I have a special place in my heart for tuna casserole. I am not sure why because it wasn’t something I grew up eating on a regular basis except at friend’s houses, but I always love it when I have it.
Normally, the casserole is made with canned cream soups, but I decided to make my own sauce, add a few different cheeses and top it with salty and crunchy potato chips. Delicious. I have had casseroles topped with corn flakes and crushed crackers before, but I must say that crushed potato chips are they absolute best topper! I also like to add sliced mushroom and peas to my casserole because what would tuna casserole be without peas and mushrooms? Certainly not the comfort food that I get a hankering for! I like to use shell pasta for this recipe, but elbow or other small shapes will work just fine. I opted to use cheddar jack cheese and swiss because I like the mild flavors, but they give me just enough cheese flavor without being too strong. My husband and Kellen both love this casserole and I consider that a win in my book! I normally use plain chips for my casserole, but a flavored, like sour cream and onion or jalapeno, would taste nice as well.
It always makes me laugh when nostalgic dishes like this enter my kitchen. It honestly seems to happen more when I am pregnant. I suppose in a way you want to be comforted and childhood foods do seem to that that effect….especially pasta these days! I can say that this time around the food aversions are almost non-existent except for a few things like chicken (again). I am so thankful for that because with Kellen I pretty much hated everything besides cheese, pasta and apples. Pregnancy is a funny thing….but it is a wonderful thing and, so far, our little guy is doing great! I can’t believe we will meet him face to face in about 13 more weeks!
Tomorrow and Thursday I am posting my favorite 2015 recipes and my reader's favorite 2015 recipes!
8 oz shaped pasta (I like to use shells)
2 Tbl butter
2 Tbl flour
1 ½ cup whole milk
1 1/2 cup shredded Cheddar Jack cheese
1/2 cup shredded Swiss cheese
2 (2.5 oz) tuna packets (packed in water and no added flavorings)
1/2 cup frozen peas
1/2 cup sliced mushrooms
Salt and pepper, to taste
1 cup crushed plain potato chips
Pre-heat oven to 350 degrees.
Cook pasta according to package instructions. Drain and set aside.
In a large pot or dutch oven, melt the butter and whisk in the flour. Whisk for 1-2 minutes over medium heat. Adjust heat if needed to avoid burning.
Slowly whisk in the milk. Continue whisking and allow the sauce to thicken-slightly simmering-for 2-3 minutes over medium-low heat.
Once sauce has slightly thickened add the cheeses (reserving 1/2 cup of the cheddar jack for topping). Whisk till all cheese is melted. Gently stir in the pasta, peas, tuna and mushrooms. Season with salt and pepper. Top with crushed potato chips.
Bake 25-30 minutes or until hot and bubbly.