Tuesday, May 03, 2005


Whether you're from the northern Great Lakes and call this TUNA HOTDISH, or from the south and call it TUNA NOODLE CASSEROLE, no genuine church potluck is complete without this dish. There are regional differences besides the name however! Minnesotans, Cheeseheads and Yoopers tend to top this dish with Durkee's French Fried Onions. Lopers, Hoosiers, and Buckeyes are more likely to leave out the corn and top with crushed potato chips. I have heard rumors that in the far east (Pennsylvania), and far west (Illinois), people actually top this dish with *gasp* buttered, seasoned bread crumbs! Here is the classic Minnesotan version:


1 can corn
1 can your favorite tuna (drained)
1 bag egg noodles
1 can cream of mushroom soup
1 can french-fried onions
1/2 cup milk

Boil the egg noodles until done. Strain. Open the can of tuna, cream of mushroom soup and corn. Mix all ingredients in same pot the egg noodles were cooked in. Slowly stir in the milk and pepper. Once the ingredients have been thoroughly cooked, scoop into a 9"x 13" baking dish. Sprinkle with french-fried onions and bake for about 10 minutes at 350 degrees.

note to Isabella: let's see you make an effite gourmet dish out of THIS one!

posted by Mark


  • At 8:11 AM, Blogger Wandering Coyote said…

    I will take a stab at making this more gourmet.

    Take a tuna steak, marinate it in a miso-based marinade and pan sear it to rare. Serve over a bed of egg noodles in a wasabi cream sauce with sauted shiitake mushrooms, baby corn, and sliced green onions on the side.

    How was that?

  • At 8:11 AM, Blogger Wandering Coyote said…

    Your turn, Isabella!

  • At 12:28 PM, Anonymous Mark said…

    well, it does sound more gourmet, but my palate doth protest. First, I have real problems with semi raw fish (except of course, as bait). Actually, that might be my only real complaint. That, and I think I would substitute fresh, young peas for the baby corn.

  • At 12:31 PM, Anonymous Mark said…

    also, needs a toasty crunch on top...... perhaps toasted slivered almonds? Hard to replace those tater chips!

  • At 2:55 PM, Blogger Isabella di Pesto said…

    Tuna noodle casserole? I haven't had that since I was a kid on a sleep-over at my AmerEEEEcana (my mother's pronunciation) friend's house. Actually, I ate it up. At 9 years old, I hadn't yet come to appreciate my parents' native cucina. And also, I wanted to be as much of an AmerEEEEEcana as the blonde, peaches and cream friends of mine. But alas, eating Tuna Noodle Casserole didn't change my black hair to blonde, nor my tanned skin to white. I had to come to terms with the fact that I was, well Eye-talian!!!!

    Let's see. My Eye-talian version of Tuna Noodle Casserole here:

    1 6 oz. can of Genova tonno, drained
    1/2 minced medium roasted red pepper
    3 to 4 sauted crimini mushrooms
    1 to 1/1/2 cups of beschamel sauce (Italian version of white roux, only with a bit of nutmeg and parmesean cheese in it.)
    8 oz. pappardelle noodles

    1/2 cup plain bread crumbs
    1 1/2 Tablespoons olive oil
    2 Tablespoons minced parsley

    Make the beschamel sauce and then add the tonno, mushrooms, minced roasted red pepper. Gently heat through, set aside. Boil the pappardelle noodles in a large pan to al dente. Drain. Add the tonno, beschamel mixture.

    While the pasta is cooking, put the olive oil in a small saute pan and toss in the bread crumbs. Saute the crumbs until they take on a deep tan color. Take off heat immediately.

    Put a portion of the pappardelle and tonno/vegetable cream mixture in a pasta bowl, sprinkle with toasted bread crumbs, add minced parsley to it.

    Serve immediately.

  • At 3:21 PM, Blogger Wandering Coyote said…

    Isabella, you rock!

    Mark: fresh tuna should be served rare. I guess you wouldn't appreciate a gravlax recipe, then. Also, re. my recipe, I was trying to keep as much to the original ingredients as possible (hence the baby corn, the mushrooms), but you're right, some crunch would not be amiss.

    I always had an aversion to raw fish, until culinary school. Now, I wouldn't touch veal carpaccio with a ten foot pole, but the cured salmon was to die for and so was the tuna they did for the weekly buffet. Also, having recently become a sushi addict, I have tried raw salmon - and love it. I won't eat tons of it, but it's fine in small doses once in a while.

    Don't knock it till you've tried it - I learned that one and now I'll try anything once. Except veal carpaccio. It looks like road kill.

  • At 7:34 PM, Anonymous Mark said…

    I was once taken to a fancy japanese place in Indy. someone conned me into trying the sushi. It tasted like bait. And yes, I know what bait tastes like. Part of our good luck ceremony on our fly in trips was swallowing a live minnow. Actually, i prefer the minnow.

    I DO like smoked dried salmon, but other than that I am not much of a fan of any oily fish.

    Isabella: He who used to spend hours at the beach trying to look Eye-talian wants to know...what is tonno?

  • At 8:24 AM, Blogger Wandering Coyote said…

    Tonno, tunny, tuna...

    Mark: perhaps you had bad sushi. In Indy? Not surprising!

  • At 8:36 AM, Blogger Isabella di Pesto said…


    WC, you're good!

    I've always wondered why people who enjoy eating rare, bloody beef, won't go near raw fish.

    If the fish is very fresh, just caught, there is no smell, and the taste is exquisite. And no blood.

  • At 8:37 AM, Anonymous mark said…

    Be nice...Indianpolis is really a very nice city with a great and vibrant downtown. And really good restaurants (did you know Wolfgang Puck got his start there?).

  • At 8:41 AM, Anonymous mark said…

    actually, not a bloody beef guy either, I prefer my steaks med. well.

  • At 11:24 AM, Blogger Isabella di Pesto said…

    I actually visited Indianapolis years ago. I remember visiting an area that was somewhat like Quincy Market here in Boston. Lots of food courts and restaurants...

    Also I have a very soft spot in my heart for Indianapolis because of its connection to Kurt Vonnegut.

    I went looking for his father's hardware store, which was once situated in downtown Indianapolis.

    I also remember jogging the streets and getting a good feel for the city.

    Nice memories.

  • At 10:01 PM, Blogger Wandering Coyote said…

    You are absolutely right. I shouldn't knock Indy. I have never been there.

  • At 11:25 PM, Anonymous mark said…

    You should visit sometime. While most of Indiana is a cultural and intellectual ghetto, much like Austin is to Texas, Indianapolis and South Bend are to Indiana. You would like it here in South Bend. We have the only 5 star restaurant in Indiana (La Salle Grill), a cuuple of 4 stars (Carriage House and Flytrap's (Elkhart), and more great mom and pop italian places than you can shake a stick at! Add to that a genuine Irish Pub (, whitewater kayaking and rafting right downtown, 30 minutes to some of the worlds most fabulous beaches, 3 miles of river front walking paths and we have quire a bit going for us. And I haven't even started in on Notre Dame!

    Actually, you would probably be most impressed with the muffins at the local grocery chains bakery. they are easily the best I have had anywhere!

  • At 10:09 AM, Blogger Wandering Coyote said…

    Aha! I have just looked up South Bend in my road atlas. I hadn't realized you were so close to Chicago. I had thought Indiana was somewhere else entirely. My husband's mom is from Joliet and most of her extended family live in southern Illinois, around a place called McLeansboro. I had an extremely cultural experience there last summer. EXTREMELY. Anyhow, my mother-in-law has a cousin who lives in Indiana and I somehow got in my mind the picture that Indiana was immediately south of Illinois. South Bend sounds like a great place to visit. Is it a great place to work - I need a JOB! And you said all the pastries were bad, there...

  • At 12:17 PM, Anonymous Mark said…

    Most of the restaurants here are either Mom and Pops, or chains. However, I understand the hotel at Notre Dame (the Morris Inn) and the Holiday Inn downtown are both redoing there restaurants, and the Holiday Inn has hired a restauranteur from LaPorte to completely overhaul the menu and staff. The Marriot might be a possibility (although last I knew their restaurant was japanese). The LaSalle Grill and Carriage House are the two high brow places here in town. There is also the Summit Club (which is one of those places where you have to be a member and they just send you your billl once a month. If you have to ask for prices, you can't afford to be a member), and Tippicanoe Place (in the old Studebaker mansion) are also possibilities. Wanna be an entrepenuer? There are only two good bakeries in an area of a quarter million people!

    As for our inlaws in southern Illinois, i commiserate. My ex's family is from there. An awful lot like Saskatchwan minus Lake Winnepeg!

  • At 1:44 PM, Blogger Wandering Coyote said…

    Now, now - those Saskatchwaners are lovely people! That is where the NDP started out, and they started the whole universal health care thing up here!

    Lots of locusts, though.

    And just so you know, now that we are doing a geography lesson in these comments, Lake Winnipeg is located in Manitoba.

  • At 1:47 PM, Blogger greatwhitebear said…

    i knew that.....brain cramp!

  • At 8:23 PM, Blogger tshsmom said…

    How do you use up your old stale potato chips if you put nuts on the tuna casserole!

  • At 12:35 AM, Anonymous mark said…

    tshsmom... you are a woman after my own heart!

  • At 8:30 AM, Blogger tshsmom said…

    Us "old" farts gotta stick together!
    When you and I were growing up, price was always an issue in ccoking; nothing went to waste. A lot of this has carried over into my adult life, as we've never been flush with funds.
    I recently found a recipe that uses stale tortilla chips that my family LOVES.

  • At 2:02 PM, Blogger Wandering Coyote said…

    I love all these connections were making over blogging!

  • At 4:06 PM, Anonymous mark said…

    wc-me too
    tshsmom- feel free to share the recipe using tortilla chips if you'd like (or any others for that matter!

  • At 4:20 PM, Blogger tshsmom said…

    Me three!!

  • At 10:00 PM, Blogger SME said…

    Good god, tuna casserole is blog fodder now? Being from Minnesota (tshsmom is MY mom), hotdishes and lemon bars are as familiar to me as yak meat to a Sherpa. Garrison Keillor made a joke out of this once: Some European scientists were stranded on a Minnesota farm and were delighted by the strangely delectable combination of noodles, and onion soup mix, and crumbled potato chips...they'd never tasted anything quite like was like a gourmet dish...They asked, "What is this wonderful meal?"

  • At 10:09 PM, Anonymous mark said…

    I am a huge fan of Garrison Keillor! I can't think of anyone who has done more enhance the reputation of the Great Lakes States.

    How about sharing your lemon bar recipe (I lost mine)?
    and maybe a competing thd recipe?

  • At 12:10 PM, Blogger catalina said…

    This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

  • At 5:57 PM, Anonymous mrs duane said…

    Up here in wonderful Minnesnowta, we love our hotdish with crushed tatie chips. Fried onions are reserved for green bean casserole, always served at thanksgiving.
    The first time I told my sweetie I was making tuna noodle casserole, he said "Oh, No! I hate that stuff !" But I remebered from making meatloaf the first time, I can cook much better than his mother, which ain't saying much. Poor guy, she really isn't a good cook!
    Anyway, skip the corn and add some chopped onion and celery. It adds a much needed crunch. And a can of peas for color. You will need to bake it for at least 45 mn to soften the crunch, but Yum Yum! Try it!


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