Category: Andrew

Tuna Noodle Casserole

The comfort of tuna noodle casserole. My love for it knows no bounds. This version combines all the things I love so much–pasta, tuna, mushrooms, leeks, a white cheddar sauce, greenery in the form of dill, a crunch from tortilla chip crumbles.

The casserole of my childhood was similar but different. Elbow macaroni. A lot of Velveeta. No crunch. No baking. This felt like the grown-up version and still elicited a lot of the same eyes-rolling-into-the-back-of-your-head goodness. I struggled with my portions as I often do when pasta and cheese are involved.

We managed to save leftovers. I was that person who ate fish in the office. I promise I didn’t reheat it. I’m not that cruel.

Inspiration: Bon Appetit

Ingredients

  • 1 stick unsalted butter
  • 12oz dried egg noodles
  • 1 large onion, finely chopped
  • 1 medium leek, white and pale green parts, finely chopped
  • 10oz crimini mushroom, thinly sliced
  • 1/4 cup white wine [I used vermouth because that’s all I had on hand]
  • 2 tablespoons thyme, finely chopped
  • 1/4 cup all-purpose flour
  • 2 1/2 cups chicken stock
  • 1 cup heavy cream
  • 6oz white cheddar, grated
  • 1 tablespoon hot sauce [I used tapatio]
  • 12oz tuna, packed in oil, drained and broken into pieces
  • 2 handfuls of tortilla chips, crushed
  • 1/2 cup dill, chopped
  • salt and pepper

Preparation

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees. Grease a 13×9″ baking dish.

Cook the egg noodles in a large pot of boiling, heavily salted water for about 2-3 minutes. The pasta should still be very al dente. Drain the pasta and set aside.

Melt 1/2 of the stick of butter in a large skillet on medium heat. Add the onion and leek and stir often. Cook for about 8-10 minutes until they start to soften but not brown. Increase the heat to medium-high. Stir in the mushrooms and cook for another 4-6 minutes. The moisture from the mushrooms should seep out and cook off. Add the wine and continue stirring occasionally until the moisture is nearly gone. Season with salt and pepper.

In a pot, melt the remaining 1/2 stick of butter on medium-low heat. Whisk in the flour and cook the roux until it’s golden brown, about two minutes. It will be shiny and smooth. Whisk constantly and add the chicken stock. Bring the liquid to a boil. Reduce the heat to medium and add the cream, cheddar and hot sauce. Stir often until the cheese is melted and smooth. Season with salt and pepper.

In a large bowl, mix together the mushrooms, cheese sauce, noodles, and tuna. Everything should be evenly coated. Taste for more salt and pepper. Transfer the mixture to the prepared baking dish and spread it out evenly. Sprinkle the top with the chips. Bake for about 20 minutes. The casserole will be bubbly and the chips starting to brown. Remove from heat and let it sit for about five minutes. Sprinkle with dill before serving.

Butterscotch Gingerbread Cookies

I know, I know. Gingerbread in February. I’m linear. I post things in order that I make them 97 percent of the time so I’m sorta sorry about this. Who says you can’t have gingerbread year-round? It’s been cold enough to justify this with a mug of whatever warm thing you’ve been drinking lately.

Using butterscotch pudding is brilliant. You know that’s totally why I picked this right? The flavor melds right into the overall ginger flavor, and I didn’t have to buy a special jar of molasses that will take me forever to get through.

This cold weather is nice for softening butter since I always seem to have our fireplace on, and I can’t ever seem to remember to take the butter out in a reasonable amount of time.

These ended up being perfectly soft and chewy. Ginger snaps these are not, but it’d be easy to make them so. Just bake them longer. They already seem thick enough to make it happen. I went with a simple circle shape with a biscuit cutter because I didn’t have anything else handy, and I don’t really want to store a bunch of cookie cutters. Besides, I’m all about classics [except where I threw pudding mix into a cookie…].

Inspiration: Almost Makes Perfect

Ingredients

  • 1/2 cup butter, room temperature
  • 1/2 cup packed brown sugar
  • 1 egg, room temperature
  • 1 1/2 cup flour
  • 3.4oz box of cook and serve butterscotch pudding
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 2 teaspoons ground ginger
  • 2 teaspoons ground cinnamon

Preparation

In a medium sized bowl, whisk together the flour, pudding mix, baking soda, ginger, and cinnamon.

In the bowl of a mixer, cream together the butter and sugar. I like to do this for several minutes until it’s nice and fluffy. Add the egg and beat until fully incorporated. In batches, slowly mix in the dry ingredients until a dough forms. Shape the mixture into two or three balls and cover and chill in the fridge for about an hour.

When ready to cook, preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Roll each dough ball out until about 1/4 inch thick. Cut into shapes. Place them on a cookie sheet lined with parchment or a Silpat. Leave about 2″ between cookies so they don’t spread.

Bake for 8 minutes. Remove from the oven and then to a cooling rack.

The original recipe calls for icing that I didn’t want to use. I’m an icing free kind of girl. You do you.

 

Italian White Bean Soup with Rice

I’m pretty sure I used the last jar of my grandma’s tomatoes. Or maybe it was salsa. She made that sometimes. Regardless, the tomato based and that’s what I was looking for. We have this habit of saying “Thanks, grandma!” out loud anytime these jars get opened. There aren’t many left.

This came about in a fit of “I don’t know what I want to eat, but I don’t want to go get anything.” I manage to surprise myself with whatever I have in the pantry. It never feels like much until I start digging into it. This is perfectly acceptable peasant food, and for some reason it has me thinking of An Everlasting Meal by Tamar Adler. It’s still sitting on one of my grandma’s bookshelves. I should get that back one of these days.

I thought about going the pasta route, but I need to really be in the mood for pasta and beans. It feels like too much a lot of the time. I went the canned route, even though I did finally make a batch of beans from scratch for the first time at Christmas. What a difference. That would be exceptional here, but canned work. I’m not going to pretend I’m going to go all-homemade-everything around here. That’s a resolution I’m just not making [as I have my first batch of homemade almond milk in the fridge…]. Speaking of resolutions, these cooking resolutions are inspiring. I’ve already got my eye on this pot roast and to freeze some leftovers. That kind of meal planning is unheard of in our house. The fact that I even remembered to take the last of the steaks out of the freezer is worthy of a pat on the back.

Inspiration: Epicurious

Ingredients

  • 1 cup cooked rice
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 3 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 small yellow onion, chopped
  • 1 celery rib, chopped
  • 1 can of diced tomatoes
  • 2 cans of cannellini white beans
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons Italian seasoning
  • 6 cups chicken broth
  • Grated Parmesan cheese, for serving

Preparation

Heat the olive oil on medium-high heat in a large pot or Dutch oven. Add the onion and celery, cooking it until soft. It should take about 5 minutes. Add in the garlic and stir for 30-seconds. Add the stock, tomatoes, and Italian seasoning. Bring the mixture to a boil before stirring in the beans and reducing everything to a simmer. Simmer for 10 minutes. Stir in the rice before serving. Top with grated Parmesan.

Roasted Sausage, Beans, and Greens

After talking about how much I’ve been lusting after Cheese Club at Cyril’s, I went! They had to reschedule December’s pick-up party because of the weather, so I could make it happen. It was better than I could have imagined. I picked up a block of Rocket’s Robiola from Boxcarr handmade cheese, tasted four others [two of which were also Boxcarr’s], and had a pairing with Clay Pigeon’s 2013 pinot noir and a beer from Occidental that I can’t remember now. A couple of the bottles of pinot came home too. They were having a 25% off sale. Can you blame us?

Simplicity has been the name of the game since the weather has been crap, we’ve been busy, or there have been holiday leftovers in the fridge. Recipes like this are what I want. Protein. Greens. Fiber. Put in a pan. Roast. Eat. Cheese not optional. This works with pretty much any combination.

Inspiration: Food52

Ingredients

  • 1 bunch Swiss chard
  • 1 16oz can cannellini beans, drained and rinsed
  • 1 tablespoon lemon juice
  • 1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
  • 1 teaspoon smoked paprika
  • 3 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1lb sausage [about four], cut in half lengthwise and then sliced
  • Salt and pepper
  • Shredded parmesan, optional

Preparation

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees.

Tear the Swiss chard leaves into bite size pieces. You can not use the stems if you want, but I chopped them up and used them.

In a large baking dish or ovenproof skillet, combine the chard and beans. Season with salt and pepper.

In a small bowl, whisk together the lemon juice, mustard, paprika, and olive juice. Drizzle over chard and beans. Mix thoroughly with your hands. Nestle the sausage pieces into the greens.

Nestle the sausage pieces into the greens. Roast for 20-25 minutes. The chard should be tender and the edges crispy. If your sausage isn’t precooked, it should no longer be pink.

Top with shredded parmesan before serving.

Beans and Greens with Sardines

It’s really hard to get a decent photo of an egg salad sandwich, so there isn’t one for you. If you have any interest in the salad of eggs like I am, you should make this one. It was so good. I promise you can’t really taste the anchovies other than a hint of saltiness. I toasted sourdough and topped it with some mixed greens.

The thought of sardines may make some your nose crinkle, too. In that case, you have my blessing to add whatever else sounds good here. Anything would be good here. Nothing would be good here. I’d gladly eat collards and white beans most days [which is pretty much all I bought at the store tonight]. It’s a comforting kind of wonderful. Sardines added a nice little saltiness and protein that you wouldn’t have otherwise. You probably see all of those red flecks of crushed red pepper. You’re not surprised anymore, are you? Add more or less. I added even more after I took the photo.

I’ve been toying with making beans from scratch, but I’m afraid. Afraid I’ll never want to eat them out of the can anymore, and I never plan ahead to soak beans overnight.

beans-greens-sardines

Inspiration: Epicurious

Ingredients

  • 4 tablespoons olive oil
  • 3 garlic cloves, thinly sliced
  • 1/4 teaspoon crushed red pepper
  • 1 large bunch of collard greens, thick stems removed, and chopped into bite sized pieces
  • 1 cup chicken broth
  • 15oz can cannellini beans, drained and rinsed
  • 1 teaspoon red wine vinegar
  • 1 4.2oz tin of sardines in olive oil [I used Matiz Gallego]

Preparation

Heat four tablespoons of olive oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Add garlic and crushed pepper. Stir often until the garlic starts to turn colors. Add greens by the handful so it’ll all fit into the pan. Toss to cover in the oil. Add the broth, cover, and simmer until the greens are tender. This should take about 5-7 minutes. Add the beans and simmer uncovered until the beans are warmed and the liquid is mostly gone. Stir in the vinegar. Add salt and pepper.

Chop the sardines into small pieces and sprinkle over the top of the greens.