A plaque remaining from the Big Apple Night Club at West 135th Street and Seventh Avenue in Harlem.

Above, a 1934 plaque from the Big Apple Night Club at West 135th Street and Seventh Avenue in Harlem. Discarded as trash in 2006.

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Entry from December 29, 2008
Tuna Noodle Casserole

Tuna noodle casserole (or “tuna and noodle casserole") has been popularly made with canned tuna, cooked noodles and Campbell’s cream-of-mushroom soup (first sold in 1934). However, the casserole pre-dates the Campbell’s soup. “Casserole of Noodles and Tuna Fish” was published in newspapers in 1931 and again in 1936; the recipe does not contain mushrooms. “Casserole of Tuna and Noodles,” a recipe printed in a May 1933 newspaper, does include mushrooms. Many recipes were published after 1934.

Some recipes contain peas, milk, bread crumbs and pimento cheese.


Wikipedia: Casserole
A casserole, from the French for “saucepan,” is a large, deep pot or dish used both in the oven and as a serving dish. The word casserole is also used for the food cooked and served in such a dish. Casseroles originate from the ancient practice of stewing meat slowly in earthenware containers. Types of casserole include ragout, hotpot, cassoulet and carbonnade. A distinction may be made between casseroles and stews: stewing is a cooking process whereby heat is applied to the bottom of the cooking vessel (typically over a fire or on a hob), whereas casseroling is done in an oven where heat circulates all round the cooking vessel. Braising is similar to casseroling except that the pieces of meat or vegetable are larger and cooked in a smaller quantity of liquid. Casseroles tend to be thicker than soup. However the choice of name is largely a matter of custom; it is possible for the same dish to be described as soup, stew, and casserole.
(...)
Use of term in the US and Canada
A characteristic method of preparing casserole in the United States and Canada is to use condensed soup, especially cream of mushroom soup. Examples for casseroles that can be prepared in this manner are tuna casserole (with canned tuna, cooked noodles, sometimes peas, and cream-of-mushroom soup) and green bean casserole (green beans with cream of mushroom soup, topped with french fried onions). A similar staple food, macaroni and cheese, can also be prepared as a casserole.

Wikipedia: Tuna casserole
Tuna casserole is a casserole mainly composed of egg noodles and canned tuna fish. The casseroles is often topped with potato chips or canned fried onions. It is a common dish in some parts of the United States of America. Tuna casserole is convenient in that it can be prepared using no fresh ingredients.

Campbell’s Kitchen
Campbell’s® Tuna Noodle Casserole
From: Campbell’s Kitchen
Prep: 10 minutes
Bake: 35 minutes
Serves: 8

Ingredients:
2 cans (10 3/4 oz. each) Campbell’s® Condensed Cream of Mushroom Soup (Regular, 98% Fat Free or 25% Less Sodium)
1 cup milk
2 cups frozen peas
2 cans (10 oz. each) tuna, drained
4 cups hot cooked medium egg noodles
2 tbsp. dry bread crumbs
1 tbsp. butter, melted

Directions:
Stir soup, milk, peas, tuna and noodles in 3-qt. casserole.
Bake at 400°F. 30 min. or until tuna mixture is hot and bubbling. Stir tuna mixture.
Stir bread crumbs and butter in small bowl. Sprinkle over tuna mixture. Bake 5 min. or until bread crumbs are browned.
Serving Suggestion: Serve with steamed cut green beans. For dessert serve fresh orange wedges. 
Cost per recipe: $9.29
Cost per recipe serving: $1.16
Total cost of meal (including serving suggestion): $14.58
Cost calculations based on July 2008 national average prices

Campbell’s Kitchen
Tuna Noodle Casserole
From: Campbell’s Kitchen
Prep: 15 minutes
Cook: 25 minutes
Serves: 4

Ingredients:
1 can (10 3/4 oz.) Campbell’s® Condensed Cream of Mushroom Soup (Regular or 98% Fat Free)
1/2 cup milk
2 tbsp. chopped pimentos (optional)
1 cup frozen peas
2 cans (about 6 oz. each) tuna, drained and flaked
2 cups hot cooked medium egg noodles
2 tbsp. dry bread crumbs
1 tbsp. butter or margarine

Directions:
Mix soup, milk, pimiento, peas, tuna and noodles in 1 1/2-qt. casserole. Bake at 400°F. for 20 min. or until hot. Stir.
Mix bread crumbs with butter and sprinkle on top. Bake 5 min.
Tip: This recipe is also great using Campbell’s® Condensed Cream of Celery or 98% Fat Free Cream of Celery Soup.

Campbell’s Kitchen
Classic Tuna Noodle Casserole
From: Campbell’s Kitchen
Prep: 10 minutes
Cook: 25 minutes
Serves: 4

Ingredients:
1 can (10 3/4 oz.) Campbell’s® Condensed Cream of Celery Soup (Regular or 98% Fat Free)
1/2 cup milk
1 cup cooked peas
2 tbsp. chopped pimentos
2 cans (about 6 oz. each) tuna, drained and flaked
2 cups hot cooked medium egg noodles
2 tbsp. dry bread crumbs
1 tbsp. butter OR margarine, melted

Directions:
PREHEAT oven to 400°F.
MIX soup, milk, peas, pimiento, tuna and noodles in 1 1/2-qt. baking dish.
BAKE for 20 min.
STIR . Mix bread crumbs with butter. Sprinkle on top. Bake 5 min. or until hot.
TIP: *Or use Campbell’s® Cream of Mushroom OR 98% Fat Free Cream of Mushroom Soup.
Serve with your favorite frozen vegetable combination. For dessert serve ice cream.
To melt butter, remove wrapper and place in microwave-safe cup. Cover and microwave on HIGH 30 seconds.

28 February 1931, Charleroi (PA) Mail, pg. 4, col. 2:
Casserole of Noodles and Tuna Fish—Take two cupfuls of uncooked noodles, one pound can of tuna fish, one-fourth cupful of chopped pimiento, two cupfuls of drained, canned peas, two cupfuls of thin white sauce and buttered crumbs. Cook the noodles until tender in three quarts of boiling water to which one tablespoonful of salt has been added.  Drain and place a layer of noodles in the bottom of a buttered baking dish, then a layer of fish, pimiento and peas. Season well and repeat until all the ingredients are used. Pour over the whole sauce and top with a thick layer of buttered crumbs. Bake until brown.

3 March 1933, San Antonio (TX) Light, “Tuna and Noodles Good Combination,” pg. 7B, col. 3:
One can Chicken of the Sea Brand Tuna, 1 cups (sic) cooked noodles, 2 hard boiled eggs, 2 cups cream sauce, 1 teaspoon diced onions, salt and pepper.

Butter bottom of baking dish. Put in one layer of noodles then one layer of Tuna and eggs. Cover with noodles and pour over the mixture the rich cream sauce with onions in it. Bake in oven for 30 minutes.

4 May 1933, San Mateo (CA) Times, pg. 6, col. 1:
Casserole of Tuna and Noodles.
1 pkg. noodles, cooked.
1 small can tuna fish.
1 cup pimento cheese.
1 small can mushrooms.
4 tablespoons chopped green pepper.
3 hard cooked eggs.
1 1/2 cups milk.
3 tablespoons butter.
3 tablespoons flour.
Salt and pepper to taste.
Make a white sauce by melting the butter, adding flour and stirring to form a smooth paste, add milk and blend. Cut cheese in small pieces, add to white sauce and allow to melt; season with salt and pepper. Cut mushrooms, flake tuna fish, then combine all ingredients. Pour into well buttered casserole and bake 30 minutes in a moderate oven (350 degrees).

19 July 1933, Christian Science Monitor, “It Is the Taste That Tells” by Lyla G. Maxwell, pg. 10:
A tablespoonful of the juice from olives, either ripe ones or green ones, added to tuna or salmon recipes will give them that too often missing “something.” Or, if you do not happen to have olives on hand try a teaspoonful of vinegar.  Here is a delicious tuna-noodle dish which is flat and tasteless without that one little spoonful of seasoning and which is delightful with it.
Tuna Noodles
1 package noodles cooked in boiling, salt water.
1 pint white sauce into which has been cut
1 can tuna
1 pimiento
2 hard boiled eggs
1 tablespoon olive juice or 1 teaspoon vinegar.
Put alternate layers of noodles and white sauce mixture in a casserole and bake for 20 minutes in a quick oven. Be sure your white sauce has plenty of butter in it. Of course it is melted and cannot be seen but, oh, it is the taste that tells! Butter does such wonderful things to recipes.

10 January 1935, Circleville (OH) Herald, pg. 5, col. 3:
Tuna Fish Noodle Casserole
Tuna Fish Noodle Casserole is a filling and tasty serving that may be used for luncheons, dinners, buffet suppers and late evening service. For serving 8 to 10 people use:
1 pkg noodles
1 large can tuna fish
1/2 pound almonds, chopped
1 large can shred mushrooms
1 pt. milk
1/8 lb. butter
4 Tbsp. flour
1/2 tsp. salt
Cook noodles in boiling salted water, and drain. Combine tuna fish, noodles, almonds and mushrooms with white sauce made of milk, butter, flour and salt. Place in a casserole dish and bake in a moderate oven (350 degrees) until the ingredients are heated through. (About 20 minutes.) Strips of pimiento make an attractive garnish for the noodle dish. If you like, the noodles may be formed in a ring mold and the tuna fish used as filling for the center.

11 April 1935, Toronto Star, “Cooking Chat” by Marie Holmes, pg. 35, col. 2:
TUNA MUSHROOM AND NOODLE CASSEROLE
1 large can tuna fish
1 can of thick cream of mushroom soup
1 1.2 cups of milk
1 1/2 cups of cooked noodles
1 1/2 teaspoons of chopped pimento.
Heat the cream of mushroom soup. Add the milk gradually, then tuna fish, noodles and pimento. Pour into a buttered casserole dish. Cook 10 minutes in hot oven 370 degrees F.

25 February 1936, Portsmouth (NH) Herald, “Wednesday’s Special,” pg. 8, col. 4:
Soup, tuna and noodle casserole or broiled minute steak,...
(Jarvis Tea Room—ed.)

27 March 1936, Elyria (OH) Chronicle Telegram, pg. 2, col. 7:
Noodle Tuna Casserole
4 Tbsp butter
4 Tbsp flour
2 tsp salt
2 C. milk
2 C. noodles, cooked
1 pkg. pimiento cheese, shredded
1 small can tuna fish, boned and flaked
1 C. mushrooms
3 hard cooked eggs. sliced
Melt butter in saucepan, stir in flour and seasonings. Add milk gradually. Stir constantly to prevent lumping. Bring to the boiling point, let cook 3 minutes. Arrange noodles, pimiento cheese, tuna fish, mushrroms an eggs in layers in a casserole which has been well greased with butter. Pour sauce over all. Bake in a slow oven (325 degrees) until done—about 30 minutes. Remove from the oven and serve immediately. Serves 6 to 8.

26 June 1936, Modesto (CA) Bee and News-Herald, pg. 7, cols. 2-3:
TUNA CASSEROLE
Two cups of cooked noodles, 1 cup cooked peas, 1 7-ounce can tuna fish, 1 can of mushroom gravy, 1/2 cup milk.

Butter a baking dish. Arrange alternately layers of tuna, peas and mushroom gravy, placing noodles on top. Season each layer with salt and pepper. Dot with butter and pour milk into the dish and top with buttered bread crumbs. Bake in a 350 oven for thirty minutes.

30 September 1936, Nashua (Iowa) Reporter, pg. 3, col. 2:
Casserole of Noodles and Tuna Fish.
Take two cupfuls of uncooked noodles, one pound can of tuna fish, one-fourth cupful of chopped pimiento, two cupfuls of drained, canned peas, two cupfuls of thin white sauce and buttered crumbs. Cook the noodles until tender in three quarts of boiling water to which one tablespoonful of salt has been added. Drain and place a layer of noodles in the bottom of a buttered baking dish, then a layer of fish, pimiento and peas. Season well and repeat until all the ingredients are used. Pour over the white sauce and top with a thick layer of crumbs. Bake until brown.

21 October 1936, Modesto (CA) Bee and News-Herald, pg. 7, col. 1:
Recipes For Wednesday.
Recipes to be featured at the first session Wednesday include: (...) tuna and noodle casserole; pineapple coffee cake and cider sherbet.

24 November 1936, Hammond (IN) Times, pg. 9, col. 1:
At the dinner table one evening recently the piece de resistance was a casserole of tuna fish and noodles. Over the top, au gratin fashion, was a rich, brown crust of buttered bread crumbs—a dish which makes one happy just to describe.

22 January 1937, Christian Science Monitor, “Favorite Recipes in Our Family” by Mrs. M. F. S., pg. 12:
Tuna and Noodle Casserole
Boil in salted water
1 package of noodles (8 ounces).  Drain. Rinse in hot water
1 can light tuna (7 ounces), and flake. Heat
1 No. 2 can mushroom soup and add noodles and tuna
Salt to taste
1 heaping tablespoon butter.
Pimientos may be added if desired. Butter casserole and fill, covering with
1 1/2 cups post toasties, crushed. Bake 30 minutes in moderate oven (350 deg. F.) Sauteed mushrooms added are fine for special occasions.

25 February 1937, Ironwood (MI) Daily Globe, pg. 6, col. 1:
Tuna Fish with Noodles
1 can tuna.
1 stalk celery.
1 can mushrooms (or pimiento or cheese).
2 cups medium white sauce.
1 pks. chow mein noodles.
Prepare white sauce. Cook celery i nwhite sauce until quite tender. Add tuna fish, and mushrooms which have been browned in butter. Serve on chow mein noodles. Good with veal or chicken instead of tuna.

18 September 1937, Elyria (OH) Chronicle-Telegram, pg. 9, col. 7:
TUNA-NOODLE CASSEROLE
4 tbsp. butter
4 tbsp. flour
2 tsp. salt
(Col. 8—ed.)
2 cups milk
1 cup mushrooms
2 cups cooked noodles
1 pkg. pimiento cheese, shredded
1 small can tuna fish
3 hard-cooked eggs, sliced
Melt butter in sauce pan. Stir in the flour and seasonings. Add milk gradually. Stir constantly to prevent lumping.  Bring to boiling point. Cook three minutes. Arrange cooked noodles, pimiento cheese, tuna fish, mushrooms and eggs in layers in casserole which has been well buttered. Pour sauce over all. Bake in slow oven 325 degrees F. until done, about 30 minutes. Serve immediately.

29 July 1938, Frederick (MD) Daily News, pg. 2?, col. 4:
FRIDAY
Lunch—Cream of asparagus soup, noodle-tuna casserole, melba toast, fruit compote, cookies, tea, milk.

11 November 1938, Chicago (IL) Daily Tribune, pg. 26:
Tuna and Noodle Casserole Aids Your Reputation

11 July 1939, Elyria (OH) Chronicle-Telegram, “Busy Day Dinners,” pg.13?, col. 4:
Noodle-Tuna Delight

29 August 1943, Suburban Economist (Chicago, IL), pg. 6, col. 4:
Tuna Casserole Dinner.
2 1/2 cups cooked noodles
1 can tuna fish
1 green pepper
3/4 cups grated cheese
2 hard boiled eggs sliced
2 cups milk
1 small can mushrooms
1 small package potato chips
Place 1/2 of the noodles in bottom of baking dish. Mix other ingredients except milk and place 1/2 on top of noodles with a layer pf crumbled potato chips over it. Repeat so as to have four layers in dish. Cover with milk and bake in moderate oven 20 minutes.

Posted by Barry Popik
New York CityFood/Drink • (0) Comments • Monday, December 29, 2008 • Permalink