Creamy, crunchy, hot and delicious -- the old fashioned flavor will make you want to add this tuna noodle casserole to your regular dinner rotation.
I grew up eating fish on Fridays. I was raised in a Catholic family, and that was part of our weekly ritual. Even after Vatican II in 1985 when abstaining from meat was no longer absolutely required, my parents still ate fish on Fridays.
Why Catholics Ate Fish On Fridays
Catholics were never required to eat fish on Fridays, but rather were asked to abstain from meat from warm blooded animals. Meat was considered an indulgence for those with wealth. Abstaining from it once a week was a form of penance intended to remind one of the sacrifices made by Christ, and the poverty he lived in during his time on earth. Though the Vatican II modification brought with it the option to choose to perform penance in other ways, many Catholics continue to observe meatless Fridays. The McDonalds Filet-o-Fish sandwich resulted from Catholics observing meatless Fridays. It was developed by a franchisee who noticed that hamburger sales dropped dramatically on Fridays.
My mom wasn't fond of fish, so she would disguise it in various casseroles or breading. I'm not wild about fish myself, but this tuna noodle casserole is a favorite in our house, as is its sister recipe, salmon casserole. The list of ingredients is long, but it comes together quickly.
What you'll need:
- Chicken broth
- Lemon juice
- parmesan cheese
Adults and kids both love this throwback tuna casserole with crushed crackers on top.
8 oz. curly egg noodles
5 tablespoons butter, divided
2 ribs diced celery
⅓ cup diced yellow onion
½ cup frozen peas
1 clove minced garlic
4 tablespoons flour
1 - 14-½ oz. can chicken broth
1 cup milk
½ teaspoon black pepper
1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
2 tablespoons fresh chopped parsley, or 1 tablespoon dried parsley
1 cup grated parmesan cheese
1 - 5 oz. can tuna packed in water, drained
½ cup crushed Ritz crackers in butter OR half cup crushed potato chips
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Follow package directions to cook noodles to al dente.
1. Cook the noodles to al dente according to packages directions.
2. Melt 2 tablespoons butter in a frying pan. Add garlic; cook on low one minute. Add chopped celery, diced onion and frozen peas; saute until softened, roughly 7-8 minutes. Empty mixture into a small bowl and set aside.
3. Melt another 2 tablespoons of butter in the same frying pan and whisk in flour until fully blended. Add the chicken broth and milk; bring to simmer stirring constantly about 3 minutes until thickened. Reduce heat to low and add salt, pepper, lemon juice, parsley and ½ cup of the parmesan cheese.
4. Remove from heat and fold in the noodles, vegetables and tuna. Pour mixture into a greased 9x13" baking dish. Cover with the remaining ½ cup of parmesan cheese. Crush crackers in a bowl and mix in 1 tablespoon melted butter. Sprinkle casserole with buttered crackers and bake at 350 for 25 minutes.
Some people grew up eating mushrooms in their tuna noodle casserole, so feel free to add ½ cup of sliced mushrooms when you sauté the celery, onion and peas.
Another throwback is to use potato chips on top rather than crackers. If you prefer, skip the crushed crackers and butter and replace with crushed potato chips instead.
Keywords: 1950's casseroles, 1960's casseroles, catholic dinner, Friday Fish dinner, dinners for Lent