11 Nov

Mae-Mae’s Tuna Casserole

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I will confess that tuna casserole is not my favorite dish, but my girls love it and beg me to make it. I decided to try to make a tuna casserole that is not fishy (does that sound strange?), very moist (dryness is the real enemy here), and a delicious comfort food that would surpass even my little Mae-Mae’s high expectations!

What helped me along in my decision to tackle this dish was that the other night I found myself with no other meat protein in the house besides canned tuna, and I remembered the delicious Creamy Celery Soup I’d made a few weeks ago when it was chilly and we had a summer storm. I thought I’d use some of that celery soup as my upgrade from the traditional canned cream of soup that my girls are allergic to anyways.

Now the big question when tackling a comfort food like tuna casserole and trying to make it be Gluten- and Cow dairy-free is: how do you effectively replace main ingredients that are full of gluten and cow’s dairy? In my version, I’ll use a great GF pasta noodle that tastes so much like regular pasta, an Italian would be hard-pressed to notice (I can confirm this is true since my beautiful Italian-American sister-in-law, who is also a fantastic cook, has verified this). I’ll also replace the traditional cheddar with a Spanish sheep’s milk cheese, Queso Manchego, which is the best stand-in for cheddar I’ve come across.

Now onto the awesome Tuna Casserole!

Ingredients:

1 quart Creamy Celery Soup

1 cup Easy & Delicious Homemade Mayonnaise

1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce

1/2 teaspoon Tabasco sauce (1 teaspoon if desired)

1 1/2 cups yellow onion, small dice

2 cups celery, small dice

24 ounces white albacore tuna, drained (two 12-oz cans)

12 ounce bag of Gluten-Free pasta (I used a kids pasta shape, see picture), slightly undercooked & drained (my pasta called for 7-9 minutes, and I cooked it for 5 minutes)

2 cups Manchego cheese, shredded (made in Spain from sheep’s milk)

Salt & Pepper

Several handfuls of plain Organic Ruffles potato chips

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(As you can see above, I was almost out of mayo so I had to make a new batch! See how here.)

Directions:

Turn the oven on 375 degrees. In a large stainless steel bowl, whisk together the celery soup and the mayonnaise until well blended. Whisk in the Worcestershire and Tabasco sauces. Then whisk in the diced onion and celery (you want to use a small dice because these veggie pieces will make it onto your fork, so they should be small and easy to eat):

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Next, whisk in the well-drained albacore tuna:

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Then switch to a spatula and stir in the slightly undercooked/al dente pasta:

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Fold in the shredded Manchego cheese:

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Salt and pepper to taste. I used 1 teaspoon sea salt and 1 teaspoons fresh ground black pepper. Pour the mix into a 9 x 13 casserole dish:

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Next sprinkle another 3/4 cup or so of shredded Manchego cheese over the top. I’m sure I’m not the only one out there that’s incredibly relieved that Ruffles makes an organic potato chip that’s both Gluten-free and made with a decent oil (organic Sunflower oil). So next we take this tuna casserole to the next level by crushing handfuls of the chips over the top of the dish (over the cheese) until there’s a nice top layer that will brown up for us beautifully.

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You can stop at this point and store the casserole in the fridge until 45 minutes before dinnertime. You could even do this the night before, although I’d wait & crush the potato chip topping until right before popping in the oven.

Bake the casserole in the oven for approximately 45 minutes, until it’s bubbly:

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I decided to pop it back in under the broiler for a few minutes to get a nice golden crust:

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I have to say the whole house smelled heavenly. I had four girls in the kitchen peering into the oven asking over and over when it would be done! Here it is on the plate:

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I had five very happy eaters, and Mae-Mae had thirds! I even enjoyed it, and the most amazing thing about it is we ate a delicious meal that you’d never guess…was Gluten-free, Cow dairy-free, sugar-free…awesome!

Mae-Mae's Tuna Casserole
Serves 6
A moist, creamy, delicious tuna casserole that is not fishy, and is free of gluten, cow's dairy & sugar!
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Prep Time
20 min
Cook Time
45 min
Total Time
1 hr 5 min
Prep Time
20 min
Cook Time
45 min
Total Time
1 hr 5 min
Ingredients
  1. 1 quart Creamy Celery Soup
  2. 1 cup Easy & Delicious Homemade Mayonnaise
  3. 1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
  4. 1/2 teaspoon Tabasco sauce (1 teaspoon if desired)
  5. 1 1/2 cups yellow onion, small dice
  6. 2 cups celery, small dice
  7. 24 ounces white albacore tuna, drained (two 12-oz cans)
  8. 12 ounce bag of Gluten-Free pasta (I used a kids pasta shape, see picture), slightly undercooked & drained (my pasta called for 7-9 minutes, and I cooked it for 5 minutes)
  9. 2 cups Manchego cheese, shredded (made in Spain from sheep's milk)
  10. Salt & Pepper
  11. Several handfuls of plain Organic Ruffles potato chips
Instructions
  1. Turn the oven on 375 degrees. In a large stainless steel bowl, whisk together the celery soup and the mayonnaise until well blended. Whisk in the Worcestershire and Tabasco sauces. Then whisk in the diced onion and celery (you want to use a small dice because these veggie pieces will make it onto your fork, so they should be small and easy to eat).
  2. Next, whisk in the well-drained albacore tuna.
  3. Then switch to a spatula and stir in the slightly undercooked/al dente pasta.
  4. Fold in the shredded Manchego cheese.
  5. Salt and pepper to taste. I used 1 teaspoon sea salt and 1 teaspoons fresh ground black pepper. Pour the mix into a 9 x 13 casserole dish.
  6. Next sprinkle another 3/4 cup or so of shredded Manchego cheese over the top. I'm sure I'm not the only one out there that's incredibly relieved that Ruffles makes an organic potato chip that's both Gluten-free and made with a decent oil (organic Sunflower oil). So next we take this tuna casserole to the next level by crushing handfuls of the chips over the top of the dish (over the cheese) until there's a nice top layer that will brown up for us beautifully.
  7. You can stop at this point and store the casserole in the fridge until 45 minutes before dinnertime. You could even do this the night before, although I'd wait & crush the potato chip topping until right before popping in the oven.
  8. Bake the casserole in the oven for approximately 45 minutes, until it's bubbly.
  9. You can also pop it back in under the broiler for a few minutes to get a nice golden crust.
Notes
  1. This recipe is free of gluten, cow's dairy, and sugar.
Oreganic Farms http://oreganicfarms.com/

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