Introduction: TUNA PASTA CASSEROLE WITH CRUNCHY JALAPENO CHEDDAR TOPPING
I really enjoy eating a hot, creamy, tuna casserole - especially on a cold winter's day - and I like them even better when they are topped with a crunchy potato chip-cheese topping. I like the spicy sharp touch created by using kettle-cooked jalapeno-flavored chips and extra sharp cheddar, but you can use any cheese and potato chip combination that suits your tastes.
Step 1: INGREDIENTS (4 Servings)
- 1 package (6.4 oz) StarKist Chunk Light Tuna In Sunflower Oil
- 2 cups cooked Barilla Farfalle Bowtie Pasta (or pasta or egg noodles of your choice)
- 1 can (10.75 oz) condensed cream of mushroom soup (do not add water)
- 1 cup pasteurized cultured whole buttermilk.
- 1/2 cup sliced canned mushrooms, drained.
- 1 cup Sargento Shredded Extra Sharp Cheddar Cheese (or cheese of your choice ) divided in half.
- 1/4 cup sliced green onions
- 1/2 cup fresh or frozen green peas
- 1/2 teaspoon dried crushed Rosemary
- 1/2 teaspoon dried thyme
- 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder (optional)
- 1/4 teaspoon Chipotle pepper flakes (also optional)
- 1/2 teaspoon Diamond Crystal Salts Sense with iodine (or Sea or Kosher Salt)
- 1/2 teaspoon coarse ground black pepper
- 1 cup crushed kettle cooked Jalapeno flavored potato chips, or potato chips of choice.
Step 2: INSTRUCTIONS:
Preheat your oven to 425 degrees F.
Spray a 2-1/2 to 3 qt oven-safe casserole dish with cooking spray (I like to use a 2-1/2 qt square dish with a lid for this recipe).
- Slice green onions (I usually use about 1/2 of the green tops, too, but these had been in the refrigerator a little too long and the tops were not very good) and add them to a big mixing bowl.
- Add the packet of tuna (if you are using the SunKist tuna in sunflower oil there is not liquid to drain off, but if you are using a tuna with water (ugh) or other oil, drain the liquid off before adding the fish to the bowl).
- Add the *green peas, concentrated mushroom soup, the **buttermilk, 1/2 of the shredded cheese, and all of the spices and herbs to the bowl and mix thoroughly.
- Add the mixture to the baking dish and top with the crushed potato chips, then with the remaining 1/2 cup of shredded cheese.
- *NOTE: If using frozen green peas, I suggest placing them in a strainer and rinsing them under tap water before adding then to the mixing bowl.
- *NOTE: I had no intention of using milk (buttermilk or any other) in this recipe, but after mixing everything together (and before I added the chips and cheese), I felt the mixture was to dry. Thankfully, I decided to add the buttermilk before adding the topping, and I am glad that I did. It was definitely needed! (Since the buttermilk came directly from the refrigerator, I warmed it up just a little on the stove top before adding it to the mixing bowl).
Step 3: PREPARATION:
There's not much to add here; Bake the casserole, covered, in the preheated oven for 15 to 20 minutes, or until the cheese is melted and beginning to brown. (Not all cheese will bubble and brown; if you have to (and if the dish will take the heat), remove the cover and let the dish sit under the broiler for a minute or two).
Step 4: TIME TO EAT . . .
I really love the crusty, crunchy, topping that the jalapeno potato chips and shredded cheese give to this dish, and I enjoyed my dinner last night with a class of Italy's Ruffino Chianti wine!
Please try it; I think you will like it to!
Bon Appetit !
(I have prepared the nutritional values of this recipe to the best of my ability using the MyFitnessPal Recipe Analyzer).
*I was inspired to create this recipe by Jaicard's "Best Tuna Casserole" as featured on Allrecipes.