Old Dish, New Trick

Growing up I was very fortunate to have a home cooked meal almost every night. The dinners my Mom made covered all essential food groups, and usually consisted of some sort of grilled chicken or fish, a salad AND a hot vegetable, as well as rice or a potato. Since my mom was rarely one to whip up a casserole or cook a one-pot meal, although she claims she loves them, I was quite intrigued by these types of dishes once I started cooking myself.

Right after college a good friend of mine introduced me to the stick-to-your-ribs dish, Tuna Noodle Casserole. With a can of Campbell’s Cream of Mushroom soup, noodles, frozen peas and some parmesan cheese, a simple meal is born. I made this dish several times over the course of a few years, but I had since forgotten about it once I began exploring more creative recipes.

Recently a coworker gave me a Cooking Light recipe for Tuna Noodle Casserole. Once she said the words, I had an instant craving. This recipe is a new take on an old dish, with the homemade sauce replacing the canned soup, and a touch of mustard for added flavor. The revamped dish really hit the spot on a chilly night like tonight.

The sauce

Noodles, peas and tuna added to sauce

Ready for the broiler

Nicely browned

Dinner time

Tuna Noodle Casserole

What You Need

  • 8 ounces egg noodles (I used whole wheat egg noodles)

  • 2 tablespoons olive oil

  • ½ cup chopped yellow onion

  • ½ cup chopped carrots

  • 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
  • 2 ¾ cups fat-free milk

  • ½ cup (4 ounces) 1/3-less-fat cream cheese, softened

  • 2 tablespoons Dijon mustard

  • ¼ teaspoon salt

  • ½ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

  • 1 cup frozen peas, thawed

  • ½ cup grated Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese, divided

  • 2 (5-ounce) cans albacore tuna in water, drained and flaked

  • Cooking spray

What To Do

  1. Preheat broiler.

  2. Cook noodles according to package directions, omitting salt and fat. Drain. Heat a large skillet over medium heat. Add oil to pan; swirl to coat. Add onion and carrot; cook 6 minutes or until carrots are almost tender, stirring occasionally.

  3. 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, peas, ¼ cup Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese, and tuna.
  5. Spoon mixture into a shallow broiler-safe 2-quart baking dish coated with cooking spray; top with remaining ¼ cup Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese. Broil 3 minutes or until golden and bubbly.
  6. Let stand 5 minutes before serving.
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