Wednesday, November 10, 2010

An inexpensive recipe from an expensive cookbook

Not Your Momma’s Tuna
Mary Engelbreit’s Fan Fare Cookbook Copyright 2010

2 cups uncooked rotini pasta
½ teaspoon olive oil
¼ cup butter or margarine
¼ cup chopped onion
½ cup chopped celery
¼ cup seeded and chopped green bell pepper
¼ cup all-purpose flour
1 cup chicken broth I used all milk
1 cup milk
¼ teaspoon dry mustard
½ teaspoon poultry seasoning
½ cup shredded Colby Jack cheese I used sharp cheddar
1 (12-ounce) can tuna, drained

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Cook the pasta according to the package directions, drain, and rinse with cold water. Toss the pasta with the olive oil to separate and set aside.

In a medium saucepan over medium heat, melt the butter. Add the onion, celery, and green pepper and cook, stirring frequently, for 3 minutes, until the vegetables are tender.

Stir in the flour and cook until blended. Add the broth and milk, stirring until it thickens. Add the dry mustard, poultry seasoning, and half of the cheese; heat until the cheese melts. Remove the skillet from the heat and stir in the tuna and pasta.

Spray an 8-inch square baking dish with nonstick cooking spray. Pour the mixture into the dish and sprinkle with the remaining cheese. Bake uncovered for 15 to 25 minute, or until heated through. Serve hot.

This is another case of making something since I had all the ingredients on hand. You don't need canned soup to make tuna casserole. I was worried the green pepper might be overpowering but I had it so I used it. I'm funny about green pepper - I love it in some things, but I just tolerate it in others. It wasn't overpowering here and it didn't ruin the dish for me at all but I wouldn't go out of my way to use it in this recipe again. I like carrots in tuna salad and I think carrots or mushrooms would be good here too. Oh, and peas would be a nice addition.

I was going to use sodium-free chicken bouillon for the broth but I was all out of it. I decided to use another cup of milk since I typically make white sauces with all milk anyway. This makes a smaller casserole, not a 13x9 casserole, so consider that if you are making it to feed a family. You could add more pasta. The sauce was very creamy so I think it could handle more pasta without getting too dry.

I made the pasta and chopped the vegetables (very finely, using my mini-chopper) ahead of time but I didn't put this together until the last minute. I've made casseroles like this ahead of time and they are fine but they are best (the sauce is creamiest) if you put them together at the last minute. With that minimal prep work, this took no time at all to put together.

It was very good and relatively healthy. I used Smart Taste pasta, water-packed tuna and lowfat milk. I like that I got at least a cup of veggies in there (I didn't really measure them). I used regular cheese. There wasn't so much cheese in this that this tasted like another version of macaroni and cheese but that little bit of cheese really rounded out the sauce.

I paid $16.99 (plus tax) for this cookbook! Ridiculous. I bought it at the school book fair when I was volunteering last week. It was 'for a good cause' right? Last year I bought two or three cookbooks there so I was being more frugal. This is collection of recipes submitted by Mary Engelbreit fans. People naturally submit their best recipes in these situations so this type of cookbook (like any Taste of Home cookbook for example) tends to have plenty of appealing recipes. I've bookmarked quite a few from this book. I plan on getting my $16.99 (plus tax) worth out of it. I have another morning scheduled at the book fair later this week - I'd better leave my wallet at home.


Sheila said...

I love tuna casseroles but no one else in my family does. The water packed tuna isn't so fishy smelling or tasting so maybe they would at least try this. One of the many reasons I'm glad my kids are college aged--no more book fairs--I always overbought!! But then I too thought it was for a good cause. Take care.

Annie Jones said...

Thanks for this one; Kat was asking for tuna casserole just last night. She loves tuna any way she can get it. Strange kid, I know.

I don't "do" book fairs. Every few weeks we get those book order forms from school and I let Kat get one or two books. Then during the book fair, the sell the same books for much higher prices. Good cause or not, no thanks! Sorry, I get a little grumpy over all the school fundraisers. :(

B and the boys said...

You are on a roll with the posting and with several recipes I will have to try on my guinea pigs, OOPS, I mean kids. This tuna casserole looks better than one I used last week, but will have to wait a while for the boys tuna flashbacks of that one to stop before trying this out.