I love a good casserole, especially during the winter. There is something very warm and cozy about pulling a hot, bubbly, cheesy casserole from the oven. Macaroni Tuna Mornay is just one of those delicious casseroles which will bring back childhood memories for those who grew up in 60s. I’ve updated this one just a bit while keeping its retro flavor. And there’s not a single can of “cream of” soup in the whole thing!
I collect cookbooks and read them like others read novels. What I haven’t done all that much is actually cook from them. Or at least not in recent years. But this year I am on a mission to cook from my cookbooks. My goal is to cook at least one recipe a week from one of my cookbooks and then share them with you. I’ll either share them here on the blog or in my weekly “Tea With Dee” newsletter. If you aren’t subscribed and don’t want to miss out on any recipes, you can sign up here. I send it out just once a week and won’t bombard you with lots of nonsense.
This recipe came from a set of Family Circle Illustrated cookbooks my grandfather gave me when I was still in high school. He was an incredible cook and I truly wish I had had the opportunity to learn from him. I do, however, have a number of his cookbooks and I’m looking forward to cooking from some of them in the year ahead.
Macaroni Tuna Mornay was in the “Do Ahead Dinners” section of the cookbook. If desired, you can make this casserole ahead of time, cover and refrigerate. Then one hour before serving time, uncover, place in cold oven, turn oven to 350 degrees and cook one hour or until hot and bubbly all the way through. I didn’t do that when I made it but I’m going to keep that in mind when I need something on a busy night, or something David can put in the oven while I’m at a meeting.
The recipe below is fairly close to the original but I added more seasonings. The original only called for salt and pepper but I often find recipes of that era a bit bland. The original topping consisted of melted butter, soft bread crumbs and grated parmesan cheese. This would be good but I happened to have an opened can of Trader Joe’s fried onions and some Panko bread crumbs so that is what I used.
It also called for canned corn but I substituted frozen mixed vegetables. I skipped the canned mushrooms because I’m allergic to them but feel free to add them if you like.
This recipe makes 8 servings so I decreased it by using less macaroni and cheese sauce and just one can of tuna.
Macaroni Tuna Mornay
Macaroni Tuna Mornay ~ Vintage Recipe
Easy old-fashioned casserole perfect for weeknight dinners.
- 8 ounces elbow macaroni
- 4 tbsp butter
- 3 tbsp all purpose flour
- 2 tsp salt
- 1/4 tsp black pepper
- 1/4 tsp Creole seasoning or pinch of cayenne pepper
- 1/2 tsp garlic powder
- 1/2 tsp onion powder
- 1 tsp dry mustard
- 3.5 cups milk
- 8 ounces sharp cheddar, grated
- 2 cups frozen mixed vegetables (corn, peas, carrots, green beans)
- 2 cans tuna, drained broken into bite-size chunks
- 1/2 cup French fried onions
- 1/2 cup Panko bread crumbs
Cook macaroni in boiling water until just barely done. Do not overcook. Drain and return to pot.
While pasta is cooking, melt 3 tablespoons of the butter in medium-size saucepan. Stir flour, salt, pepper, Creole seasoning, pepper, garlic powder, onion powder and dry mustard into melted butter and cook, stirring continuously over medium heat until bubbly. Stir in milk slowly and continue cooking and stirring until sauce thickens. Stir in cheese (reserve a handful for the topping) until melted and remove from heat.
In large pot, melt remaining tablespoon of butter over medium high heat. Add frozen vegetables and cook a couple of minutes. Add cooked macaroni, tuna and cheese sauce to vegetables, stirring to mix well.
Spoon into baking dish and top with reserved cheese, French fried onions and bread crumbs.
Bake at 350 degrees until hot and bubbly - about 30 minutes.
I served it with candied carrots and a spinach salad. It was delicious and all three of us liked it. Even with the reduced quantities we had enough for second servings (one, who shall remain nameless, had a third helping!) and leftovers for lunch the next day.
This is a very adaptable recipe:
- You could substitute cooked chicken for the tuna or it would be a great way to use up leftover turkey during the holidays.
- Try a different cheese. Pepper jack would be great.
- Use whatever vegetables you like. Broccoli would be good.
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You may also enjoy these vintage-inspired recipes:
Tuna Noodle Casserole ~ An Updated Vintage Classic
Anna | Yes, Little Hummingbird? says
Reminds me of the Tuna-Kraft I used to make as a kid. Just a box of Kraft macaroni and cheese- then fry the tuna in an absolutely inordinate amount of butter, season with salt, pepper, and paprika, and dump it in. This sounds like it’s probably much better!
Deanna Piercy says
Definitely a step or two above Kraft mac and cheese – ha!
I would probably make a couple of changes. I would dice an onion and cook until just translucent in the butter, then move on to making the mornay sauce as written. If it’s going to bake an hour, I don’t think I would precook the mixed veggies, or if I did, I think I’d do it in the microwave, just until thawed. I’m afraid precooking them would make them mushy? Or am I missing something. This is sounding a lot like my next dinner…
Deanna Piercy says
It just cooks 30 minutes or until hot and bubbly unless you refrigerate it first and cook later. They probably don’t need that couple of minutes cooking other than the fact they are getting coated in butter – ha!