Tuna Casserole aka Tuna Wiggle

One year at Christmas when I was a kid, my Aunt Mimi gave my sister and I a cookbook designed specifically for kids. It came with these brightly colored plastic measuring spoons and had all sorts of “kid friendly” recipes with fun names.

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One of the recipes was for Tuna Wiggle which was the fun, kid-friendly name for Tuna Casserole. We were no strangers to Tuna Casserole. My mom made a pretty fantastic Tuna Casserole and she featured it regularly in her dinner rotation. I don’t actually remember the Tuna Wiggle recipe from that cook book, or if we even ever made that version, but the name stuck. As adults we’ve even shortened the name to Wiggle.

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Interestingly enough my extra-picky-seafood-hating husband actually likes Tuna Wiggle as well (much to my and his mother’s surprise). I’m pretty sure he picks around the actual chunks of tuna but I’ll call it a win. I’ll admit that I leave it chunkier for him (I know, I know, I’m an enabler). He grew up eating his family’s version of Wiggle as well.

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It’s one of those dishes that we can cook a giant pan and eat for days without complaint. I like to put Frank’s Red Hot on mine. I’ve even put crushed potato chips on top here and there on the rare occasion that we actually have chips in the house.

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The below recipe is not my mom’s recipe. It’s also not an exact replica of my mother in-law’s recipe, though it’s closer to that. So we’ll call it J’s version of Tuna Wiggle. Up until now, I’ve never bothered to measure any of these ingredients out, as I would vary the amounts of ingredients based on how much we were making and eyeball everything. There is a lot of freedom to take liberties. Fly-by-the-seat-of-your-pants cooking is pretty much my style of cooking anyway. But I measured everything out tonight to make the recipe easier to follow. It makes a huge 9″ x 13″ pan, so you may want to cut the recipe in half if you aren’t as passionate about left overs as I am.

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Tuna Wiggle

Source: The Life Jolie Blog, inspired by Vicky Freimann’s Tuna Casserole Recipe, perfected by Justin

Ingredients:

  • 2 cans of cream of chicken soup (I get the healthy request)
  • 2 cans of cream of mushroom soup (I get the healthy request)
  • 2 cans of milk
  • 2 Tbsp of mayonnaise
  • 2 1/2 cups of shredded sharp cheddar cheese, divided (1/2 a cup for the sauce mixture, the other 2 cups for on top- this is very cheesy; if you’re not a huge fan you might consider cutting down the cheese on top)
  • 2 cans of chunk light tuna in water, drained
  • 1 heaping cup of frozen peas
  • 1 – 1 1/2 boxes of elbow pasta, partially cooked (depends on how saucy or dry you want the casserole)
  • Black pepper to taste
  • 1/4 cup of seasoned bread crumbs

Preheat your oven to 350 degrees.

Whisk to combine the cans of cream of mushroom and cream of chicken soup with both cans of milk over medium heat. Stir frequently so that it doesn’t burn onto the bottom of the pan

Once they are well combined, whisk in the mayonnaise and a 1/2 cup of the shredded sharp cheddar cheese and a small amount of black pepper to taste.

Reduce the heat to low and allow it to simmer for around 10 minutes.

Add your tuna and peas and break up the tuna with your spoon.

Mix in your pasta and transfer the mixture to your 9″ x 13″ baking pan.

Top with the remaining cheese and sprinkle with bread crumbs.

Bake for around 20 minutes of until the cheese is good and melted.

 

 

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