Foodie Flattery: Tuna “No-Noodle” Casserole

I grew up in a busy family of five where money was pretty tight. As such, dinners in our house were kept on a budget, usually one-pot meals, and needed to be able to feed a family of five pretty easily. This meant we had a handful of standby dinners that usually appeared on a weekly or rotating basis: spaghetti, hamburger helper, meatloaf, stuffed shells, cavatini, and my personal favorite: tuna noodle casserole.

bearfamilystrong.com | tuna casserole

I don’t know what it is about egg noodles, cream of celery soup (my mom tried using cream of mushroom once but my dad wasn’t having any of it – he sniffed that out before he even took a bite), and canned tuna; but tuna noodle casserole night was one of my favorite dinner nights in our house. I haven’t had tuna casserole since moving out of my parent’s house for college in 2000, but for some reason lately I’ve been craving it.

Unfortunately, since I stopped eating grains/gluten after meeting my husband in 2011, tuna casserole is off the menu.

Fortunately, I have a slight pinterest addiction and one day I happened upon this beautiful “Paleo Tuna Casserole” post from Jay’s Baking Me Crazy. Tuna casserole made with spaghetti squash?! How did I not think of this on my own??

Welcome to the latest addition of Foodie Flattery: Paleo Tuna Noodle Casserole from Jay’s Baking Me Crazy. Gaah. So good. So worth it. It was so good in fact, that my eight-year old not only ate his entire portion without complaint, but ALSO told me that I should make it again. MAJOR. WIN.

bearfamilystrong.com | tuna casserole

I was a little skeptical about using coconut milk – not because of the potential taste, but because I was worried it wouldn’t get thick and the casserole would end up too soupy – but as it turns out I had nothing to worry about. Using arrowroot powder as a thickener and adding eggs to the casserole before baking was the perfect way to hold everything together and as I suspected, you couldn’t taste the coconut milk at all.

Bottom line, this casserole was everything I hoped it would be and more. One bite and I was transported back to my parent’s kitchen table, fighting with my sister over the gooey melted cheese my mom used as a topping for her own tuna casserole. In this version we used crushed chips as the topping, which was equally delicious.

bearfamilystrong.com | tuna casserole

Here’s the link again for the recipe I used – I omitted the mushrooms and used a bag of frozen peas and carrots instead (based on the way my mom used to make it – my dad abhors mushrooms). Next time I think we’ll use both – and I highly recommend using these sweet and spicy jalapeno potato chips to top your casserole. Yum.

jalapeno chips

*Note: To make this a Whole30 approved dinner, simply omit the chips. Trust me, it will still be comfort food delicious.

Advertisements

Tropical Shrimp Skewers

Nothing says “summer” like grilled shrimp kebabs, am I right?

tropical shrimp skewers | eatwriterunrepeat.com

True to East Coast form, we went directly from frozen tundra to middle of summer without any hint of spring. Last week temperatures crept into the upper eighties and the humidity has been full blown, but our electric bill is less than half of what it was in the dead of winter, so you won’t hear me complaining! (…much)

My favorite part about the warmer weather is being able to stand outside and grill in flip flops and short sleeves. Notice I didn’t say “my favorite part about the warmer weather is being able to grill,” because if you’ve followed this blog for any amount of time you know that The Husband and I have been known to grill in the middle of a snowstorm. But I have to be honest, I find it so much more enjoyable when my UGGS are not required.

spring grilling | eatwriterunrepeat.com

The most time consuming part about this recipe is chopping your vegetables and constructing the skewers – once they’re on the grill they don’t take long at all to cook! For these we used my favorite uncooked Argentinian red shrimp (compliments of Trader Joe’s when they have it in stock), green and yellow bell peppers, zucchini, grape tomatoes, pineapple, and mango. Once we made our skewers we sprinkled them with a hint of Tony Chachere’s Creole seasoning to add a little heat to our sweet, and tossed our skewers on the grill for a couple of minutes!

Beautiful.

tropical shrimp skewers | eatwriterunrepeat.com

These skewers could very well serve as a meal in their own right, but we went one better and served them up with a perfectly juicy grilled steak and the leftover zucchini slices that didn’t fit on our skewers. Yum. I heart summer grilling.

tropical shrimp skewer dinner | eatwriterunrepeat.com

Tropical Shrimp Skewers

serves: four

prep time: 20 minutes

cook time: 5-10 minutes

Ingredients:

1 pound uncooked shrimp

1 green pepper, cut into chunks

1 yellow bell pepper, cut into chunks

1 zucchini, sliced into half moons

1-2 cups grape tomatoes

1 mango, cut into chunks

1-2 cups fresh pineapple chunks

Tony Chachere’s creole seasoning (to taste)

Olive Oil

Directions:

Preheat your grill to high. Create your skewers by alternating shrimp, vegetables, and fruit chunks. Toss lightly with olive oil and creole seasoning. Grill the skewers about 7-10 minutes, turning occasionally, until shrimp is opaque and vegetables are crisp-tender. Enjoy!

tropical shrimp skewers | eatwriterunrepeat.com

Fish Tacos (with Mango Avocado Salsa)

So, remember my Mango Avocado Salsa from a couple of days ago? And remember when I told you that fish tacos were in the works? Well, taa-daaah!

tacos 4

I have to be honest, as soon as I made mango avocado salsa I knew I wanted to make fish tacos to go with it. I don’t know where the obsession with fish tacos came from, but I’ve had a serious craving for them lately. Oh, wait I remember. It was probably the blackened swordfish taco I had at Yard House restaurant in California. To. Die. For. Sadly, mine weren’t near as good as those, but they weren’t half bad if I do say so myself!

tacos 1

Plus, with only four ingredients, I whipped these up in no time. And although I had to turn on my stovetop for the fish, I pan fried the mahi mahi pieces and it literally took about six minutes total. It was barely enough time for my kitchen to heat up. And speaking of the mahi mahi pieces: um, how awesome is Trader Joe’s that they actually have a bag of mahi mahi pieces that are absolutely perfect for fish tacos?! I just seasoned the fish with some cajun seasoning and let it sit for a few minutes, tossed it into a hot pan with coconut oil, fried them up and done! Perfect!

I love Trader Joe’s.

tacos 3

Once the fish was done, I served it up on a corn tortilla with some mango avocado salsa, a spritz of lime, and … shredded brussels sprouts. Ok, ok, there’s a story here. I had a bag of Trader Joe’s shredded brussels sprouts in my fridge, but no cabbage. And fish tacos don’t taste the same without cabbage, so I improvised. As long as you use the shredded leaves and not the thick inner part of the sprout, it totally worked! Still – next time I’ll just stick to regular old cabbage.

Oh and of course I served these with beer. Duh.

tacos 2

By the way, if you’ve never tried Goose Island 312 Urban Wheat Ale then you’ve never lived. It’s awesome – not too heavy for a wheat ale, it still has a refreshing crispness that went really well with the spicy fish. Yum. Go get some, like right now!

I’ll wait.

The only thing I couldn’t really get right on this was the tortillas. I tried to heat them directly on my gas range, but that didn’t really work, they still dried out. Then I put some on a plate, covered them with a damn paper towel and saran wrap and microwaved them, but nope. They still cracked when I attempted to eat my tacos…so I may or may not have eaten them with a fork and in pieces. If anybody has a great tip for keeping corn tortillas soft, I’m all ears!

tacos 5

You could use any firm white fish you wanted for these tacos, but I prefer either mahi mahi or swordfish because I think they have the best flavor and hold up well. Plus, you’ve already heard my awesome Trader Joe’s mahi mahi story. Heck, if you wanted to get really crazy you could try them with salmon or maybe even scallops!

Ooh. Scallop tacos with mango avocado salsa? Woah.

WHAT YOU NEED: (makes approximately six tacos)

6-12 corn tortillas (depending if you double wrap or not)

1 pound mahi mahi, cut into strips

your favorite cajun or blackened seasoning

mango avocado salsa

shredded cabbage

1 lime

WHAT TO DO

Sprinkle your fish with the cajun or blackened seasoning and let sit. In a pan, melt approximately 2 tbsp of coconut oil and add the fish, cooking about 3 minutes each side or until cooked through. Drain if necessary or desired.

Top your corn tortillas with fish, mango salsa, and cabbage. Add a spritz of fresh lime juice and chow down!

Done, and done.

Serve with beer.