During Lent Catholics do not eat meat on Fridays. This is just a way for us to remind us of the sacrifice that was given to us during this season by Jesus. The fact that all of us give up meat on Fridays is also sort of a bonding experience – we have fish frys after church on Fridays and spend time with church family members. But it is not always feasible to get to church on Fridays (especially when attending an open floor class for TKD), so there are a myriad of non-meat dishes that are passed down in Catholic households. There is one that was fixed routinely when I was a child and I love it to this day. At any given time the Cubs may or may not like it, depending on their ever-changing moods. But I thought I would share it with you all.
1C elbow macaroni (I use 1/2 regular and 1/2 whole wheat to give this some sort of nutritional value)
1 can of tuna in water (you could use canned chicken as well if you aren’t trying to stay meat free)
1 can of cream of mushroom soup (any cream soup will work – I really like cream of chicken when it is not lent)
Croutons (if you really want to get on the good side of the older Cub)
How to make:
Cook pasta to desired done-ness
While pasta is cooking pre-heat oven to 350 deg.
Drain tuna well
Combine tuna, soup and as much cheese as you desire in a casserole dish
Once pasta is cooked drain well and add to the tuna mixture
Top with a handful of cheese and the croutons and pop in the oven until the cheese is all melty and wonderful.
This is one of those dishes that is even better the second day.
I will do things like add seasoned salt, garlic powder, dill – whatever I happen to grab from the spice cabinet. You can make this pseudo healthy by using the whole wheat pasta (more than 1/2 as whole wheat is not quite as good as it overpowers the other flavors), low-fat soup and low-fat cheese. I make it for comfort on cold nights – so I am not looking for the nutritional value! Throw some frozen broccoli in the water with the pasta and you have added a great punch of nutrition. A crunchy side salad makes a wonderful complement to this creamy dish.
I have been told that it is possible to have too much cheese in this dish. So far, I have not found that tipping point yet. If you do, let me know! For our family of 4 we can go through a double batch of this and have enough left over for lunch for Papa Bear and me – barely.
If you try it, please let me know what you think!
If any of you out there are Gluten Free, please let me know if you are able to adjust this to fit your needs.