Monday, July 23, 2012

Healthy(er) Tuna Casserole

Not your Granny's tuna casserole!

When you think of Mom’s or Granny’s tuna casserole, images of creamy, cheesy, fat-filled dishes completely devoid of veggies and covered in crumbled potato chips likely fill your head. And there’s nothing wrong with that if you’re looking to indulge a little once in a blue moon.
But unless you have the metabolism of a 10-year-old boy or you’re prepping for an eating contest by sucking down 10,000 calories a day, you’ll probably want to stick with this “healthy(er)” version. Rest assured, this recipe is almost as creamy and delicious as the one Grandma used to make—it’s just MUCH friendlier on the waistline.

Better still, it’s a hit with the little ones.  Being a Mommy to a picky two-and-a-half-year-old, I know that getting kids to eat healthy, balanced meals (especially ones you’d actually want to eat too) can be a challenge. That’s why this recipe is great. In addition to tasting good, it’s got protein, veggies, whole wheat pasta, and it cuts back on the fat a bit too.  

Healthy(er) Tuna Casserole
Serves 8-10
1 (13.5-16) ounce package whole wheat spiral pasta
3 cups mixed chopped veggies (I used frozen, organic, non-GMO corn, green beans, carrots, edamame, & peas)
2 (10.5-ounce) cans reduced-fat cream of celery condensed soup*
1 cup reduced-fat milk
2 (7-ounce) cans albacore tuna packed in water, drained
1 (6-ounce) container French’s fried onions (divided use)
Freshly ground black pepper

*You can substitute any “cream of” soup i.e. mushroom, chicken.  


Preheat oven to 350 degrees. In a large pot, prepare pasta according to package instructions to al dente. Drain, rinse, and return noodles to large pot. If you’re using frozen veggies, thaw them a little by placing them in a colander and running them under warm water. Combine vegetables and cooked pasta.
In a medium bowl, combine condensed soup, milk, tuna (drain the water off first!), about 1 cup of French’s onions, and as much black pepper as you like. Use a fork to break up the larger pieces of tuna and stir well. Pour the mixture over the noodles and vegetables in the large pot and stir until all noodles are coated.

Transfer casserole into a 9x13 baking dish and top evenly with about 2 cups (the rest of the container) of French’s onions. Bake uncovered for 30 minutes or until casserole is heated through and onions on top begin to brown and crisp.

This is one of our favorite go-to meals. It’s easy to put together, you get all the major food groups in one dish, and, well, it just tastes good.

As I mentioned earlier, it’s very kid-friendly. Perhaps the best endorsement for this dish is the fact that not only did my 2.5-year-old gobble down two bowlfuls, our 10-month-old devoured it too!
Since the hubs and I like spicy food, we add a little Sriracha hot sauce (that’s the red stuff around the rim of the bowl in the picture). It’s just enough to give it a kick without masking the yummy flavors.

Now, I realize it’s summertime and casseroles that you bake in the oven might not be at the forefront of your mind. But file this one away for a rainy day…or whenever the urge to eat a little healthy comfort food strikes you.

Until next time,

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