Tuesday, April 2, 2013

Tuna Rice Casserole: Improv Can Get Tasty

Welcome to Tasty Tuesday! I have a recipe for you!

Tuna Rice Casserole (the original recipe. This isn't exactly what  happened in the picture, but both recipes are rather tasty.)

1 cup rice
1 can tuna
1/2 can cream of mushroom soup
1/2 can green beans (I just chuck in a random amount of beans from my bag in the freezer.)
1/2 cup milk

Cook rice; stir remaining ingredients into rice. Huzzah for one pot wonders! Serve with fresh fruit or salad. A rule that I learned from my Grandma Chelson via my Aunt Debbie is that you want different colors on your plate. Don't eat carrots with your macaroni and cheese, eat an apple! I like to follow that rule when I'm serving a meal. Not only are there various health reasons for doing so (like getting the different nutrients that you need), it also helps to make your plates look much prettier. Thanks Grandma and Debbie!

Seriously, the above is a good recipe. It's also pretty darn easy. If you wanted, you could substitute egg noodles for rice. I do when I'm too afraid to try cooking rice. I'll explain that whole story later. Maybe. So what happened during this most recent foray into rice and tuna? Improvisation.

This is a lesson in an important cooking area: What to do when you've started a recipe and subsequently discover that you are missing a main ingredient?

I was making this, and I found out that I was out of cream of mushroom soup. I wasn't panicked. I just looked for cream of chicken, which has a different flavor, but would do well in a pinch. (Pinch meaning that dinner was already a little late, and even if Andrew wasn't getting cranky for his dinner, I sure as all get out was. I don't do well when it comes to hunger.) But what happens when you have no cream of anything soup?

First off, you could probably determine if you have any friendly neighbors who wouldn't mind helping you you in exchange for a few eggs or cups of sugar at a later date. If you live next door to the cooking/baking equivalent of Scrooge, and this isn't actually an option, feel free to get creative.

I used some garlic chicken alfredo pasta sauce that I had on hand. Since it was already thinner than a cream of mushroom soup, I only added a splash of milk to the mix. Adding some cheese to melt in with the concoction is also a tasty idea. You could also make your own creamy sauce using flour, butter, milk, and spices that suit your fancy. (Do you know how to make a white sauce from scratch? I'll give more on that if needed. It's really quite easy.) In this recipe, you mostly want a cream substance that will hold your casserole together and give it flavor.

Comment from Andrew:  I'm here at the request of Tashya to defend her improvisations in the kitchen.  I don't need her to tell me to tell you she's a good cook.  Sometimes things get interesting (only once or twice have things gotten really interesting) - but things always come out tasty.  In fact, some of her best recipes started out as alterations on another recipe (and sometimes involved a fair bit of panic until they came out super well).  Don't panic when something goes wrong.  Nine times out of ten, you can fix it up and no one will know the better.  Unless you yell or cry about how everything is ruined.

So there you go. A few tips for kitchen improvisation, which is something that I actually enjoy doing, and a lovely little recipe to try for dinner. Stay hungry, my friends. 


  1. you guys are so cute. we always revise recipes too and sometimes it's awesome which I really like and sometimes it means we go out, which really isn't that bad either. I'm going to have to try this though cause we are trying to eat fish more, which means tuna, cause there is no way I'm going to try to cook anything else that smells like fish.

    1. I totally hear you on the fish thing. Fish isn't really my ... favorite food. But tuna, tuna I can handle.

      And thanks for thinking we're cute. You can't tell, because you can't see me, but I'm actually rather dolled up today, and I was looking for compliments. ;p

  2. This looks soo good!! Definitely trying this sometime. Those imperfections of the recipe and the improvisation are sometimes totally better than the actual recipe. It wasnt much or a big deal but after starting the batter to make Belgian waffles a few weeks ago, I realized we had no oil. Regular Oil was the only thing I had been using. As I said, nothing big but we tried Olive Oil and it wasnt bad! Oh the little things.

    Found you through Suzzie's posts about cooking the other day. Will definitely get you that carrot recipe. Following you now

    1. You're right. Mistakes can be delicious. Some of Andrew's favorites come from "mistakes."

      I'm glad you ventured on over to our blog. I like making new friends! I'm excited to get to know you!

      And I'm also excited about those carrots. I'll have to put up a recipe in your honor or something in return for your kindness.