This is a very cheesy, very mushroomy tuna casserole.
But first, the backstory. I kind of lucked out in the mom department. And I’m kind of kicking myself for not thinking of posting this recipe and story for Mother’s Day. Why do I always get the best ideas after the fact?
Mom and I, either a blink in time or a longlonglong time ago, depending on who you ask.
I lucked out in the parent department altogether actually, but that is another story. One I’ll save to be fashionably late for Father’s Day perhaps.
My mom is one amazing lady. She truly is. I consider her one of the smartest women I’ve ever known – and I know a lot of smart women. When my brother and I were growing up, she worked full time, attending all our sports activities and games, rising before the sun was up every day to make sure we were up and fed and ready, keeping everyone’s schedules straight, getting us ready for the next camping trip that seems always around the corner during the summers, and was acting referee to the fights about whose turn it was in the front seat.
By the time I graduated, my brother and I got along pretty well.
And, did I mention that Dad was military and for much of my childhood he went “out in the field” for a week at a time? He’d come home for a few days and then go again.
When he was home, we’d do fun family things like camping out in the mountains, trips to the lake, play catch, visit TCBY…and then there was that time that he taught us kids to load the dishwasher. Like it was a fun thing. And we believed him. TCBY *way* beats the dishwasher. That may also be why in my house we have two dishwashers – one for each kid. Cause, see Dad? I am generous, and conscious of sibling issues and space. They each get their own!
But back to Mom.
She managed to do it all, and with a smile to boot. She also somehow convinced us that our favorite at-home meal was tuna casserole; and so it became so. Or maybe we really did love it as it was – to this day, it is one of the ultimate comfort foods for me. Years later, I realized how super easy it was to make – she used egg noodles, a can of cream of mushroom soup, canned tuna fish, and some cheddar. Sometimes she’d try to add some icky veggies, but that just messed it up in my (very picky) opinion.
So. I present this recipe in homage to that favorite simple weeknight dinner in my memory, that my brother and I loved so very much. Mom’s easy tuna casserole. My way.
For starters, I made it with gluten free pasta. Then? I found that the one national brand of GF Cream of Mushroom soup was nowhere to be found in a couple hour radius. Honestly this wasn’t too big a blow for me since in my pre-GF adult life I tended to turn my nose up at standard C of M canned gloppy soups. Plus, I make a pretty incredible GF Cream of a mushroom soup. And by incredible, I mean ahhhhmaaaazing. You can find that recipe here.
After that, it was simple. I do the mushrooms my way (hellllllooo again my darling shiitakes) and use fusilli pasta (someday I want to make GF egg noodles…or, really, any GF pasta. It’s a goal of mine). Other than that, it’s plain simple easy. I kept this recipe relatively simple because, well, THIS IS THE BEST WAY TO MAKE TUNA CASSEROLE.
(My husband suggests that I should mention here that I provide only the basic recipe so that my dear readers can customize and add to it if they wish as they see fit…but I’m totally not going to do that, because that would be a bold faced lie. It is perfect AS IS. My way is the best way. Trust me!)
And yes. I recognize the irony of changing my favorite recipe from Mom and then saying that MY version is the best. But I’m allowed to do that. It’s kinda like how I felt about my brother growing up – I could torment him to tears all I wanted, but no one else better even DARE think about bugging him. I can change the *perfect* Mom casserole recipe, and still wind up with the *perfect* casserole. Watch me.
So here we go.
Cheesy Tuna Casserole – Gluten Free
1 C chopped onion
1 T butter
1 C chopped mushrooms (I used shiitake)
1 clove of garlic, minced
1 tsp dried thyme
Package of GF pasta (I used 8oz Da Luciano Fusilli)
1 1/2 C Cream of Mushroom soup
2 5oz cans of tuna, drained
1 C + 1 C cheddar, shredded
Preheat oven to 350 F. Cook onions in butter over medium heat until translucent. Add mushrooms and cook until they release their liquid and cook a bit. Add garlic and thyme and cook for a minute, then remove from heat.
Meanwhile, boil pasta according to directions. Drain and put pasta back into the pot. Add onion mushroom mix, tuna, and soup. Add one cup of the cheddar and stir in.
Prep casserole dish. Pour casserole into it and top with the remaining cup of shredded cheddar. Bake until hot and melty, about ten minutes.
Serve and enjoy! And fine, fine, fine…change it to suit your own tastes. If you must.
You can check out Mom’s new blog here.