I’ve been making tuna noodle casserole for as long as I have been married (21 years now) and most of the time, it involved cream of mushroom soup and/or Velveeta. I grew up having it with the cream of mushroom soup, but it never included the Velveeta, and it always had crushed saltine crackers on top. My husband, on the other hand, grew up and loved a similar version, but it has a loaf of Velveeta cheese mixed in, minus the crushed saltine crackers. This became the version I started making for most of our marriage and that my kids would request regularly.
That is until I decided that I really didn’t want to make it with canned soup anymore, which got started with my wish to cook from scratch more often. And I got to wondering if other home cooks made Tuna Noodle Casserole from scratch? Without canned soup?
I got started searching and I realized that there was tons of recipes out there for homemade Tuna Noodle Casserole. And I found one that sounded perfect for us. In fact, so perfect that my family now request this version and doesn’t even want the other one.
This recipe comes from the January 2010 issue of Cooking Light Magazine, which just happens to be my favorite cooking magazine. The recipe you see below has a few minor changes from the original. One was that I added about double the carrots and more peas. I also don’t have a broiler, so I baked it in the oven. Other than that, I follow the other ingredients and instructions. We absolutely love the flavor that the Dijon mustard and the Parmesan cheese give this – so much that I’m craving it again as I am typing this up!
I also wanted to note that I double or triple the recipe below for our family. I like to cook big batches that will not only feed us the first night, but will also give us leftovers for the next day (or two) – plus the bags of egg noodles at my store are 12 oz each, so it just makes it easier for me.
Tuna Noodle Casserole
- 8 ounces wide egg noodles
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 1/2 cup chopped yellow onion
- 2/3 cup chopped carrot
- 3 tablespoons all-purpose flour
- 2 3/4 cups fat-free milk
- 1/2 cup 1/3-less-fat cream cheese (4 ounces, softened)
- 2 tablespoons Dijon mustard
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- 1/2 teaspoon pepper
- 1 1/2 cups frozen peas (thawed)
- 1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese (2 ounces, divided)
- 2 ounce cans albacore tuna in water (5-, drained and flaked)
- Cooking spray
- Preheat oven to 400 degrees F. Grease large baking dish (or two, if needed) with cooking spray.
- Cook noodles according to package directions. Drain.
- Heat oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Cook onion and carrot until carrot is almost tender, stirring occasionally while cooking. Sprinkle evenly with flour; cook 1-2 minutes, stirring constantly. Gradually stir in milk and cook 5-10 minutes, stirring constantly with a whisk until slightly thick. Stir in cream cheese, mustard, salt, and pepper; stirring constantly until cream cheese is melted completely into mixture.
- Remove skillet from heat. Gently stir in noodles, peas, 3/4 cup Parmesan cheese, and tuna. Spoon mixture into greased baking dish(es); top with remaining Parmesan cheese. Bake for 15 minutes or until golden and bubbly. Let stand 5 minutes before serving.
I hope you enjoy this Tuna Noodle Casserole as much as we do! If you made Tuna Noodle Casserole, I would love to hear what you put in it or how you remember it from when you were a kid.