Easy Cheesy Tuna Noodle Casserole

Cheesy Tuna Noodle Casserole with Green Olives

For years, my daughter’s been describing this casserole to me, a family favorite of her in-laws. For years, in my head, I’ve been thinking: Do we NEED another Tuna Casserole? The “We” being not just our family, but the whole collective of people in general; the world as a whole! One taste of this Cheesy Tuna Noodle Casserole with Green Olives was all it took to change my mind.


 

I know, I know, I probably sound kinda like a food snob and in some ways I am, although admittedly mostly reformed…but every now and then I have a “relapse” and they’re usually triggered by casseroles, particularly tuna casseroles. When I wrote the post on Meta Given’s Tuna Noodle Casserole Supreme, I mentioned that the tuna noodle casseroles of my youth were the bane of my childhood…this casserole, though, is a whole ‘nuther thing!

About Cheesy Tuna Noodle Casserole with Green Olives:

Tuna Noodle Casserole with Green Olives is extraordinarily good: The creamy, slightly cheesy sauce is offset by the freshness of the vegetables which still retain just a bit of crunchiness throughout.

And the olives, oh my, the olives.; Their slight brininess just makes the casserole. Honestly, had I not had this at my daughter’s house as we tossed the recipe together, if she had just emailed me the recipe, I would have left them out. Especially since they’re green olives!

I have a kind of a thing for Kalamata olives and usually, green olives in my playground are reserved for cocktails, lol! But I digress and what a mistake leaving those olives out would have been. The humble olive also has tremendous health benefits (and the pimento looks lovely in the casserole, too.) My daughter actually chops the olives up because her kids like to get a piece in every bite and complain if there aren’t enough!

So here it is, easy, inexpensive, quick and filling, and the BEST Tuna Casserole I’ve ever had. Thanks, Sweet Pea – it was so much fun cooking this with you!

Making Cheesy Tuna Noodle Casserole with Green Olives:

This is such an easy fun casserole to make. Just heat the soup, part of the cheese (the rest goes on top), the mayo and the milk together in the microwave or in a pan; that step gets it all liquidy so it seeps throughout the layers of the casserole.

Chop the veggies very finely so they’ll get at least a little cooking time and be crisp-tender when the casserole is done. We love them that way! If for any reason you’re opposed to veggies that are a little crispy, you could saute them in a little butter or oil and add them already cooked to the ingredients. Add them to the sauce along with the olives.

Then you’ll layer the noodles and the sauce and bake until hot and bubbly. Top with the rest of the cheese in the final few minutes of cooking.

If you check out my post on Meta Given’s Tuna Casserole Supreme, you’ll see I have a section on how to make any Tuna Noodle Casserole Better. You’re gonna notice in this casserole, several of those rules are followed. The sauce is heated, the pasta warm the noodles and sauce are layered; that’s a great way to make a casserole with a luscious creamy sauce that’s bubbly and hot; spending just a short time in the oven because the ingredients are warm going in means the noodles will be perfectly al dente.

 

Saving Money on Cheesy Tuna Noodle Casserole with Green Olives:

The casserole was about $4.17 to make, the steamed broccoli another 75 cents or so, and the salad, using sales priced red lettuce (89 cents a pound) and the simple dressing from my Harvest Salad, another 40 cents.

While it’s easy to think of food as seasonal and know that usually, the prices can be lower, the seasons aren’t the only “cyclic event” that drives the price of food. Twice a year you’ll usually see all kinds of fish and seafood drop to a low and that includes the canned stuff, both tuna, and salmon.

Those time periods are around Christmas, starting with Advent and leading up to New Years (the Winter Holidays) and the Easter/Lent season, which varies every year by a few weeks and starts in the Spring. To be using sales priced tuna you should literally be watching for the low and buying it for the year during those time periods. Figure out how many cans you use a week or a month and multiply out how many you should buy. You might see a surprise sale here and there but it’s rare to find a lower price than during Lent. Those links will take you to my posts on what to stock up on around those holidays.

Canned soup, mayo and noodles are basic pantry items. Stock up on sales (and the sales are often fabulous on canned soup around any holiday – see my post Winning at the Grocers.) If you’re interested in making your own canned soup substitute, see my Cream of Anything Soup. Watch for sales on the mayo during the summer and buy for the year. Pasta goes on sale regularly usually reaching a low about once a quarter. Pick it up always on sale before you run too low. Freeze anything containing flour for three days when you bring it into the house to avoid any “peskies.”

Olives can be pricey; look for better olives to be in the discount shelves or bin as they near their “sell by” date; they keep literally for years past that date.

Of course, you can’t really stock up on dairy products but the cheese I do watch for on special and stock up at sale prices. It lasts for weeks in the fridge and in a pinch can be frozen; it gets a little crumbly one frozen and isn’t good for slicing or eating out of hand but works for casseroles like this.

Easy Cheesy Tuna Noodle Casserole

Many casseroles freeze – line the casserole first then remove and wrap

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Cheesy Tuna Noodle Casserole with Green Olives

Easy Cheesy Tuna Noodle Casserole
  • Author: Jessi H
  • Total Time: 35 minutes
  • Yield: 4 70 5 servings 1x
  • Category: Casseroles
  • Cuisine: American
Scale

Ingredients

  • 8 to 16 ounces of Egg Noodles, cooked al dente in salted water, drained well & warm
  • 1 green pepper, finely chopped
  • 1/2 onion, finely chopped
  • 1 cup celery (about two large stalks) finely chopped
  • 1/2 cup of green olives, chopped (a handful)
  • 1 can of tuna, well-drained
  • 2 cups shredded cheddar cheese; set 1/2 cup of this cheese aside for the topping
  • 1/2 cup mayonnaise
  • 1 can cream of celery soup (or substitute cream sauce)
  • 8 ounces or about 3/4 of the soup can of milk

Instructions

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

While noodles are cooking, in a microwave-safe bowl, mix soup, 1 1/2 cups of the cheese, mayo and milk and heat through, stirring now and then until cheese is melted. (This could be done in a pan on the stove, instead.)

Chop vegetables and add to the cheese sauce along with the olives. Mix together.

Place half the noodles in the casserole, gently top with the tuna. Pour about half of the cheese sauce over the tuna and noodles. Layer the rest of the noodles over the first layer. Slowly pour the cheese sauce over the top of the casserole, nudging aside the noodles here and there and allowing some of the sauce to seep through.

Cover and bake for about 20 minutes at 350 degrees. Uncover, sprinkle with remaining cheese, and bake for another five to eight minutes until the casserole is thoroughly warmed through and bubbly, and the cheese melted.

Keywords: Bargain Meal of the Week, Canned Soup, Casserole, Cheese, Egg Noodles, Family Recipe, Fish and Seafood, Freezes Well, milk, Olives, Pasta, Tuna, Tuna Noodle Casserole

 

Tuna Safety for Meta Givens Tuna Noodle Casserole Supreme

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.

 

If you like Cheesy Tuna Noodle Casserole with Green Olives, you might also like:

A family favorite shared by my daughter, this Easy Cheesy Tuna Noodle Casseroles with Olives is a must make for Lent or anytime! It would be a mistake, btw, to leave out those briney olives!! #CheesyTunaCasserole #TunaCasseroleGreenOlives #TunaCasserole #CannedTuna #LentRecipes

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