Remember that recipe that I said I was going to share last week?
Remember when I didn’t post anything the next day?
Or the day after that?
Oooor that day after that?
Yeah. My week was kind of wacky and there were two days when I left at 6am and didn’t return until 11:45pm. Not much time in there for sitting down to write a post. Or eat. Or shower. Or sleep. Somehow, I made it work. Thankfully, this week, our household should be back to normal.
Okay. Back to this recipe. First, let me mention that my mom is the queen of casseroles and soups. As a mom who has worked full-time for as long as I’ve been on this earth, she loves dinners that are quick to throw together and that yield leftovers that make for quick and easy lunches. Growing up, I hated casseroles. I really don’t like my food to mix and, therefore, a casserole is kind of a nightmare for me. Ingredients get thrown together and you eat. No, thank you. However, there were a couple casseroles that my mom would make that I would not be opposed to…and one of those was her tuna noodle casserole. So creamy, so yummy, so good. I have become my mother and make it frequently here because Lee loves it as much as I do! Win!
Last week, I had some time to breathe one morning and I decided to whip something up for Lee to take with him when he went to work. We were running pretty low on groceries and I had very little to choose from in my pantry. After walking between my fridge and pantry about four hundred times, I saw a can of tuna, then half a bag of egg noodles, then a bag of frozen peas. Hmmm. I, obviously, thought of tuna casserole but only a scaled down version…which is probably better for us since there are only two of us here. Anyway…my mom’s recipe calls for some type of creamy soup…think cream of chicken, cream of celery, cream of mushroom. However, I did not have any of these. After doing a quick Google search, I saw recipes using cream cheese to make the cream sauce instead. Perfect! I started thinking how I could make my cream sauce similar to the lightened up Alfredo sauce that I make using cream cheese. The wheels were spinning and my problem was solved, right?
Not quite. After starting to toss things into a pot to work this cream sauce, I opened my cream cheese only to discover that it had some mold on it. Gross. I swear it hadn’t been in my refrigerator that long! Okay. So, throw that idea out the window! Now what the heck was I going to do?
That’s what we do.
That’s what I did.
And it worked.
Creamy Tuna Noodle Casserole
6 ounces egg noodles (about half a bag)
1/8 cup butter
1/8 cup flour (then another 1/8 cup to add, if needed later)
1-1/4 cup milk
1 chicken bouillon cube
1/8 cup sour cream
1/8-1/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese
1/4 cup shredded Colby-Jack cheese
1 can tuna, drained
1/2 cup frozen peas
1 can (4 ounces) canned mushroom stems and pieces (you will use about half)
1/2 cup shredded cheddar cheese + 1/4 cup for topping
Preheat oven to 375.
Cook egg noodles according to package directions and set aside.
For the sauce, melt butter in a medium saucepan over medium heat. Add flour and blend. Add milk slowly, stirring constantly, until butter mixture is completely dissolved. Add bouillon cube and dissolve completely in milk mixture. Add sour cream and grated Parmesan cheese and stir until mixture becomes smooth and starts to thicken. If needed, add additional flour in small increments, until cream sauce reaches desired consistency (it should resemble a warmed can of creamed soup).
In a large bowl, add tuna, peas, mushrooms, 1/2 cup cheddar cheese, and noodles. Add cream sauce and stir until all ingredients are well-coated. Spray an 11×7 baking dish with cooking spray and transfer tuna noodle mixture to dish. Cover and bake for 20 minutes or until casserole is bubbly.
Remove foil and sprinkle with remaining 1/4 cup cheddar cheese and bake, uncovered, for an additional 5 minutes more or until cheese is melted.
**Usually, when I make this, I double the recipe and make it in a 9×13 baking dish. Also, when doubling, I use 3 cans of tuna instead of two.
You’ll be happy to know that we now have fresh groceries in the house…and there is nothing moldy in the refrigerator.
Something to share: When in the last time you had to improvise in the kitchen?