Wednesday, 2 April 2014

Tuna "Kick" Casserole

So here is one of my all time favourite recipes. It's a bog standard casserole my mom used to make and one of the first things I ever learned to cook. It is one of those perfect survival foods. It kept me alive during some lean times but just because it's easy on the wallet doesn't mean it's not healthy and delicious. Sure it's a bit rich but everyone should have a little something to grab ahold of.

I'm a compulsive experimenter with food, which has led to more than a few complete disasters. On this casserole though, I don't mess with it too much. The core ingredients and method are always the same but sometimes I spice it up a bit with some capers or chillies or lime to give it some zing. In fact I highly recommend lime zest and some finely chopped dill pickles (gherkins) in the crust.

I get grumpy when I'm hungry, my wife calls it "h-Anger" so this is a great way to shut me up. It also works on kids which I'm told I still am.

The Core Ingredients:
*A note on amounts-This makes enough for 4 hungry adults or 2 with leftovers for a couple days. I adjust by eyeballing everything to fit in the dish I'm going to use and if I go over just spread it between 2 dishes.

500g Macaroni (or if you're in Canada 2 boxes of KD with cheese powder added and some butter obviously)
2 cans (800g) cream of mushroom soup
2 cans sustainably sourced tuna (go on splash out the extra pennies)
olive oil or butter or a mix of the 2
3 cups breadcrumbs
Cheese preferably Red Leicester grated fine, 2:1 with a hard cheese like parmesan.
1.5 cups frozen peas

The non-core ingredients
1-2 Gherkins/Dill pickles chopped fine
1-2 tblspn capers
lime zest
lemon juice
chilli flakes


  • Breadcrumb mix= 1/2 the breadcrumbs+1/2 grated cheese+ a glug of olive oil
add optional ingredients like capers here too, the moisture helps keep the crust from overcooking.

  • Cook the pasta and pre-heat the oven to a medium temp (freedom!)
  • drain pasta and return to pot with some oil/butter
  • stir in cream of mushroom, peas, remaining cheese and breadcrumbs
  • put it all in your pre-selected dish I usually go for the flat rectangular one.
  • Cover with breadcrumb mix and whack it in the oven for about 30 minute or until it's bubbling and crispy on top. Cover with foil if the top browns too fast.
There it is, easy. And what you come out with should look something like this

Oh and here's a link to a suggested cooking playlist essential to every good kitchen. I hope you like Goofy folk, 80's cheese, jazz and 90's rap.

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