Creamy Tuna "Casserole." 20-minute dinner made with all natural ingredients that you likely already have in your pantry

Creamy Tuna "Casserole." 20-minute dinner made with all natural ingredients that you likely already have in your pantry

I never intended for this recipe to become a blog post. I made it when I had absolutely no groceries left in the fridge. My intention was to make something “eatable.” Boy was I surprised when my family loved it. Loved it!

I’m not a fan of heavy dishes or pre-made soups. I quickly googled “tuna casserole,” as I have to admit, it’s not something I typically make. Virtually every recipe that I found included cream or condensed canned soup.

I decided to use up some of my homemade chicken stock I had in the fridge and turn it into a veloute-type sauce. I have to admit, perhaps my intensely flavourful homemade chicken stock is what made it so tasty, but it should still work great with a store-bought stock as well.

No cream at all in this recipe, I added some milk to my flour-thickened stock. In addition, I used mostly whole wheat penne. I typically stay away from large amounts of highly refined white noodles for hearty and healthy weeknight suppers, but I tend to add just a bit of white noodles to lighten up the texture of the whole wheat noodles.

I folded in the tuna and frozen peas, enhanced the flavour with sautéed onions and celery, skipped the additional baking step and the additional calories by not adding the breadcrumbs or potato chips.

This was extremely easy to make, absolutely affordable and adored by kids… Hmm, perhaps this will be my dish of choice for the next sleepover party! And I always say that there really isn’t one definition that we all agree on when it comes to “healthy” foods, but this definitely was a much healthier version of a tuna casserole type-dish with less calories and real wholesome ingredients.

Give this dish, made out of simple pantry staples, a try when you find yourself in the same boat as me and have absolutely no groceries left.

DifficultyBeginner

Yields4 Servings
Cook Time20 mins

 2.50 tbsp butter
 3 tbsp flour
 1 ½ cups chicken stock
 1 cup milk
 3 celery stalks, diced
 ½ yellow onion, minced
 1 cup frozen green peas
 2 cans of tuna (170g each,) drained
 375 g penne (box sold in a grocery store.) You can use white or whole grain. I use 75% whole grain and 25% white penne mix
 salt and pepper, to taste

1

Boil the noodles according to the package instructions.

2

Heat the butter over medium heat. Add celery and onions and cook for about 5 minutes or so until they are starting to soften but do not brown them. Sprinkle the flour over the veggies - you are now making a roux. Cook the veggies and flour for 3-4 minutes, stirring constantly, to cook off the raw flour taste; it's ok to have the flour turn slightly gold but do not let it burn or brown too much. Adjust the heat to medium-low if needed. It's important to cook the flour for at least 3 minutes to avoid that pasty raw flour taste. Slowly add half of the stock while stirring aggressively into a thick sauce and working out any lumps. Slowly add the remainder of the stock and milk, stirring constantly until smooth. Bring the mixture to a simmer and cook for about 3 minutes to thicken slightly. Taste and season with salt and pepper. If desired, you can always thin out the sauce with more stock.

3

Fold in the peas and the drained noodles. Stir to combine and cook for two minutes or so to warm up the peas as well as to let the noodles absorb some of the sauce. Fold in the tuna and serve.

Ingredients

 2.50 tbsp butter
 3 tbsp flour
 1 ½ cups chicken stock
 1 cup milk
 3 celery stalks, diced
 ½ yellow onion, minced
 1 cup frozen green peas
 2 cans of tuna (170g each,) drained
 375 g penne (box sold in a grocery store.) You can use white or whole grain. I use 75% whole grain and 25% white penne mix
 salt and pepper, to taste

Directions

1

Boil the noodles according to the package instructions.

2

Heat the butter over medium heat. Add celery and onions and cook for about 5 minutes or so until they are starting to soften but do not brown them. Sprinkle the flour over the veggies - you are now making a roux. Cook the veggies and flour for 3-4 minutes, stirring constantly, to cook off the raw flour taste; it's ok to have the flour turn slightly gold but do not let it burn or brown too much. Adjust the heat to medium-low if needed. It's important to cook the flour for at least 3 minutes to avoid that pasty raw flour taste. Slowly add half of the stock while stirring aggressively into a thick sauce and working out any lumps. Slowly add the remainder of the stock and milk, stirring constantly until smooth. Bring the mixture to a simmer and cook for about 3 minutes to thicken slightly. Taste and season with salt and pepper. If desired, you can always thin out the sauce with more stock.

3

Fold in the peas and the drained noodles. Stir to combine and cook for two minutes or so to warm up the peas as well as to let the noodles absorb some of the sauce. Fold in the tuna and serve.

Simple Tuna Casserole

Make it Gluten-Free: replace flour with good-quality all purpose gluten free flour, ensure all your ingredients are gluten free, including your stock. Serve with Gluten-Free pasta.

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