.
To prepare white sauce:
In the same skillet you sauteed the onions and celery, melt the remaining 4 tablespoons of butter over medium heat.
Add the flour, along with salt and pepper, and cook for one minute, stirring constantly.
Slowly add the milk, whisking constantly, until sauce thickens and becomes smooth and bubbly.
Pour sauce over the tuna mixture, and stir to combine.
Spoon into the prepared casserole dish, smoothing it down evenly.
Sprinkle shredded cheese evenly over the casserole, followed by the crushed potato chips.
Bake for 30 minutes, or until bubbly.
Allow to cool five minutes, then serve.
Would you like to join Fish Friday Foodies? We post and share new seafood/fish recipes on the third Friday of the month. To join our group please email Wendy at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Visit our Facebook page and Pinterest page for more wonderful fish and seafood recipe ideas.
Have you been trying to incorporate more fish in your diet? Which recipe in the link-up is your favorite?