I’ve been craving quintessential American dishes all week – mainly tuna noodle casserole which my mother has always referred to as the poor man’s meal – so I decided to whip one together using this recipe I found on Skinny Taste, a new favorite food blog of mine where the author takes on everyday dishes and turns them into lighter, healthier versions of themselves. I finally had to cancel my membership to Weight Watchers which also eliminated a good chunk of my recipe box I had saved on there. It was a sad day but Skinny Taste has proven to be a nice alternative.
There are endless amounts of ways to make tuna noodle casserole but my favorite ingredient (and which I think really pulls the recipe together) is of course the CHEESE. Most lighter, healthier recipes will call for you to use fat-free cheddar but to be quite honest it sucks, has a funky taste to it, and you leave your palette thinking, “What the hell was that?” So in this regard, I did not skimp; real sharp cheddar cheese all the way. If you watch your portion sizes, it really doesn’t make such a huge difference in the end. Following the recipe as it is guarantees an 8 point meal if you’re using Weight Watchers. Doing it my way makes it 9-10 points depending on the serving size. It’s worth the extra points, I promise you.
Minus the cheese and barrage of extra vegetables I added to the dish, I pretty much followed the recipe as it was laid out. I didn’t have any breadcrumbs on hand and didn’t much feel like making my own so I opted to use crushed saltine crackers instead. It got the job done, but the dish was missing that extra crunchy zest to the top of it. The one thing I would do differently for next time is sauté the mushrooms before adding them to the sauce. Mushrooms have been an acquired taste on my part but I use them in a lot of recipes for the added health benefit. I usually dice them in small pieces and sauté with onions and garlic so they shrink. By doing that, I don’t normally notice them in the dish I make. In this recipe though, I definitely noticed them. It wasn’t bad per se, but I really don’t like the consistency of it. It’s like a soft crunch so it kind of weirds me out when I eat them but if you love mushrooms it won’t matter.
Overall, the dish satiated my desire for a cheesy, comfort food and I’ll definitely make it again. More importantly though, I have an entire week’s worth of food left over which I made for less than $10. I love saving money!