When I was a little girl, I used to stay with my Aunt Vel sometimes, when my mother had things to do and couldn't take me with her. Aunt Vel is one of my mother's five sisters and she conveniently lived just right down the street from us. I always liked to stay with her, because she was a lot like Mama, she was a wonderful cook, but I soon figured out that aunts were much more lenient on nieces than mothers were on daughters...lol. I could always get away with a little more with the Aunties than Mama would ever put up with. Isn't that always the case though? I know I am the same way with my nieces and nephews. It's sort of like a grandparent who is just closer to your parent's ages.
One particular afternoon that I went to stay with Aunt Vel, I thought I would be going home before supper time, but the afternoon got late and I could see that I would be staying for dinner, which was ok with me. Aunt Vel cooked a lot like Mama, but it seemed she had different things than we did sometimes so it was interesting. This afternoon, she started getting things out for preparing dinner and she asked me if I like tuna casserole. My face must have said "no way", but I doubt I said that, because that would be rude. My face has always betrayed me though. I do not have a poker face and never have. Aunt Vel assured me I would like this tuna casserole. I just had to try it and then if I didn't like it, she would fix me a sandwich or something. That sounded reasonable. I would not have had that option at home...lol.
It seemed like this tuna casserole was in the oven in seconds and as it cooked, it was smelling pretty good, I had to admit. Of course, liver and onions smelled good frying, and I knew from several horrifying experiences how bad they could be. But when this 'tuna casserole' came out of the oven and it was presented to me for tasting, it looked so good and cheesy and creamy. Once I tasted it, I had to admit, it was delicious. It tasted nothing like the tuna salad I detested. It didn't even taste like tuna really. I ended up eating two big servings. It was my new favorite "Aunt Vel food". I still, to this day have favorite Aunt Vel foods, we all do. One of her great grandsons told me this past summer that his Nanny, his name for her, always has the best food at her house. I remember thinking that at his age also.
This is what you will need for Aunt Vel's Tuna Casserole:
1 large can tuna, drained and flaked (I use white albacore tuna)
8 oz. egg noodles, cooked according to pkg. directions and drained
1 medium onion, diced fine
2 Tbs. butter
1 cup milk
1 can cream of mushroom soup
1 cup green peas, canned or frozen (optional)
2 cups cheddar cheese, shredded
1 sleeve Ritz crackers, crushed and tossed with 3 Tbs. melted butter (optional)
Saute onion in butter in a skillet large enough to mix all of the casserole ingredients. Add the mushroom soup and milk and mix well. Stir in the tuna, noodles and peas.
Pour all in a 2 quart casserole you have sprayed well with nonstick spray. Cover the top with shredded cheese. At this point you can cover the top with a sleeve of crushed Ritz crackers mixed with 3 Tbs. melted butter. That is an optional step and Aunt Vel's recipe doesn't call for it, but I added them because they entice my husband to eat things, he might not otherwise...lol. Place in 350 degree oven for about 30 to 35 minutes or until hot and bubbly.
Aunt Vel's Tuna Casserole!