Saturday, February 28, 2015

Comfort Food on a Cold Snowy Day: Tuna Noodle Casserole with Mixed Veggies

Tuna Noodle Casserole with Mixed Veggies
I just don't think to make Tuna Noodle Casserole. My family would never eat it so I haven't given it much thought over the years. When I stop and think about it, I THINK the last time I made Tuna Noodle Casserole was probably the late '80s or the very beginning of 1990.  I don't ordinarily keep track of things like that, I just remember I was living in a boarding house as I was finishing up college when I last made Tuna Noodle Casserole.  I am pretty sure I put cream of "something" soup in it and I remember it being so-so.
I've mentioned before that I am often inspired to make recipes I see when I am scrolling through Facebook on my phone.  The past two weekends, I've stumbled across recipes for Tuna Noodle Casserole and it was just sounding good given the crazy, crazy snowy weather we've had this past week.

I love the shadows our pergola is making in the snow in our back yard.

This is our back yard this week.  Just a week ago, we had a picnic under the pergola.

I would have sworn this recipe was on the Cooking Light Facebook page, but when I clicked on the recipe, it linked to a recipe on and the recipe is from Bruce Weinstein and Mark Scarbrough. I guess I felt compelled to make this since it seemed to be a somewhat lightened up version of comfort food and also because it sounded perfect after our snowy walk with the doggies today. 
I modified the recipe to use things I had on hand: ditalini tube-shaped pasta instead of egg noodles, frozen mixed veggies instead of peas and carrots, low fat milk instead of skim, and butter instead of olive oil.  I used the last of a tub of cream cheese we had in the fridge from the last time we had bagels a few weeks back and I even used up the diced up onion in the fridge from the last time we had tacos.  We don't often have potato chips in the house, but today we did... so I topped the casserole with crushed up chips. I love that this great big casserole used up so many things I had on hand!

Tuna Noodle Casserole with Mixed Veggies
Inspired by the recipe found HERE.
8 ounces pasta (I used small tube pasta called ditalini)    
2 tablespoons butter    
1/2 cup chopped yellow onion         
2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
2 3/4 cups 1% low fat milk
1/2 cup (4 ounces) 1/3-less-fat cream cheese, softened    
2 tablespoons Dijon mustard (next time I might even add more)   
1/4 teaspoon salt (next time I'd add a bit more)   
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper 
2 cups frozen mixed vegetables (corn, peas, carrots, green beans)
1/4  cup grated Parmesan cheese, divided
2 (5-ounce) cans albacore tuna in water, drained and flaked    
about 1/2 cup crushed up potato chips for topping (I used Wavy Lays Potato Chips)
Cooking spray
1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit.

2. Cook mixed veggies in the microwave according to package directions; drain and set aside.

3. Cook noodles according to package directions. Drain. Heat a large skillet over medium heat. Melt butter in pan; swirl to coat. Add onion and cooked until softened, about 3 or 4 minutes, stirring occasionally. Sprinkle with flour; cook 1 minute, stirring constantly. Gradually stir in milk; cook 5 minutes, stirring constantly with a whisk until slightly thick. Stir in cream cheese, mustard, salt, and pepper; cook 2 minutes, stirring constantly.

4. Remove pan from heat. Stir in noodles, Parmesan cheese, mixed veggies and tuna. Spoon mixture into a shallow broiler-safe 2-quart baking dish coated with cooking spray (I used a glass Pyrex 8"x8"x2" dish; top with crushed up potato chips.

5.   Bake in preheated oven for 5 to 7 minutes, until bubbly.  If desired, broil until potato chips begin to brown.  Let stand 5 minutes before serving.

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