8/24/09 | Leftovers: Tuna Casserole
[ Currently Eating: Bagel Sandwich Thingy ]
Nothing gladdens my heart more at lunch time than a large expanse of tuna casserole landscape.
Because of that, and because I’m not sure if I’ll have the time to get in the usual Tuesday Cheap Eats time-draining post, here is a picture of that Leftover Lunch landscape. I know that not everyone enjoys a good tuna casserole (as far as I can tell, it’s standing at about 50% of folks who can eat this), but this is a regular fixture at Cheap Eats.
I’ve been known to do a cold Tuna Noodle special for leftover lunch the next day from time to time, but I usually microwave it back to normal. (One of the benefits of not microwaving is that it doesn’t make the microwave and/or house smell as much.) We always make a larger pan than normal because it’s almost always good for lunch and a few snacks in the next couple of days.
You can use a can of Campbell’s Cream of Whatever Soup as the base for this casserole. I guess I should write down a recipe, but it’s difficult to get it under $3, and plus I haven’t been using a recipe for this. You just have the sauce, the noodles, some par-cooked veggies and tuna. Lately, I’ve been trying to make the sauce from scratch (a basic white sauce will usually do, but I like to make it tangy with either sour cream or yogurt).
A couple other tips: undercook the noodles, or at least make them al dente. The veggies: some people like to put them in raw, but I usually cook things like onions, celery and carrots a little bit to soften them. Also, things like mushrooms, zucchini and tomatoes, you might want to cook them a bit to get more of the water out. Either that or you should make the sauce a little thicker so that it’ll even out when the water comes out of the veggies. Lastly, I drain the tuna (lately have been using the plain, non-oil packed chunk variety), break it up with a fork, and only mix it in at the end right before you put the mixture into the casserole and put it in the oven.
Lastly, a trick I learned – throw in a pinch of nutmeg into the sauce. Makes it interesting.
Oh. Warning: if you have a cat, it will probably not leave you alone while you are cooking and/or eating this.