Ben’s going out with work colleagues tonight, so I thought I’d take the opportunity to make something for dinner that he’d normally turn up his nose at.
What might that include? You may be asking yourself?
Well, for starters…tofu, squash, tacos, pork chops, eggs, brinner, loose meat sandwiches, roasted vegetables, peanut noodles, goat cheese, cream cheese, pesto, homemade pizza, soup, enchiladas, pumpkin, balsamic vinaigrette, beef, cheese, zucchini…
Shall I keep going?
What can I say, feeding a picky eater with high cholesterol is no easy task. Good thing he’s so dang handsome!
So, what did I make on a night with no culinary boundaries? A night where I could choose anything to eat and that could even, if I wanted, include mayo, mustard or crunchy onions (a few more of Ben’s most hated foods)?
Dream big, right?!
I have actually been dying to make Tuna Noodle Casserole for the past couple of weeks for Heaven only knows what reason!
I didn’t eat a lot of tuna growing up, and wouldn’t go near it for years after a few too many Tuna Salad Subs from Subway in college, but for some reason the thought of a tuna-laced, creamy casserole studded with sweet peas and a cheesy, crunchy topping is all I’ve been thinking about lately.
Tuna, as it turns out – unless it’s raw and from Miyabi 9 – doesn’t quite do it for my man, so I thought tonight would be the perfect opportunity to whip up a hot & bubbly dish for myself, with a leftover portion for tomorrow’s lunch.
I started the casserole by making a thick and luxurious sauce. First I sauteed a small shallot in a bit of butter then added flour to thicken it up. Next I whisked in chicken broth and skim milk, then sprinkled in petite peas before letting the sauce bubble until it was nice and thick.
Next I added the star of the show – the tuna! This is chunk light, whatever that means, packed in water.
Finally I stirred in a wee bit of sharp cheddar cheese and combined the sauce with cooked egg noodles.
I probably could have just taken this straight to the face, but there’s a crunchy, cheesy topping goin’ on top!
I divided the tuna noodle mixture between two individual sized baking dishes that I picked up at IKEA a couple weekends ago, and sprinkled a mixture of parmesan cheese, panko bread crumbs and Italian seasoning on top.
Baked ’til golden brown & bubbly!
Tuna Noodle Casserole
Slightly adapted from Skinny Taste
3oz egg noodles
1 Tablespoon butter
1 shallot, minced
salt & pepper
1-1/2 Tablespoons flour
3/4 cup + 2 Tablespoons chicken broth
1/2 cup skim milk
1/4 cup frozen peas
1-5oz can tuna packed in water, drained
1/4 cup sharp cheddar cheese
1 Tablespoon parmesan cheese
1 Tablespoon panko breadcrumbs
1/8 teaspoon Italian seasoning
- Cook noodles in boiling, salted water until slightly undercooked. Drain, return to the pot and set aside.
- Melt butter in a medium-sized skillet over medium heat. Add in shallots, season with salt & pepper, and saute until softened, about 3-4 minutes. Add in flour and stir, cooking for 1 more minute. Flour and butter will be lumpy.
- Slowly whisk in chicken broth, breaking up the clumps of butter and flour. Once all the chicken broth has been incorporated, pour in the milk and bring the mixture to a boil. When boiling, add in peas. Turn the heat back down to medium and let the mixture bubble until thickened, about 5-6 minutes, whisking every minute or so.
- Add drained tuna to the sauce as well as more salt & pepper to taste. Turn off the heat and stir in cheddar cheese until completely melted. Pour the sauce into the pot with the cooked noodles and mix to combine.
- Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Spray two individual sized baking dishes with non-stick spray and divide the mixture evenly between the two.
- Combine parmesan cheese, panko bread crumbs and Italian seasoning in a small dish, then divide the mixture evenly between the two baking dishes. Spray the tops with more non-stick spray and bake for 20 minutes, or until golden brown.
I LOVED the crunchy panko and cheese topping on here, as it kind of mimicked the crushed potato chips that traditionally top a classic Tuna Noodle Casserole. It was a great texture contrast to the creamy noodles and tuna inside.
Casserole craving officially squashed!
In other news, while Ben is out for the evening, I’m staying in. With my Mom. We’re making cheesecakes!
Details to come…