I get it. Canned cream of mushroom soup is quick. Canned cream of anything soup is easy. But once you make your own cream of chicken, mushroom, or vegetable soup, you’ll never think its canned cousin tastes as good again.
Tuna noodle casserole is total comfort food. Whose mom didn’t make this stuff growing up? I encourage you to carry on the tradition. Next time you make it (or the first time if you haven’t made it before), make your own cream of chicken soup. You won’t regret it.
Note that my cream of soup I’m only loosely calling chicken, because I didn’t add any bits of chicken. You could add chopped mushroom, chicken, or vegetables to it to suit your taste.
See? The brilliant thing with making your own stuff from scratch is that you can tailor it to you and your family’s tastes. And, after taking a look at the ingredient list of Campbell’s Healthy Request Cream of Chicken Soup, I feel even better about making my own.
I totally get it if you just don’t have the time to make the soup, though. If you want to substitute cans just don’t do the stuff ‘For soup:’ below and add the tuna to soup and noodle mixture.
Also, I had a request to add an extra can of tuna next time for extra flavor. Use good quality tuna and make sure it’s humanely caught and dolphin-free. No one wants to feed Flipper to their kids. I always get the tuna that comes packed in olive oil. I’m not sure why. I think it tastes better.
Another note: I find that cheese can get stringy if it’s added all at once to a sauce so I always add pinches at a time, about 2 T’s worth.
Tuna Noodle Casserole
For the soup:
1 medium onion, diced
1 T olive oil
4 T butter
1/4 c. flour
2 c. chicken stock (use homemade if you have it)
1 c. milk
1 can tuna, drained and flaked with a fork
1 T lemon juice
1/8 tsp. salt
1/8 tsp. season salt (like Lawry’s … or just use 1/4 tsp. salt)
1/4 tsp. garlic powder
1 tsp. Worcestershire sauce
1/2 c. shredded cheese of your choice
In a saucepan, heat the olive oil over medium heat. Add the onions and saute, stirring occasionally, for about 5-7 minutes or until soft. Depending on your stovetop, you may need to turn the heat down so the onions don’t get brown. Add the butter and allow to melt, then add the flour and whisk together constantly for 2 minutes to form a roux. Add the chicken stock in a steady stream, whisking all the time. Bring the mixture to a simmer while whisking constantly. You may need to bump the heat back up to medium if you lowered it for the onions. This whisking, it’s so good for your arm muscles. Or something. It’ll start getting thick and look shiny and velvety. Add the milk and simmer for 5 minutes, whisking occasionally. Pull the saucepan off the heat and add the other ingredients. Stir. Taste. Season with salt and pepper, if needed or desired.
6 oz. egg noodles, cooked
1 c. panko, breadcrumbs, or crushed crackers
1 c. shredded cheese of your choice
2 T olive oil or melted butter
Preheat your oven to 350 and butter a casserole dish. Mix together the soup you just made or two cans of cream of whatever soup (and tuna) with the noodles. You can also add other stuff at this stage, like peas, corn, pimentos, black beans, chopped black olives … whatever you want. Be creative. Pour it all into the casserole dish. Combine the breadcrumbs, cheese, and oil or butter and rub it all together with your hands. Spread that over the casserole.
Bake for 30 minutes or until it’s hot and bubbly around the edges.
The photo really doesn’t do the dish justice but I’m a much better cook than photographer at this point in life so it is what it is.
And it’s good. Really.