So, I don’t eat seafood. I’ve tried. I’ve really, really tried. There are a few swimming-things that I’ve taste-tested over the years that I didn’t absolutely detest, but I’d never order them for myself. Well, maybe, possibly a crab cake. But honestly, I’ll only eat it if my husband orders it – if it’s up to me, I can always find a more appetizing appetizer on the menu.
I have done everything I can to ensure that my girls don’t have the same aversions to seafood that I do. So far, they’re both fish-lovers, so I think we’re safe.
But I just can’t make myself like it. I want to – the health benefits are the obvious reason, but most of the time, it looks and smells good to me. I know it’s all in my head, but I can’t fix it.
I do remember eating fish sticks and tuna casserole at my Grandma’s house when I was a kid. I can’t say what it was that changed my mind about it all – perhaps something in the school cafeteria? The smell of fast-food fish joints? Whatever it was stuck with me.
I’ve made tuna casserole for my girls a few times, but every time I make it, I cringe at the thought of using the condensed mushroom soup (sodium! preservatives! fake mushroom flakes!). I knew there had to be a better way.
I found this recipe online, and the girls couldn’t tell the difference. My husband did comment that it wasn’t as salty as normal, which I’m sure was just thanks to the fresh ingredients.
Yep, it takes a bit more time, but you’ll feel good about what you’re serving your family. I even bought fresh pasta from my local community mercantile – and next time (well, after Santa brings me a pasta attachment for my KitchenAid) I’ll make my own pasta.
- 2 Tablespoons butter, divided
- ¼ cup finely chopped onion
- 1 cup chopped celery
- ¼ pound button mushrooms, chopped or sliced
- ¼ cup flour
- 1 cup milk (I used skim)
- ½ cup half and half
- 1 cup frozen, organic peas
- ½ teaspoon salt
- ⅛ teaspoon white pepper
- ⅛ teaspoon coarse ground black pepper
- ¼ pound fresh egg noodles (dry are fine)
- 12.5 ounces good tuna, packed in water, drained
- 1 cup fresh bread crumbs (panko is fine)
- ¼ cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese
- Heat the oven to 375 degrees. Brush a 9-inch round baking dish with 1 Tablespoon of the butter, and set aside.
- In a medium size saucepan, heat 1 Tablespoon of butter until melted.
- Add the onion and celery and cook over medium heat until the vegetables are tender, about 3 minutes.
- Stir in the mushrooms and continue to cook, stirring frequently until the mushrooms are tender, about 2 minutes.
- Remove the saucepan from the heat and add the flour to the vegetables. Whisk to combine. Gradually blend in about half of the milk and whisk until the mixture looks smooth.
- Stir in the remaining milk and half-and-half.
- Heat over medium heat, stirring, until the sauce begins to simmer and thicken, about 1 to 2 minutes. Whisk constantly to avoid burning or scorching.
- Add the peas and stir to combine.
- Season to taste with the salt and pepper.
- Cook the noodles in boiling salted water until they are tender, 7-9 minutes or according to package directions and drain.
- Spread about ⅓ of the drained noodles on the bottom of the buttered baking dish.
- Arrange ½ of the drained tuna over the noodles, then pour ⅓ of the sauce over the top, spreading to the edges.
- Repeat the layers.
- Top with the remaining noodles and sauce.
- Heat the remaining 1 teaspoon of butter in a small nonstick skillet over medium-low heat until the butter is melted.
- Add the bread crumbs and stir until the bread crumbs begin to brown, about 2 to 3 minutes. Sprinkle the bread crumbs over the top of the noodles.
- Bake until hot through the center, 30 to 35 minutes.
- Sprinkle parmesan cheese on top, and serve warm.