This stuff tastes way, way better than it looks.  :-)  It’s a tasty, warm, cheesy, seafood-y delight I’ve always loved; in fact, the only reason I even have a casserole dish is that my mother got me one when I went to college just to make sure I could make some seafood casserole every now and then.  Now that I can assemble pasta that holds up to being baked (and even to being reheated later!), it’s a must-have.

We’ve been eating this casserole since long before a gluten-free diet came along; in fact, the original recipe is handwritten by my grandmother, on a well-loved piece of paper currently ensconced in protective plastic coverings somewhere in a drawer.  (To be clear, by “protective” I mean “protect us from the well-loved paper likely soaked in ancient glutens,” not “protect the old tired piece of paper from us”!)  Whether she came up with it or copied it from somewhere, I honestly couldn’t tell you.  I suppose I’ll give her credit, with silent apologies to whoever’s actually responsible for it if she copied it from somewhere.  In any case the only changes I’ve made to this recipe are to make it gluten-free — using homemade pasta, and homemade cream-of-shrimp soup.

It’s a good idea to make the pasta and soup base mix ahead of time, probably the day before.  Making pasta is a worthwhile endeavor, but certainly time- and labor-intensive; besides which, the pasta will freeze just fine, so there’s no particular reason it has to be fresh.  As for the soup base mix, that’s the kind of thing you make up in batches then store anyway, so you might as well do it in advance.  If you’ve done all that ahead of time, this is a quick and easy dinner:  Some work on the stovetop, then pop it in the oven.  Done.  Enjoy.

Seafood Casserole

Yield:  4-6 servings, depending how hungry people are

Ingredients:

  • 1 “can” cream of shrimp soup:
    • 1/3 cup cream of whatever soup base
    • your choice of 1 cup seafood broth/stock, OR 3/4 – 1 tsp soup base plus a cup of water, OR 1 seafood bullion cube plus a cup of water
  • 1 T lemon juice
  • 1 cup grated cheddar cheese
  • 1 tsp tamari soy sauce
  • 1 tsp celery salt
  • 2 7-oz cans of crabmeat, cleaned
  • 2 7-oz cans of shrimp, washed
  • 1/2 lb pasta (I use large macaroni)

Directions:

1.  Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.  Grease and set aside a 2-quart casserole dish with lid.

2.  Okay!  Essentially, you’ll need to make two parts of the casserole:  The pasta, and the sauce.  Start a pot of water boiling to cook the pasta in first; it’s okay if the noodles sit for a little while before the casserole is ready to bake.  In a medium-to-large saucepan, combine the cream-of-whatever-soup base and the seafood broth over medium-low heat.  Stir constantly with a soft spatula until it’s the consistency of condensed cream soup — nice and thick.

3.  At some point between #2 and #5, the water for your pasta will boil, and you’ll cook the pasta till it’s done enough that you could eat it as is if you wanted to.  Strain the cooked noodles and set them aside for now.

4.  Now that the “cream of shrimp soup” is ready, add the lemon juice, soy sauce, celery salt, and cheddar cheese to the saucepan, and turn up the heat to medium.  Stir constantly (it sticks), until the sauce is just boiling, then remove from heat.

5.  Mix the shrimp and crab into the sauce.  Once the pasta’s also ready, mix the pasta and the contents of the saucepan in the casserole dish.  (The saucepan I used in these pictures can double as a casserole dish, so I lucked out on having fewer dishes to wash!)  Cover it and pop it in the oven for 20 minutes.

6.  Time to eat!