As someone who loves a ‘one-pot-wonder’ meal, as well as cheese paired with any sort of carb, it’s surprising that I’ve not made many casseroles. That all changed this week. Even though I work from home and have my kitchen close by all day, I understand that having a Rolodex of make ahead meals can be an asset for any cook.
As a tribute to classic Americana dinners, I thought make ahead meal #1 should be the hated/loved tuna noodle casserole. I searched and found this recipe from The Cooking Channel sounded like a great foundation for an updated take on this standard. Now, this isn’t a Top Chef-style complete revamp of a recipe, but just some tips on making the dish more flavorful and fresh.
Here are the swaps:
- Butter, onion, sherry,soy sauce, egg noodles — just leave as is
- Just say no to white button mushrooms. They have minimal flavor and add little to the dish. I used portabellos instead
- Vegetable stock instead of Chicken
- Cream instead of whole milk (because that’s what I had in the fridge)
- More frozen peas than suggested. No reason why you shouldn’t have a full serving of veggies in the casserole
- Canned tuna has never looked good to me, but I’ve always been a fan of the tuna packets. I chose a Yellowfin tuna in olive oil – not drained
- Aged white cheddar, not yellow
- Top with the recommended Panko breadcrumbs
The casserole was full of flavor but not terrible rich or saucy. The Panko added a great crunch and using soy sauce to flavor the mushrooms helped keep everything from getting too salty. I forgot to snap a photo when it came out of the oven, but I decided to capture the leftovers after having it again for lunch today. You can tell there isn’t too much left. Yum!
Oh, and if you have any other casserole or make ahead meal ideas, send them my way!