Tuna and Noodle Casserole in the CrockPot

Day 164.

Hello! It's day 5 of Retro Week. So far we've had instant mashed potatoes, green bean casserole, sloppy joes, and cabbage rolls. Today I'll show you how I made tuna and noodles in the crockpot.

I grew up on tuna and noodles, and loved them. I remember eating them cold out of the pot for breakfast because I loved them so much. We either used cream of mushroom soup or golden mushroom soup, and mixed it with a can of drained tuna and cooked noodles. It was wonderful.

I was certain that the tuna and noodles would work well in the crockpot. I have done pasta before, with the ziti, spinach and cheese noodles, and the lasagna. But this didn't work. Well, it cooked, and it was edible, but no one liked it, and it most certainly didn't taste like my childhood tuna and noodles.

This is what I did. If anyone can "fix" it---please let me know!

The Ingredients:

--1 lb dried pasta
--6oz can of tuna (I mistakenly got it packed in oil. that set off a domino effect of bad tuna casserole karma, I believe.)
--2 cups soy milk
--1/3 cup shredded parmesan cheese (optional)
--1 cup frozen peas (to add later)
--1/2 cup crushed tortilla or potato chips (to add later, optional)

If you'd like to use canned cream of something soup, measure it out and add enough milk to achieve 4 cups of liquid.

The Directions.

Spray your crockpot with cooking spray.

Add the dry noodles into the crock, and mix in the soup, milk, cheese, and drained tuna.

Cover and cook on low for 2-4 hours.

I was AMAZED at how quickly this cooked on low. It was pretty much done at 2 hours. I couldn't believe it.

30 minutes before serving time, stir in frozen peas, and make sure the crunchy pasta on top gets moved to the bottom of the crock. Top with chips, if desired.

The Verdict.

There was nothing wrong with this, but we didn't like it. The pasta got overly cooked and was kind of gloppy and starchy. It needed more seasoning---and I should have thought to add a bunch of salt because I was using my own soup.

We went out for Japanese.

and now my kitchen has a crockput FULL of tuna and noodles sitting in it, that needs to be scraped out since we left it out all night. We might have to move.
--> I just saw that on The Crispy Cook's website, she has compiled a huge list of 70 gluten-free blogs! Holy toledo, what a resource! <--

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Posted by: Stephanie O'Dea | A Year of Slow Cooking at June 12, 2008

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What they say about this article

  1. Anonymous6/12/2008

    i'm also into those things. care to give some advice?

  2. Anonymous6/12/2008

    Maybe cheat at the end and add some dill flavored cream cheese?

  3. Anonymous6/12/2008

    Noodles just don't cook well in the crockpot. Next time, I'd just make the tuna as sauce and pour it over noodles made on the stove.

  4. I'm so happy I found your blog! I am always looking for new CP recipes and it looks like I hit the Motherlode! So excited to start trying these recipes! Thanks!

  5. "might have to move"

    LOL! That's exactly what I think in these situations! (I've had a few...)

  6. I am TOTALLY pumped to have just found your blog. I've subscribed and will be sure to read your daily posts. When something jumps out to me, I'll make a note to try it and put it on my blog (www.feedthemoose.blogspot.com)
    I can't wait to read more!

  7. Anonymous6/12/2008

    I've always (before dd's Celiac) used a box of Mac & Cheese, tuna, peas and cream of mushroom. Annie's has a great box of M & C. You'd probably have to boil the noodles separately then add the packet, milk, butter, tuna and cream of mushroom to your crock. Add noodles & drained peas after the other is hot & creamy.

  8. Just a thought...what if you reduced the amount of liquid and precook, just to slightly under-done, the noodles. I think that would make a big difference. My tuna noodle casserole recipe uses cheddar cheese soup instead of cream of mushroom--you might want to add some shredded cheddar for a flavor boost.

  9. Anonymous6/12/2008

    I heard about your blog on the Celiac.com message boards, and holy cow am I glad! Everyone calls me a freak because I own 3 crockpots (and need more). I'm glad I'm not alone!!!

    AND- as a Celiac mom of two Celiac kids, you are my new hero!!!

  10. I would only stir the noodles in at the end of cooking, possibly the fact the tuna was in oil would have also effected the result I always use brine/water. Maybe a different type of soup, can remember doing this with french onion so a different flavour, definately more salt come in that and I think this would be one of those things that for me soymilk would alter the child hood remembering flavour

  11. yuck. i hate this stuff. but the fam loves it. will have to try it

  12. I'd toss the dry noodles in later...may have to play a little, but found that thin noodles like this do get over cooked, but instead of doing double work to cook on the stove, just toss them in the last 1/2...that should work. I may give this a try, I make lasagna in the crock, and it comes out fantastic...no pre cooked noodles there either...

  13. Anonymous6/14/2008

    Try Tinkyada brand of rice pasta? I've noticed that with that brand, they tend to not fall apart and they rarely taste "overcooked". I use them in soup all the time, and are my favorite brand of GF pasta.

    I agree with Mom24, I always use sharp cheddar cheese with my recipe, that might help the flavor some.


  14. I think probably adding the pasta closer to the end would do it. I have made a pretty good replica of my childhood tuna noodle casserole. Give these a try for a flavorful topping: http://nograinnopain.blogspot.com/2007/04/amazing-bread-crumbs-so-i-have.html
    I'm still trying to figure out a way to replace cheese in mine, as I'm no longer eating dairy. The soymilk/almond milk seems to work well for me in the mushroom gravy.
    I'll have to give it a try in the crock.

  15. I have a *great* crockpot tuna noodle casserole. Give it a whirl--I'm sure you will love this one. I combined 2 recipes, adapted from "The Gluten Free Gourmet" and "Fix It And Forget It."

    2.5 cups Tinkyada noodles
    1 tsp. salt
    1/2 cup finely chopped onion
    12 oz. tuna packed in water
    1 serving of GF cream of mushroom soup, recipe below
    1/2 cup sharp shredded cheese
    1 cup frozen peas

    Combine all ingredients, except for peas. Cover. Cook on high 2-3 hours, or low 6-8 hours, stirring occasionally. Twenty minutes before end of cooking time, stir in peas and reduce heat to low if cooking on high.

    GF Cream of Mushroom Soup Base:
    1 cup noninstant dry milk
    1 cup white rice flour
    2 TBS dried minced onions
    1/2 tsp pepper
    1/2 tsp salt
    3 TBS GF chicken soup base

    This recipe will make the equivelant of 6 cans of soup. Make this mix in advance, store in airtight container.

    Serving for the tuna noodle casserole:
    (1) 4 oz. can sliced mushrooms
    Blend 4 TBS of the dry mix with 1.5cups of hot water, using the liquid from the mushrooms as part of the liquid. Mix into the ingredients above before cooking.

  16. Ok let me see if I can help:

    First use a stronger Brown Rice noodle, the penne gets cooked too fast, I use rigatoni or rotoni (a twisted variety). Cook under and add like 15-20 minutes before done. Prop the lid so it doesn't get too humid.

    Soy milk for tuna?? Yuk...Stick with good ole milk is you are ok with milk. I use nf evaporated milk. Also you need some butter, very important.

    You missed a few important things, onion and celery...they are mainstays in most tuna casserole dishes. We don't like peas much, we use frozen green beans and they seem to hold up better in the crock. We add carrots and mushrooms for more punch.

    Your mushroom soup recipe is awesome but a little bland for the tuna. Add a few herbs and spices. Celery salt seasoning for starters and maybe a few pinches of thyme or nutmeg (nutmeg is key ingredient to bisque, and that is what cream of mushroom soup really is).

    We eat tuna casserole a lot in my house, using crock and traditional methods. It never tastes the same twice. Sometimes I use cheese, a lot of times I don't. I really like light cream cheese, it adds a lot depth when I don't want to use something else to thicken the pot.

  17. WOW!!!
    these are fantastic suggestions, thank you so much!

    lol on the soy milk. what on earth was I thinking...?


  18. Since you already know, I like your recipes, just wanted to tell you that I made this last night and it was amazing! Thank you so much for the recipe, it is one we will be enjoying again and again!

  19. Anonymous10/01/2009

    We made this today at work and we used 2/3 velveta and 1/3 packaged shredded cheese. It was AWESOME! What a great recipe! Thanks!

  20. So I was going through all our cookbooks and found an old JCPenny SlowCrockery Cooker (that's sersiously what it says) that is probably 30 years old. In it I found a Tuna Noodle Casserole recipe and it made me think of this post. Here it is:
    2.5 cups dry noodles
    1 teaspoon
    1/2 cup finely chopped onion
    1 8-ounce can peas with liquid
    1 can tuna
    1 10-ounce can cream of mushroom soup
    1/2 can water
    1/4 cup almonds
    1/2 cup shredded swiss cheese (optional)

    Put ingrediants in cooker and mis well. Cover and cook on high for 1 to 2 hours stirring occational

  21. Walmart sells GF noodles that are a corn rice blend. they taste way better than brown rice noodles and hold up much better in oven and crockpot recipies.

  22. My dear Steph,

    Late to the party, but whatever. Hey, I was busy (that's my story and ...)

    Just checked out Crispy's list of GF blogs, http://wheat-free-meat-free.blogspot.com/2008/06/i-thought-i-would-update-my-gluten-free.html, and there you were, down at the bottom (it's done alpha, so lots of G's) as having a herd of crockpots, 707! (laughed so hard I fell over in my chair, so LOL upside down).

  23. I always add noodles for all my crock pot recipes 20-30 minutes before end of cooking time. I'll usually add the noodles, stir after 10-15 minutes, and continue cooking for 10-15 minutes until desired consistency. Twenty minutes for al dente. This is the best way to control the finicky noodle in a crock pot!