by Dana Jacobi
The first casserole I ever ate
was chicken, mushroom and artichoke hearts simmered with soy
sauce and Sherry. I can still see it, bubbling hot, served right
from the oven in a covered, round Pyrex dish.
I have long since forgotten
the name of the graduate student, my beau of the moment, who
served it up. He clearly thought cooking for me, using his mother's
treasured recipe, would be sure seduction. It didn't work. His
strategy didn't impress me any more than the casserole did.
I was a casserole innocent because
of my mother. A follower of the era's health guru, Adele Davis,
she also shunned cream sauces, frozen spinach soufflé,
condensed soup, processed cheese and most other unhealthy culinary
icons of the fifties and sixties. In place of casseroles and
fatty skillet dinners, she mostly served roasted and broiled
meats, which were considered healthier fare back then.
Fortunately, not long after
this, my first post-college roommate, Betty Gorecki from Pulaski,
Wisconsin, initiated me into the rites of making Tuna Noodle
Casserole. Harboring none of my mother's prejudices, Gorecki,
a home economics major at the University of Wisconsin, cooked
frozen fish sticks regularly and believed in creamed spinach,
making her white sauce from scratch. She also made a Bloody Mary
hot enough to blister paint off the wall.
Late starters often surpass
their teachers. In my case, I acquired a taste for casseroles,
but usually adapted recipes to fit my mother's healthful values,
as with this Tuna Casserole. Besides containing less fat, cholesterol
and sodium than the original, it calls for double the amount
of vegetables traditionally used. (I also prefer green beans
in lieu of the traditional peas.)
Sometimes I also include shredded
cheese, although it is omitted here.
Tuna Noodle Casserole - 4 servings
* Canola oil cooking spray
* 1 can (10 1/2 oz.) low-fat, reduced-sodium condensed cream
of chicken soup
* 1/2 cup skim (non-fat) milk or unflavored soymilk
* 2 cups cooked noodles
* 1 package (10 oz.) frozen cut green beans
* 1 1/2 6-oz. cans water-packed chunk light tuna, drained
* 2 Tbsp. bottled pimientos, drained and chopped
* 1/4 tsp. freshly ground black pepper
* 3 Tbsp. dry bread crumbs
Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
Coat 2-quart heatproof casserole with cooking spray.
In prepared baking dish, mix
soup and milk to combine. Add noodles, beans, tuna, pimientos
and pepper, mixing to coat and combine them with soup. Cover
pan with foil.
Bake until bubbling hot, about 20 minutes. Uncover and sprinkle
with bread crumbs. Bake until crumbs are lightly browned, about
8 minutes. Serve hot.
Per serving: 331 calories, 6 g. total fat (2 g. saturated fat),
42 g. carbohydrate, 26 g. protein, 5 g. dietary fiber, 704 mg.
Something Different is written
for the American Institute for Cancer Research (AICR) by Dana
Jacobi, author of The Joy of Soy and recipe creator for AICRs
Stopping Cancer Before It Starts.
The American Institute for Cancer
Research (AICR) is the cancer charity that fosters research on
the relationship of nutrition, physical activity and weight management
to cancer risk, interprets the scientific literature and educates
the public about the results. It has contributed more than $86
million for innovative research conducted at universities, hospitals
and research centers across the country. AICR has published two
landmark reports that interpret the accumulated research in the
field, and is committed to a process of continuous review. AICR
also provides a wide range of educational programs to help millions
of Americans learn to make dietary changes for lower cancer risk.
Its award-winning New American Plate program is presented in
brochures, seminars and on its website, www.aicr.org. AICR is
a member of the World Cancer Research Fund International.
Article Source: Aicr.org
Article Posted: 2003