This one-dish meal casserole may be prepared using only one large saucepan and a 2-quart casserole dish!
Recipe: Jacked-Up Tuna Mac (serves 4 to 6)
Preheat oven to 350-degrees. Oil the casserole dish and set aside.
2/3-cup diced carrots
2/3-cup frozen peas, thawed and set aside
1-1/2 cups whole wheat elbow pasta
2-TBS olive oil
1/3-cup chopped onion
1/4-cup chopped green bell pepper
1-tsp salt or seasoned salt
1/8-tsp black pepper
1/4-tsp dry mustard
2-cups grated medium or sharp cheddar cheese (1-1/2 cup for the sauce, 1/2-cup to top the casserole).
1 - 4.5oz can of albacore or tuna, drained, broken up with a fork
1/3-cup chopped flat-leaf parsley, reserve a tablespoon to garnish
Insert a steamer basket into the saucepan. Add a cup and a half of water and bring to a simmer, add carrots and cover. Steam the carrots until just barely tender, about eight minutes. With a slotted spoon remove the carrots and set them aside with the thawed peas.
Remove the steamer basket from the saucepan, but don't discard the carrot-steaming water. Add additional tap water to the pan to fill about half way, plus one teaspoon of salt, if desired. Bring the water to a boil and add the 1-1/2 cups pasta. Bring to a boil, again, and reduce the heat allowing the pasta to boil gently for six minutes. Pour the pasta into a colander to drain, discarding the water.
In the same saucepan, over medium heat, melt one tablespoon of butter and one tablespoon of the oil. Add the onion and bell pepper. Saute until translucent and limp. Add the remaining tablespoon each of butter and oil. When the butter is melted add the flour, the teaspoon of salt, the pepper, and dry mustard. Stir to incorporate the oils and dry ingredients. Cook, stirring over medium heat for about one minute.
Remove the saucepan from the heat and add the milk all at once, stirring well. Return the pan to medium heat and cook the sauce stirring constantly until thickened and bubbly. Remove from heat and add the 1-1/2 cups cheese 1/2 cup at at time and stirring each in to incorporate smoothly into the sauce. Add the reserved carrots and peas. Add the albacore or tuna. Add the drained pasta. Stir all together and add additional salt and pepper to taste, if desired. Stir in the parsley, reserving one tablespoon for top of casserole.
Pour the mixture into the oiled casserole dish. Top with the remaining half-cup of cheese. Sprinkle on the reserved tablespoon of parsley.
Bake at 350-degrees for 35 to 40 minutes until bubbly and deliciously fragrant.