Thursday, October 10, 2013

Tuna Noodle Casserole with Cream Cheese, Spinach and Peas

Comfort food.  
Something that makes you feel good, something that Mom used to make.
Oh yeah, except my Mom never, ever made Tuna Noodle casserole, or hot dish, what ever you call it. I am sure she was capable, and I bet she even ate it when she was a girl, but she never thought it was something you feed your family.  Yep, a tiny bit of a food snob perhaps.  I love that she had that way back when.

However, I had to forge out on my own, into unknown foods with this one as a newlywed a long, long time ago.  I'm pretty positive my mother-in-law (rest in peace, so forgive me) didn't make a very good one.  Cooking was not her forte, shall we say it nicely? I'm thankful to her for that, because she raised an awesome guy that is appreciate, thankful, grateful for 99.9% of the things I put in front of him.  We'll talk about that other .1% some other time, okay?

Someone in my house loves this, and guess what, so do I!

In full disclosure, I made this recipe with half a box of pasta (as written below) but it is quite saucy, so if you have a crowd of 8 to serve, but all means try it with a full box of pasta.  I think it would work out just fine. 

Serves about 4-5

8-10 oz noodles, like macaroni or campanelle(as I used)
2 Tbsp butter
1/2 onion, chopped
2 Tbsp flour
2 cups milk
4 oz. cream cheese
1/2 cup cheese, cheddar or jack
2 cans tuna, packed in water(not drained)
1 cup frozen peas
1-2 cups fresh spinach, shredded 

Get a large pot of salted water boiling over high heat for the pasta. When boiling, add the noodles and cook until almost  al dente, add the chopped spinach and the peas.  Cook for 1-2 more minutes, drain.

While you are waiting for the noodles to cook, saute the the onions in the butter over medium heat until they start to soften, about 3-4 minutes.  Add the flour and stir until combined together... it will start to thicken.  Add in the cream cheese and stir, add in the milk, stirring constantly. 

Add in the cheese and the tuna (with the tuna juice) and stir to combine.  Add salt and pepper to taste.  The sauce should taste yummy and delicious before you put in the noodles. Add in the fresh hot noodles and the spinach and peas.  Stir to combine and bring the whole mixture back to bubbling, then serve at once.
You could put this in a buttered pan and top with bread crumbs or crushed potatoes chips and cook for 15-20 minutes at 350 degrees until bubbly hot. 

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