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Classic Tuna Noodle Casserole: Every Friday in 1960s

baby boomer photo nostalgia

by Brenda K Oswalt

In the 60's Friday dinners were always tuna noodle casserole. Yep, we always had fish. No, we were not Catholic, but out of sympathy or guilt or whatever, we never ever ate meat. We ate fish.

Tuna Noodle Casserole to the Rescue

No matter where you were in Ohio in the 1960's, I can guarantee that if you ate at home on a Friday night, you would have one of two "fishy" meals. Your choices were either fish sticks or Classic Tuna Noodle Casserole. After all, the kids attending St. Peter’s Catholic High School had to eat fish on Friday, so that meant all the rest of our town did too.

Even if you weren't Catholic, you ate fish on Fridays out of habit. If you begged to stay overnight with a friend, dollars to donuts, when you walked into that Formica-topped kitchen and sat down at the oilcloth table, your dinner would be fish sticks, macaroni and cheese or tuna noodle casserole. Some things never changed.

Every Friday Night Was Tuna Casserole

Let’s not make fun of that great-tasting tuna casserole, though. It is a super comfort dish, and it’s very easy to make. Just boil some noodles, open some cans, dump it all together in a casserole dish and bake for 20 minutes. What's not to like?

Here it is the Classic Tuna Noodle Casserole recipe. If you haven't tried it, you’re missing out. It’s tasty, wholesome and filling. It’s homemade, too. Think back, now when was the last time you saw Tuna Noodle Casserole on a restaurant menu? Like, never.

Comfort Food - Classic Tuna Noodle Casserole

Friday Night Tuna Noodle Casserole from the 60s

Back to the 60's Classic Tuna Casserole

•1 can of Campbell's Condensed Cream of Celery Soup
•1/2 cup milk
•1 cup cooked peas
•2 tablespoons chopped pimentos (optional)
•2 cans (bout 6 ounces each) tuna, drained and flaked
•2 cups hot cooked medium egg noodles
•2 tablespoons dry bread crumbs (or crushed potato chips)*
•1 tablespoon butter, melted

Comfort Food: Directions for Tuna Casserole

1.Preheat Oven to 400°.
2.Stir the soup, milk, peas, pimento, tuna and noodles in a 1-1/2 quart baking dish.
3.Stir the breadcrumbs and butter in a small bowl.
4.Bake for 20 minutes or until the tuna mixture is hot and bubbling.
5.Stir the casserole and sprinkle the top with the breadcrumb mixture.
6.Bake for 5 minutes more or until the breadcrumbs are golden brown.
7.Makes 4 servings. Enjoy!
* Shredded cheddar cheese may also be used, if desired.

These days people may not think of casseroles as "health food," but sometimes comfort food can lead to happy memories. And, what can be healthier than a warm and fuzzy feeling about the good old days?

[photo credit: main image is Creative Commons vintage ad 1960's for Hotpoint Kitchenaid]

Brenda K Oswalt's Website:  DixieDiner.com

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Did your mom make casseroles?  Leave a comment at the bottom of the page.

Brenda Oswalt is a French-trained cook, writer, businesswoman and inventor who holds several medical patents.

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  1. Christina Gregoire

    Brenda, that brings back memories. We had the same casserole, but we called it Granddaddy's Casserole (I don't know why) and we topped it off with potatoe chips. I'll have to make it for my kids.