Tuna Noodle Goodness

A few nights ago,  I stood in the kitchen, as I often do, holding the refrigerator door open and wondering what I was going to possibly have for dinner.

If you’ve been to my house, you know this isn’t that unusual.

If you’re my husband, this probably drives you crazy.

I pulled out the giant brick of Monterey Jack that’s been living in the fridge and ate a slice… then I took a few bites of Coffee Heath Bar crunch… mulling over what I was in the mood for….

I wanted something creamy. Something that reminded me of childhood… it was settled, I was going to make Tuna Noodle Casserole–which is kind of weird because this wasn’t something that was cooked a lot at my house–no big deal.

Except the thought of cream of mushroom soup nauseates me… not to mention the fact that we don’t keep anything close to that in the house… so I improvised.

This is what I came up with. The thing I love about this meal is that you use one skillet. How easy is that?

I imagine you could probably get away without pre-cooking the noodles. I’ll experiment and let you know.

Tuna Noodle Skillet

Serves ~6. Adapted from Eating Well.

Ingredients: 

  • 4 cups whole wheat pasta, cooked (I used gobetti, elbows or egg noodles would also work)
  • 2 cans tuna fish, drained  (to give your casserole a little more moist-ness, use the stuff packed in oil). We use Wild Planet.
  • 1/2 cup peas, canned or frozen
  • 2 tbsp. Dijon mustard
  • 1 tbsp. smokey paprika
  • A few good cranks of black pepper
  • A few splashes Worcestershire sauce
  • About a tbsp. of dill
  • 2 tbsp butter
  • 1 medium onion, chopped,
  • 1 cup Cremini Mushrooms, chopped
  • 1 carrot, chopped
  • 2 cloves garlic, chopped
  • 1 tsp. salt
  • 1/2 cup vegetable stock (chicken would also work)
  • Scant 1/2 cup flour
  • 3 cups whole milk
  • ~1/3 cup Parmesan cheese, grated
  • ~3/4 cup Monterey Jack, grated
  • A few tbsp. Mazto meal or Bread Crumbs

What to do:

Position rack in upper third of oven and preheat broiler. 350-400 is perfect.

In a small bowl, combine tuna fish, peas, mustard, paprika, Worcestershire, pepper and dill. Set aside.

image

Prep

Melt butter in a large oven-proof pan over medium heat (a cast-iron skillet is perfect!).

Add in onions, mushrooms, garlic and carrots and cook until softened, about five minutes, stirring often to avoid sticking.

Add in vegetable stock and cook until it’s *almost* all evaporated.

Add in second tablespoon butter and let melt most of the way

image

About halfway through flour-sprinkling. Don’t mind my terrible photo.

Sprinkle in flour a little at a time and stir to make sure vegetables are evenly coated.  The mixture will start to resemble a roux/paste.

Add in milk and black pepper (I like to use a lot, but use your best judgment).

Stirring occasionally to ensure that nothing sticks to the pan, bring to a simmer. And try not to slosh milk all over your stove.

image

See the sauce starting to thicken?

Stir in tuna-pea mixture.

Stir in half of your cheese.

Let simmer for about three minutes, stirring occasionally.

Add in noodles and continue to stir for another minute (again, use your judgement here).

Remove from heat.

Sprinkle the last of the cheese and the meal/breadcrumbs over casserole and place in oven. *I actually grated the cheese directly over the pan….in case you’re feeling fancy.*

Broil until cheese is melted and casserole is lightly browned and bubbling.

image

This will be a huge hit… whether you are ten or thirty.

Note: Be careful removing skillet from oven…not only is it hot, it’s also going to be HEAVY!

Enjoy!

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