Healthy Options: Tuna Noodle Casserole
Much has been happening as of late; all good things, and all blessings. One project was a You Tube channel I’ve created, Food for Thought (yes from my website) to help all of you! The first episode is a Tuna Noodle Casserole I’ve modified to be just a bit healthier.
I’ve grown up with digestive sensitivities, and I remember how frustrating it was not to be able to eat what everyone else was eating–it also didn’t help that I was a picky eater to begin with. As I’ve grown, my tastes have expanded, and so too has my knowledge around how ingredients affect my body. There are millions of reports, research, and science out there that can lead us down a path, not always of our own choosing. We need to be able to dissect all that information and fit it into what is going to work the best for our bodies, our lifestyles. But we do need to be proactive about our health. I’ve gotten really good at listening to my body; allowing it to tell me when something is unhealthy for it or if it gives me energy and nourishment that I need. So after lots of “test-runs,” writing, researching, interviewing, I’ve found recipes that can be modified to be healthier and still taste good. It allows each of us to take control of our lives even in some small way, when other areas feel out of control. And we are nourishing our bodies and being good to ourselves, it elevates us and allows us to be strong in other areas of life.
From my You Tube Show, here is the recipe (modified) and how to make it yourself.The original recipe can be found on the cooking channel. This is modified with some healthier ingredients.
- 4 tablespoons smart balance butter, plus 1 tablespoon melted
- 1 1/2 medium yellow onions, diced
- Iodized Sea Salt and black pepper
- 2 packages of white button mushrooms or baby bella mushrooms, pre-sliced
- 1/4 cup cooking sherry
- 2 teaspoons soy sauce (be mindful of this measurement as soy sauce is high in sodium. If possible use low sodium soy sauce)
- 1/4 cup Bob’s Red Mill Whole Wheat flour
- 2 cups low-sodium chicken broth
- 1 cup Lactaid or Skim milk
- 1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
- 1/2 cup frozen peas (Peas are naturally high in sugar, so I use more mushrooms than peas)
- 2 (5-ounce) cans white albacore tuna packed in water, drained
- 3 cups low sodium egg noodles (heart healthy)
- 2 cups grated Sharp Parmigiano Cheese
- 3/4 cup Whole Wheat or Multi-grain bread crumbs
Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F and lightly grease a 2-quart baking dish with butter.
In a large skillet, melt 1 tablespoon butter over medium-high heat. Saute the onions until translucent (almost clear); season with sea salt and pepper. Add the mushrooms and cook, stirring occasionally for about 4 minutes. Stir in the sherry and soy sauce and cook until the majority of the liquid has evaporated. The sherry must reduce down before you can remove. Remove from the heat and set aside.
Melt the remaining 3 tablespoons of butter, in large non-stick saucepan over medium-low heat. Whisk in the Whole Wheat flour, slowly, in batches, until it starts to clump together and cook for about 2 to 3 minutes, (this is your rue–your base for your sauce). Slowly add the chicken broth, in batches, whisking constantly. Bring to a slow boil, then whisk in the Lactaid or Skim milk, again in batches. Reduce the heat to a simmer and continue cooking for an additional 5 minutes. You want the rue/sauce to start to thicken.
Add the mushroom mixture, that you previously made, to the sauce and stir in the lemon juice (If you prefer not to, you don’t have to use lemon juice). Season the sauce with salt and pepper, to taste. Add the drained tuna, break apart and mix in, then add the peas; stir just to combine. Remove from heat.
You should be cooking the egg noodles in a large pot of salted boiling water while you are making your rue, until the noodles are al dente. Drain and place noodles in your baking dish. Add the sauce, stirring gently to coat the noodles.
In a mixing bowl, toss together the grated cheese and the bread crumbs. Drizzle with the 1 tablespoon of melted butter and toss. Sprinkle evenly over the casserole. Bake until the topping is crisp and the sauce is bubbling, roughly 20-25 minutes.
If you want to watch the episode, go here: