My Life in Tuna Noodle Casserole

Yesterday I made a 21st Century Tuna Noodle Casserole  (Cooks Illustrated’s Pasta Revolution) for no other reason than I felt like doing something besides write.  I also fertilized the camellias, went to a neighborhood open house, and watched a dumb movie on TV.  Exciting life, hey?


Growing up, dinner had to be fast, simple, and cheap.  My mother’s tuna noodle casserole had only five ingredients and thus was a stable in our house.

Tuna Noodle Casserole circa 1960

1. Two cans of tuna packed in oil
2. Two cans of Campbell’s Cream of Mushroom soup
3. One package of Lipton’s onion soup
4. One package egg noodles, usually cooked to mush
5. Canned fried onions over the top

As you can see – no fresh ingredients.  In fact, the only ingredients not out of a can were the egg noodles which unfortunately had to be boiled.  I’m sure if cooked egg noodles came in a can, she would have used them as well.  To jazz this casserole up for a potluck, she’d crinkle stale Lay’s potato chips over the top.  Yum.

When I moved out, I vowed tuna noodle casserole would never dull my taste buds again.  Nor would canned Spaghetti Os, frozen chicken pot pies, pot roast filled with grizzle and, liver smothered with onions.  All the stables of my childhood. Thus, it took the hubby a long, long time to convince me to try what was one of his favorite dishes.

 Tuna Noodle Casserole circa 1990

  1. 12 ounces egg noodles
  2. 2 cans Albacore Tuna packed in water
  3. 1 pound mushrooms
  4. 7 ounce bottle Spanish Olives with Pimentos
  5. 1 cup grated parmesan cheese
  6. 1 tsp dill weed
  7. 1 pint sour cream
  8. 2 cans Campbell’s mushroom soup
  9. 2 cups milk
  10. 2 bundles green onions chopped fine.

As you can see, there are twice the number of ingredients in his recipe.  It also costs three times Mother’s and takes three times longer to prepare. Should you care to add extra calories, top with garlic, butter breadcrumbs.  The result is tasty, albeit a bit salty (especially when he goes overboard with the parmesan cheese).

Recently he came across this recipe.  It incorporates cherry tomatoes, garlic, feta cheese and kalamata olives in the mix – genuinely healthy foods and not just artery cloggers.

21st Century Tuna Noodle Casserole


Fifteen ingredients!!  And the cost has now skyrocketed which makes me wonder, in another ten years will tuna noodle casserole be considered haute cuisine?

I guess as our lives get more complicated, so do the recipes.

2 thoughts on “My Life in Tuna Noodle Casserole

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