Tuna Noodle Casserole: Easily, Quickly, and Cheaply

One of my favorite comfort foods growing up was my mother’s tuna noodle casserole. Here’s her recipe for it:

1 medium sized bag of egg noodles
1 large or 2-3 small cans tuna
2 cans cream of mushroom soup
1 can peas
8 slices American cheese
1 handful potato chips

Cook the noodles, then drain. Add soup, mix thoroughly. Add tuna, mix thoroughly. Add peas, mix thoroughly. Spread mixture in 9″ by 13″ baking pan. Put slices of cheese on top. Crumble chips on top of that. Bake at 350 degrees for 30 minutes or until cheese is very lightly browned.

I loved this stuff growing up. We would have it every two weeks or so and I would happily eat the leftovers until they were all gone.

Naturally, with a recipe I liked so much, I started making it on my own when I moved out. I would make it roughly once a month and eat it for leftovers for three days. By myself, I could literally get five meals out of a pan.

As time wore on, I gradually began to modify the recipe a bit in order to make it healthier without reducing the qualities I liked about it. Here’s what I make today.

1 medium sized bag egg noodles
1 large or 2-3 small cans tuna
2 cans 98% fat free cream of mushroom soup (or make your own cream of mushroom soup/bechamel)
1 12 oz. bag frozen peas
8 slices American cheese (fat-free doesn’t melt well at all for this)
1 handful baked low-fat potato chips (usually Baked Lays)
1 tablespoon black pepper

Cook the noodles, then drain. Add soup, mix thoroughly. Add tuna, mix thoroughly. Add peas, mix thoroughly. Spread mixture in 9″ by 13″ baking pan. Put slices of cheese on top. Crumble chips on top of that. Bake at 350 degrees for 30 minutes or until cheese is very lightly browned.

This recipe has about 12 servings in it – I’ll eat two servings if it’s the only item for the meal. Each serving has roughly 8 grams of fat, so while it’s not the most healthy thing, it’s pretty good.

It takes about 30 minutes to prepare a single pan of this casserole and the ingredients add up to about $11 per pan. (Most of the time is invested in boiling the noodles.) That creates a per-serving cost of $0.92 – not bad. I’ll eat two servings for dinner, as will my wife, and our children will each eat one serving. Then, for lunch the next day, my wife and I will each eat two more servings, then I’ll often eat the final two servings a couple days after that for lunch. All for $11 – not bad at all!

But, with some advance planning, I can not only drop that price per casserole a fair amount, I can also shave the time per casserole. Both goals are achieved using the same technique – simply making a quadruple batch.

4 medium bags or 2 large bags egg noodles
4 large or 10 small cans tuna
8 small cans (or 3 larger cans) 98% fat free cream of mushroom soup (or make your own cream of mushroom soup/bechamel)
2 24 oz. bag frozen peas
32 slices American cheese (fat-free doesn’t melt well at all for this)
4 handfuls baked low-fat potato chips (usually Baked Lays)
4 tablespoon black pepper

First, let’s go shopping for ingredients. Remember that, above, I estimated a single pan of this casserole as having a cost of $11. I went shopping at Fareway for the ingredients for four pans, and here was the result:

Receipt

The ingredients for four pans cost $35.63 – or $8.91 per pan. That’s a savings of $2.09 on each pan – a total savings of $8.37. That’s definitely a good way to start!

This is a great example of how buying bulk items can pay off. Since I needed such a large quantity of each item, I was able to compare all of the prices per unit – and I chose the version with the lowest price per unit in each case. Quite often, the large bulk items aren’t sensible purchases because there’s no good use for the leftovers within the expiration dates.

Ingredients

The real savings, though, is in the time you save. The preparation of the casserole is much the same, just multiplied by four. First, you boil all of the noodles in a large pot:

Noodles cooking in large pot

This adds about five minutes extra time because it takes longer for the water to get to a boil plus it takes a bit longer to drain that many noodles. Then we simply add the frozen peas, the pepper, the tuna, and the soup to the mix – I save about 10% of the soup for later use. Stir thoroughly – this usually adds another two minutes or so to the time invested in a single pan because of the challenge of stirring so many ingredients.

Once it’s mixed up, I usually start pre-heating the oven, then I begin filling the pans:

Getting ready to spread the mixture

I have four 9″ by 13″ pans with covers that I use for such batch casseroles. I spread the mixture evenly into each pan. Quite often, no matter how much I stir, I find that the noodles near the bottom (the bottom third or so) are drier than the ones on top, so once I’ve scooped out the majority of the mixture into the baking pans, I then add the remaining soup and stir it in before continuing. This all adds about four minutes onto the time of cooking a single pan.

Here they are, all lined up like ducks in a row:

Four mostly-finished casseroles

I then cover the surface of each casserole with slices of American cheese, then crush a hand full of baked potato chips on top (to add a bit of crunch to the casserole – and a bit of distinctive flavor, too). Almost always, as soon as I finish the first casserole, the oven has just finished preheating, so I pop in that first casserole for dinner that night. Putting slices and chips on the remaining casseroles takes another ten minutes.

Here are the three finished and covered casseroles (the fourth is in the oven):

Three finished pans, ready to freeze

These three pans go straight into the freezer. Every three weeks or so, I’ll pop one out of the freezer the night before we intend to use it (putting it in the fridge to thaw), then bake it at 350 for thirty five minutes. Let’s say that takes a minute each time, totaling three minutes.

Thus, the total preparation time for making four casseroles at once is 54 minutes, compared to 30 minutes for a single pan. This cuts the prep time per casserole down to 13.5 minutes – a savings of 16.5 minutes per casserole!

So, here’s the real result. Preparing four casseroles at once instead of just one at a time saves 66 minutes in preparation time and $8.37 in ingredient cost. That’s both time and money straight back in your pocket.

The same general principle applies for any freezable entree you might make, from lasagna to chicken parmesan. Preparing the casserole in multiples not only saves you time over the long run, it also saves you money – and that’s the kind of bargain I like.

If you enjoyed reading this, sign up for free updates!

Loading Disqus Comments ...
Loading Facebook Comments ...
  1. Looks yummy, I’ll have to try it!

  2. argh! food looks good and its too early for my stomach to rumble..lol..must try the recipe this weekend. Thanks!

  3. Trent, I’m curious as to why you cook it twice. When I do a similar freezer cooking session, I either divide the extras we’re not going to eat right away into appropriate size freezer bags, squish flat, and freeze; or I line pans with heavy-duty foil, freeze, and then pop them out, put the frozen block in a freezer bag, and throw back in the freezer. (works better with 8×8 pans, you’d probably need a 2 gallon bag for a 9×13)

    In the first scenario, I thaw (either in the fridge or in warm water), pour in a pan, and bake. This is what I often do with things that need some sort of topping, like crescent roll dough, etc.

    In the second scenario, I put it back in the pan and thaw and bake or most often just put it in the oven 2 hours early or earlier and use timed bake.

    PS – your laptop post got me to thinking. I did a post on saving your laptop battery by removing it when you’re not using it here.

  4. Bill in Houston says:

    You’ll save yourself some fat and cholesterol if you swap out the egg noodles for elbow macaroni. OR, if you insist on “egg noodles” get the ones made without yolks.

    2% cheese (Kraft makes some) melts just as well as regular cheese and has half the fat and cholesterol. Yes, 2% costs more.

    I can’t eat tuna, or anything that swims, so I’d use canned chicken breast. I’m a heart patient, so I’m always out for ways to keep fat and cholesterol out of my diet.

  5. Jeff says:

    My mother in law makes basically the same thing, except she uses chicken instead of tuna, and uses one can cream of mushroom and one can cream of chicken. Chicken over tune probably adds to the cost, but its good, and is something that we have started making at home quite often. I will usually make 2 9×13 pans worth at once, mainly because the leftovers are good and very quick thing to grab on my way to work every day.

    I am fortunate enough to be someone who can eat the same thing days in a row, we make this on sundays a lot and I eat it for lunch the next 5 days in a row.

  6. deb says:

    If you’re a Costco member get their tuna – it’s the BEST. I can’t believe the difference. Sadly my family hates tuna and won’t eat it, so I use chicken (also bought at Costco).

  7. Johanna says:

    I’m afraid I don’t see where the bulk savings are coming from. With the items you purchased, you could make a single casserole with one bag of noodles, one can of tuna, one can of soup, 1/3 of a package of cheese, 3/8 of a package of peas, and some of the potato chips. So you’d be left with open packages of cheese, peas, and potato chips. But frozen peas stay good for a long time, I imagine that individually wrapped cheese slices do as well, and you could have bought a single-serving package of potato chips at not much of a premium in unit price. So where exactly are you saving money?

    The time savings, though, I’ll buy – if you have enough freezer space and enough casserole dishes, this can be a great idea.

  8. BJD says:

    You add the potato chips before freezing? Don’t they lose their crunch in the freezing/thawing process?

  9. Sarah says:

    Not to be a downer, but I don’t think this is so healthy, unfortunately. The only vegetables are frozen peas, and only 1 oz. per serving. Tuna is problematic for nursing mothers and young children if you’re going to be consuming it on a regular basis (see http://www.epa.gov/fishadvisories/advice/). And, between the cheese and the soup, the salt content has got to be off the charts.

    I think it’s very hard to make a reasonably traditional (and tasty!) casserole which is also healthy, since the foundations tend to be (a) empty carbs and (b) a gloppy sauce.

    As an aside, why pay for chips when you could use bread crumbs? I would bet you guys have some very nice breads kicking around to use!

  10. Matt Jabs says:

    My wife & I cook in bulk every week.

    We always make one huge batch of a meal, then also plan for one additional quick meal from our pantry just in case we get sick of eating the “bulk meal” too many days in a row. We’ll usually give ourselves a break from it on Wednesday to break up the monotony.

    One thing we focus on is to use more beans as a way to make our bulk meals healthier & more cost effective.

  11. Faculties says:

    Why is the inclusion of potato chips in a casserole the absolute giveaway that this recipe comes from the Midwest?

  12. Aimee says:

    Wow, and the best part is, it looks the same going in and coming back out.

    Seriously, that looks like vomit and I cannot believe you feed that to your family. That is VILE.

  13. Eric says:

    I love my mom’s tuna casserole too, and making large batches of it at once has always been my bachelor’s meal plan. It’s convenient, but also very funny, to see it all laid out here on your site!

  14. Trent says:

    “Why is the inclusion of potato chips in a casserole the absolute giveaway that this recipe comes from the Midwest?”

    Because you’re a regionalist who buys into stereotypes.

  15. Sophie says:

    Wow, Trent, you may want to recalibrate your sarcasm meter ;)

  16. almost there says:

    I don’t think it has to do with regionalist thinking but when the moms were brought up. My mom was from the midwest and made almost the same recipe, but in the era of the Betty Crocker cookbook, popular in the 50′s and 60′s. All moms made the same meals from that book. My wife also got that cookbook as a wedding gift (gotta train the new wives in the way of the potato chips ). :)

  17. EB says:

    Too funny. My family makes this exact recipe also (and yes I’m from the Midwest- Iowa in fact). We add a tablespoon of half and half to make it creamier. And I am not a big fan of cream of mushroom soup so I use 2 cans of either cream of chicken or cream of celery- whatever I have on hand.

  18. Wendybird74 says:

    Speaking of potato chips, my mom makes a VERY similar casserole, but instead of noodles, she uses almost a whole bag of chips!
    She layers the peas, tuna, soup (sometimes she uses cream of chicken, sometimes mushroom…whatever is on hand), and the crushed up chips. (Kettle cooked work best for use inside the casserole since the baked tend to make the casserole too dry.)
    She repeats the layers ending with a bunch of the crushed chips on top to crisp. Same temp and time as Trents.
    Not exactly the most healthy casserole ever made…but the taste is out of this world!
    I could eat it as leftovers for a week straight without complaint.
    BTW….she is from Western Pennsylvania…and she learned to cook from that Betty Crocker cookbook.

  19. Karen M says:

    I have lived in the midwest, the south, and the wet coast, and I think I saw the most casseroles in the midwest. I think it might have something to do with the long winters when one needed to be able to make something out of shelf stable ingredients. (Obviously before year-round availability of a wide variety of produce.) Not to say I never saw a casserole in the south, but just with less frequency. However, I never saw collards in the midwest/north. Regional cooking is “regional cooking” for a reason.

    So I guess it is slightly regionalist thinking, but not really worth calling someone names over.

    That said, I make this about once a year. My husband gets a craving for it around February. i don’t use cheese or potato chips, but rather goldfish crackers. I think it is kind of funny on a tunaFISH casserole. Usually I am the only one who gets the joke, though. I honestly never thought about making extra and freezing them.

  20. Karen M says:

    Sorry, that should be the “west coast” above. Ooops.

  21. Sarah says:

    That’s a great demo! Don’t forget, by buying all of the ingredients for it at once, you’re also saving time during grocery trips. Making the four casseroles separately and buying all the ingredients each time (even included in a regular shopping trip) means wandering down the aisles 4 times. Stocking up on many of the same item on a trip saves money if the items are on sale, and always saves time in the store. Great job!

  22. Andrea says:

    Thanks Trent! I will give this a try this weekend. I’m only cooking for two so what I do to save time and money is always make big batches of food for supper and freeze anything remaining for lunches. This way we don’t have to eat it the next day and there is always something in the freezer to take for lunch!

    I love your cooking posts so keep them coming!

  23. Sandy E. says:

    I like to do ahead of time cooking too, and here’s a recipe that is very inexpensive and very healthy, making Bean and Rice Burritos, which I just did a few minutes ago. (Bean and Rice, when eaten together, is a complete protein).

    Bean & Rice Burritos – Makes 10 to 12

    1 cup of brown rice
    1 large onion, finely chopped
    40 oz. can pinto beans, drained & rinsed
    2 small cans of tomato sauce, plus 1/2 can water
    Packet of taco seasoning mix
    Package of whole wheat flour tortillas – 10 to 12
    1/2 to 1 lb. lean hamburger meat – optional
    Shredded cheese

    Bring 2-1/4 cups of water to a boil. Add rice, return to a boil, then reduce heat, cover and simmer 20 minutes.

    Cook hamburger, if using, and drain. Combine cooked rice, hamburger, and drained beans and tomato sauce, plus 1/2 can water, onions, taco seasoning packet, stir. Then simmer about 10 minutes.

    Spoon 1/2 cup onto a tortilla and add some shredded cheese on top, then wrap up burrito style. Wrap in foil and freeze.

  24. I like to buy those whole roasted rotisserie chickens. They can make different meals for an entire week – good for your health too.

  25. C says:

    I liked this dish too growing up but now I’m allergic to fish! :( I

  26. Katelyn says:

    I use casseroles like this as a way to use up the last bits of bags of chips and crackers (even if they’ve gone stale). Just throw all your weird leftover ends of bags/boxes of chips and crackers into a gallon size ziploc and throw in the corner of the cabinet; it doesn’t matter if they get smushed because you’re going to crush them anyway.

  27. Kara says:

    Ever see the site “this is why you’re fat”?

    Good grief. If you’re going to advise people on how to cook in bulk and save money, could you at least advise them on how to make HEALTHY meals?

    For $35 worth of groceries, I could make 6 large lasagnas, all from scratch, all loaded with veggies and lean meat, and not made with sodium laden soup concentrate or potato chips.

    I could make multple batches of baked ziti – again with lean meat, whole grain pasta, and veggies.

    I could make 4 italian chicken casseroles – again with lean white meat, tons of veggies, and tomato sauce.

    Why on EARTH are you advising people to save money by ruining their health and getting fat???????

  28. Eric says:

    Trent! I love, love, love these posts because I’m a poor student who’s also an awful cook. These posts are like life savers to me.

    Looking forward to more from you in the future. Lasagna or chicken parmesan sounds so delicious. :D

  29. Diane says:

    @Johanna – Please, lighten up already! Relentless negativity is such a bore.

  30. slcp84 says:

    Kara (#19) maybe have said it a little crudely, but her point is right. Your “improvements” to make it healthier really don’t address the key problems with the recipe — it has a complete lack of whole grains, is very sparse on fruits and veggies, and the rest is processed “food”. Swap out the pasta for whole grain, the canned soup and cheese for a skim milk, spices, more veggies, four, and well, you can still have some cheese. And how about whole grain crackers instead of chips?

    Your only comment on why it’s unhealthy is that it has “8 grams of fat” which is completely meaningless. Fat isn’t bad, it’s where it comes from that’s bad (and fat isn’t the problem with this meal).

    @ Insurance Guy — Careful with the precooked rotisserie chickens, they’re so delicious because they pump them full of salt water. Y

    PS. Ditto that regional cooking isn’t prejudice. It’s what gives different areas’ foods their character.

  31. Kat Slonaker says:

    You might want to try substituting canned salmon (Costco has some that is excellent) and then you will not have to worry about mercury. One meal a month of tuna is all that is recommended (if I am remembering correctly) – especially for children.

    I assume you have a stand-alone freezer? Have you figured in the energy costs of that? We have been debating whether to get one, but we’re in the South and the only good place to put it would be the garage – which manages to get pretty hot.

    I have been enjoying your thoughts on life and money for a while – this is the first time I felt a need to comment!

  32. Sarah says:

    I agree with Kara. If you’re going to cook in bulk it should be healthy and not include lots of processed ingredients. This recipe is ok if you are just cookinng one batch.

  33. Johanna says:

    @Diane: I know you are, but what am I?

  34. Joseph says:

    I believe that we as a nation should be ashamed of the sorry excuse for cheese that we call “American.”

  35. Ryan says:

    nice recipe and definitely cost effective. Not the healthiest in the world but you can add some healthier substitutes for some of the ingredients.

  36. Trent says:

    You can make this as healthy as you want (whole grain noodles of any kind, bechamel from scratch, no chips on top) … or you can complain about it. Your choice.

    The point is that you can save a ton of time making four casseroles at once, and often a lot of money, too.

  37. Borealis says:

    Get a grip on reality people. Not every recipe in the world has to strive for the maximum fat free ingredients.

    One reason that many people eat out is that eating in has become a relentless pursuit of fat-free meals that lack taste. Cutting out fat and salt affects the taste and you can almost always tell the difference.

    If you enjoy meals at home, you will save a ton of money and at least can control the ingredients. But if you try to cheat on every ingredient, the result is that people will want to eat out.

  38. Adam says:

    Obviously the recipe could be healthier, the only thing that sticks out for me as not being easy to modify is the sodium content. Almost all the ingredients will be very high in sodium and two servings of this would probably run close to the daily limit for a person. That’s just not a good thing to advertise just to save money in my opinion.

    A low sodium chili recipe would have been equally easy and cheap, freezable in bulk, and also much healthier (beans for fiber, lots of veggies, low-fat high protein ground turkey/beef).

  39. Grace says:

    You CAN make it healthier, but having done the whole grain noodle trip–it will NOT taste as good. And substituting anything for the potato chips really detracts from the dish (though my family can’t tell the difference between baked and regular potato chips when used in this dish, so I use the healthier choice there.

    But Trent? $2.49 for a can of tuna? Around here (Pacific NW), Starkist is $1.19 regularly and 69 to 79 cents on sale.

  40. Chrissy says:

    @Grace – I believe those are the Large cans of tuna.

  41. Natalie says:

    If you are looking to make this recipe healthier, you should consider switching from American cheese to Cheddar slices. American Cheese is a manufactured food that contains trans fats. I really enjoy Tillamook sharp cheddar slices, which come the same size as regular American cheese, but are healthier and actually taste better.

  42. val says:

    This reminds me of creamed tuna (or chicken/turkey) and peas over egg noodles. Wicked cheap meal. I think I’ll try the white sauce used in that to replace the cream of mushroom soup in yours and see how it comes out.

    I buy my cheese at Aldis for under $1. Though I might be able to get a couple packages of Kraft with their recent $1/1 printable for a similar price.

    Now I want.

  43. stephanie says:

    I would rather spend more and not eat this kind of food. I know that saving money is important, but if it means eating processed “cheese-food”, cheap-o meats and canned soup, it kind of eliminates the point of spending less and having a high quality of life. I’d rather spend thirty minutes cooking something that is high in fiber, filled with vegetables, and low in calories . Health care is more expensive than food in the end.

  44. AP says:

    We [collectively speaking] are not fat because we eat too much tuna noodle casserole. We are fat because we don’t cook at home enough and indulge in super-sized McFood much more often than we should. With the recession those tendencies are changing, but you catch my meaning.

    As has been observed, I would like to 2nd the “how many umpteen of us grew up eating that type of processed food dish — Trent’s casserole is nearly identical to my mom’s” thought. I did not taste tofu, organic greens, or real cheese [or anything else that I now enjoy buying at my wonderfully hippie co-op] until I was in college. A lot of this has to do with class issues, but don’t let’s go there. :) Basically, my health is fine (as verified by my dr.), and there is zero evidence that consuming tuna noodle casseroles or other processed-food dishes has had a negative impact on my person.

    I’m not saying a person’s diet should be all processed foods, all the time. But you know, the occasional tuna noodle/Tightwad Gazzette-type casserole never killed anybody.

  45. candylover says:

    People are obviously missing the point. Trent’s point is that you can save time and money by making a quadruple batch of casseroles at once as compared to making one casserole at a time or eating out. If you don’t like the recipe he provided, so be it. He’s just giving an example of something his family does, not saying that ALL casseroles you make should be done this way. Make it more healthy if you want. For example, add more vegetables, use whole grain noodles or rice instead of egg noodles, make your own “cream of” sauce, use shredded cheddar cheese, and omit the chips. There are other, more healthy casserole recipes out there that this same concept applies to, so instead of knocking this recipe so much, find one you like and start making quadruple batches.

  46. Mister E says:

    I like the idea of this post but the recipe is definitely not one I’ll be trying as canned soups and American cheese are not on the menu at my place. It’s not so much the unhealthyness of it, I cook with real butter and salt and lots of other “bad” things (in moderation, natch) but tastewise American cheese is garbage and I’ve never met a canned soup that’s much better. Your mileage may vary of course. I’ve never even heard of putting potato chips on a casserole, I use breadcrumbs but I might try chips in the future, it would be a nice crunch I imagine.

  47. candylover says:

    Also, Trent does say at the very beginning of his post that this was one of his favorite comfort foods. Where I come from, a comfort food isn’t something you eat all the time. So unless you eat 100% healthy 100% of the time, making the casserole he suggested isn’t going to kill you or totally ruin your diet.

  48. This is my daughter’s favorite dish. But, I thought I was the “inventor” of putting peas in it to “healthy it up” a bit. Apparently, I was wrong! Oh, well, it’s still a yummy casserole (or “hot dish” if you’re from Minnesota.)Hey, for those who are upset that it may have some fat in it, you’re going to die of something, why put in all the gross stuff? Just have veggies and fruit on the side. I do make my own bechemel sauce instead of the canned soup, but whole grain noodles? Yikes! Sick!

  49. Diane B says:

    Trent, just because a meal has 8g of fat per serving does NOT make it unhealthy. A low-fat diet is NOT necessarily a healthy diet – that’s been debunked by just about every nutritional study of the past ten years. In fact, your body needs dietary fat to stay healthy. The fat should just come from healthy sources (fish oil, for example, which tuna has in spades).

  50. michelle says:

    Trent, thanks for the confirmation that bulk cooking saves time AND money. I’ve been meaning to test this for a while.

    Re: the 2% American cheese slices – I absolutely agree with the second or third poster. We make grilled cheese sandwiches from this and have used it melted over Boca burgers and pasta. It melts beautifully and I haven’t ever missed taste or texture compared to the version I grew up with.

    Blessings,

    Michelle

  51. k2000k says:

    Nice idea, though would jazz it up to make it healthier I would get rid of the potatoes chips as there is no nutritional value in them whatsoever. Substitute the noodles for whole wheat noodles. Replace the kraft cheese with cheddar or Havarti. Add another large can of tuna and peas, perhaps a large vegetable. Diane is right though, a low fat diet isn’t necessarily healthy. You need fat in your diet to maintain healthy levels. Ideally a ‘healthy’ diet consists of protein, vegetables, healthy fat, and in moderation whole grains.

  52. *sara* says:

    EVERYBODY: try and listen to the point of the article, and then adapt to suit your own situation! Of course this isn’t going to work for everyone- I don’t have a freezer big enough to do this- but I can make multiple batches of something smaller and freeze them. We eat very healthy nutritious food most of the time, and we also eat tuna noodle casserole and homemade mac ‘n cheese sometimes. Its a useful recipe to have! Don’t attack the author just because it needs to be adapted for your use.

  53. Deb says:

    This sounds really, really, really good.

    Now I am hungry.

    Thanks, Trent, both for the recipe and the time/cost savings breakdown.

    And people, please. It’s just food. If this is too fatty/salty/wrong kind of noodles/not enough veggies for you, then don’t make it.

  54. Wendybird74 says:

    Wow! Who knew that potato chips were so controversial??
    Lets see a show of hands for those of you who have never eaten potato chips due to thier evil fat content?
    Yeah…I thought so!
    (Next assignment….inform Paula Deen that Butter is bad for her health!…..hehehe)

  55. Alexandra says:

    Just one comment : I doubt that making it in huge quantities actually saves that much money. It means you have to have a HUGE freezer (if you do it for one dish, do it for many!), AND you have to have many casserole dishes. And they aren’t cheap.
    Sure it saves time, but you’re paying for it in space (a large freezer takes up space, and we all know how expensive space is), it can be an expensive purchase, and it also means that you’ll need lots of space (again, expensive) in the kitchen to store ALL the pots and pans and casserole dishes required to just store these.

  56. k2000k says:

    Wendy, I have eaten potatoes chips, I just don’t make them a part of my meal on a regular basis, and with four casseroles…

  57. Esme says:

    Nowhere does he say he eats this casserole all the time! Four casseroles in the freezer means they’re good for a couple/few months. Every couple of weeks is perfectly reasonable for a ‘comfort’ dish, and it certainly beats a lot of the godawful frozen prepared foods.
    Everyone here needs to get a grip or go get a massage or something. Its like kindergarten. Wow.

  58. Sandra says:

    I JUST LOVE READING PEOPLES INANE POSTS! Since we are talking “regional” and I’m a Southern Belle, Where the &*%$ is the BUTTER?

    I think plain ole cheap crunched cornflakes would be tasty on this!

  59. Holly says:

    Trent you did a great job making it healty. Often times when eating a doughnut I’ll break it in half to let some of the fat and calories evaporate before devouring.

  60. Sandy says:

    ok…I’ve eaten tuna casserole all my life, and have never had cheese OR potato chips (or corn flakes) on top. We did always have a can or 2 of mushrooms thrown in, though.
    Making batches of things that your family likes to eat is definately the way to go…some nights, it’s easy to pull out a prepared homemade soup or chili or casserole or precooked brown rice, and dinner is ready in minutes. I remember when my youngest had a little gym class in the evening, and while I was going to have one of these freezer meals, I couldn’t help but overhearing a couple of other moms say “OK, honey, should we go to Burger King or McDonald’s for dinner now?” I know which set of kids had a healthier dinner that night. Mine! I would definately bet that Trent’s casserole would be healthier than fast food, too! Keep in mind too, that his kids, as mine were, are exposed to flavors that kids growing up only eating nuggets, burgers and pb and j likely won’t touch. Exposure to the taste buds start very early.

  61. Mercedes says:

    Not only can you save time and money by cooking in big batches. But you could save more by making sure you buy ingredients while they are on sale. I noticed a lot of the prces Trent paid seem to be regular prices not sale and that I suspect was for demonstration purposes.
    also, there’s a great blog to help people that want to look into once a month cooking:

    http://onceamonthmom.com/

  62. Ked says:

    Great post…my only comment would be that in the south we could purchase all of the ingredients at our local dollartree, with the exception of the cheese. They now have frozen and refridgerated sections. All items are a dollar or less and they are often name brands you would get at your regular gtocery store. It would reduce your cost at least 50 percent. That makes your comfort food even more comforting.

  63. Melissa says:

    Tuna casserole is one of our cheap household favourites too. I also posted a recipe for ours on my website just last week.
    Cooking in bulk and freezing the leftovers is an awesome time and money saver. Nothing like coming home to a home cooked easy reheat meal after work.
    Healthy doesn’t have to mean not tasty. Real cream, tuna, onion, sea salt, nutmeg, freshly cracked peper, tasty cheese, vegies, wholegrain pasta – all really tasty, healthy stuff yum and more often than not, cheaper than the processed “stuff”.
    Great post. Interesting controversy.

  64. c says:

    Perhaps the cost would have reduced if you had used coupons for the cheese?.. there are a lot of kraft coupons on different coupon websites..

  65. Adding 1/4 cup per casserole of Miracle Whip or other salad dressing really gives this recipe a tang. I won’t make mine without it.

  66. Alex W says:

    You got ripped off on the tuna fish. They are about $1 a can if you get them on sale or at costco.

  67. GayleRN says:

    I would like to point out that tuna used to come in 7 oz cans way back when our moms were making this. Now tuna comes in 5 oz cans. In case you were wondering why it wasn’t coming out right and you needed 3 cans instead of 2 now.

  68. Auntielle says:

    When reading posts/articles like this followed by reader comments, I’m reminded of the saying “Take the best and leave the rest”. The “Take the best” part varies from reader to reader, as we don’t all live our lives the same way. As Trent said, the point is that making multiple batches of a mealtime dish saves time, and often money as well. The recipe is one that many of us enjoyed as “Comfort Food” growing up, and it is enjoyable to revisit those well-loved and remembered dishes from time to time. For those who prefer healthier fare, reader Sandy E. shared a great idea/recipe for “Bean and Rice Burritos” that are quite healthy, inexpensive, and freezer-friendly. Perfect for those rushed evenings when the kids need to eat something quick, filling and hopefully reasonably healthy on their way to their various activities. A great idea for many other readers as well, who just want to be able to pull a quick, meal-in-hand item from the freezer, zap it in the microwave, and be on to other pursuits.

    One point that I haven’t seen brought up yet (though I may have missed it) is that whipping up multiple batches of entrees, side dishes, etc. not only saves prep time and possibly money as well, it also saves BIG-TIME on clean-up! Many times, I have prepared dishes that required more than one cooking vessel, as well as numerous prep utensils, such as my food processor, blender, handy-dandy V-slicer gadget, etc. Instead of washing, rinsing and drying all of those items four separate times, I only have to do it once, saving not only time but effort as well. That, for me, makes multiple batch cooking very much worth it.

    One tip I would suggest to reduce the cost of this and other “cook-and-freeze” dishes is: In addition to cooking in multiple batches, I watch for food items I use regularly to go on sale … and then I try to match the sale item with a coupon as well. I know that not everyone uses the “Cream of …” soups in cooking, but in many areas of the country, Makers of canned soups and other items commonly purchased, prepared and eaten in cold weather and/or during the winter holidays put out plenty of coupons for their products in October, November, and December. Coupons for soups, canned goods such as chili, pumpkin, cranberry sauce, green beans, creamed corn, and so on abound during October and November. In December, the grocery store shelves are piled high with all the usual holiday baking supplies, such as flour, sugar, coconut, baking spices, walnuts, etc. Usually the grocery stores run seasonal sales on these items and the manufacturers put out plenty of coupons during the same time, offering yet another savings opportunity for the shopper. The canned foods are perfectly able to be stored for at least a year, and usually have a “Use By” date stamped on the can that is often 2 years or even longer away. So I purchase all of my canned soups, canned pumpkin, cranberry sauce, green beans, chili, etc. during these fall months – on sale and often with a coupon. The baking supplies I purchase in December either go into my pantry or in my garage freezer – all purchased on sale and most with a coupon as well. Some stores even double the coupons, which results in getting the products for very little cash. Of course, you have to have the $$ to invest in these items in multiples, but with the way the stock market has been and with the measly interest rate that many banks pay on savings accounts and CDs, my money – used this way – is actually more wisely spent sitting – in the form of canned, frozen, and/or pantry-stored food – in my home than if I were to put it in my savings account or even invest it in a CD.

    One other thing I do that could be used for Trent’s recipe although it would alter it slightly is that I purchase a large block of Colby-Jack cheese at Costco, grate it all at once using my food processor, and store in 1-cup amounts in my freezer. I find the Colby-Jack or Cheddar-Jack to be especially versatile for using in recipes later, or even in grilled cheese sandwiches. An alternative to Costco would be to buy a couple of smaller blocks of cheese when on sale at your grocery store. It’s so nice to be able to reach into the freezer and pull out a pre-measured, already-shredded container of cheese to use in a recipe, knowing that it was purchased at a good price. Also better for you and, IMO, better tasting than the pre-sliced American cheese products. And I only have to wash the food processor once!

    Thanks for another great article, Trent. I LOVE reading your cooking/kitchen posts, and hope to see more of them very soon!

  69. EllenRN says:

    I too struggle with the lack of nutrition in this dish. I will give kudos for the tuna protein!

    I understand that finances are a huge nationwide problem right now and this will definitely fill tummies at low cost and sometimes this is the priority.

  70. renee says:

    Thanks for the recipe. ALL of us have comfort food we turn to once in a while, and for those of you that are slamming Trent for it not being healthy – get a life. You have the right to not like it but you do not have the right to be so hateful about it. So what if it’s not the healthiest recipe on the planet. My G’kids are coming over this weekend and this is something they can help me make. Some good memories and time spent together outweigh the calorie count by a long shot. And thanks for the burrito recipe above.

  71. Valeria says:

    I;m sorry – this recipe is appalling nutritionally and it will certainly not teach your children about healthy eating habits or even adventuresome eating. Frankly, any recipe that calls for cream of anything scream nutrituional disaster. Furthermore, cooking with – or eating in any form – American prostituted (read the ingredients) cheese, is insanity. It’s VERY BAD FOOD.
    There are wonderful, healthy recipes available that might cost a dollar more per casserole but subtract fat, salt and yuck and ass taste and texture. And, as for living frugally- that should never include buying potatoe chips. Pound for pound, filet mignon is likely cheaper and healthier.

  72. dsz says:

    If someone only has one 13×9 pan the recipe can be frozen in batches, popped out when solid and securely wrapped and returned to the freezer. The night before baking unwrap the frozen block, place in the pan, let it thaw in the fridge and proceed as above. Of course you’d refrigerate the remainder of the mix while the individual batches are freezing.
    I supposed you could also just divide the remaining three batches (minus cheese/chips) and put in freezer bags. Let it thaw completely, spread into the pan, top with cheese and chips and bake away.
    I use both methods to conserve freezer space and cut down on the number of storage containers I need, mostly with chili, stew, lasagne and soup.
    Off-topic but handy, I will buy ground beef on sale, brown and freeze in 1- or 2-pound increments and keep it for quick meals or crockpot chili. Love my foodsaver!
    Also, for meals such as this preheating the oven is not essential since everything is just getting heated through. I never preheat for anything except bakery or something like a standing rib roast that needs to start at 450. Not sure how much it saves, but that’s what I do.

  73. Denise says:

    8 bucks per casserole is a savings?? Not here. I’ve made an art out of frugality and think it’s fun. Here’s my breakdown (and it’s somewhat healthier since we put very little grated cheese IN the dish and leave off the chips, baked or otherwise)
    noodles (Aldis or $ store) .79 x4 = 3.16
    tuna (won’t buy it if it’s over $2) 1.99
    soup(make my own, more low fat) 1.00
    mayo (for tartness) .50
    peas (only bought on sale @ $1 per) 2.00
    grated cheese 2.00
    saved bread crumbs 00
    11.67
    Making each casserole 2.91, which I still consider high b/c of the tuna. We save bread crumbs that fall on our breadboard from cutting our homemade bread in the freezer…EXCELLENT. I even have a recipe for bread crumb cookies. I make the soup mix and use it in all casseroles. I absolutely LOVE ‘saving’ this way…it’s like a contest with me.

  74. Jill says:

    http://www.nrdc.org/health/effects/mercury/tuna.asp Please be aware of the mercury content of fish. Thanks for your ideas.

  75. KJ says:

    1) I get that the point of the piece is to ‘do things in bulk to save time/money’, but two things come to mind:
    What are you paying in health care costs (ok, that’s specific to the recipe) and what are you paying to run a freezer to store these?
    2) I could see this strategy for a lasagna/canneloni or another dish that requires assembly time, but can’t see it for a simple tuna casserole, and wouldn’t be willing to pay the extra energy costs for storing it in the freezer. I actually do enjoy tuna casserole, but it’s NOT a big deal to throw this together even after a busy day-you’re not constructing the Palace of Versailles, it’s a VERY SIMPLE casserole!
    I find that it takes as much time/hassle to thaw/reheat a 13×9 food brick as it does to make it fresh, and I MUCH MUCH prefer the quality of fresh vs. limp/exhausted reheated.
    I simply don’t find that the texture post-freezing is to my liking- but I put a lot more fresh/textured ingredients (chopped fresh onion and celery) in mine, too. Even without these ingredients (which do not freeze well), I’ll throw this together fresh instead.
    3) I was born/raised in the Midwest, and my mom NEVER put potato chips on ANYTHING (she did not regard them as a FOOD product)-so this is NOT an absolute in the region.
    (Have to admit- was creeped out/sicked when I ‘went east’(ha!) & visited a Tipp City, OH pizzaria with friends, where the apparent ‘standard’ is to put potato chips ON PIZZA!- I could NOT ‘go there’ (the pizza was sufficiently artery-clogging!). This still makes my stomach roll to recall the memory! – but to each their own.

  76. Lenore says:

    LAY’S Potato Chips? CAMPBELL’S Soup? STARKIST Tuna? KRAFT Cheese? I can’t remember the last time I bought brand names of such basic foods. Did these companies give you a kickback, Trent, or did you use coupons to get the stuff cheaper than store brands? Maybe you mentioned there would be additional savings if the casserole were made with generic ingredients, but I was too shocked by the commercialism of the picture to read any further.

  77. juli says:

    I hate cream of mushroom soup so I make an even simpler version substituting mayo for the c of m and adding a little more seasoning. It tastes really good without the gumminess of that soup.l It’s also good with panko bread crumbs on top if you have those laying around!

  78. lee says:

    Yikes, lots of haters.

  79. Eve says:

    OMG!!! OMG!!! Being raised in a family with 7 kids this was a meal my mother would make for us when money was tight. It was my meal for my 16th b-day, and i told myself i would never eat this again. Every time the tuna casserole name would come up at partys, talking with friends, or talking about my childhood with friends, I have to tell my tuna casserole experience,and even my own kids ages 15, 13 and 11 know the WHOLE STORY. NO MORE TUNA CASSEROLE!!!!!

  80. kaitlyn says:

    I personally love tuna casserole. I don’t eat mushrooms, so I use cream of celery instead of cream of mushroom. I sprinkle either lipton onion soup mix or those fried onion straw things on top instead of potato chips. Also, I am a horrible cheese snob, so Kraft “cheese” is not allowed in my fridge. A tasty block of quality cheddar is much better, and if you substitute quality for convenience (ie buy it in block form and grate yourself), it is not that much more expensive.

  81. Esther Ziol says:

    An even tastier way to make the casserole is to use cream of celery soup and Velveeta cheese. Onions can also add a lot of flavor. You won’t need the potato chips. It’s really yummy!

  82. Courtney says:

    Does no one but me worry about feeding small children tunafish? Mercury, anyone? Anyone?

  83. Hogan says:

    Great post. Who cares about the potato chips. I am about 30 miles down the road from Trent and never had potato chips in a casserole growing up. The point is put your own spin on the tuna casserole, we have seen Trent’s take on it.

  84. Coupon Trunk says:

    I sometimes substitute tuna with mackerel, just because it has a more robust flavor. I’ve never tried it with the potato chips, but maybe that will be something the next time I make casserole.

  85. Moom says:

    Well, this is very different to what I imagined a casserole to be :) But I’m not American…

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Casserole

  86. Michelle says:

    it’s funny – frugal dad had an article the other day about frugal snobbery – and some of these comments fall right into that trap! Yes, you could get the ingredients cheaper buying at a warehouse store, or with coupons or not-buying brand names, etc., but the point of the article is the time savings and money savings doing this recipe in bulk and freezing. YIKES on all the healthy-living comments – don’t come to my house for dinner! Not every meal has to have perfect proportions of healthful items – your daily balance needs to be achieved. I’m sure Trent’s family doesn’t eat noodles/cheese/cream sauce every meal, so why the complaints they would have this dish a couple of times a month? (one pan + leftovers)…In my learned opinion, Whole-grain egg noodles are just gross – they pretty much taste like cardboard with gravel in them, so why ruin a dish over a little fiber? My mom is from indiana and we had this dish with crumbled saltines & about 1/2 stick of butter poured over the top (to the Southern commenter about the butter), so this version would be healthier than my families by a long shot!

  87. Michelle says:

    it’s funny – frugal dad had an article the other day about frugal snobbery – and some of these comments fall right into that trap! Yes, you could get the ingredients cheaper buying at a warehouse store, or with coupons or not-buying brand names, etc., but the point of the article is the time savings and money savings doing this recipe in bulk and freezing. YIKES on all the healthy-living comments – don’t come to my house for dinner! Not every meal has to have perfect proportions of healthful items – your daily balance needs to be achieved. I’m sure Trent’s family doesn’t eat noodles/cheese/cream sauce every meal, so why the complaints they would have this dish a couple of times a month? (one pan + leftovers)…In my learned opinion, Whole-grain egg noodles are just gross – they pretty much taste like cardboard with gravel in them, so why ruin a dish over a little fiber? My mom is from indiana and we had this dish with crumbled saltines & about 1/2 stick of butter poured over the top (to the Southern commenter about the butter), so this version would be healthier than my family’s by a long shot!

  88. Georgia says:

    Ha. My mother thought she had invented the peas in tuna casserole back in the 50′s. Then, about 2 weeks later, she saw the same recipe in a magazine. Boy, was she deflated.

    I love to make casseroles. Maybe someone can tell me if this one can be frozen. There is only me to cook for and I have to do small batches to fit my very small freezer.

    1 box stove top stuffing
    In an electric skillet put water and butter on to boil. When this is boiling, add to it 1 cup grated carrot, 1/2 cup chopped onion, 1/2 cup chopped celery, 1/2 cup sliced mushrooms, 1/2 cup sliced water chestnuts, and 2 cups of whatever leftover meat you have. When all heated through for 5 or so minutes, add the contents of the stuffing mix packet and let stand for 5 minutes. Fluff. You can also add frozen peas, green peppers, etc. to your specifications.

    This was a favorite dish of my childrens and my son did not even realize it had veggies in it.

    Now, do you think this could be frozen? Please help an old lady.

  89. Kate says:

    I have been cooking from what I have lately so I can clean out my pantry and freezer. Last week I had frozen brocolli pieces, carrots, about half a container of fresh mushrooms, two cans of tuna, some end pieces of bread, a big handful of cheese, elbow macaroni, milk and butter.
    I made the very best tuna casserole that I have ever had with those ingredients–I cubed the carrots and cooked them for awhile and then threw in the brocolli to finish cooking. Cooked and drained the elbow macaroni. Sauteed the mushrooms and then made a cream sauce with butter, flour, cooking water from the vegetables and milk and added the cheese. Stirred everything together well and topped it with finely diced bread sauteed in a little bit of butter.
    I had never thought of using brocolli and carrots with tuna but it was very good–liked it better than peas and it was probably healthier.

  90. Kate says:

    Georgia,
    I don’t see why your casserole wouldn’t freeze. Why not make one, give part of it to a friend/neighbor and freeze a couple servings to see?

  91. Cindy says:

    I make a similar casserole which my 11-year old son LOVES! I use one can cream of mushroom soup and one can evaporated milk and then top with shredded cheddar cheese (we like better than American cheese) and crushed saltines instead of chips (which my mother uses). I admit that it is not the “healthiest” recipe, but we rotate it with other healthier recipes and always serve with lots of steamed veggies. Everything in moderation – a little fun is good along the way…

  92. Sarah says:

    Hi, my husband and I made this casserole for the first time last night and it was delicious. The only thing we had a problem with is the 1 tablespoon of pepper in the second, modified recipe. We thought that was a lot, so we didn’t quite put a tablespoon in. Even then though, it was a little too peppery for our tastes. Is it supposed to be a teaspoon of pepper?

  93. Gwen says:

    Trent, I love all of your food related posts, especially the “how-to” ones. Keep ‘em coming!

  94. Pipps says:

    Oh my goodness! You’ve sold me!
    I will definitely be trying this tomorrow night! :)

  95. Sunshine says:

    My goodness. All this negativity over tuna casserole. I knew it had a bad rap, but sheesh.

    I don’t eat much stuff from my youth – my mom did the best she could, but tastes have evolved greatly. However, tuna casserole is one of my guilty comfort food pleasures. I relish it any chance I can. It’s usually a 1x or 2x a year thing (so no bulking it for me). I’m always on the lookout for a good, simple recipe and this looks like it. I’ve never heard about the sliced cheese, though; I’m gonna have to test that out. I don’t use the chips regularly.

    I forsee some tuna casserole in my future.

    Great post, Trent!

  96. Dottie says:

    Thanks Trent for giving a visual post on how to make muliple casseroles. I would love to see more!! The recipe sounds great the way it is posted and I am going to try it this week.. I have never made a tuna casserole, but the ingredients are all things that my husband and I enjoy.
    I also agree with some of the other comments regarding whole grain egg noodles. They are probably the worst tasting food I have ever eaten in my entire life..I’m all for more whole grain, however it will not be in the form of egg noodles for me!!!
    If you must make this recipe healthier make it as is and sprinkle some ground flax seed on the top before adding the cheese. You’ll never know it is there.

  97. RazzBari says:

    Reminds me of Garrison Keillor’s song about tuna casserole:

    Only a small can of tuna,
    Mushroom soup, celery and peas,
    Mixed with a quart of egg noodles,
    Sprinkled with chips and with cheese.
    (to the tune of Whispering Hope)

    Mom made something similar, but substituted broccoli for peas, made her own dairy-free soup substitute and left off the cheese (brother had a dairy allergy). Never left off the potato chips, though! 8)

    Trent, how many 9×13 pans do you have, and have you found a good frugal source for those? I’d rather not use the disposable aluminum sort unless I’m taking it somewhere where I don’t want the recipient to worry about washing & returning a dish.

  98. Meg says:

    Wow 4 pans!! I have a deep freezer that I stock constantly with casseroles and other fabulous frozen homemade meals but I line my pans with a couple of layers of plastic wrap before putting the ingredients in. I freeze, then pop out of the pan and then have my pan back for other cooking while still protecting my casseroles. Before defrosting, I remove plastic wrap & put back into the pans. I only have 2 pans and have really enjoyed having them free from the freezer!

  99. Jim says:

    Courtney said: “Does no one but me worry about feeding small children tunafish? Mercury, anyone? Anyone?”

    Its a legitimate concern. But you don’t have to cut tuna out of the diet entirely.

    Pretty much all fish and shellfish has trace amounts of mercury. Yet fish is healthy food. The key is to limit your consumption. The FDA recommends keeping consumption of fish like tuna with lower mercury levels under 12 oz. a week (ref: http://www.cfsan.fda.gov/~dms/admehg3.html)

    Trent’s casserole looks like it has 12 oz tuna. Trent explained he and his wife eat most of it and his children end up eating 1 serving each out of 12 servings. So the kids eat about 1 oz. tuna from this casserole.

    You can also check if the fish consumption is under EPA recommendations with the calculator at this site: http://www.gotmercury.org

    THe weight of the person is an important factor to consider. Smaller children are at higher risk and should keep consumption lower.
    But the 1oz of tuna /week level that Trent’s kids get from his casserole is safe for anyone but a newborn baby.

  100. Jennifer says:

    I used to eat Baked Lays rather than regular Lays for the “health benefits” but then I looked at the ingredient list. Regular Lays (I think) are just potatoes, oil & salt. Baked Lays have all sorts of funky strange ingredients that can’t be pronounced. Since I eat potato chips so rarely, I switched back to regular. I’d rather be able to read what’s in them than save a few calories once a month or so.

  101. Jessica says:

    Thanks for the recipe, its delicious…made a nice salad to go with it :)

  102. wickham says:

    Thanks for a great post, and a great site – just discovered it tonight.

    My mom also made a killer tuna casserole when I was growing up, and somehow my siblings and I managed to survive our childhood and still enjoy healthy lives.

    She didn’t put any sort of potato-chip crust – that would have been too Southern in her view, and as she was trying to wean my dad off of his mother’s rich and decadent Southern cooking, potato chips on a casserole would have been out of the question. The only time we ever combined potato chips and tuna was on Sunday evenings when we had tuna salad sandwiches on whole-wheat bread, and we’d stick a few Ruffles chips on them.

    Her tuna casserole recipe was still very frugal and included fresh chopped celery, hand-grated cheddar cheese (bought in bulk and the kids would grate the cheese on a metal grater), and sometimes she even added chopped water chestnuts. She was not into preparing casseroles ahead and putting them in the freezer – it would have saved some time and money, but she had eaten too many of those freezer-burnt casseroles during her childhood. We all draw the line somewhere, and that is where she drew hers.

    All I can say is that her tuna casserole always tasted better the next day, and we would even eat it for breakfast (yes, the snobs can gag now.) I make casseroles for my family, too, and will add vegetables and/or beans to add nutritional value as well as fiber and protein. I draw the line myself at whole wheat pasta, because I don’t like the sour taste. We eat plenty of whole grains throughout the day, and a casserole dinner is always anchored by fresh fruit, more vegetables, and iced water or unsweetened tea. I haven’t killed my kids yet :)

    Keep up the good work here. I look forward to returning and reading your articles.

  103. RickyRich78 says:

    Great advice, we have just started cooking in bulk and freezing. We will have to add this recipie, but use chicken. The wife will not touch tuna.

    This is similar to a chicken dish that my wife makes, which btw will drive the health nuts crazy.

    1 Can of Cream of Mushroom
    1 Can of Cream of Chicken
    1 Can of Cheddar Cheese soup
    1 Can of Cream of Celery
    2 Cut up cooked Chicken Breasts (Usually cut down the middle then cut into chunks)
    About a half of stick of Butter Item (We usually use whatever is cheapest usually parkay, the wife won’t eat real butter)
    Pasta (Spagetti usually, though I like Fetti and Rigatoni)
    1/2 cup of milk
    About a cup of shredded cheese (some mixed in and some on top)
    4 or 5 stalks of celery cut up
    Peas, Corn, or Onions (What ever we have fresh or in a can)
    Garlic Salt
    Pepper

    Not healthy at all really, but all you have to do is throw it all into a large pot and let it simmer for about 20 mins, usually lasts two meals.

    The comments on here made me laugh a bit. The health snobs can be quite scary at times. Living in the south, some of these comments just don’t make sense.

    These commentors would frown on our favorite family dish. Fried Chicken or Chicken Fried Cube Steaks, with Mashed Potatoes from the garden(loaded with whole milk, butter(actually margarine, and a little cheese), Corn on the cob from the garden covered in butter and salt(usually frozen, put about 50 ears up in the freezer last week.), Homeade gravy using either the grease from the steaks or saved bacon grease, rolls, all with Sweet Iced Tea.

    I know that was excessive, and honestly its only eaten about once or twice a month, but it amazing.

  104. Tessa says:

    For insurance guy who said he buys rotisserie chickens to make various meals, you should check out a book called Rotisserie Chickens to the Rescue! by Carla Fitzgerald Williams. “how to use the already-roasted chickens you purchase at the market to make more than 125 simple and delicious meals”. It is the most amazing book ever!

  105. Jenny says:

    Great idea for bulk cooking. We don’t eat tuna but I’m sure I could come up with something my family would like that would be similar.

  106. Sandi says:

    I LOVE tuna noodle casserole with chips. I was looking for this recipe, since my mother has Alzhimers I was lucky to find Trents. OH MY HECK, healthy or not, I’m still kicking. Those health nuts well you better read your labels closer. I can’t eat anything with MSG, Nitrates and Artificial Sweetners. SO I will continue to eat what I can, since there is alot I can’t eat!
    The Midwest is awsome! (NE & IA) Making bulk does save money! It does take time and energy, don’t knock it till you try it. (Use hamburger, turkey, chicken) We live in the desert now and its blazing hot, our freezer is in the garage has’nt had any issues.

  107. deRuiter says:

    Love the recipe Trent, and make a similar one myself, tossing in any extra bits of veggies which are left over, or a bit of frozen, thawed, chopped broccoli. Prefer real cheese grated to Velveta types. You serve the casserole with fresh fruit for dessert, and maybe a small salad, and it will be fine. The health food snobs need to get a grip. I don’t bother to make four and freeze, because this casserole isn’t as satisfying texture wise once it has been frozen. It’s so fast and easy to make fresh, and there’s always left overs to serve a day or to later, which saves prepping, cooking time and clean up.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <strike> <strong>