Thursday, October 31, 2013

Happy Wife, Happy Life TUNA PASTA CASSEROLE - Church PotLuck Main Course

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I file this dish as "Happy Wife, Happy Life" Tuna Casserole.  This is one of those dishes that my wife will ask for when ever I ask her what she would like me to cook.  But, to be honest... Hot fish casserole is not my favorite dish (by a very long way).  But that's a personal taste issue.  She LOVES this.

The little Fish Crackers (get it, fish casserole, garnished with fish) are my favorite cracker.  One of those, "bet you can't eat just one" bags of food that I would sit and eat every one.  Brings out the inner 5 year old in me.  Which makes this a great casserole dish for a PotLuck, Family gathering, even fits into a Holiday meal for those folks who do not care for turkey.

And speaking of a Holiday meal... How about saving this for a Left Over Turkey dish.  Just change the tuna to turkey and you are set.

But leave in the fish crackers.

OK... Here's what I did...

Fishy Parmesan

  • 3 Cans (5 OZ each, 15 OZ Total) Water Packed Tuna, drained
  • 1 Pound Dried Pasta (I used Campanelle shaped), can substitute Egg Noodles
  • 2 TBS Olive Oil
  • 1/2 Medium Red Bell Peppers, small dice
  • 1 Medium Onion, small dice
  • 1 Can Sweet Peas, drained
  • 8 OZ Cream Cheese
  • 1 Cup 1/2 and 1/2
  • 1/2 Cup Whole Milk
  • 3/4 Cup plus 1/4 Cup Grated Parmesan Cheese
  • 2 tsp Thyme
  • 2 tsp Chives
  • Salt and Pepper to Taste
  • 1/4 Cup Fish Shaped Crackers, Crushed to crumbs
  • Additional Whole Fish Shaped Crackers to Garnish
Cooking Directions
  1. Preheat oven to 250 Degrees
  2. Follow the directions on the Pasta box and cook... BUT 2 minutes less than suggested (Pasta will finish cooking in oven) Drain
  3. Meanwhile in a large ceramic coated Dutch Oven Casserole pot, heat the Olive Oil over medium high heat.
  4. Add Onions and red peppers. and saute until the onions cook through and begin to turn translucent.
  5. Add Cream, Sour Cream and 1/2 and 1.2 to the Casserole pot, stir to combine and mix.
  6. Add the cooked Pasta, 3/4 Cup Parmesan Cheese and Peas and the spices. Stir again to combine.
  7. Add additional milk as needed to thin sauce.
  8. Top with most of the cracker crumbs, fold, add final couple of tsp of crumbs and Parmesan Cheese to top.
  9. Bake for 1 hour until top becomes golden brown and delicious looking.
  10. Serve with additional whole fish crackers as garnish and ENJOY!


This recipe has been added to my growing list of "52 Church PotLuck Dishes"!

A list of something NEW worthy of being shown off at a neighborhood BYODish (Bring Your Own Dish) Party, a Family special occasion dinner, Any Big Holiday Gathering or of course that glorious day when you bring a dish to share with your Church family...

Ages ago, literally almost a half century ago I was listening to our pastor talking about a PotLuck Dinner. It happened to be scheduled around a church work day when we were expected to weed, polish and do general cleaning and maintenance around the church (you know, back in the day when there were no no-wax floors and church pews smelled of Old English furniture polish). I am of course paraphrasing, but as I recall the pastor said,

"A potluck, like a church requires work. At a potluck everyone is expected to contribute.. At a church no one should come empty handed and no one should leave unfed".
I will confess that in my youth I brought more store bought plastic spoons and forks than I ever brought covered dishes and crock pots of fresh made love and caring delights. But now that I have become a hobbyist cook, I occasionally am reminded of those days and people from my youth. I reminded and I do wish that I could drop a dish of some new creation on those old tables at my fondly remembered Liberty Baptist Church.  Tables covered with newspapers and loaded with God's bounty prepared with love and caring... Enjoy


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