Sunday, April 17, 2011

Tuna Casserole w/ Cheesy Topping

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Today, I learned that my daughter loves eating plain boiled pasta, my dog loves tuna, and that sometimes, laziness pays off!

What a weekend! I was so exhausted after a fun morning at church, that I took a Sunday afternoon nap - something highly unusual for me. I rarely sleep during the day! Now, that's not something worth blogging about though, right? Well, it is if you invited someone over to spend the evening with you, & then fell asleep with your toddler. They arrived and stood knocking at our door for a while before they realized we were probably out like lights. So, how did they wake us up? The old tiny pebbles against the window pane trick! Only this time, it was not-so-smallish rocks against the air-conditioning unit trick! It worked though, and after I apologized for making them wait, we had a good laugh about it!

After that great nap, I was raring to cook! I made one of my favorites - Tuna Noodle Casserole. Now, I know I say 'noodle', but we prefer using macaroni for this dish.

 The shortcut I talk about is the topping I used for this casserole. Usually, for a bread crumb topping like this, melted butter is added to the crumbs. But me, I was too lazy to even melt the butter. So, I added soft butter to the crumbs & cheese and ended up with something that resembled cookie dough! Anyways, I just tore it all up and put the pieces over the dish and baked it. It ended up tasting like chewy cheese biscuits and we loved it!

I usually add more vegetables to this casserole - I especially love to add button mushrooms or broccoli, but today all I had were green peas. Remember the Pea & White Bean Soup post? Yes, I still have peas leftover in my freezer! Not complaining though - I love peas.

Tuna Noodle Casserole
(Serves 2 1/2 people)

6 oz uncooked macaroni
2 tbsp Olive oil
1 tbsp unsalted butter
1/2 onion, chopped
1 stalk celery, chopped fine
2 cloves garlic, crushed
3 tsp plain flour

1 cup milk
1 1/2 - 2 cups chicken stock
1/2 tsp prepared mustard
 3/4 cup green peas
1 dried bay leaf
1/3 cup cream
1 6 oz can of tuna

Cheesy Biscuit Topping
2 slices stale/crusty bread (I used only the end slices of the loaf)
1/2 cup sharp cheddar cheese
1 1/2 tsp dried parsley
2 1/2 tbsp unsalted butter, softened
1/4 tsp pepper

1. Cook the pasta in salted boiling water. Drain, refresh and set aside.
2. In a large saucepan, heat the olive oil and butter. Swirl around till the butter is completely melted. Add the garlic, celery and onion. Cook until the onions are softened but not brown. Add the plain flour and stir for a few minutes.
3. Take the pan off  the heat and add the mustard, the milk and 1 /2 cups of the stock. Stir to make sure there are no lumps.
4. Put the pan back on the heat, add the peas and the bay leaf.
5. Cook until the sauce is thick and velvety, and the peas are cooked. 
6. Take off the heat, and stir in the cream. Flake the tuna into the sauce.
7. Remove the bay leaf and discard.
8. Stir in the macaroni and stir until the pasta is well coated with the sauce. If you feel it is too dry, add a little more stock.
9. Adjust the seasoning and transfer to a baking dish.
10. Add the cheesy topping & bake at 400 until the topping is bubbly and brown.

Cheesy Topping
1. Process all the ingredients except the butter in a food processor until the bread has turned to fine crumbs.
2. Continue processing and add the softened butter, keeping the machine running until it forms a soft dough.
3. Tear up the dough and strew over the top of the casserole

This casserole is something I never tire of eating. Over the years, I have tried several recipes and this one is a combination of the best of all those recipes. My husband - who usually eats fish only if it's fried, loved this dish and commented on how 'it didn't taste fishy at all'. My daughter loved it and even while I was trying to get a decent picture of the dish, she couldn't keep her chubby little fingers out of the plate - as you can see!

This is the perfect amount for a family of three, but this dish is pretty easy to double and triple. In fact, I think I should do that the next time I make this. We would really enjoy any left-overs of this dish!

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Ruth said...

This looks divine!

Mary@One Perfect Bite said...

This sounds so wonderful. I know I'd enjoy a serving of it. I hope you have a great day. Blessings...Mary

theharriedcook said...

Thank you, Ruth! :)

theharriedcook said...

Thank you, Mary! I hope you have a wonderful day too! :)

Firefly said...

HAhaha I love the first sentence of your post :) My daughter loves plain boiled pasta too, at some point that was all she would want to eat all day long LOL it lasted for weeks.

And I love your daughters little hand in the plate :D I have to run and hide from my kiddo to take a picture ROFL without her finger somewhere in the corner ;)

BTW the casserole looks amazing and yummy! I'll have to try this, because we all love the ingredients that you used :)

Amrita Devasahayam said...

OMG I've been lusting over this site for a few days now and thought this blogger is some uber cool person. Then I figured out who you are and I was like whoa! Great job with the blog girlie and I love love love all your posts. The recipes and their pics make my mouth water! :)

Beth Hyzy said...

Tuna casserole is one of my ultimate comfort foods and you found a way to make it even more amazing by adding the cheesy topping!

theharriedcook said...

Thank you so much! :) LOL

I know exactly what you mean - she eats tons of plain pasta these days! Thankfully, she still eats other stuff too :) And yeah, taking pictures is almost impossible with her around. And between her and the dog, I can't catch a break! LOL :) If you try the recipe, I would love to hear how it turned out for you! :)

theharriedcook said...

HAHAHAHAHA :D I laughed SO hard when I saw this comment. I have a few questions - 1. How did you find this blog? 2. How did you figure out it was me? 3. Are you saying I am NOT an uber cool person?

ROFL :D So funny!

theharriedcook said...

Thank you :) we really enjoyed the cheesy topping! I am thinking of just making the topping and baking them like tiny cookies :)

theharriedcook said...

Thank you. I will stop by your site.

Amrita Devasahayam said...

Hahaha that's cos I'm a genius! ;) Here's my reply to all your questions, how I figured it was you is a funny story:

1) I found your blog through Anju's Twitter follow list - your name and colourful display pic caught my eye
2) Even though I knew you were someone in Anju/Amanda/Gitu's friend circle by your follower list, I only started suspecting it was you AFTER I read this post about you falling asleep with your toddler when you were expecting friends! I remember you did that when I came over with Anju and gang too! LOL So then I pieced together the toddler, dog etc and then saw your facebook update about the carousel etc too and VOILA! Mystery solved! Ain't I a whiz?? I should seriously think of becoming a detective ;)
3) You are always an uber cool person but what I meant to say was that this blog looked like some pro chef's blog with really well taken pics and awesome recipes. Hence, that statement. Now I truly know the extent of your awesomeness!

A little bit of everything said...

ha ha ha I thought i'm the only one having fingers in the photo :)) love those cute fingers.
Tiffany eats plain pasta or tossed with some veggie - try and feed her mac&cheese or pasta with tomato sauce and you're in big trouble :))
your tuna casserole sounds like a great comfort food. thanks for sharing

Monet said...

Oh yum! This looks so good. Can you believe I've never tried tuna casserole before? Your creations and your appreciation for good food and a full life are inspiring. And thank you for your kind words on my own blog...they made me smile. I hope you have a bountiful week!

theharriedcook said...

You ARE a genius! You should so become a private eye :) ROFL :D What connections you made! Amazing :)

Honestly, I don't remember falling asleep when you guys came over! But then again, my memory cannot be trusted... Thank you for your kind words about my blog... I hope you will keep coming back for more "awesomeness" :D haha...

theharriedcook said...

Thank you Roxana :) It is one of my favorite comfort foods! my Aimee is a pasta fiend... she'll eat it in any form, but plain seems to be her new favorite :)

theharriedcook said...

Thank you for your thoughtful comment, Monet :) I really love your blog and have been reading it regularly for a few weeks now... you are fantastic! :)

Amrita Devasahayam said...

Of course, the force is strong, so I cannot resist the awesomeness...I've already been stalking your blog for a few days already, so I'm going to continue! :D

Frugal Antics said...

Sounds like a great meal for a Sunday evening.

Marysol said...

I had forgotten all about this quintessential casserole; Tuna Casserole was my husband's favorite comfort food. And after seeing your wonderful pictures, I've decided this is a dish deserving of an encore.

Jill Colonna said...

Your power nap sounded sheer bliss! Must do that if you can come up with this lovely dish afterwards. LOVE the crunchy topping bliss!

theharriedcook said...

It was! Casseroles are my favorite thing to make when I have had a long day!

theharriedcook said...

It sure is! It is such a simple but tasty dish, isn't it?

theharriedcook said...

I must say I did enjoy the nap :) and the topping was more chewy than crunchy and it was very tasty :) Thanks for your comment, Jill!

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