Saturday, January 29, 2011

Tuna Casserole, Redesigned

I grew up eating tuna casserole. From what I remember, it was egg noodles, a can of tuna, some cream of whatever soup, and frozen peas. My Mom put frozen peas in everything.

I saw this recipe that Janet and Greta Podleski put together. I mentioned them a couple of days ago. They have cookbooks and shows dedicated to redesigning not so good for you recipes and boosting the nutritional value without sacrificing flavour.

Tuna casserole is a quick meal to put together, and most people have those 3 items in their cupboard (and some frozen or fresh veg in the fridge to throw in).

But there has to be a better way!

Janet and Greta worked their magic and came up with this gem. The below recipe makes 4 large portions. It was the first time that I had made a sauce using evaporated milk instead of cream or soup mix and I was very happy with the results.


4 cups uncooked high-fibre rotini pasta
1 cup frozen green peas (or another vegetable)
1 tablespoon butter
3/4 cup diced yellow onions
1/2 cup diced celery
1 teaspoon minced garlic
1 can reduced-sodium chicken broth
1 10oz can 2% evaporated milk (13 oz/370 mL)
2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
Grated zest of one lemon
Salt and pepper to taste
3/4 cup packed shredded sharp cheddar cheese (3 oz/85 g)
1/2 cup packed shredded Parmesan cheese (2 oz/56 g)
1 tablespoon minced fresh dill
1 can wild salmon, well drained (6 oz/170 g)
1 can tuna, well drained (6 oz/170 g)

Janet and Greta suggest getting all your stuff chopped, shredded and otherwise prepped before beginning this recipe. It's a good habit to get into.

Put a pot of water on to boil, and cook the pasta according to directions. Unlike my previous tuna casserole ventures, this one won't be going into the oven for a final heat-up, so cook the pasta how you want to eat it.

While the pasta is cooking, melt butter in a pot over medium heat. Add onions, celery and garlic and cook until soft (about 4 minutes). Add broth. In a separate bowl, whisk together evaporated milk and flour until smooth and add to pot. Cook until sauce bubbles and begins to thicken, stirring frequently.

Once the sauce is thick enough to coat the back of a spoon (and leaves a clear path when you swipe your finger across it), stir in mustard, lemon zest, salt and pepper. Cook for 1 minute.

Remove pot from heat and add cheeses, stirring until melted. Add drained tuna and salmon and mix. Add drained noodles and peas and mix well.

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