LIGHT Tuna Noodle Cass

Sep 16th

My mom didn’t do a lot of casseroles growing up but she DID make a mean mac and cheese and a tuna noodle casserole. I LOVed the tuna.. all the cheesy noodley goodness. Turns out casseroles aren’t so good for you; there is almost always a cream sauce and lots of cheese, not to mention starchy pasta and sometimes questionable meat. But on a cold night, it sure feels good to dig into a bowl of creamy cheesy deliciousness.

Have you heard of Clean Eating magazine? It’s my fave. I don’t cook from it when entertaining but just for me and my husband. Almost every dish is under 400 calories and devoid of white sugar, white flour, and artificial sweeteners. This recipe is from that magazine, and I can tell you the exact impressive stats per 1 c. serving: 230 calories, 3 grams polyunsaturated fat (the good kind), 6 grams fiber, 20 grams protein. Dang. Also, it’s delicious. Last night was the first chilly night of fall and it felt great to dig into something creamy, cheesy, and GUILT FREE.

Also, a nod to the oft-forgotten casserole. A complete meal should have veggies, whole grains, dairy, and protein. A casserole has all of these in one big scoop! If you aren’t a tuna fan, you should learn to be one. Tuna is SUCH a lean protein. Super amazing amounts of protein for the calories involved. The packs of tuna you can buy where you just pop off the top; great to take with you because they don’t need to be refrigerated. Each one is 80 calories and like 15 grams protein. Also, you want to buy LIGHT tuna, not WHITE. It is lower calorie and higher polyunsaturated fat… which is the GOOD kind that raises your GOOD cholesterol. TUNA TUNA TUNA.

LIGHT Tuna Noodle Cass

8 oz. whole wheat macaroni pasta (or shells)- half a box

olive oil cooking spray

2 stalks celery, diced

1 onion (white or yellow), diced

1 tsp. olive oil

3 tbsp. whole wheat flour

2 c. skim milk

1 tsp. dijon mustard

2 carrots, peeled and diced

12 oz. light or white tuna, packed in water, drained

1 c. frozen peas

1 tsp. dill (dried)

salt to taste

3 tbsp. Parmesan cheese

1/2 c. whole wheat bread crumbs

1. Preheat oven to 350.

2. Bring large pot filled with water to a boil over high heat. Add 1 tsp. salt. Add pasta and cook as long as the package tells you (mine said 7 minutes). Drain.

3. Heat another large pot or dutch oven for two minutes over medium high heat. Mist with cooking spray and add onions and celery. Stir occasionally until onion is translucent, about 5 minutes.

4. Meanwhile, place carrots in a bowl with 2 tbsp. water. Microwave for 2 minutes. Drain if necessary.

5. Add oil and flour to onion/celery and stir quickly.

6. Add milk, 1/4 c. at a time, stirring frequently if not constantly. Add more milk when the initial has thickened and reduced. Reduce heat to medium once all the milk has been added.

This is when you’d need to add more milk.

7. Stir in Dijon mustard.

8. Stir in pasta, carrots, tuna and peas.

9. Remove from heat, add in dill and stir. Dill is sometimes labeled as “dill weed”. It adds a really nice flavor to this dish and will keep for a while, so it’s worth getting.

10. Add salt to taste. I added 1/2 tsp. and it tasted right to me but add it until it tastes right to you (that’s what “to taste” means).

11. Pour mixture into an 8×8 baking dish. Top with breadcrumbs and parm. cheese. Bake for 30 minutes uncovered.

Technically this dish should serve 8 (that is 8, 1 c. servings). This is how much my husband and I ate. The beauty of a “lightened” dish is that even if I ate two servings, it only ended up being 460 calories (which is totally great for dinner).

LIGHT Tuna Noodle Cass

1/2 c. whole wheat bread crumbs

8 oz. whole wheat macaroni pasta (or shells)- half a box

olive oil cooking spray

2 stalks celery, diced

1 onion (white or yellow), diced

1 tsp. olive oil

3 tbsp. whole wheat flour

2 c. skim milk

1 tsp. Dijon mustard

2 carrots, peeled and diced

12 oz. light or white tuna, packed in water, drained

1 c. frozen peas

1 tsp. dill (dried)

1/2 tsp. salt

3 tbsp. Parmesan cheese

1. Preheat oven to 350.

2. Bring large pot filled with water to a boil over high heat. Add 1 tsp. salt. Add pasta and cook as long as the package tells you (mine said 7 minutes). Drain.

3. Heat another large pot or dutch oven for two minutes over medium high heat. Mist with cooking spray and add onions and celery. Stir occasionally until onion is translucent, about 5 minutes.

4. Meanwhile, place carrots in a bowl with 2 tbsp. water. Microwave for 2 minutes. Drain if necessary.

5. Add oil and flour to onion/celery and stir quickly.

6. Add milk, 1/4 c. at a time, stirring frequently if not constantly. Add more milk when the initial has thickened and reduced. Reduce heat to medium once all the milk has been added.

7. Stir in Dijon mustard.

8. Stir in pasta, carrots, tuna and peas.

9. Remove from heat, add in dill and stir. Dill is sometimes labeled as “dill weed”. It adds a really nice flavor to this dish and will keep for a while, so it’s worth getting.

10. Add salt to taste.

11. Pour mixture into an 8×8 baking dish. Top with breadcrumbs and parm. cheese. Bake for 30 minutes uncovered.

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