Meta Given’s Tuna Casserole Supreme – Tuna Noodle Casserole

My blog tells me people are searching for Meta Given’s “Tuna and Noodle Casserole Supreme.” Here it is, in all its glory. Even if you don’t know Meta Given, you know her casserole – it’s the one with the potato chips on top, although I chose the optional cheese topping. Instructions are here for both.

Meta Given's Tuna Casserole Supreme - this one with optional cheese topping
Meta Given’s Tuna Casserole Supreme – this one with optional cheese topping

As a child, Tuna Noodle Casserole was the bane of my existence – things might have been different had Mom used this recipe! All too often, I’d be eagerly awaiting dinner only to be served something that looked like the casserole below, either at our house or the home’s of friends. Even the potato chips couldn’t salvage that hot mess. Meta’s probably rolling in her grave!

Tuna Noodle Casserole Supreme - gone bad!
Tuna Noodle Casserole Supreme – gone bad!

As I revisited the recipe (It’s been at least 40 years since I’ve had or made Tuna Noodle Casserole) I found several things that put this casserole a cut above those I’d had in the past:

  • Meta used hot noodles and heated the sauce – this casserole was not mushy and the peas not over cooked because there was a shorter bake time.
  • Meta used a 1/1 ratio of liquid to canned soup. No gloppiness here, just a beautiful, slightly creamy sauce and the peas, frozen to begin with, were bright and lovely.
  • Meta used layers of noodles and ingredients, then poured the sauce over. The tuna stayed intact instead of disappearing and the eggs retained some integrity. Do try it with the eggs if you haven’t before – they really were the best part!
  • Meta used a small amount of cheese – just the right amount I think, to give it a little appeal but avoid a heavy, greasy, mess.

As it stands, this casserole is a bit light on the veggies, but was so inexpensive, about $2.50, that I had plenty left over to add steamed Broccoli (around 75 cents) and a gorgeous salad. I chose to serve it with Healthy Harvest Salad for another $1.60. Total meal cost? $4.85 – scroll down to see how I’ve done it.

I served this casserole with Healthy Harvest Salad
I served this casserole with Healthy Harvest Salad

Meta Given's Tuna & Noodle Casserole

  • Servings: 5
  • Difficulty: easy
  • Print

  • 8 ounces noodles (my note: cook al dente and use a wide egg noodle)
  • 2 hard-cooked eggs
  • 7 ounce tin of tuna
  • 1 cup drained, canned or leftover cooked peas, liquid reserved if using canned (my note: the way to go here is frozen – this is about 2/3 of the soup can)
  • 10 1/2 ounce tin cream of mushroom soup
  • milk – 1 soup can full
  • 1/3 cup grated cheese or optional crumbled potato chips

Cook noodles in two quarts boiling salted water, boiling vigorously until soft. (My note: go “al dente” on the noodles!)

Drain well in a colander and rinse with hot water. Peel and slice eggs. Meanwhile, drain oil from tuna and discard.

Arrange layers of noodles, sliced egg, flaked tuna and peas in a greased 6 cup casserole, beginning and ending with noodles. Heat mushroom soup (in same pan used to cook noodles) and add enough liquid from peas (or milk) to fill mushroom soup can.

Stir to keep smooth and heat to boiling. (My note:  in the old days, it was always recommended to cook anything from a can to boiling – it’s not necessary today; just warm it up, on the stove or in the microwave.)

Pour over the tuna noodle mixture in the casserole, pushing mixture very gently aside with a fork to allow liquid to run down to bottom. Top with grated cheese and bake in a moderately hot oven (375 degrees) for 15 to 20 minutes or until mixture is hot through and cheese is a temptingly brown color. (my note: temptingly brown? Just cook till cheese is melted and casserole is hot and bubbly.)

Let sit for several minutes and serve directly from casserole.

Meta’s Note: One cup of crumbled potato chips may be substituted for the grated cheese for an unusually flavorsome topping.

My notes:

  • If this is not heated enough, the sauce will be watery – note the oven temperature and make sure to heat until bubbling. I like to let it sit for a couple of minutes after taking it out of the oven.
  • This recipe calls for a 1/1 ratio of soup to liquid, and sauce is not thick; I actually spooned a bit of sauce from the bottom over the noodles. I prefer the casserole like this, but I noticed many recipes call for 1 can of soup and either 3/4 cup or 1/2 cup of liquid, so use your judgement as to how thick you like your tuna noodle casserole.

from the kitchen of http://www.frugalhausfrau.com

Let’s talk about how to save money/time on this recipe:

  • Use a coupon matching site! One of my favorites in my area is Pocket Your Dollars, but every store has a group of enthusiastic Coupon Matchers. Do not discount the savings! I check their site every week, even if I don’t “need” to go to the store and often find bargains I can’t pass up.
  • Follow my 12 Strategies – You’ll see them on the upper drop down menu of every page and how I apply them, below.
  • Don’t get discouraged if your prices don’t match mine! Keep shopping at the best prices and your fridge/freezer and pantry will be stocked with sales priced ingredients.
  • Read Strategies Applied for additional tips as well as throughout the recipe, for saving time and managing food.

Tuna Safety

How much and what kind of Tuna is safe to eat? Check out this handy calculator by Colin Dunn of Planet Green. Hint: light tuna has much lower levels of mercury than Albacore.

Put Your own Spin on It:

  • I do think this would be a wonderful casserole done with a white sauce, a splash of wine, fresh mushrooms and maybe a little thyme, of course taking care to keep the noodles fairly firm.
  • A pinch of nutmeg would be good in this, even with canned soup, and a splash of sherry couldn’t go wrong, here.

Casserole priced February 2014.

Layer hot noodles, tuna, frozen peas and eggs. Start and end with noodles.
Layer hot noodles, tuna, frozen peas and eggs. Start and end with noodles.

 

Pour the warm milk/soup mixture over the casserole, top with a bit of cheese and bake.
Pour the warm milk/soup mixture over the casserole, top with a bit of cheese and bake.

 

In all it's glory: Meta Given's Tuna and Noodle Casserole Supreme
In all it’s glory: Meta Given’s Tuna and Noodle Casserole Supreme

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