Tuna Noodle Casserole

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Do you ever do a little cleaning of your kitchen cupboards and find something in the back you totally forgot you had and really aren’t sure what to do with?

I do it all the time and I hate wasting food so I need to be pretty creative. A while ago I found a bag of goldfish crackers. My kids love them but this bag was a little salty so I put it in the cupboard and well that’s where it stayed. Until I needed a topping for my tuna casserole recipe.

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I’ll be honest this is not a recipe I ever thought I would be working on. I had a traumatizing incident with tuna and noodles as a child (sorry dad) and until last year I had never actually tried it again. But being budget concious and having a hubby who grew up with comfort food like this, made me want to give it a try again.

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Lets call it an exercise in moving forward and letting go of the past:)

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I used a white sauce with lots of veggies to make a tasty and canned soup free casserole that comes together pretty quick. The goldfish crackers make a great crust but if you are short on time you could skip the baking step and it would still be great.

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Tuna Noodle Casserole

1 package of broad noodles

1 Tbsp canola or olive oil
1 cup diced onion (about 1 medium onion)
1 cup of diced carrots (about 1 large carrot)
1 cup of diced celery (about 2 stalks celery)
1 cup of frozen peas
2 cloves of crushed garlic
2 Tbsp butter
2 Tbsp flour
1 Tbsp + 1 tsp mustard powder (grainy mustard would work too)
1 bayleaf
2 cups of milk
2 cans of chunk tuna

preheat the oven to 350

Prepare the noodles to the package instructions.

In a large saucepan heat the canola to medium heat. Add the onions, carrots and celery to the pan and cook until the onion becomes translucent. Stir in the garlic and continue cooking for about 30 seconds. Melt in the butter and stir in the flour. Add the mustard powder and the bay leaf.

Heat the milk until  luke warm (I use my microwave and it’s about 45-60 seconds), slowly add it to the veggies and flour, stirring constantly.

Once it’s all mixed together add the peas and simmer the sauce until it thickens enough to coat the back of a spoon then remove the bay leaf

In a large casserole dish spread out the noodles and pour over the sauce. Fold in the tuna and top with the goldfish crust

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Goldfish crust

1 1/2 cups crushed gold fish crackers
1 cup grated cheddar cheese
2 Tbsps melted butter
1 Tbsp chopped parsley

Bake the casserole for about 45 minutes

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My sister decorated this plate almost thirty years ago. It was one of those ones you colour and than bake. I think it’s one of my most treasured dishes.

Well there’s my version of a meal I’m sure most of us have eaten at some point. I just happen to think mine’s awesome. Hope it makes your family and friends as happy as mine. Let me know what you think

I also post nightly meals on my Facebook page if you’re looking for inspiration www.facebook.com/myweeklydish

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Comfort in a bowl – Split pea soup

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My husband grew up in a small community in rural Newfoundland. It’s really small, like 400 people small. He spent most of his time outdoors on dirt bikes, snow mobiles or on the water and not much time watching Much Music or wearing neon. Because of this I sometimes tease that he grew up under a rock, (or on a rock depending on how you look at it). However, both of us were pretty fortunate and had adventurous cooks in our homes. It’s probably why he loves me so much.

His dad is the cook in the home and always willing to try new things in the kitchen. However, in his own way he is really picky and there were certain meals that didn’t make it to the table like pizza or pasta.  I think that’s why to me its so cute that when hubbers was growing up and they got to go to a restaurant he ordered pea soup. Going out for supper in such a small community would be a big deal. And my lovely, sweet man wanted pea soup. Continue Reading »

Apple Spice Whole Wheat Waffles

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Waffles figure heavily in my meal plans. I love em, can whip up a batch fairly quickly and they can be a great dinner too. Hubbers is a purist so he prefers the plain old waffle (he doesn’t like butter with crab or put dressing on salad…) Me, well I can’t look at a recipe or meal without my brain tick ticking on ways I can make it yummier or different or healthier. In this case I had an abundance of apples and a hankering for cinnamon. Continue Reading »

Spaghetti and Meatballs with Veggie Fortified Sauce

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One of my favourite meals is spaghetti and since my son is a meaballaholic this dinner is a guaranteed hit in our house. This is not a super fast dinner, even with a few short cuts so I save it for a night I have lots of time or a weekend and then freeze the leftovers for a meal later on. The sauce freezes fabulously so I divide it up into dinner size portions with the meatballs in it. I find the meatballs are slightly dry if frozen on their own so a brilliant person (my mom) suggested freezing them in the sauce, Genius!

The sauce has lots of veggies in it so it can also completely stand on its own as a vegetarian spaghetti. I start with a mirepoix of carrots, celery and onions, which is the base of any good sauce and sounds extremely cooky when you can throw it into a sentence, and then add zucchini and peppers as well. I have shortcutted the long cooking time a truly spectacular sauce needs by adding pre-made jarred sauce to the mix. This gives the sauce that ‘I’ve been making this all day’ flavour in a lot less time. I haven’t included it in this recipe but if you have any leftover red wine (leftover???) it brings a little more depth to the sauce  if you add it after the veggies and cook it for a few minutes before adding the tomato sauce.

Meatballs

400-500g ground beef
400-500g ground pork
1/4 cup chopped parsley
1/2 cup shredded parm
1 egg
1 cup bread crumbs
1/2 cup diced onion
1/2 tsp ground pepper
2 cloves grated or finely diced garlic
2 tsp salt

Before beginning making the meatballs let the meat sit out for at least 15 minutes so your hands don’t freeze mixing the meat

Preheat your oven to 350

Combine all the ingredients in a large bowl until thoroughly mixed. Form into balls using your hands to form the shape. These can be browned first in a saute pan over med heat and then placed in a baking dish or if you have children running around they can be placed directly into the baking dish. Cover the dish with tinfoil and bake for 30 if browned or 45 if not. I usually “test” one to make sure they are cooked through.

 

Spaghetti Sauce with Veggies

2 tbsp Olive Oil
1 cup diced carrot
1 cup diced celery
1 cup diced onion
1 cup grated zucchini
1 diced yellow or orange bell pepper
1 large clove crushed garlic
1 tsp dried basil
1 tsp oregano
1 bay leaf
1 398 mL can of tomato sauce
2 cups of your favourite pasta sauce

Warm the olive oil in a large sauce pan over medium low heat. Add the onions, carrots, celery and saute until the vegetables are softened and have some colour. Stir in the crushed garlic, zucchini, pepper and herbs and cook until it all smells wonderful, (about 4-5 minutes). Pour in both types of sauce and simmer for 20 minutes. Add the meatballs and warm through. Serve over your favourite pasta and top with a little parmesan cheese.

If you have a bit more time I would suggest adding one cup chicken stock and continuing to simmer until the sauce has reduced and become thicker, about 45 minutes. The flavour will be intensified and that much better.

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Spaghetti and Meatballs

 

I hope this becomes a staple in your house too. It’s not a difficult meal to make and the sauce and meatballs can be used in other dinners as well. If you would like to see how spaghetti and meatballs fits into my weekly meal plan please click here

Green Bean and Ham Casserole

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A good casserole is something everyone needs to have in their cooking arsenal. It can be an easy meal for a big crowd, a meal for a family that can’t think about cooking or a week night dinner that can be used for lunches. I’ve loaded it with green beans and used yogurt in the sauce so it’s healthier then many casseroles while still being rich and creamy.

Finished casserole in dish

I made this recipe for the first time years ago. It was for a close friend who had a new baby and one of my gifts to them was dinners that they could just heat and serve. If I remember right, her and her husband finished it off immediately and were both super happy not to have to think about cooking. I still make this regularly, sometimes reducing the recipe so we aren’t up to our armpits in casserole.

1 450g box of farfalle pasta

1 can cream of mushroom soup
1/2 cup yogurt
1/3 cup softened cream cheese
1 cup milk
2 tbsp Dijon mustard
1 clove crushed garlic
1.5 cup grated extra old cheddar cheese
3 cups sliced green beans (I used frozen, fresh works too)
2 cups cubed ham
pepper to taste

Cook the pasta al dente (still a little bone to it) and set aside. Whisk together the first six ingredients. Mix in the cheese and then combine with all the remaining ingredients in a large bowl. Stir together well and pour into a large casserole dish. Top with bread crumb mix and bake in a 350F oven for 1 hour.

Panko topping

1 cup Panko bread crumbs
1/4 cup grated parmesan
1 tbsp olive oil
salt and pepper

Mix all ingredients in a bowl and sprinkle over your casserole before baking.

Casserole with Dinosaur

I hope you find lots of use for this casserole and your friends and families enjoy it as much as mine have.

If you want to see how this dinner fits into my weekly meal plan check out my post, Weekly Meal Plan – Meals That Bring a Little Love to the Table