The following recipe was created in collaboration with Lauren Schulte. To see more of her bites and meals, visit her Instagram @TheBiteSizePantry.
This is a great make-ahead meal that is freezer-friendly and feeds a crowd on those nights when you need to fill bellies in a hurry. Classic Tuna Noodle Casserole is made with cream of mushroom soup, sharp cheddar cheese, peas and a Ritz cracker crumble topping.
My “tuna crack casserole,” as I like to call it, is anything but traditional and has extraordinary flavor. It tastes just like the creamy broccoli cheddar soup we all know and love and incorporates a ranch-flavored twist on the bread topping.
For the Casserole
- 4 cups of egg noodles, cooked according to the package instructions
- 2 5 oz. cans solid white albacore tuna in water, drained
- 2 chicken bouillon cubes (optional)
- 3 cups Heinen’s sharp cheddar cheese, shredded
- 2 Tbsp. unsalted butter
- 2 celery stalks, diced
- 1/2 white onion, diced
- 2 garlic cloves, minced
- 2 cans condensed cream of mushroom soup (sub with cream of chicken, if desired)
- 1 tsp. celery salt
- 1 medium head of broccoli, chopped with stem
- Salt and pepper, to taste
For the Bread Crumb Topping
- 2 cups panko bread crumbs
- 1 packet of ranch seasoning
- 2 Tbsp. of unsalted butter, melted
- 1 cup Heinen’s sharp cheddar cheese, shredded
- Green onion, diced
- Pimento olives, sliced
- Preheat oven to 400˚F.
- In a large mixing bowl, add 3 cups of the shredded sharp cheddar cheese, 2 cans of condensed cream of mushroom soup (or cream of chicken soup, if desired) and tuna. Mix well and set aside.
- Cook the egg noodles 1 minute short of the time on the package instructions. The noodles will finish cooking when the casserole is in the oven. To add extra flavor to the egg noodles, add the chicken bouillon cubes to the boiling water. Drain the noodles and add them to the tuna mixture. Toss until fully coated.
- Over medium heat, melt 2 Tbsp. of butter in the same pot used to cook the noodles. Add the diced onions, broccoli and celery and cook for about 5 minutes, until softened. Add the minced garlic, celery salt and salt and pepper and cook for another minute or two until everything has softened.
- Add the broccoli mixture to the egg noodle and tuna mixture and gently stir until combined. Pour into a lightly greased 9×13 casserole dish and bake, covered with foil, at 400˚F for 20 minutes.
- While the casserole is baking, melt the other 2 Tbsp. of unsalted butter in a microwave-safe bowl. Add the panko bread crumbs and ranch seasoning to the melted butter and mix well.
- Remove the foil from the casserole after 20 minutes and top with the panko bread crumb mixture and another cup of the shredded sharp cheddar cheese.
- Bake for 10 minutes uncovered until the bread crumbs turn golden brown and the cheese has melted.
- Remove from the oven and let sit for 5 minutes.
- Garnish with diced green onions and sliced pimento olives and serve.