Sunday, March 21, 2010

23. Cheesy Tuna Mac

My grandmother used to make this dish called Tuna Casserole, which growing up I wasn't exactly fond of. First of all I really dislike canned tuna, and second of all, it was bland. It also offended me by being a pretender to the crown, it wanted to be macaroni and cheese so badly, but fell short. She (whom I loved dearly) used to make a weird sort of roux using whole milk, 2 pounds of american cheese, tons of butter and cream of mushroom soup. It was always better on the second day, with about 1/4 of a cup of butter... Needless to say, I can't make this no matter how much my family wants me to.

However, I have been searching for quite a while for a recipe for macaroni and cheese that lived up to my standards. So a few nights ago during an episode of Good Eats when I got some pretty good ideas I had to try them out. Now, please, trust me on this. Go with it. If you have ever made a real roux in your life you will probably cry your eyes out the whole time you're whisking away... It tasted amazing! It was creamy with a crispy top. I have no leftovers! My WW friendly dish stands up to full fat macaroni and cheese! I have taken one of my family's most classic recipes and brought it to the present! All of the flavor without the guilt or gain. You can lower the points of this dish by using low fat Velveeta which I could not find!

Just a note for WW users: Please always double check your own points values!

Cheesy Tuna Mac - 7 points per serving
Serves 8 (9 points per serving at 6 servings)
Special Equipment: Casserole dish with round corners*

1 box whole wheat rotini (or anything you like, 5-6 servings pasta)
2 cups chopped, cooked broccoli
1 can 98% fat free cream of mushroom soup
1/2 cup skim milk
1/4 cup all purpose flour
10oz regular Velveeta
5 oz can water packed tunafish, drained
1/4 cup fat free shredded cheese
1 cup unprepared (dry mix) stuffing mix
1 tbsp light margarine
2 tbsp spicy brown mustard (or any mustard you like)
1/2 tbsp garlic powder
1/2 tbsp onion powder
1 tsp paprika
2 tbsp hot sauce

1. Preheat oven to 350. Cook your pasta as the package directs, drain and rinse with cold water. Set aside.

2. In a sauce pan or skillet on low heat add your milk and margarine. When the milk starts to get warm add your flour and start whisking. Continue whisking keeping the heat low until you get a paste like texture. Add the Velveeta, cream of mushroom soup, salt and pepper and let sit, stirring gently occasionally. (You can avoid a wait here by warming your cheese in the microwave to loosen it up a bit, which I did not think of until right now!)

3. When the cheese is pretty much melted, pour the mixture into a deep mixing bowl and whisk thoroughly until the texture is smooth and creamy.

4. Fold in broccoli, pasta, tuna, mustard, garlic, onion powder, and hot sauce. You want to mix well, but not mash your pasta.

5. Transfer pasta mixture to a casserole dish that has been sprayed with cooking spray. Sprinkle on paprika, then cheddar, then stuffing mix in that order.

6. Cover and bake for 35-40 minutes. Serve immediately! Enjoy!

*Rounded corners on a casserole dish keep the corners of your pan from taking most of the heat, and too much of the cooking!

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