I'm very fortunate to have ended up quite the adventurous eater. As a child, I would pick and chose foods with ardent fury that I simply would and would not eat. Would you believe I never ate beans until college? ...told my friends' parents that I was allergic to milk because I hated the taste? ...refused to eat any sandwich that had been contaminated with pickle juice?
Well, luckily for us all I have turned out to be quite a charming and not-so-picky adult. :)
The worst offender on my "do not eat" list was hands down - canned tuna. I simply couldn't sit next to a friend or classmate who had a tuna sandwich. In college, my study buddy brought a snack pack of tuna and crackers and I swiftly put an end to our study dates.
I don't recall the first time I got over the canned tuna hurdle, but I can now safely say that tuna noodle casserole is one of my favorite comfort foods. While it certainly doesn't bring back any nostalgia of childhood, family dinners or momma's cooking, it does remind me of the early days of my relationship with hubby.
Back when we were dating, I enjoyed cooking but had a very small kitchen and limited supplies (think a mish-mosh of pots and pans from college, the majority of which were hand-me-downs from my mother's kitchen or garage sale purchases). Since I was very much a budding cook, I stuck to lots of recipes using "convenience foods" like condensed soup or pre-packaged stir fry mixes. My recipe repertoire had its limitations, but I always had a few standbys that I knew would impress. Cooking for a new boyfriend required me to be calm, cool and collected in the kitchen (none of which I am today!) Tuna noodle casserole was my favorite dish to throw together so we could spend more time being googly-eyed and all that stuff that new couples enjoy.
Today, I like to think that I have gotten much better in the kitchen, but we still enjoy good ol' tuna noodle casserole more often than not. It's simple, delicious, and easy. To my old study buddy - I apologize. I'd be happy to have you and your tuna cracker snack pack over any day.
Good Ol' Tuna Noodle Casserole
1 tablespoon butter
3/4 cup diced onion
1 cup milk
1 (10.5 ounce) can condensed reduced-fat cream of mushroom soup
1 1/4 cups frozen green peas
1 tablespoon lemon juice
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon pepper
1/4 teaspoon garlic salt
2 cans tuna, drained and flaked
3/4 box of rotini cooked according to package directions
1/3 cup Italian breadcrumbs
2 tablespoons grated Parmesan cheese
Preheat oven to 450° and spray a 2qt casserole dish lightly with cooking spray.
Melt butter in a saucepan over medium-high heat. Add onion; sauté 3-4 minutes. Add milk and soup. Cook 3 minutes; stir constantly with a whisk.
Add peas, lemon juice, salt, pepper, garlic salt and tuna. mix well. Add drained noodles and toss to coat noodles with sauce. Pour into casserole dish.
Combine breadcrumbs and cheese; sprinkle on top and spray breadcrumb topping with nonstick cooking spray. Bake at 450° 15 minutes or until bubbly.