Wednesday, December 17, 2008

What's Cooking Wednesday: Seven Fishes Feast Entry: Tuna-Potato Chip Casserole

First of all, I want to thank everyone who left such lovely condolences here and via e-mail. I'm truly overwhelmed. Please forgive me for not getting back to each of you individually, but I'm still behind with everything, and probably need to really focus on catching up with family and Christmas and school issues. Again, despite the lack of response from me, the comments were absolutely appreciated in every way.

Thank you.

So D has been gone since Saturday working first with his brothers to help his dad, and now staying on to continue to be with his dad until his brother, J, arrives today, and D will come home (yay!). In the meantime, C and I have been on our own, and it has been downright frigid here in Michigan, and frigid calls for some rib-sticking, gut-warming foods.

I was really hoping to join Maryann of Finding La Dolce Vita and Joe of Italyville in their Seven Fishes Feast, as I've always loved the idea of this tradition, and it may be the one night of the year, more than any other, that I wish I could claim Italian ancestry. I was hoping to create something elegant. I was hoping to create something visually spectacular.

I was hoping to create ... something.

It didn't look like I was going to make it by the December 18th deadline, but then when C called yesterday afternoon between his school and theater commitments I asked him what he wanted for dinner and an old family favorite reared its ugly, but oh-so-delicious (and rib-sticking and gut-warming) head: Tuna-Potato Chip Casserole.

So let's think of this as the "children's dish" for the Seven Fishes Feast. This was a favorite from my childhood, and I dredged up the recipe from the internetz, as my mother was horrified that she'd ever made such a thing and had lost the recipe at some point (probably tore it into shreds and dumped it someone else's garbage).

Anyway, in all its ugly glory, here it is:

Tuna-Potato Chip Casserole


2 cans albacore tuna in water
3/4 cup 1% milk
1 can 98% fat free mushroom soup
3 cups crushed - don't crush them too much - just use your hands to crush them a bit - potato chips (I prefer reduced fat Ruffles - you can NOT used "baked" potato chips in this recipe - they're actually made with dehydrated potatoes rather than real potatoes, and you end up with a gloppy, icky mess that DOES NOT taste good)
1/4 cup 2% sharp shredded cheddar or other reduced fat cheddar

(Needless to say, you can use full fat on all of this and it will be even better, but we really do just fine with the modifications).


Preheat oven to 350.

Mix milk with soup. Bring slowly to a boiling point, stirring frequently. Take off burner.

Crush potato chips.

Put 1/3 of potato chips at bottom of casserole dish sprayed with cooking spray.

Layer with half of the tuna. Put another layer of 1/3 of the chips. Put the rest of the tuna. Put the last layer of the chips.

Pour soup mixture over all.

Bake at 350 for 20 minutes. Take casserole out and sprinkle the cheese on top. Bake for 5 more minutes or longer to get the cheese melty and slightly browned.

Number of Servings: 4

There's still time to join the Seven Fishes Feast. To find out what to do, just click here.

Please go to Shan's place for more What's Cooking Wednesday participants.


Mae Travels said...

I find that you can use a quick hand-made white sauce and some fresh mushrooms in any recipe that calls for the dreaded tinny taste of canned mushroom soup. You can really make it very fast from flour, butter, and milk. But I'm a heretic when it comes to cream of mushroom soup-- I hate it in anything.

Peter M said...

I'm amazed at the creatvity spawned by the lowly can of tuna...great entry!i

Anonymous said...

Don;t be embarrassed by this dish! I LOVE it! I always smoosh potato chips into my tuna fish sandwiches! haha Yes, and your dish is even better than that! Thanks so much for joining us! :)

Anonymous said...

Thanks for participating Jen! I'm making you an honorary Italian for Christmas Eve:)

Korie said...

Mmmm. Belgium is Burgundian and I think if I ever made tuna noodle casserole I'd get a look from CB that said' " food?" But it looks sooo good and reminds me of when my mom occasionally made it for dinners when I was like, ten and we had soccer practice in the fall.

Valerie Harrison (bellini) said...

Tuna can be a life saver in a pinch. I really hope that Christmas will be filled with fond memories for you and your family

Jen said...

Mae, that's a great idea. C hates cream of mushroom soup, too.

Peter, thanks for the kind words - your posts always humble me, so I'm glad you like this!

Maryann, that's so funny - I always did that growing up, too!

Awe, Joe, thanks! Now that I know about your blog (I'm continually behind), I'll come visit!

Lilac - that's exactly what it's perfect for! And if you don't tell CB what's in it, then maybe he'll just succumb to the bliss. ;-)

Thanks so much, Val. At this point, if we can all just get through it, it will be a good thing. We'll actually be with my BIL and SIL and we always have a lovely time there, and D's father will be with one of D's brothers, and they have lots of kids in and out and do up Christmas in a big way, so I'm sure that will be a good distraction for him.

Unknown said...

I am so sorry about everything you and your family are going through. Sending lots of hugs. (also, thank you for inspiring me to participate in the Seven Fishes Feast Entry even though I too did not have time to make anything special and elegant).

Brittany | the Home Ground said...

Oh my gosh, that looks so good!! I want it right now, but sadly don't have all the ingredients :( I'll be making it, though! Yum.

glamah16 said...

Total comfort food. Im sure it brings back great memeories.

anno said...

This is one of my favorite comfort foods. Add in an evening with Bridget Jones, and I'm in heaven! Yum!

Unknown said...

This dish brings back memories of me picking at my plate, trying to ferret out the mushy chips from what I wanted to put in my mouth. Of course, I got reprimanded by Mom with the "there are starving kids in India" speech. Oh, how I wanted to send them the contents of my plate.

Jen said...

City Girl - I've decided taste trumps elegance. ;-)

Brittany - it's good and easy on a student budget. I wish I'd had this recipe in college.

You know, Glamah, it doesn't so much, but I am glad that C likes it as much as I did growing up. As for D, he was happy to have missed it!

Anno - I didn't know there was someone else out there who was a fan of this! And it's so funny, because I've been "craving" watching Bridget Jones lately. I really need the "It's Raining Men" scene.

Oh, Greg, I'm sorry I brought back such bad memories. That would have been me and peas.

Anonymous said...

This was really good, Jen! I made it for dinner last night. I served it over some egg noodles and had green beans for the veggies.
Thanks so much!

Charity Tahmaseb said...

I think my kids will love this. I'm going to have to try it over break. Thanks!

Jen said...

Patti, that sounds like perfect "sick" food - I'm glad you tried it!

Charity - it's really kid-friendly and really easy - enjoy!

Virtualsprite said...

I love this recipe. Instead of potato chips I use crackers sometimes, but it's a crowd pleaser every time.

Michelle | Bleeding Espresso said...

Jen, I *love* this, and I think P just might be in for some tuna casserole....

Jen said...

Sprite, I never thought of the crackers. I like the chips because the taste of the potatoes really comes through. The cracker idea reminds me of the "mock" apple pie of the 60s.

Michelle, I wondered if this might spark some home yearnings for you - and I figured that all of these ingredients would be readily available in Italia!

Heather said...

This looks great! As you know, I am a huge fan of tuna casseroles.

I completely agree with your scolding disapproval of using any dried potato instead of chips.

Jen said...

Yup... it's gotta be the real thing. And actually, Heather, we could hook up those chicken 'n waffles and my tuna-chip casserole and pop in some retro TV shows and have quite a party!

Momisodes said...

This is such a crazy coincidence! I actually make a tuna casserole nearly exactly like this, down to the potato chips and cream of mushroom soup. In fact, we had it on Monday :)

It's super easy and quick...and tastes awesome :)

Jen said...

That IS a weird coincidence, Momisodes, considering this isn't exactly a bastion of culinary excellence, lol. It does taste good, though, doesn't it?

Grimm said...

Now I know this would disqualify the dish from the Seven Fishes Feast, but could there be a suitable substitute for the tuna?

I know...I know...I should like tuna. But I have to admit, I have a very hard time holding it down.

Jen said...

Grimm, I think shredded chicken or turkey would work absolutely as well.

Becca said...

This is a yummy sounding version of the classic casserole - and easy enough for me to make!

Thanks :)

Jen said...

There's no doubt it's an easy one!