Spring has sprung once again, which means it’s time for lighter, rejuvenating recipes, with a flair of healthful wholesomeness!
Ultimate Tuna Casserole
- 12 ozs egg noodles (wide)
- 1 medium onion, finely chopped
- 8 ozs mushrooms pieces, chopped
- 1 stalk of celery, finely chopped
- 1 medium to large carrot stick, diced
- &fract14; C sliced almonds
- 7 Tbspns butter, divided
- ¼ tsp dried thyme or ½ tsp chopped fresh thyme
- 6 Tbspns all-purpose flour
- 4 Cs whole milk
- 2 small (5 oz) cans of chunk tuna (in water or oil), drained and flaked into small pieces
- 1 ½ Cs peas (either frozen or fresh peas that have been shelled and blanched)
- 6 ozs medium cheddar cheese, shredded
- 1 ½ Cs panko bread crumbs (crushed potato chips is a great alternative)
- Salt and black pepper, to taste
- Lemon pepper, to taste
- Paprika, to taste
Preheat oven to 375 degrees and grease a 13×9-inch baking dish.
Cook egg noodles in a large pot of salted boiling water until al dente; drain, rinse briefly under cold water, and return to pot without heat.
Meanwhile, warm the mild in a saucepan and set aside.
Heat 4 tablespoons of butter in a large skillet over medium heat and cook onions, mushrooms, carrots and celery with a generous pinch of salt until all the water from the mushrooms has evaporated and the mixture has begun to brown (about 12 to 15 minutes). Stir in the sliced almonds, sprinkle in thyme and allow to cook for a couple of minutes before stirring in the flour. Simmer, stirring constantly, until mixture reduces (another minute or two). Increase heat to medium-high and pour milk into the flour mixture, whisking to break up any clumps. Stir constantly until sauce is thickened and bubbly, then add the sliced almonds. Turn off heat and season to taste with salt and black pepper.
Add sauce to the noodles in the pot along with the peas and tuna. Stir everything together well and at the very end stir in the shredded cheddar cheese. Pour the mixture into the greased baking dish.
Melt remaining three tablespoons of butter and toss with the bread crumbs. Sprinkle buttered crumbs over the top of the casserole. Bake at 375 degrees for 25-30 minutes or until the crumbs are evenly browned and filling is bubbly. Let sit for 5-10 minutes and sprinkle with a dash of lemon pepper and paprika for presentation and a little extra zing before serving.