Healthy Tuna Casserole

Steve McQueen, were he still alive, would have turned 81 on March 24. I think we should all take a moment to reflect on our favorite Steve McQueen movie. And if you don’t have one, here are a few suggestions:

The Magnificent Seven

"We deal in lead friend."


"Look, you work your side of the street, and I'll work mine."

The Towering Inferno

"It's a fire, mister, and all fires are bad."

The Great Escape

"You aren't seriously suggesting that if I get through the wire... and case everything out there... and don't get picked up... to turn myself in and get thrown back in the cooler for a couple of months so you can get the information you need?"

I’ve been thinking a lot about the question of what my favorite movie is. I have never been able to answer that easily. As I mentioned in a previous post, I adore cheesy movies.  But just because I can (and have) watch You’ve Got Mail 1,000 times, doesn’t mean it’s my favorite.

On the other hand, a movie I love that is generally considered to be a great Film isn’t necessarily going to be something I watch again and again, but can it still be my favorite?

How do you choose a favorite? Am I the only one who struggles with this question?

Anyway, I have to place The Great Escape into my top 5.  It might be my favorite.  I’m just not ready to commit.  My husband will probably be shocked to learn that my maybe-favorite movie doesn’t have a love interest plot line.  In fact, I’m pretty sure there isn’t even a woman in the entire movie.  But there are lots of cool guys.  Super cool guys, like The Cooler King.

So in honor of Steve McQueen’s birthday, and my almost choosing a maybe-favorite movie, I am serving an adventurous meal.  That’s right, I am going to be bold and daring, just like The King of Cool himself.  Picture race cars, motorcycles, reckless adventures and dauntless courage.

Tuna casserole.

You heard me.

Laugh if you must, but it truly is an adventure for my family. I haven’t made tuna casserole since I was first married. My kids have never had it. My husband learned years ago that although he loves tuna, every time he eats it, he gets sick. So the beginning of my cooking career was also the end of my tuna casserole career.  But one night I found myself at home with just the kids for dinner, and it was a Friday during Lent (no meat) so I decided to resurrect an old favorite.  With some changes.

Healthy Tuna Casserole

  • 1 12-oz package Wacky Mac pasta (you can use regular pasta, but it won’t be as much fun as saying, “I have to go to the store to get some Wacky Mac”)
  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 2 celery stalks, chopped
  • 1 large onion, chopped
  • 2 tbsp flour
  • 2 cups milk
  • 1 tsp Dijon mustard
  • 2 cans (drained) white albacore tuna
  • 1 cup frozen peas
  • 2 handfuls chopped fresh dill
  • 1/4-1/2 cup bread crumbs
  • grated Parmesan cheese for serving


  1. Preheat oven to 350º
  2. Cook pasta according to package directions.
  3. While pasta is cooking, heat olive oil in saucepan over medium-high heat. Add onion and celery and  cook for about 7-8 minutes, until soft.
  4. Add flour and cook for one minute. Add milk and heat to boiling, stirring constantly. Cook for one more minute, then remove from heat.
  5. Stir in peas, tuna, and dill. Pour into ungreased 2-qt. casserole dish.
  6. Add drained pasta and mix well. Top with bread crumbs. Bake for 20 minutes. Serve with parmesan cheese.

Wacky Mac


I am such a lazy cook. I am just so terribly busy caring for my little critics! I keep the ends of loaves of bread in the freezer to make bread crumbs, but whenever I need bread crumbs, I’m too lazy busy to toast the bread and crumb it. So for this dish I crushed some whole wheat Ritz crackers on top instead. It was really good. Take that, bread crumbs!

I like tuna casserole with rye bread and butter. I guess because that’s how my mom always served it, so it just feels right.

Healthy Tuna Casserole

My adoring fans critics thought:

Curious George: This would be really good if there was no cheese, no grassy things, no peas, and no meat.

Sarah Crewe: It’s okay. The tuna tastes like chicken.

Batman: I think this is delicious!

Elmo ate every bite.

Don Corleone had a small taste.  He said: The dill is a nice addition. It’s like the tuna and a pickle met at a bar. It’s really good; I wish I could eat more.

My little Curious Georgewhat am I going to do about him? He hates everything. He’s the Mikey of my dinner table. I asked him that very question once: “What am I going to do with you, you hate everything?” and he said, “Mommy, I don’t hate everything. I like lots of things. I like plain pasta. And there’s other things I like, too, that I can’t think of right now.”

It does make dinner time an adventure, I’ll give you that. And those nights that I do serve plain pasta are such a treat! No crying 4-year-olds at the table! It’s bliss! I’m going to have to treat myself to one of those nights soon, to give my cooking ego a little boost.

Oh well. Happy Birthday, Steve McQueen!

"Racing is life. Anything before or after is just waiting." -Steve McQueen

6 responses to “Healthy Tuna Casserole

  1. Sam~ You definitely missed your calling! I am so enjoying these blogs from you. I would love to be a fly on the wall listening to the “critics” as they sample your yummy dishes!

  2. I love food, and I really enjoy reading your blog very much thank you for sharing this post. Feel free to check out our recipes.

    A Creamy Herb Chicken Recipe

  3. Steve would be proud. This blog is outstanding! And I’m not just saying that because Don Corleone sent me here. 🙂

  4. definitely Great Escape – haven’t seen that movie in a long time, but love it! and your tuna casserole looks yummy! that’s something I haven’t cooked in a long time……

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