Recipe Collab: Alice Cooper’s Funky Tuna Casserole

I am pretty severe in my “silent movies only” rule but I do make one kind of exception: making oddball 1970s celebrity recipes with cool internet people! And so today, Jenny of Silver Screen Suppers and I are making Alice Cooper’s dangerous, deadly, hard rock… tuna casserole?

Here’s Jenny’s recipe report with bonus factoids on Cooper’s tuna noodle experiences.

For those of you unfamiliar with the concept (I have a decent number of non-American readers) tuna casserole is a comfort food/mid-century/budget meal classic. It’s kind of like meatloaf in that a fair number of people consider it a nostalgic bit of deliciousness and they eat it when they feel sad and it makes them feel better.

I am not one of those people. I don’t dislike the dish but I find it decidedly “meh” and would probably rather have chili for a budget meal. (But not this chili.)

However, I was remarkably and easily amused by the concept of hard rocker Alice Cooper selecting this as his dish for a rock star recipe collection. Maybe he appreciated the humor too, I like to think he did and it certainly goes along with the sense of humor he has displayed over the years. In any case, it’s not any casserole, it’s FUNKY tuna casserole!

What makes this casserole… Funky? Chow mein noodles and cashews, the funkiest of foods! (If you’re curious about a more traditional tuna casserole, here’s a recipe. It’s usually made with cooked egg noodles and topped with bread crumbs.)

When we say chow mein noodles, we don’t mean actual, authentic chow mein noodles. No, these noodles are kind of like little pretzels sans shiny wash and they are sold in a can as a topping. They were considered quite the thing (my mother grew up in Ohio so I consulted her on this important matter) and I have to admit, they are pretty yummy.

As for the rest, cashews are a bit unusual but the celery, onion and condensed soup are absolutely traditional.

Result: It was… okay? If you like tuna casserole, you will probably like this. If you don’t this won’t win over any converts. I should also note that the people tasting the dish who DID like tuna casserole complained that there were no peas, which are usually present. Also, the chow mein noodles made the thing a bit dry. (But cooked noodles can make it too wet, this can be a fussy recipe.) However, everyone liked the cashews.

It’s not a beauty queen of a recipe (no version would be) and there’s no point in pretending it is but… it won’t kill you. I don’t think I will make it again but now I know how to get funky with tuna! (Also, I very much enjoyed selecting obnoxious colors for a 1970s vibe. How did I do?)

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15 Replies to “Recipe Collab: Alice Cooper’s Funky Tuna Casserole”

  1. Having grown up with zero versions of tuna casserole, Alice Cooper’s seems very funky indeed. I am still a fan, Alice- you rocked Toronto’s Masonic Hall back in the day!).

    Simply love the presentation colors đŸ˜‰

    1. I grew up in a divided household: my father dislikes it, my mother adores it. I am afraid I didn’t get that particular gene but my brother and his wife say that they eat it quite often, so it did get passed on!

  2. Ooooh yours looks PRETTY! It was so interesting reading about how tuna casserole is a comfort food for you guys across the pond. I think for me here in the UK I would say Cauliflower Cheese is my comfort food, which I THINK might be as alien to you as tuna casserole is to me. PEAS – yes, peas would have been good in this! Thanks for a fun challenge – let’s do another one sometime soon! Jx

  3. I would imagine that this would be stored in Refrigerator Heaven. (Cooper fans will understand). By the way, I am an equal admirer of Alice Cooper and Miriam Cooper!

  4. Definitely would add veggies- peas, maybe snow peas or pole beans might perk it up quite a bit. Still trying to imagine what those crunchy noodles are like, since have never had any. Are they salty?

    Somewhat Non Sequitur: Do you buy your dishware locally or online, or both? And do you have a set (or at least a place setting) for those green plates? Have got a partial set of Franciscan Ware that’s a close match to your green plate. Really lovely, but missing the salad/dessert plates, which cannot find anywhere for love nor money.

    Feel free to say you don’t want to indulge in a dishware discussion…not a problem đŸ˜€

    1. Oh, no problem at all with dishware! I just wish I had been unlazy enough to dig out my green paisley place mats. My green plates were, oddly enough, part of a supermarket giveaway of Rachael Ray tableware. I had a smallish plate shortage at the time so I used my stamps to get six plates and six bowls in three different colors (so, two green plates, two orange plates, two blue plates, etc.) I usually buy my dishware at thrift stores, yard sales, World Market and Home Goods. I also raided my grandmother’s china.

      The crunchy noodles aren’t too salty. I would say they are like mini pretzels with a bit more of a fried flavor.

  5. Hmmmmm, sure does sound pretty funky. I’m from Ohio, same as your Mom. I would try it at least once. I would substitute celery salt for regular salt thiugh, and I would add some frozen peas.

  6. Great joint blog from two of my favourite blogs ! Very much an American staple like Creamed Chipped Beef . Not known in UK at all really . But Baby Peggy makes reference to eating a lot of Tuna Casserole in her memoir about her Dad when they were back in Hollywood in the early thirties and trying to eke out a living as extras again. I used to make a version with my brother useing a Schwarz TC Mix Packet, but with Pasta . I also on my first visit to the States many years ago encountered the Tuna Melt ! I like these both but am happier with Tuna Nicoise and a Croque Monsieur if I’m honest !

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