Tuna and Rice Casserole; A New Twist on an old recipe

My mother used to make tuna casserole when I was growing up. I loved it!  What kid wouldn’t? It was full of potato chips.  I wanted to make the same thing for my kids, but because we didn’t live in America, it was often hard to get all the ingredients, and even now, we can’t always get all the ingredients.  However, potato chips are not the problem in Korea.  One of the ingredients mothers use in tuna casserole is either Campbell’s cream of mushroom soup or Campbell’s cream of chicken soup, but we can only sometimes get those here.  More often than not, we don’t have those in the house because they are never sold at EMart and we only sometimes find them at Home Plus.  When we were in Romania, we couldn’t get potato chips, so I substituted toasted bread crumbs. It was good, but not quite the same. I make a lot of changes to recipes, so I will explain things as I go along.


I used a big cake pan and turned the oven on to 400 degrees Fahrenheit from the beginning.


First of all, I haven’t seen a casserole dish in Korea, so I use a big cake pan I found once upon a time.  We can find lots of noodles of all kinds except lasagna  noodles, and my mother always used noodles, but in my travels, I couldn’t always get noodles, so I either had to make them or use something else.  I began using rice, and it is good.  Sometimes I use noodles now, and sometimes I use rice.

I cook the rice first.   If you have seen my bogs about oriental food, I make rice the way the orientals do because I like it better than Uncle Ben’s quick rice or whatever people in the States use.  As far as I am concerned, there is no comparison.  I didn’t take pictures while I prepared the rice because I have a blog where I did that.  This time, I used two cups (450 grams) of rice.  I put the two cups in a pan and put the pan in the sink. I washed the rice. I kept washing it, swishing my hand around through the rice, pouring the water out, and then running more water in the rice, swishing my hand around, and pouring the water out until the water I was washing the rice in was no longer milky looking.  When the water in the rice was almost completely clear, the rice has been washed.  Since I used two cups of rice, I put 4 cups (32 ounces) of water over my rice.

I put the rice on the stove with a lid over it. I turned the fire on low, and I left it until all the water was cooked out.  If you take the lid off and see the water cooked out, but a little water barely bubbling up, then the rice is done.  I never stir my rice while I am cooking it, but if you are unaccustomed to doing it this way and are apprehensive about burning your rice, go ahead and stir it occasionally.


While the rice was cooking, I had to do something about not having any Campbell’s soup.  I began by making a white sauce.  I put some butter (about 3/4 of a cup) in a frying pan.  I melted the butter, and when it was almost melted, I dumped some flour in it, about 1/2 cup of flour or 3/4 cup of flour. I mixed the flour around into the melted butter and let it get hot and bubbly.  Next, I got my wire whip and 2 cups (16 ounces) of milk.  I slowly poured the milk into the pan with the hot and bubbly butter and flour mixing all the while with the wire whip so it wouldn’t lump.  Next, to change the white sauce into a chicken sauce, I got some chicken bullion and put 2 tablespoons of chicken bullion into the sauce and mixed it around. I just kept cooking the sauce until it began to bubble and get thick.  When it began to get thick, it had become sauce, so I turned it off. There have been times that I couldn’t get the bullion, and just using the white sauce without the chicken flavor works too.


Next, I usually get a package of potato chips and crunch them up in the bag.  If I don’t have chips, like I said before, I make toast and cut it up to use in place of the chips.  This time, we have Pringles in the house because we like them better than regular potato chips, so I dumped the Pringles in a dish and crushed them in the dish.  I was still waiting on the rice to finish cooking, so I went ahead and prepared the tuna by opening the cans.I had to wait a few minutes, but in a few minutes, my rice was finished.  I turned the rice off.


When my kids were growing up, I often included broccoli in this casserole, and I would be cooking broccoli ahead of time by cutting it up and steaming it in the microwave if I had any, but I happen not to have any because my daughter likes it so much she ate it all.  I would use carrots, but I just learned that my son in law doesn’t like carrots, so I left the vegetables out because the original didn’t have vegetables in it anyway.


Next, I got the pan and spread rice all over the bottom of the pan.  Next, I took a can of tuna and spread it all over the rice.  After that, I used the sauce I made and made a layer of sauce on the rice and tuna.  After that, I made a layer of the crunched up potato chips.  Next, I spread another layer of rice, then another layer of tuna, then another layer of sauce, and then covered it all with crunched up potato chips. A casserole dish, if you have one, is not as spread out as this pan, so you may have more layers than I did.  The important thing is to make layers and end it with the potato chips.


Next, I put the casserole in the heated oven. Everything is basically done, so you won’t have to leave it in the oven for long. You just want to let the chips turn brown.  Stay close to the oven so they don’t burn. It may only take 5 minutes, but watch them. I washed dished while mine was in the oven, and when I turned around to check it, the chips had turned brown.  It was time to take it out.

It is finished and ready to eat!

My daughter and son in law both work late this evening, but that is okay because they will have something good to put in the microwave when they get home.



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