Wednesday, November 28, 2007

Presto Pasta... or is That Presto Cheese... Nights!

An old favourite of children and adults everywhere is popping up today on this blog's menu, or at least a variation of it. I mean, who hasn't had tuna-macaroni casserole before? I've only ever had it once, mind you, and after that it was all about the day-old Kraft Dinner with tomato sauce, peas and turkey when it came to mixed up noodles. But more on that later. I came up with this absurdly cheesy, whole-wheat and panko variation of the popular comfort food since I know a certain someone who loooooves cheese, and pasta!! Well, actually two certain someones (the second being my little sister), but since she detests tuna in any form (which is such a shame... I mean, a life without Tekka Maki?) and hates any form of mac & cheese aside from the kind from the familiar blue box, none of this will be for her.

Since joining the Presto Pasta Nights fray last week over at Ruth's Once Upon a Kitchen, I've had fun letting my mind wander with lots of future ideas! By the way, if anyone can point me to an Ontario (non-internet) source of whole-wheat jumbo pasta shells (the kind used for stuffing) I would be much much obliged. I have a vegan variant of Valerie's recipe that I would love to try, but the refined, fibre-lacking varieties of anything (I'm talking white bread, rice, pasta, anything) bother my stomach so I'm constantly searching for alternates.

For those of you not in the know, panko are coarse, Japanese breadcrumbs noted for their crunchy texture, which is lighter and crispier than regular breadcrumbs. If you can't find them (and it can be tricky) crush Melba Toasts and use those, it works well too (Cooking Light).

I ran this recipe through a nutrition calculator too, if you care to know the facts. You'll probably begin to notice a lot of my recipes with the NI tacked on the end, I'm putting together a healthy cooking presentation for my mom and have gotten into the habit of analyzing just what and how we eat. Just ignore it if you're not curious or concerned about things like that!

Cheese Casserole with Tuna
Serves 6
1 cup whole-wheat or multigrain elbow macaroni, uncooked
1 can condensed cream of mushroom soup
2 cans chunk tuna in water, drained
½ pound Cheddar cheese, shredded
½ pound Swiss cheese, shredded
1 cup panko crumbs

  1. Preheat oven to 350F.
  2. Bring a large pot of lightly salted water to a boil.
  3. Add pasta and cook for 8 to 10 minutes or until al dente; drain.
  4. Meanwhile, in a 9x13 inch baking dish, combine soup, tuna and 1/2 of the cheeses; mix well.
  5. Add pasta to baking dish and mix together.
  6. Add remaining cheese to the top of the mixture, then add panko.
  7. Cover dish and bake in preheated oven for 15 minutes or until the cheese is melted; serve.

Amount Per Serving
Calories: 569.0
Total Fat: 28.0 g
Saturated Fat: 15.9 g
Polyunsaturated Fat: 2.3 g
Monounsaturated Fat: 7.3 g
Cholesterol: 106.2 mg
Sodium: 1,367.8 mg
Potassium: 412.8 mg
Total Carbohydrate: 25.5 g
Dietary Fiber: 1.3 g
Sugars: 1.4 g
Protein: 51.7 g

By the way, Cate from Sweetnick's was kind enough to inform me of the 2007 Food Blog Awards that are coming up. Nominations start this Friday, and voting starts on December 10. Perform your civic blogger duties and vote!


  1. i am glad to be your special someone.. love you with all my might

  2. Sarah, great post and thanks for sharing with Presto Pasta Nights.

    As for multigrain or whole wheat jumbo shells for stuffing....You could try Whole Foods in Toronto on Avenue Road and (it's been a while since I moved to Halifax, so I don't remember the name) a low carb food emporium on Yonge near Castlefield that sells all sorts of products for a variety of diets.


Thanks for the feedback!