Introduction: TUNA PASTA CASSEROLE WITH CRUNCHY JALAPENO CHEDDAR TOPPING

Picture of TUNA PASTA CASSEROLE WITH CRUNCHY JALAPENO CHEDDAR TOPPING

I really enjoy eating a hot, creamy, tuna casserole - especially on a cold winter's day - and I like them even better when they are topped with a crunchy potato chip-cheese topping. I like the spicy sharp touch created by using kettle-cooked jalapeno-flavored chips and extra sharp cheddar, but you can use any cheese and potato chip combination that suits your tastes.

Step 1: INGREDIENTS (4 Servings)

Picture of INGREDIENTS (4 Servings)
  1. 1 package (6.4 oz) StarKist Chunk Light Tuna In Sunflower Oil
  2. 2 cups cooked Barilla Farfalle Bowtie Pasta (or pasta or egg noodles of your choice)
  3. 1 can (10.75 oz) condensed cream of mushroom soup (do not add water)
  4. 1 cup pasteurized cultured whole buttermilk.
  5. 1/2 cup sliced canned mushrooms, drained.
  6. 1 cup Sargento Shredded Extra Sharp Cheddar Cheese (or cheese of your choice ) divided in half.
  7. 1/4 cup sliced green onions
  8. 1/2 cup fresh or frozen green peas
  9. 1/2 teaspoon dried crushed Rosemary
  10. 1/2 teaspoon dried thyme
  11. 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder (optional)
  12. 1/4 teaspoon Chipotle pepper flakes (also optional)
  13. 1/2 teaspoon Diamond Crystal Salts Sense with iodine (or Sea or Kosher Salt)
  14. 1/2 teaspoon coarse ground black pepper
  15. 1 cup crushed kettle cooked Jalapeno flavored potato chips, or potato chips of choice.

Step 2: INSTRUCTIONS:

Picture of INSTRUCTIONS:

Preheat your oven to 425 degrees F.

Spray a 2-1/2 to 3 qt oven-safe casserole dish with cooking spray (I like to use a 2-1/2 qt square dish with a lid for this recipe).

  1. Slice green onions (I usually use about 1/2 of the green tops, too, but these had been in the refrigerator a little too long and the tops were not very good) and add them to a big mixing bowl.
  2. Add the packet of tuna (if you are using the SunKist tuna in sunflower oil there is not liquid to drain off, but if you are using a tuna with water (ugh) or other oil, drain the liquid off before adding the fish to the bowl).
  3. Add the *green peas, concentrated mushroom soup, the **buttermilk, 1/2 of the shredded cheese, and all of the spices and herbs to the bowl and mix thoroughly.
  4. Add the mixture to the baking dish and top with the crushed potato chips, then with the remaining 1/2 cup of shredded cheese.
  • *NOTE: If using frozen green peas, I suggest placing them in a strainer and rinsing them under tap water before adding then to the mixing bowl.
  • *NOTE: I had no intention of using milk (buttermilk or any other) in this recipe, but after mixing everything together (and before I added the chips and cheese), I felt the mixture was to dry. Thankfully, I decided to add the buttermilk before adding the topping, and I am glad that I did. It was definitely needed! (Since the buttermilk came directly from the refrigerator, I warmed it up just a little on the stove top before adding it to the mixing bowl).

Step 3: PREPARATION:

Picture of PREPARATION:

There's not much to add here; Bake the casserole, covered, in the preheated oven for 15 to 20 minutes, or until the cheese is melted and beginning to brown. (Not all cheese will bubble and brown; if you have to (and if the dish will take the heat), remove the cover and let the dish sit under the broiler for a minute or two).

Step 4: TIME TO EAT . . .

Picture of TIME TO EAT . . .

I really love the crusty, crunchy, topping that the jalapeno potato chips and shredded cheese give to this dish, and I enjoyed my dinner last night with a class of Italy's Ruffino Chianti wine!

Please try it; I think you will like it to!

Bon Appetit !

(I have prepared the nutritional values of this recipe to the best of my ability using the MyFitnessPal Recipe Analyzer).

*I was inspired to create this recipe by Jaicard's "Best Tuna Casserole" as featured on Allrecipes.

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Bio: I am a 80-year-old self-proclaimed Chef who has spent most of his life in the hotel/resort tourism industry. I have traveled up and down ... More »
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