For my next two meals, I have both a “tried and true” and “want to make.” If you have no idea what I’m talking about, see post #2 in this series. First, the want to make…
Meal #2: Tuna Noodle Casserole
As I was brainstorming meals, tuna casserole came to mind. I didn’t grow up eating this dish but I kind of like the idea. Maybe because I’m always looking for ways to add more omega-3 fatty acids to our diets. I make tuna sandwiches but it would be nice to use canned tuna on a dinner meal (it works great in macaroni and cheese too).
Most traditional tuna casserole recipes call for cream of mushroom soup, something I don’t have on hand. So I attempted my own cream of mushroom sauce from scratch (can’t really call it soup).
First, I sautéed a cup of mushrooms in some oil and chopped them into smaller pieces.
Then, in a separate pan, I added 1/2 Tbsp each of butter and olive oil and 1 Tbsp flour. As the butter started melting, I added in 1 cup of milk and kept stirring (I got the idea from this basic white sauce recipe). I stirred until it starts thickening then I add the mushrooms, salt and garlic powder. Once it was done I set it aside.
In a medium bowl I added two small cans of tuna, 1 cup peas, 1 cup cheddar cheese, cooked egg noodles, and the above sauce and mixed it until well combined. I then placed this mixture on a sprayed 9X13 glass dish. I topped with a breadcrumb/parmesan cheese mixture and cooked for about 20 minutes at 400F.
This had a good flavor but was a bit dry. So next time I will add more milk and add some onion. I also think it needs a bit more noodles.
So this one isn’t ready to go yet.
Meal #3: Turkey Chili
I had been making chili from a few different recipes until I finally came up with one that I wanted to keep making, which is posted here. I feel like chili kinda personal and should be based on a cook’s (or family’s) preferences. You can add more vegetables, different beans and protein sources (for example, my neighbor says she adds steak to hers). Sometimes I’ll throw in a red or green bell pepper when cooking the onions. And you can increase the spice factor with red pepper flakes and hot sauce.
Now that I have a base recipe down, I want to try different cooking variations. This meal is a good candidate for all-day slow cooking. A previous poster mentioned her family is out of the house for 10 plus hours during the week and needs options that are ready when they get home, but not over-cooked. Using dried beans is key and this article shows you how.
But this time, I didn’t use the slow cooker at all as it was later in the day. I started with the onions, cooking in some olive oil for 5 minutes then add the garlic for 1 minute. Then I cooked the meat, lean ground turkey. I drained some of the fat when it was done and dumped it in a large pan.
I added the drained beans to the meat and then added all the seasonings and stirred it all together.
Last I added broth and tomato sauce, gently stirring until well combined.
Here’s the modified recipe.
- 1 Tbsp. olive oil
- ½ onion, chopped
- 1 red or green bell pepper chopped (optional)
- 1 pound ground turkey or other meat
- 2-3 garlic cloves, minced
- 2 (15 ounce) kidney beans, rinsed and drained
- 1 (15 ounce) black beans, rinsed and drained
- 2 Tbsp. chili powder
- ½ Tbsp. cumin
- 1 tsp. garlic powder
- ½ tsp red pepper flakes
- salt and pepper to taste
- 2 cups chicken broth
- 1 (15 ounce) can tomato sauce
- Heat oil over medium/high heat and cook until onion (and peppers if using) are softened about 5 minutes. Add in garlic for about a minute. Add meat and stir until cooked through. When done drain the fat.
- In a large pot, add the beans and the meat mixture. Add spices and mix with a spoon. Then add broth and tomato sauce and gently stir again. If needed, add more liquid to reach desired consistency.
- When the mixture boils, turn down to simmer and cover for about an hour or longer.
Next Post: Meal #4: Salmon Prepared 3 Ways
Previous Post: Meal #1: Slow Cooker Chicken with White Beans
Want to see the final product of this 30-meal challenge? Check out Maryann’s book The Family Dinner Solution: How to Create a Rotation of Dinner Meals Your Family Will Love
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