Thursday, October 25, 2007

I'm No Foodie

I know that my tastes in food are pretty low league. I'd like to think that my palate is starting to grow and expand, but sometimes that just isn't the case. And Tuesday night's dinner just proves that. I'd had my eye on this Mediterranean Tuna-Noodle Casserole from Everyday Food. So I put it on the menu for this week and picked up all the ingredients that I needed on my shopping trip. I'd never done anything with artichoke hearts before, but I wasn't too worried about that. Until I opened the can that is. I just couldn't do it. They smelled atrocious to me, and I just couldn't get past it. I've had recipes before where I thought a particular ingredient was pretty yucky, but everything came together fine in the end. This time I just couldn't work my way through it and after a minute or two I started thinking about what I could substitute them with. And I found my answer in the freezer- peas. Nice, bright green peas. The color and shape offered a nice contrast to the red pepper strips. Normally I would type out the original recipe verbatim and then note my changes below, but seeing as I will pretty much stick to this version from here on out, I'm posting it with my alterations. It is also a half version of the Everyday Food recipe, as it was their "Freeze It" feature, making enough for a casserole for now and casserole for later.

Tuna-Noodle Casserole
Adapted from Everyday Food Recipe; Serves 4

2.5 tablespoons olive oil, plus more for baking dish
Coarse salt and ground pepper
8 oz. wide egg noodles
1 red bell pepper, ribs and seeds removed, thinly sliced lengthwise
1/4 cup all purpose flour
2 cups whole milk
1/2 cup 1% milk
2 6oz. cans tuna packed in olive oil, drained
1-1.5 cups frozen peas
2-3 scallions, thinly sliced
1/4 cup finely grated Parmesan

  • Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Lightly oil 8-inch square (or other shallow 2-quart) baking dish. In a large pot of boiling salted water, cook noodles until 2 minutes short of al dente, according to package instructions; drain, and return to pot.
  • Meanwhile, in a large pot, heat oil over medium. Add bell pepper; season with salt and pepper. Cook until crisp-tender, 4 to 6 minutes. Add flour and cook, stirring, 1 minute. Gradually add milks, stirring until smooth. Cook, stirring occasionally, until mixture comes to a simmer.
  • Remove from heat; add mixture to noodles in pot, along with tuna, peas, and scallions. Season with salt and pepper, and toss. Transfer to prepared baking dish, and sprinkle with Parmesan. Bake until golden and bubbling, about 20 minutes.
My notes: The reasoning behind the milk- The original recipe called for 5 cups of whole milk. Halving it left me needing 2.5 cups. We don't drink whole milk, we buy 1%. So instead of having a bunch of whole milk leftover, going bad in my fridge, I bought a pint of whole and made the difference up with our 1%. I figure it saved us some nominal amount of calories and fat too. I bet I probably could have substituted some white whole wheat flour too. Maybe I'll try that next time.


Jenny said...

I have tried eating artichokes for like 7 years, and I finally like them in most things. I still can't smell them from a can though. Thinking about it grosses me out. Way to be on trying new foods!

Toni said...

I can't stand artichokes either. I love tuna casserole and peas but my husband does not like them. Maybe I can make this when he goes out of town! :)

The Bouldins said...

I followed a link on the This Week For Dinner website to yours and have been reading for a bit. You've got me hooked on Everyday Food as well. I made this casserole just using the 2% milk that we drink and it turned out well.

And I feel about peas the way you feel about artichokes :)

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