Schmancy Tuna Noodle Casserole

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Do you ever have days or weeks where you are craving a certain food CONSTANTLY?! Excellent! Now you know where I’m coming from when I say that I’ve been craving tuna noodle casserole like nobody’s business for about three weeks now. Disclaimer: Before you bring it up, no, I’m not preggo. I go through cravings about once a season and normally it has something to do with french fries.

Random Aside:
What sort of cravings do you guys have? Are they sated quickly or do they linger for a few days or weeks? 

As someone who is well-versed in good old-fashioned comfort food, tuna noodle casserole ranks high up on my list. Unfortunately, the Mister is not a huge fan of fish so when I make any kind of fishy dish I generally receive the “I’m going to eat this thing you put on my plate not because I like it but because I love you dearly” face. I try really, REALLY hard to not cook with fish when he’s around the house but sometimes I just have to give in – like last night.

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Just give in, sir. Accept the command of our tuna casserole overlords… I, for one, welcome them with an open mouth. Now, get in my belly so I can bask in your delicious, noodley goodness!

I wandered into the kitchen last night with a plan. That plan was to make a ‘fancy’ version of a beloved classic that was both delicious and figure-friendly. And as an added bonus: we had some champagne that was just begging to be use. I wanted to make enough that I could freeze a portion of it so I can heat it up whenever I want, especially on days when the Mister is out on business. So I did, and it is marvelous.  This recipe will make a hearty 8×8 sized casserole plus enough casserole goodness to mostly fill up a 4×9 disposable aluminium bread pan to place in the freezer for a later date.

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So without any more interruptions, let’s get started.

Ingredients:

  • ½ cup of butter

  • 1 large onion, diced

  • ½ yellow bell pepper, diced

  • 4 garlic cloves, minced

  • 1 ½ cup of Moscato Spumante champagne, Barefoot Bubbly.

  • 1 ½ cup of Greek yogurt, add more if you want a creamier casserole.

  • ½ cup of milk,  skim. You can use any kind of milk you like.

  • ½ cup of light sour cream

  • 1 tsp of Sweet Basil

  • 1 tsp of tarragon
  • ½ tsp of ground mustard

  • ½ tsp of white pepper

  • 1 tsp of black pepper

  • 1 tbsp of salt

  • ½ tsp of oregano

  • 1 tbsp of honey

  • 4 – 4 oz canned tuna (drained)

  • 1 ½ cup of shredded Parmesan cheese

  • 8oz sliced baby bella mushrooms

  • 8oz frozen sweet peas, optional.

Topping: 1 cup of shredded Parmesan cheese, 1 ½ cup of Panko bread crumbs, drizzle of olive oil.

Directions

  1. Preheat your oven to 375F.

  2. In a large pot, cook your pasta according to the directions on the box. For this recipe I used rotini but feel free to use any pasta you’d like. Cook the pasta to al dente, drain and return to the pot (off of the heat).

  3. In a large skillet, place your stick of butter and let it brown over medium heat (Don’t know how to brown butter? Check out this link)TunaCasserole_NerdsAndNomsense-1

  4. Once the butter has browned, add in your diced onions and cook until they become mostly translucent. After the onions are ready, add in your minced garlic cloves, and cook for about 2 minutes. Do not burn your garlic.TunaCasserole_NerdsAndNomsense-2

  5. Pour in your champagne and scrape up all those little, delicious browned bits from the bottom of the pan and add in your mushrooms and let the it simmer for 10 minutes.TunaCasserole_NerdsAndNomsense-5

  6. Add the greek yogurt, milk, and sour cream and stir until everything is mixed evenly. Go ahead and sprinkle in your spices and honey.TunaCasserole_NerdsAndNomsense-6

  7. Toss in your tuna, cover, turn the heat down to medium low and let the sauce and tuna marry for about 5 minutes.

  8. Pour the contents of the skillet into your noodles and add the diced bell peppers, shredded parmesan cheese, and frozen peas.  Stir till combined.TunaCasserole_NerdsAndNomsense-7

  9. Grease an 8×8 casserole dish and a disposable aluminum 4×9 bread pan (to freeze for later).

  10. Distribute the casserole ‘guts’ into the dish and the aluminium pan and smooth out the top.TunaCasserole_NerdsAndNomsense-8

  11. For the topping mix everything together in a small bowl so that the olive oil is evenly coated on both the panko and the Parmesan. Spread the topping on the casserole dish only (When you’re ready to heat up the other casserole out of the freezer, go ahead and whip up some – using only half the quantities for the 4×9 dish).TunaCasserole_NerdsAndNomsense-9

  12. Place your casserole in the oven for 20 minutes at 375F.

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  13. Let your casserole sit for 5 minutes before serving.

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This casserole turned out better than I would have thought. It’s filling without being “Oh my gawd I have to unbutton my pants because I’m so full.” The best part of the whole ordeal was the reaction from my husband. He said that this was the best tuna noodle casserole he’s ever had and it’s perfect because it’s not too fishy. Go me!

This casserole isn’t super saucy and has a perfect balance of noodles to veggies and tuna. The topping gives a nice crunch to the whole shebang so you’ve got creamy and crunchy all on one plate. The best part is that you can tweak the spices to your liking. If you’d like your T.N.C to have a little more kick to it – just add some smokey chili powder, etc. If you want a creamier casserole – add more greek yogurt and try using half-and-half instead of skim milk.

Schmancy Tuna Noodle Casserole
 
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
 
Author:
Recipe type: Casserole
Serves: 6
Ingredients
  • ½ cup of butter
  • 1 large onion, diced
  • ½ yellow bell pepper, diced
  • 4 garlic cloves
  • 1 ½ cup of Moscato Spumante champagne
  • 1 ½ cup of greek yogurt
  • ½ cup of milk, skim
  • ½ cup of light sour cream
  • 1 tsp of Sweet Basil
  • 1 tsp of tarragon
  • ½ tsp of ground mustard
  • ½ tsp of white pepper
  • 1 tsp of black pepper
  • 1 tbsp of salt
  • ½ tsp of oregano
  • 1 tbsp of honey
  • 4 - 4 oz canned tuna (drained)
  • 1 ½ cup of shredded Parmesan cheese
  • 8oz sliced baby bella mushrooms
  • 8oz frozen peas, optional
Instructions
  1. Preheat your oven to 375F.
  2. In a large pot, cook your pasta according to the directions on the box. For this recipe I used rotini but feel free to use any pasta you’d like. Cook the pasta to al dente, drain and return to the pot (off of the heat).
  3. In a large skillet, place your stick of butter and let it brown over medium heat.
  4. Once the butter has browned, add in your diced onions and cook until they become mostly translucent. After the onions are ready, add in your minced garlic cloves, and cook for about 2 minutes.
  5. Pour in your champagne and scrape up all those little, delicious browned bits from the bottom of the pan and add in your mushrooms and let the it simmer for 10 minutes.
  6. Add the greek yogurt, milk, and sour cream and stir until everything is mixed evenly. Go ahead and sprinkle in your spices and honey.
  7. Toss in your tuna, cover, turn the heat down to medium low and let the sauce and tuna marry for about 5 minutes.
  8. Pour the contents of the skillet into your noodles and add the diced bell peppers, shredded Parmesan cheese, and frozen peas. Stir till combined.
  9. Grease an 8x8 casserole dish and a disposable aluminum 4x9 bread pan (to freeze for later).
  10. Distribute the casserole ‘guts’ into the dish and the aluminium pan and smooth out the top.
  11. For the topping mix everything together so that the olive oil is evenly coated on both the panko and the Parmesan. Spread the topping on the casserole dish only (When you’re ready to heat up the other casserole out of the freezer, go ahead and whip up some - using only half the quantities for the 4x9 dish).
  12. Place your casserole in the oven for 20 minutes at 375F.
  13. Let your casserole sit for 5 minutes before serving.

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Enjoy! Oh and be sure to tell us how your casserole turned out.

And as always: We’d love to hear from you! Come say hi in the comments below or (let’s be friends!) on our TwitterFacebook, and Tumblr…. OH AND WE’RE ON INSTAGRAM too! So many social medias… so much procrastination. :) And if you’re on Pinterest, well… we’re there too!

Psst… check back on Wednesday when we announce our TEN new writers that have joined the Nerdship! It’s exciting.

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