The weeks between the end of the holidays and the beginning of Spring always seem like the busiest time of the whole year.
It’s as if life says, “Okay, now it’s really time to get down to business.” Somehow workdays get busier and evenings begin to fill up with events and responsibilities that weren’t there only a few weeks ago.
From a cooking perspective, this gets complicated. That’s why in winter I always simplify matters with casseroles and crock pots.
Casseroles and crock pots allow you to prepare ahead of time for times you know you’re going to be stressful. Two or three meals can be prepared at once, then stored in the refrigerator or even the freezer until they are needed.
My crock pot has certainly gotten a workout in the past couple of weeks, so it was time to focus on hearty and filling casseroles. But casseroles don’t have to be the same old familiar standards time and time again.
This recipe is a twist on the tuna casserole recipe we’ve all had thousands of times before. It takes familiar ingredients and mixes them up in a way that’s fresh, delicious and unexpected. The tuna could easily be replaced with leftover chicken, ground turkey or beef, or even pork.
Easy Tuna Tetrazzini with Spinach
8 oz dry whole wheat linguine, broken into thirds (half box)
1 10-1/2 oz can cream of celery soup
1 10-oz box frozen chopped spinach, thawed and drained
1/2 cup milk
2 6-oz cans white chunk tuna in water, drained
1/4 cup oven roasted tomatoes (or jarred roasted red peppers), rough chop
1/2 tsp granulated garlic
1/2 tsp onion powder
1 tsp Italian seasoning
1/4 tsp hot sauce
Sea salt and fresh cracked black pepper to taste
1/4 cup Italian-style dry bread crumbs
2 TBS grated parmesan
1 TBS unsalted butter
1. Preheat oven to 350F. Spray 9-inch square casserole dish with pan spray. Cook linguine according to package instructions, drain and run under cold water to stop the cooking process.
2. In a mixing bowl, combine pasta, soup, tuna, milk and tomatoes. Season with granulated garlic, onion powder, hot sauce and Italian seasoning and mix. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Transfer to baking dish.
3. In a small bowl, combine bread crumbs, parmesan and butter. Use your fingers to mix the butter into the dry ingredients until the butter chunks are the size of small pebbles. Sprinkle evenly over casserole and bake in oven uncovered for 45 minutes or until golden brown and bubbly.
What kind of dishes do you like to cook to make busy days more manageable? Share your ideas in the comments section below. And thanks for looking at my blog!