11 November 2011

Slacker Suburban Housewife's Single-Serving Tuna Casserole

You don't have to be a slacker housewife to make this dish. Just being lazy or tired or pressed for time...or just hungry for tuna casserole when no one else is would be criteria enough.

Is anyone ever hungry for tuna casserole?

Why, yes! In fact, I was sitting in my third parent/teacher conference of the morning on this cold, rainy day when I suddenly became obsessed with the idea of making tuna casserole and eating it. This is not something I ever make. Nor is it something my own mom ever made. It is not something my kids have ever eaten. Or heard about...until last week. Baby X read about it in a book and asked me about it. That must be what planted the seed. *my 'a-ha' moment*

After an arduous trip to Target during which a lady totally slammed her cart into my body ("I could swear you weren't there!" was her excuse) and it really, really hurt. Also during which we had severe disagreements about the stupid wrapping bag/paper/ribbon for a child's birthday present and intermittent whining about the lack of Lego purchases...I needed comfort food. And for some irrational reason, tuna casserole sounded very comforting.

There is no way in Hades my kids would eat tuna casserole, so I knew I was on my own. I made them their lunch and then made mine. I know tuna casserole is easy, and everyone who's reading this and likes tuna casserole already knows how to make it, but whatever... here is my slacker way to make enough for one person.

What you'll need:

  • small saucepan
  • can opener
  • oven- or microwave-safe bowl
  • fork
  • knife
  • water
  • large handful of pasta (I chose Bionaturae Gluten-Free Elbow Macaroni because this type of GF pasta is the best, in my opinion)
  • 5-oz. can of tuna, opened and drained
  • glop of mayonnaise (for greasiness)
  • squirt of sweet pickle relish (for zest)
  • salt and pepper
  • cheese, sliced (I used havarti and gruyère and cheddar)

  1. Put enough water into saucepan to cook the pasta (I fill the pan as full as I can because I always forget that I am cooking something and this way all the water doesn't boil away and the pasta and pan do not burn). 
  2. Put pan of water on the burner and turn that burner on (this is a critical step). Set to "high."
  3. Bring water to a boil and then place in the large handful of pasta.
  4. Set timer for the prescribed amount of cooking time...usually found on the packaging. Start the timer and put in a prominent location where you are likely to hear it when it goes off.
  5. Try to remember to stir occasionally so pasta doesn't clump.
  6. Turn burner off when timer goes off or when you remember that the pasta is still cooking.
Pasta boiling.

Pasta that was forgotten, 
illustrating the awesomeness of filling the pan with a lot of water.

Everyone clear on how to cook pasta? Okay...good. 

Tuna part
  1. Open can with can opener. This part was going to be a Granny's Gadget, but while we were making the video the phone rang, and someone left a really loud and distracting message so we had to can it. (get it?) And no, those are not mouse droppings on the kitchen counter. They are seeds from Big G's seeded sourdough artisan baguette that he needed for his sandwich. Dude is such a princess sometimes.
  2. Drain the tuna and dump into oven-safe bowl  It should look like this.
  3. Sprinkle with salt and pepper.
  4. Glop on the mayo and squirt on the relish 
  5. Mash and mix it all up with a fork.
  6. Add in the pasta and stir it all up until well mixed.
  7. Slice the cheese. Layer on top of pasta and tuna mixture 
  8. Bake uncovered in conventional oven at 425ºF for 15 minutes or zap in the microwave for 2 minutes 30 seconds on 70% power (or until cheese is melted). Oven method produces nice crusty browning of cheese ...


And you know that if I can make this without hurting anyone or burning the house down, you can, too :)

Important note: after seeing how yummy this looked, and largely because of the fact that it did not produce that frighteningly cat food-like odor but instead the delicious smell of toasting cheese, my kids were hovering over me begging for bites. Well, not really. But they didn't run gagging and screaming from the room... so I'm calling it a 'win.'


  1. See! There are new variations! Mine has no cheese on it. :)

  2. The version I like does not have peas in it. Unfortunately, the version my wife makes does. Yours sounds good, though I am dubious about the relish.

  3. I don't even have a version so I say I'll use your version! :)

  4. YUM!! I had tuna casserole this week with poppyseed dressing on it. Surprisingly yummy. Your version looks amazing, too!! I've got to try it!

  5. that looks yummmmmay...perfect for a cold weather day!

  6. Oh my! This is SO up my alley! Just throw some tator tots on top and your good-ha!

  7. I have to be honest, the meer thought of tuna sends me running and gagging, but the finished product looks remarkably like fabulous 7bajillion calorie homemade mac and cheese so that's fabulous. Except for the fact that now I'm craving it. darn you!

  8. Nice job! My kids and husband freak out when I make them eat tuna noodle casserole, but now I will just take it from you and make my own and try not to forget the noodles.

  9. I haven't had tuna casserole in years! I'm so craving it now!

  10. I happen to have all the ingredients for this dish in my kitchen. I shall try it tomorrow unless I get lazy or forget.

    Thanks for linking up with lovelinks! I'm sure we love your runner's posts as much as we'll love this one, but thanks for taking your Tues-Thurs readership into consideration. That's awesome.

  11. Is it politically-incorrect for me to say that I LOVE tuna casserole? How excited was I to see that someone has posted an honest-to-God recipe for tuna casserole? Fabulicious, seriously. (_:

  12. That sounds delish! I love tuna casserole, my husband despises it. But now I want to make it... and lucky me (?) he's out of town this week!

  13. Tuna gets a bad rap. It's really good. In fact, if given the choice between tuna casserole and anything else lunch-ish, I'll choose tuna every time. I don't know why people are haters, you know?

  14. Mmmmm... That looks Ah-mazing! I'll be happy to crash dinner at your house anytime you make this delightful dish! ;^)

  15. I love making tuna casserole already, but your version looks even more fabulous!


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