Tuna Casserole

One plated serving of my Tuna Casserole.

The Best Tuna Casserole

This is better than a basic recipe for a Tuna Casserole but it is easy and it’s delicious. Last week, I made a very simple and basic recipe, which was descent, but it didn’t strike me as a yeah I want more kind of a dish so, I decided to step it up. The end result turned out great and I really think you’re going to be pleased because I stuck with all of the basics and through in some ingredients to give this dish more bite.

Frying pan on the stove half full of chopped Holy Trinity ingredients, garlic and peas.

The Holy Trinity with Peas

Many basic Tuna Casserole recipes call for frozen peas but I decided to take it a step further and add the Holy Trinity. As you may or may not know, the Holy Trinity is just 3 simple ingredients made famous in in French and Cajun Cuisine; chopped onion, celery and bell pepper. These three ingredients are a fundamental start to many recipes and I decided that this dish shouldn’t be any different so, I added them.

Mixed Tuna Casserole ingredients, in a large bowl, before baking.

Creamy and Crunchy

One of my favorite things about a casserole is the top layer. I like the crunchy flavor of salty Potato chips and/or fried French Onions. In this case, I decided to add both for more flavor. I crush the potato chips and add them to the mix and add the french onions as a topping with cheddar cheese. That’s not the only cheese I add to this recipe, however. Again, I’m going for flavor and I like anything creamy to be rich so, I added grated Parmesan cheese to the mix along with some cream of mushroom soup and a little milk.

You have to be careful with the mixture of all of these ingredients because you can, very easily, do one of two things; either make it runny, with too much liquid or dry it out with not enough. Those potato chips and the “Al dente” noodles like to suck up that moisture with the casserole is baking so, be sure you’ve added the right amounts that I’ve listed below. And, if by some chance you’re tastes are different than mine, just adjust the liquid, milk, accordingly.

Oh, I almost forgot… I usually salt the boiling water before I cook my noodles to add more flavor but, in this case, I chose Chicken Bouillon. Just think of it like adding the seasoning packet to your ramen and flavoring the noodles. It isn’t weird, it’s pretty much the same frickin’ thing!

Tuna Casserole video tutorial by PoorMansGourmet.

Tuna Casserole Ingredients:

1 12 oz bag Egg Noodles
Cook the Noodles in Chicken Broth or use Bouillon. Approximately 4 quarts of water and 1/3 cup of Knorr Chicken Bouillon.

1 tbsp Olive oil
1 tbsp Butter
2 Cloves Garlic, chopped
1 bunch Fresh Parsley, chopped
1 stick Cellery, diced
1 Bell Pepper, diced
1 cup Peas, frozen
1/2 Onion, diced
2 cans Mushroom Soup
3/4 cup Milk
1/2 cup Parmesan Cheese, grated
1 cup Cheddar Cheese, grated
1/2 cup French Onions
1/2 cup Potato Chips, crushed
3 cans tuna, Solid White Albacore
1 tbsp Worcestorshire

Salt and Pepper to taste

Bake at 400° Fahrenheit for 20 minutes then add the Cheddar cheese and French onions and bake for another 5 minutes, then serve.

P.S. You can easily turn this dish into a Chicken Noodle Casserole by swapping out the canned Tuna for Chicken and the canned Cream of Mushroom Soup for Cream of Chicken Soup, instead.

Grilled Meatloaf

1″ inch slice of Meatloaf with a Hoisin Sauce glaze on a blue plate.

The Best Meatloaf

Most folks agree that you haven’t really had meat loaf until you’ve had it grilled. I originally wrote this recipe using an oven but a grill follows the same basic principles. Set you’re temp, keep the lid down and watch the clock and that’s basically all you have to do. My recipe, however, excludes ketchup. If you’ve got a problem with that, just top it with a Ketchup glaze at the end instead of my Hoisin Sauce and no one’s the wiser. I can promise you this, though, this recipe is tender, moist, flavorful, it will still stay on your fork and it makes the best leftover sandwich’s.

Raw ground beef and pork sausage in separate packages.

Meatloaf not Beef loaf

One of the things I learned, long ago, was to mix sausage with Beef in any recipe with a ton of ingredients and this recipe is no different. I mean, that’s one of the secrets to my Chili recipe and it is phenomenal. There is a 2 to 3 standard ratio that I use being 2 parts sausage to 3 parts beef and you’ll see that reflected in the ingredients. After all, we’re making Grilled Meatloaf, not beef loaf.

If you’ve ever tried my Chili recipe, you might notice that the ingredients are very similar to this recipe, too. I’ve simplified each recipe with the addition of taco seasoning but there are also a few other herbs and spices to fine tune it to the point to where they’re distinguished. Though, some things just shouldn’t change.

Chopped and sauteed onions in a large pan on the stove top.

Raw or Cooked Onions

Technically, once the Grilled Meatloaf is cooked, the onions are cooked as well but they usually go into the meat mix raw. Barf! I don’t know what it is about raw onions, in this recipe, but I can’t stand them cooked that way in meatloaf or on pizza. This is crazy to say because I love onions. In fact I’m a huge fan but, for some reason, I just can’t stomach them in a meatloaf recipe. That’s why I recommend sauteing them first. It’s just a personal preference but I find that there is a much more enjoyable flavor and texture, doing it this way, too but whether you choose to do it this way will be up to you.

Raw Meatloaf, all mixed, shaped and uncooked in a cake pan.
Mixing the Meatloaf Ingredients

There’s really nothing special you have to do to mix the ingredients correctly. Other than the sauteing of the chopped onion, that I’m recommending, all you have to do is mix everything together into one big mush, then shape into a loaf on a baking tray or sheet.

You may find that the meat mix is very wet and you might be tempted to add more bread crumbs but this is folly. In order to maintain moisture, the meat loaf must be like this. A dried out Meatloaf is just as bad as any dried out or over cooked Roasted Turkey!

Grilled and glazed Meatloaf in the roasting pan on the grill.
How to Grill Meatloaf

Grilling Meatloaf really isn’t much different than baking it in the oven. You need to establish a 350° Fahrenheit temp, with the lid down, and cook over indirect heat. The other difference is, just rotating the pan half way through cooking and I demonstrate everything you need to know in the video tutorial.

Because I use a propane grill, it’s easy to focus my heat from 1 out of the 3 burners by turning the front burner on only, then cooking the meatloaf over indirect heat over the other two burners, not lit. The only thing I might recommend, if you’r using gas too, is adding some chips to the lit burner to get the smoke flavor affect going. That’s the only thing I wish I did differently in the video, just to add more smoke flavor. If you’re using charcoal or smoker anyway, you’re already set!

Fully Grilled Meatloaf, cooked and cooling down on a cutting board for slicing.

Grilling Meatloaf Ingredients:

1.5 lbs Hamburger
1 lbs Pork Sausage, breakfast
1 Onion, chopped and sauteed in Olive oil and salted
1 pkg Taco Seasoning, original (2 oz )
1 tbsp Adobo Sauce, from Chipotle Peppers
1 15 oz can Diced Tomatoes
1 tbsp Cumin
1 tbsp Mexican Oregano
1 tsp Coriander
1 tbsp Worcestorshire Sauce
1 cup Bread Crumbs
2 Egg
2 tbsp Brown Sugar
5 Cloves Garlic, chopped

Hoisin Sauce for Glaze

Mix all of the ingredients together and shape the meat into a loaf in a cake pan. Grill or bake at 350° Fahrenheit, 45 minutes, add glaze and bake at 400° Fahrenheit for 15 more minutes. If you want to see how I make a Mushroom and Swiss with Leftover Meatloaf, CLICK HERE!

Grille Meatloaf video tutorial by PoorMansGourmet

Spaghetti Cold Noodle Salad

Cold Spaghetti Noodle Salad.

The Best Cold Spaghetti

This is it. This is the one you’ve been looking for. A Cold Noodle Salad recipe that puts the others to shame because its got the right balance of flavors. Not to mention, it’s made with spaghetti. I’m talking about a side dish that can be eaten as the main course, instead, it’s so good. Every bite you discover a new twist because it’s made with fresh ingredients. Most pasta dishes make you feel stuffed and bloated but this cold spaghetti recipe keeps it light and oddly fulfilling. My wife and I always fight over the last serving.

Close up of the Cold Spaghetti Noodle Salad and all of the ingredients.

The Secret to this Dish

The flavors that make this Spaghetti Cold Noodle Salad unique come from several different flavors. First, Garlic infused Olive oil. Second, Bacon. Third, Parmesan Cheese and the Fourth, of course, is fresh chopped vegetables.

In this recipe I add green onion, Roma tomatoes, fresh broccoli, black olives but you can add any other vegetable you like. Zucchini or Cucumber is a nice additive or substitution. Mayonnaise and olive oil make up the bulk of the dressing with chopped garlic and salt but, you can add fresh Basil or mint, maybe even a squeeze of lemon juice if you’d like to spruce it up even more. It’s up to you.

There aren’t any additional spices or fresh herbs but I could see some Italian seasoning or Herbs De Province adding a nice touch. Even a pinch of Cayenne might not hurt. Just be sure to season with Salt and Pepper to your tastes and you’ll enjoy a wonderful summer salad. And, though this recipe calls for spaghetti, this recipe is great with other dried pasta’s as well; Penne, Butterflies, Shells or classic Elbow Macaroni are all fine examples.

Check out some of my Best Salad recipes and Dressings: Mac Salad, Curry Chicken Salad, Taco Salad, Dill Havarti Seared Pepper Salad, Blue Cheese Dressing, Ranch Dressing, Oriental Salad Dressing, Fresh Veggies with Ricotta Mint and Lime.

Spaghetti Cold Noodle Salad video tutorial by poormansgourmet.

Spaghetti Cold Noodle Salad Ingredients:

1 pkg Thin Spaghetti(16oz), cooked
1 Garlic Clove, chopped
1/4 cup Olive Oil, seasoned with salt
1 tsp Balsamic Vinegar
2 Roma Tomatoes, sliced
1 Broccoli Head, chopped
2 Green onions, chopped
1 can Black Olives(2.25oz), sliced
1 1/2 cup Mayo
1/2 cup Fresh Parmesan, grated
3 Bacon Strips, chopped
Salt and Pepper to taste

Be sure to follow the instructions in the video tutorial and I’ll show you exactly how easy this Spaghetti Cold Noodle Salad
is to make.