So, I’ve been on this semi-liquid diet for a while, and am just now allowed to have soft foods. This is almost like winning the lottery, except for the millions of dollars, the media appearances and the new Lamborghini. But it does feel wonderful to be able to eat something more than soup and soggy crackers. It’s amazing how good mashed potatoes out of a box taste when you’ve had nothing but liquids for a month. And you’d be impressed to know how many different ways I’ve spiced up a can of tomato soup. Impressed, I say!
Eggs. Lovely, silky-smooth scrambled eggs, with a hint of spices/herbs and a small pat of butter melting on top. Can you hear the angels sing? Because I’m pretty sure they were rockin’ out the first time I got to put those in my mouth again. Unfortunately, I haven’t yet figured out what I can smother in barbecue sauce without the doctor slapping me silly. But I’m biding my time…
OK. back to the task at hand. Noodles are soft, and when you break tuna up into teeny tiny flakes, they’re OK for a soft food diet. As long as you don’t go crazy on the spices – horseradish and such – this is a perfect match. I grew up on noodle casseroles. My mom was a Casserole Queen (Casserole Cween? Qasserole Queen? Meh…) Some noodles and can of Cream of Something Soup and some tuna or canned chicken and Shazaam! Dinner is on the table, probably with a green vegetable and small salad to go with it.
1/2 cup half and half
1/4 teaspoon garlic powder
1/4 teaspoon onion powder
1/4 teaspoon thyme
1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
3 teaspoons prepared horseradish
Salt and pepper to taste
2 cans (5 oz. each) tuna
6-8 ounces noodles (about half a bag or box)
2 tablespoons butter
1/4 cup bread crumbs
scant 1/4 cup Parmesan cheese
Preheat oven to 350°.
Prepare noodles according to package directions. Don’t overcook them, as they will soften further in the casserole.
While noodles are cooking, get everything else together.
In a large bowl, combine half and half with all the spices. Stir them up like crazy.
Drain tuna and add to bowl. Stir like crazy for twice as long, and make sure you flake up all the tuna, leaving no chunks. Now, let everything get to know everything else and get happy.
Melt butter in small pan. I have a 2-cup stainless measuring cup that works great.
Add bread crumbs and Parmesan cheese to butter and stir to coat.
When noodles are done cooking, run cold water into the pot for about half a minute to stop the cooking process. Drain immediately.
Add noodles to your large bowl and fold gently with a large spoon. Make sure you distribute the tuna/soup mixture evenly, but be careful to not destroy your noodles.
Grease your casserole dish lightly (I use olive oil), and dump your bowl into the dish. Sprinkle the bread/cheese mixture over the top. Don’t be a baby; use your hands to crumble it out. This allows for more even distribution, and you can wash your hands afterwards.
Bake at for 30 minutes or until the top is nicely browned. Remove from oven and let sit for five minutes to tighten up.
Serve to plates and sprinkle a little Parmesan cheese all around for a fancy presentation (that takes about 5 seconds).
Regarding the noodles: I usually use extra wide or dumpling noodles, because that’s what I grew up on. However, you can use other pasta shapes if you so choose. Ziti, Penne, macaroni, wheels… dinosaurs if you’re cooking for small kids.
Feel free to add one half to a whole can of peas. You can also add a half a small onion (finely minced) instead of onion powder, some finely chopped celery, chopped olives, red bell pepper and more. But remember, this started out as an easy recipe.
You can also top with shredded cheese of your chosen variety. I normally use Swiss or Provolone, but that’s just me!
By the way, if you have to stay with the softest food possible, you can omit the bread crumbs. You can also cover the dish with foil so that the top of the casserole doesn’t brown. Thankfully, I didn’t have to do either of those!
Next time you want a hot, nutritious meal or just some basic Comfort Food, try this one out. And always, always, always…
Play with your food!
I have more Easy Recipes here.
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