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Thursday, April 19, 2012

Tuna Noodle Casserole (Adventures in a Soft-Food Diet)

Those of you who know me personally know that I've been battling TMJ for several months now.  With treatment (which mainly consists of talking as little as possible and taking ibuprofen/prescription painkillers, while waiting for a bite splint to realign your jaw) comes the requirement of eating only soft food.  One can only live so long on soup.  So, while I am off work a bit to have time for my new bite splint to realign my jaw, I decided to use my time to make things.  Things to eat.

If you know me, you also know that I suck at cooking.  Baking, that's another story--but cooking (i.e. dinner-type foods) is not my strong point.  Luckily, someone invented casserole.  And that is how I survive when I don't want to eat something ready-made.  Thus, for your consideration, tuna noodle casserole:

2 cans white albacore tuna, drained
2 cups frozen peas, defrosted in the microwave
2 cans cream of mushroom soup
1 cup milk, fat content of your choice (I go with 2%)
1 1/2 cups bread crumbs, toasted in a frying pan with olive oil or margarine
12 ounce bag of egg noodles, cooked
fresh ground pepper (optional, but delicious)
also optional, 1/2 cup chopped celery (I forgot to buy some, hence the "optional")

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.

Start boiling the egg noodles and toast your bread crumbs.  Set aside the bread crumbs.  My husband got me some nice non-stick Emeril frying pans for Valentine's day, they are awesome!

Mix the tuna, soup, peas, pepper, and milk in a bowl while the egg noodles are cooking.

Drain the cooked noodles and add to already-mixed ingredients. (Make sure the bowl you use is large enough to accommodate all the noodles before you blindly dump them out of the pot. Not that I made a mess or anything.....)  Mix well.

Dump this mixture in a 4-quart casserole dish and spread out until even.

If you're thinking that this mixture looks a bit dry, you're right.  I accidentally  used just a half cup of milk,  and I remembered about halfway through baking.  I took the casserole back out, dumped the milk around the edges, and hopefully it will absorb somewhat evenly... See? I even screw up casserole.

Sprinkle the bread crumbs on top.  

Bake for 25-30 minutes, or until heated thoroughly.
Makes enough for 4-6 people.

Despite the top being a bit dry, it turned out great.  I have come to expect little to nothing when it comes to myself and cooking.  Next time around, I plan to use more pepper and actually  remember to buy celery, because I missed it.  I guess this is better for the soft-food diet.  

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