Tuesday, May 12, 2015

Dru Ann’s Tuna Melt in a Bowl: a Cheesy, Creamy Tuna Mac Casserole via Cleo Coyle

All of us here at Mystery Lovers’ Kitchen were excited to learn that our friend, book reviewer and honorary Cozy Chick, Dru Ann Love was nominated for an Anthony Award this year for her blog.

If you have yet to discover Dru’s Book Musings, then you’re in for a treat. Dru not only shares book reviews and hosts giveaway, she challenges authors with a creative question: 

How would you describe "A Day in the Life" of your sleuth? 

Our Clare Cosi in avatar form.
To read her Day in the Life
at Dru's blog, 
click here.
Marc and I took up the challenge a few months ago, putting our Coffeehouse Mystery sleuth, Clare Cosi, through her paces on Dru’s blog. And every one of our fellow Mystery Lovers’ Kitchen cooks have written Day in the Life features for Dru, as well! Just click here and use the search bar on the left column to look for your favorite author's Day in the Life.

With Dru's Anthony nomination still hot off the press, Marc and I thought it would be fun to give her a little foodie tribute so we decided to whip up one of her favorite recipes, one she shared as a guest here at Mystery Lovers’ Kitchen. 

We have made Dru's version of this easy, cheesy pasta dish several times and (yes) LOVE it—which is quite appropriate since it came from a lady named Love!


~ Cleo

Dru Ann's Tuna Mac and Cheese Casserole

(or as we call it) "Tuna Melt in a Bowl"

To see Dru Ann Love’s original recipe post 
(with her step-by-step photos and commentary) , click here. 

Our version is practically identical. We made some very small changes in the recipe writing and some notes on the seasonings, that's it!

Serves 4


1/2 box of medium pasta shells (1 lb box)

3/4 of an (8 oz) block extra sharp cheddar cheese (or you can use the entire block if you want it extra-cheesy)

1 (5 oz) can solid white tuna in water

2 - 3 heaping tablespoons mayonnaise (Hellman’s is Dru's favorite, and ours, too.) 

1/2 teaspoon or so of seasonings (see the suggestions in the note below)

Directions: First preheat your oven to 350° F. Prepare the pasta as directed on the box, and be sure to make it al dente (do not overcook or the casserole will be mushy). While the pasta is cooking, drain the tuna well, place it in a large bowl, and flake it with a fork. Season it (see note below) and set aside. Slice the block of cheese into small cubes and set aside. When the pasta is finished cooking, drain well, and pour it into the bowl 
with the seasoned tuna. Add the cubed cheese and mayonnaise. Toss well, until all the pasta is coated. If needed, add more mayonnaise. Pour the pasta into a casserole dish (1-1/2 quarts in size) or a loaf pan (9x5-inches) and bake for 20 to 30 minutes. Remove from oven and let stand 5 minutes before digging in!

Seasonings note:

Dru Ann suggests Black & Red from spice merchant Penzeys. 
This is a great seasoning suggestion! If you don’t have this on hand, you can make your own by mixing freshly ground black pepper and a pinch of hot red cayenne. 

Our suggestion from Penzeys is Northwoods Fire. Again, if you don’t have this on hand, you can make it yourself with this mix of spices: coarse salt, paprika, ground chipotle pepper, black pepper, cayenne red pepper, thyme, rosemary and granulated garlic.

Visit Dru Ann's 

award-nominated blog here.

Like Dru on facebook

Follow Dru on Twitter.

And may you always...

Eat (and read) with joy!

~ Cleo Coyle

New York Times bestselling author of
The Coffeehouse Mysteries 

* * * 


Have you Entered Our
May Giveaway?

3 Gifts Cards and a
Coffeehouse Grand Prize Pack
will be awarded to four winners
next Monday at Midnight.

Find out how to enter in 
our Spring Newsletter.

It was sent out this past weekend and
includes recipes, news, and video fun...

If you didn't receive it or would like to sign up,
simply click here and follow the instructions.

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Thanks for stopping by the Kitchen!

~ Cleo


  1. This is the easiest of recipes I own and make often for a quick meal. Tank you for this lovely honor to showcase me and my blog.


    1. Dru - We're the ones who are glad to thank *you*! Your dedication and enthusiasm to the joy of reading are an inspiration, and all of us mystery writing cooks here at MLK treasure you. Warmest congrats again on the much-deserved Anthony recognition for your work in the field of mysteries!

      ~ Cleo

  2. ooh, I'm going to buy the Northwood Fire spice. Is it spicier than the black & red?


    1. Dru - Good question. I would describe the Northwoods Fire as having controlled heat. The heat is definitely there from the cayenne, but it's not overpowering. NF also features ground chipotle pepper, which lends a more mellow smoky heat, and that blends nicely with the herbs and the granulated garlic. We haven't tried the Black & Red so I can’t tell you whether NF is spicier or not. I'd say medium spicy. Penzeys makes this same blend without the cayenne heat and calls it simply Northwoods. Both are tasty on roasted chicken, veggies, potatoes, as well as grilled meats and seafood.

      Okay, now I’m hungry!

      ~ Cleo

  3. This looks great! Tuna Casserole is one of my favorites, although I use cream of mushroom soup instead of mayonaise, lots and lots of cheese, and crushed potato chips on top. I definitely have to try Dru's version!

    1. Joyce - I love "lots and lots of cheese" as its own ingredient! (And I know our Cheese Shop maven, Avery Aames, would agree!) Thanks for dropping by today and we'll see *you* here soon with your mystery series launch coming later this year. Very exciting!

      ~ Cleo

  4. Cleo, you're so smart! Dru Ann, we're so so so thrilled about your nomination. I won't be able to attend Bouchercon this year, but please imagine me stuffing the ballot box! xo

    1. LOL on the ballot box, Lucy/Roberta, we are all cheering for her!