Skillet Tuna Noodle Casserole

Even though dietary fat isn’t an issue for me (since I malabsorb 60% of my fat intake), other members of my family who live here aren’t quite so lucky. This recipe, which I started making over a year ago, is a good compromise – virtually all of the flavor of a more rich tuna noodle casserole, without all of the guilt.

Skillet Tuna Casserole

Skillet Tuna Noodle Casserole
recipe courtesy Eating Well Magazine

8 ounces whole-wheat egg noodles
1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
1 medium onion, finely chopped
8 ounces mushrooms, sliced
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup dry white wine
6 tablespoons all-purpose flour
3 cups nonfat milk
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground pepper
12 ounces canned chunk light tuna (see Tip), drained
1 cup frozen peas, thawed
1 cup finely grated Parmesan cheese, divided
1/2 cup coarse dry whole-wheat breadcrumbs (see Tip)

1. Bring a large pot of water to a boil. Cook noodles until just tender, 6 to 8 minutes or according to package directions. Drain and rinse.

2. Position rack in upper third of oven and preheat broiler.

3. Meanwhile, heat oil in a large ovenproof skillet over medium-high heat. Add onion, mushrooms and salt and cook, stirring often, until the onion is softened but not browned, about 5 minutes. Add wine and cook until evaporated, 4 to 5 minutes. Sprinkle flour over the vegetables; stir to coat. Add milk and pepper and bring to a simmer, stirring constantly. Stir in tuna, peas and 1/2 cup Parmesan until evenly incorporated. Then, stir in the noodles (the pan will be very full). Remove from the heat.

4. Sprinkle the casserole with breadcrumbs and the remaining 1/2 cup Parmesan. Broil until bubbly and lightly browned on top, 3 to 4 minutes.

NUTRITION INFORMATION: Per serving: 406 calories; 8 g fat (3 g sat, 3 g mono); 53 mg cholesterol; 47 g carbohydrate; 32 g protein; 5 g fiber; 684 mg sodium; 593 mg potassium.
Nutrition bonus: Calcium (30% daily value), Potassium (17% dv), Iron, Vitamin A & Vitamin C (15% dv), good source of omega-3s. 3 Carbohydrate Servings
Exchanges: 2 1/2 starch, 1/2 nonfat milk, 3 lean meat

TIP: Tips: Chunk light tuna, which comes from the smaller skipjack or yellowfin, has less mercury than canned white albacore tuna. FDA/EPA advice recommends no more than 6 ounces of albacore a week; up to 12 ounces canned light is considered safe.

To make fresh breadcrumbs, trim crusts from whole-wheat bread. Tear bread into pieces and process in a food processor until coarse crumbs form. One slice of bread makes about 1/2 cup fresh crumbs. For dry breadcrumbs, spread the fresh crumbs on a baking sheet and bake at 250°F until crispy, about 15 minutes. One slice of fresh bread makes about 1/3 cup dry crumbs. Or use prepared coarse dry breadcrumbs. We like Ian’s brand labeled “Panko breadcrumbs.” Find them in the natural-foods section of large supermarkets.

MAKE AHEAD TIP: Prepare through Step 3, spoon into an 8-inch-square glass baking dish, cover with foil and refrigerate for up to 1 day. Sprinkle with breadcrumbs and cheese (Step 4) and bake, covered, at 350ºF for 50 minutes. Uncover and cook until browned and bubbly, about 15 minutes more.