Tuesday, February 26, 2019

Tuna Melt in a Bowl: Dru Ann's Cheesy, Creamy Tuna Mac Casserole (as made by Cleo Coyle)

One of the ways Marc and I keep ourselves warm and cozy during the freezing cold winter months is by cooking up comfort food casseroles like this one. Every time we make this easy, one-bowl meal, we love it, which is more than appropriate since it came from a woman named Love, award-winning blogger and book reviewer Dru Ann Love!

So let's get Dru's recipe started...


Cleo Coyle has a partner in
crime-writing—her husband.
Learn about their books
by clicking here and here.

A Note from Cleo 

Several years ago, Dru Ann Love shared this easy recipe when she appeared here as the guest of our co-blogger Lucy Burdette. (See her original post here.) We made only a few small changes to Dru's recipe, which she adapted from something she learned years ago in a Home Economics class. 

One of the reasons we're re-posting today is because we wanted to share a convenient, downloadable PDF of the recipe. Now you can print it out, too, and keep it on hand in your own kitchen for some culinary comfort. As we said at the top, we love this dinner. It's a quick and easy meal, yet oh-so satisfying on a cold winter's night. May you eat with one-bowl, tuna-melt joy!

~ Cleo 

To download Dru's recipe in a
free PDF that you can print,
save, or share, click here.

Click for Free Recipe PDF.

 Dru Ann Love's Tuna Mac & Cheese Casserole 
(or as we call it) "Tuna Melt in a Bowl"

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!

A note on seasoning: 

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 either Northwoods Fire (if you like a little heat) or Northwoods Seasoning (if you prefer no heat or spiciness). To make your own version of these spice blends, mix these spices togehter: coarse salt, paprika, black pepper, thyme, rosemary and granulated garlic. For heat add a bit of cayenne red pepper and ground chipotle pepper. If you'd prefer a mild version, simply leave the pepper spices out.

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: 




Marc and I have taken up the challenge 

and answered this question for both

our amateur sleuths...

CLICK HERE or on the image above
to start a day in the life of our
coffeehouse manager Clare Cosi...


Click here or on the image below 

to start a day in the life of our 

Haunted Bookshop owner, 

Penelope McClure...

Click here to start
Penelope's day.

Eat (and read) with joy!

~ Cleo Coyle

New York Times bestselling author
The Coffeehouse Mysteries 

Alice and Marc in Central Park. 
Together we write as Cleo Coyle. 

Learn more about us here.
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A "Best Book of 2018!" 

--Suspense Magazine

"A magnificent cold case 
mystery." ~ Fresh Fiction

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of Philip Marlowe, and she is a genteel
Miss Marple; yet the two opposites
make an explosive combination..."

—Midwest Book Review

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clicking here.

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This culinary mystery includes
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  1. I can't wait to make Dru Ann's recipe -- it's perfect comfort food! Thanks for bringing it back to Mystery Lovers' Kitchen (with some tweaks) ~

  2. Heavens! What happens to my days??? I logged in today and found I'd stalled out on your page yesterday and never returned!
    Well, here I am, for what it's worth.

    Love the idea of a simple, yet elegant in its own way, tuna noodle casserole.