Creativity in the kitchen is not one of my stronger suits.
Creativity often leads to burnt baked goods, wasted ingredients, tears and over-consumption of wine (see here for evidence of such). As a matter of fact, I’m hard-pressed to follow directions and get a dish right, so I really shouldn’t be monkeying around with the tried and true.
However, sometimes when you have ingredients that you think are correct and you’re halfway through the recipe and discover that what you thought you needed* is something different than what’s sitting on your counter, you take a chance and throw it in the oven anyway – because it’s basically already too late.
Kelsey’s Famous Most Sought-After Hearty Tuna Noodle Casserole Extraordinaire
Bowls of some size
Pots of some size
Some kind of baking dish
Chardonnay (because you will be laboring more than you are used to and because you will be baking something and your kitchen will be hot)
Egg noodles (1/2 pack, 60z – 8oz dry or 3 – 4 cups dry)
2 cans chunk white tuna, flaked
1 can Cream of Mushroom soup (some people like Cream of Celery – I think CoM makes the casserole heartier)
Velveeta cheese, cubed (8oz) or shredded cheddar (1 – 2 cups)
1/2 cup milk (less necessary with the Velveeta, but up to you – just adds creaminess)
Pepper – lots
Salt – a little**
1 can sweet peas***
Vegetables (diced mushrooms, chopped celery), if you like
*Feel free to substitute more or less whatever you want, except probably the tuna, since if there isn’t tuna you will be lying when you tell people what you’ve made.
**I am vehemently opposed to table salt in every way shape and form, including leaving it out of most recipes where I think I can possibly get away with it (much to the chagrin of my taste testers). Soapbox rant: I believe Americans are addicted to sodium and conditioned to use salt – rather than needing to – where other flavors would suffice. However, despite the sodium overload provided by basically every ingredient in this meal, I concede that it really is a little better with just a pinch.
***This is a weird one. The recipe doesn’t actually call for sweet peas (it actually calls for celery) but this is one of those mistakes I made and as it turns out I really like it.
Turn oven on to 375 degrees
Boil egg noodles approximately 7 minutes (until tender)
Heat Velveeta cubes and Cream of Celery until melted (not necessary if using shredded cheddar)
Drain egg noodles and pour into large bowl
Pour cheese/soup mixture over noodles
Flake tuna into bowl
Pour peas into bowl (or if using vegetables, dump 1/2 cup-ish of either or both in bowl)
(If using shredded cheddar, just dump your desired amount into bowl here)
Add a pinch of salt
Mix thoroughly, until all ingredients are evenly distributed
Dump into 9 x 9 or whatever size baking/casserole dish you have (it really doesn’t matter)
Bake 20 minutes uncovered
Let sit (if you can stand it), then serve and die of home-cooked goodness.
The picture above (an attempt to capture foodtography creatively with my RetroCamera app gone bad and consequently dubbed “green goopedy-doo” by my less domestic friends) really doesn’t do it justice.
But you know what? I ate the whoooooooole thing.
Here’s to creativity in the kitchen and the occasional success! Happy baking, friends.
P.S. – For better, more accurate recipes, visit my friend Alicia’s blog! She finds, makes and bakes the best things.