There are two things you should know about my husband (besides that he is Swedish born and of Macedonian decent, which you might not know if you are new here). First, he enjoys fairly lewd, at times bordering on inappropriate humor. He would never make fun of something to hurt someone intentionally (well, rarely), but he does enjoy pushing boundaries.
Second, he learned the majority of his English through American TV and movies. So while occasionally a relic of his British-focused English education will peak through (Schedule: SHEDule vs. SKEDule?), his English verges on the stereotypical American. One of his favorite tropes is the image of the disgruntled 1950s husband being upset that the housewife has made tuna casserole AGAIN!! Not sure if this comes from a specific show or movie, but it definitely makes me giggle to hear my obviously European husband jokingly say that as he comes home from work while I’m making dinner.
Not that he had EVER had tuna casserole before last year. To be fair, neither had I (My parents were more into the “Protein, starch and 2 veg” variety). But, perhaps in response to this, or the fact that I love 1- or 2-dish recipes, I have found myself gravitating to the “layered” or at least “combined” dishes: skillet bakes, stews, and curries.
So one day we were looking for something to make with the ingredients on hand, and came up with…a grocery list. We needed to go shopping. The only protein we had in the whole kitchen was canned tuna. I jokingly suggested “What about tuna casserole?” and my husband’s eyes lit up. “Do you know how?” He asked. “No…but the internet does.”
I went looking for a tuna casserole recipe, but soon realized that the majority of recipes available called for two additional things we didn’t have: pasta and cream of mushroom soup. So after expanding my search to “tuna and rice casserole” and “homemade cream of mushroom soup”, I finally pieced together this recipe made with things we regularly have in the house. It’s now a staple, because it’s fast, easy, and delish!
P.S. Dear Husband’s now upset because I “ruined” his joke…he’s now excited to learn I’ve made tuna casserole…again!
Mama's Tuna Casserole
A rice-based variation on the American classic.
- 3 dl uncooked rice (~1 1/4 cups)
- 1 bag frozen green beans (500 g or 16 oz)
- 2-3 cans tuna, drained and rinsed
- 30 g butter (~2-3 Tbsp)
- 1 large red onion, roughly chopped
- 500 ml broth/stock/bouillon (~ 16 oz)
- 300 ml milk (~10 oz)
- salt and pepper to taste
- Preheat oven to 200 C (~375 F)
- Melt butter in medium sauce pan over medium-medium high heat.
- Sauté onion until beginning to turn translucent.
- While onion is sautéing, layer the following ingredients in a 9 x 13 baking dish: Rice on the bottom, green beans in the middle, tuna on top.
- When onion is translucent, add broth to saucepan, stir, and bring to a low boil.
- Add milk to the saucepan, stir, and again, bring to a low boil.
- Carefully pour mixture over the layers in the baking dish, making sure to spread the onions evenly.
- Bake in the oven for about 30 minutes, or until rice is tender.
So I have recently given up dairy because of a suspected milk protein allergy in DD, whom I am breastfeeding. In looking to make this without dairy, I substituted olive or rapeseed oil for the butter, but was more perplexed as to what to substitute for the milk. Water of course works, since part of the purpose of this is liquid in which to cook the rice, but it left something to be desired in the creamy department. So what is creamy, yet dairy free? MAYO! Yes, a wonderful substitution is 200 g (yes, that much) of mayo with 100 ml of water or additional broth. Delish.