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The GFCF Recipe Experience: Cheesy Tuna Noodle Casserole

Posted Apr 06 2011 12:44pm
When I adopted Alexa from Lexie's Kitchen for the most recent Adopt a Gluten Free Blogger event, I actually had in mind to use her Tuna Skillet Casserole recipe. But one of the rules is to try and replicate the person's recipe as close as possible, and I did not have the ingredients on hand to make the nut-milk mixture Alexa uses in her recipe. But the more I thought about it, the more I realized that my family would like it if I replaced the nut milk mixture with...cheese. And it also provided an excuse to use my newly discovered trick for melting CF cheese.

When it comes to CF cheese, my kids really enjoy the Follow Your Heart mozzarella cheese by Vegan Gourmet. The main reason is that it really does not have any kind of aftertaste. Like most CF cheeses though, getting it to melt is a real challenge. On homemade pizza, it melts really well. But in other applications, such as lasagna, or even mac and cheese, getting it to melt is a real challenge.

Enter the microwave!

A couple of weeks ago, I was making spaghetti for the kids, and I decided to top it with some Follow Your Heart cheese. Instead of grating it, like I normally do, I decided to stick about a third of a block of the cheese in a microwave safe bowl and heat it in 30 second increments, stirring after each increment. After a minute and a half, I had smooth, creamy, perfectly melted cheese that I was able to simply pour over the pasta and sauce as a delicious, decorative addition to the meal. I have since used this in lasagna and mac and cheese; where before I would still have little uncooked cheese lumps even after cooking a lasagna for an hour, I now had smooth, creamy layers created by microwaving the cheese for just a few minutes!

Which brings me back to the tuna noodle casserole. Using Alexa's recipe as a base, I used a whole 8 oz. package of Follow Your Heart cheese and made it into a casserole instead of a skillet meal.

My skeptical kids (who had never had tuna other than as tuna salad) were won over after the first bite. And seconds were in high demand.


CHEESY TUNA NOODLE CASSEROLE
Inspired by the Tuna Skillet Casserole recipe by Alexa at Lexie's Kitchen


INGREDIENTS

1 8 oz. package Follow Your Heart Dairy Free Mozzarella Cheese
1 8 oz. package GF noodles
1 tbsp onion powder
1 tsp. lemon-pepper seasoning
2 cans chunk white tuna, drained
GFCF chicken broth, as needed
1 cup crumbled GFCF potato chips (I used Wavy Lays)

Prepare the pasta according to the package directions. Drain and set aside.

Preheat oven to 350°. Lightly grease a casserole dish with GFCF cooking spray.

Place the drained pasta in a large mixing bowl. Add the tuna, onion powder, and lemon-pepper and stir to combine.

Cut the cheese into chunks and place in a microwave safe bowl. Microwave in 30 second increments, stirring after each increment, until the cheese is fully melted and smooth (about 3 - 4 minutes). Add the cheese to the pasta mixture and stir to combine. Add chicken broth until the desired consistency is obtained.

Transfer the pasta mixture evenly into the prepared casserole dish. Top with the crumbled potato chips.

Bake at 350° for 20 - 30 minutes or until the potato chips are browned and the casserole is bubbly.

OPTIONAL: You can make this a more complete meal by adding (as Alexa does in hers) 1 - 2 cups of frozen peas or broccoli to the mixture before baking.

Once again, thank you Alexa for your inspiration!


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