Bar Raising Tuna Noodle Casserole

We are all busy people, whether it be running around with kids, work, exercising, yoga, homework, sports, etc… and easy, quick weeknight meals should have a place in every family’s recipe box.  Enter my Bar Raising Tuna Noodle Casserole.

For us, a typical weekday starts with the not-so-soothing beep, beep, beep of the alarm clock at 6:15am.  After hitting the snooze button at least twice, my boyfriend fiance pushes me (not literally, only figuratively) out of bed and into the shower.  We both get ready for the day and arrive at our respective offices around 7:30am.  After a long day at work, we arrive home around 6:00 or 6:30pm and more often than not are mentally and physically exhausted.

My release from the stresses of the day is to get into the kitchen and make dinner.  Some nights the meals are elaborate and complicated, while some nights the meals are quick and easy.  The night I made Bar Raising Tuna Noodle Casserole I received a slight raise of the eyebrows when I announced what I was serving for dinner, which, may I add, is heavily weighted towards quick and easy.  Little did he know, Bar Raising Tuna Noodle Casserole was about to blow his mind…

5.0 from 1 reviews
Bar Raising Tuna Noodle Casserole
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
This is not your ordinary tuna noodle casserole! Serve with steamed vegetables or a salad for a balanced meal.
Recipe type: Main Course
Serves: 4
  • 3 cups water
  • 1 ½ cups dry shell or penne pasta
  • ½ teaspoon sea salt
  • 1 tablespoon butter
  • 1 medium onion, diced
  • ½ cup celery, diced
  • 1 can tuna, drained
  • 1 can reduced fat mushroom soup
  • ¼ cup skim milk
  • 1 teaspoon dried thyme (or two sprigs of fresh thyme, leaves only)
  • 1 teaspoon sea salt
  • ¼ teaspoon pepper
  • ½ cup grated old cheddar cheese *
  • 2 slices whole wheat bread (or ⅓ cup bread crumbs)
  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit.
  2. In a medium saucepan, bring the water to a boil and then add the pasta and ½ teaspoon salt.
  3. Simmer at medium heat for eight minutes or until the pasta is al dente**. Drain the pasta with a colander and transfer to a medium sized casserole dish.
  4. While the pasta is cooking, add the butter, onion and celery to a frying pan and sauté at medium low heat for ten minutes. Combine with the pasta.
  5. Add the tuna, mushroom soup, milk, thyme, remaining salt and pepper to the pasta and vegetable mixture. Stir to combine and smooth the top with a spoon.
  6. Sprinkle the cheese over the casserole.
  7. In a food processor, pulse the bread for approximately 15 seconds until it is in large crumbs. Sprinkle the bread crumbs over the cheese.
  8. Cover the casserole with either the lid or tinfoil and bake for 20 minutes. Remove the lid and bake for 20 more minutes, uncovered.
*For this and many of my recipes, I use Balderson two-year old cheddar cheese. I would highly suggest using a cheddar of this quality as in my opinion, it is worth the splurge. However, if aged cheddar is not feasible due to either cost or availability, please substitute regular cheddar cheese (ex. Cracker Barrel).
**Al dente describes pasta that is cooked to be firm to the bite. In grade 7 home economics class we loved cooking our pasta to al dente as our teacher would let us throw the pasta at a wall as a test for al dente. If the pasta stuck to the wall it was perfect. Now that I have to wash the walls, I prefer the taste test method.

Tuna noodle casserole on a plate with steamed broccoli and tomatoes

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