Wednesday, August 14, 2013

Wingin' It

The past few weeks, our days have been totally out of whack. I'm not one of those Moms who schedule everything down to the minute (although, something like that is coming. Stay tuned for that post in Sept.), but I am used to some sort of schedule. We typically have our school days, errand days, church days, Daddy's days of, etc. that are set days of the week, and have a basic flow. Those days are what keep us going in a steady rhythm of organized chaos.

But, when Summer came, I threw it all out the window. After 11 months of being "in school", and all the craziness that comes with juggling a newborn & running a home, I was no longer in the mood to be in any sort of rhythm. Gone was the "up at this time, schoolwork at this time, bed at this time," stuff. Hellloooooo Summer Vacation!!!!
"Mommy! Can we sleep in a fort downstairs?"

"Mommy, can we stay up till Midnight to play video games?"
"Why not?"

"Mommy, can we watch Phineas & Ferb for 10 hours today?"
"Go for it."

"Mommy, we dug a hole deep enough for Jo to stand in!!"
"Good job, boys!"

Seriously, we have had NO schedule, bare minimum chores & all the time in the world to literally lay around and veg out. Up until last week, it's been fantastic! But, it's starting to get to me. One of the consequences of tossing out the schedule - aside from a very messy house - has been a totally chaotic kitchen.

Normally, I meal plan, create very detailed lists & grocery shop every 2 weeks. Lately, tho, I've been running to the store every few days for this & that, and totally wingin' it for most meals. This morning when I went back to Walmart to check their school supplies (nothing is marked down yet, btw), I meandered through the grocery isles wondering what on earth we would have for dinner tonight. Then, I remembered my pantry. I knew I was running low on most things, but I was pretty sure I still had enough to pull together something edible. I grabbed an onion & box of mushrooms and hit the checkout, still without a clue as to what I was going to make. But, really...what pantry recipe doesn't taste better with onion & mushrooms?! lol! Once I got back home, examined what I had in my cupboards, it was a no-brainer.

Tuna Noodle Casserole a'la Moi!

So, here it is. My very basic, very easy & very tasty, mostly from the pantry dinner.

What to use:

1 1lb bag of wide noodles
2 or 3 cans of tuna (3 if you have chunk, 2 if you have solid)
2 cans cream of mushroom soup
1 can cream of celery soup
1.5 cups milk
1 bag of chunky mixed veggies. (frozen)
1 small onion
1 box of mushrooms (the sliced ones were on sale, so that's what I used)
2 tbs butter or margarine
*optional: 1c bread crumbs or 2c shredded cheese

What to do:

1. Cook the noodles according to directions on bag, then drain (my stove is wonky, so I do everything else while my water comes to a boil)
2. Preheat the oven to 350*
3. Melt the butter/margarine in a saute pan
4. Add onions & mushrooms & saute 'till desired tenderness
5. Mix the cream of mushroom & celery soups with the milk & then pour into a large casserole dish.
6. Add the tuna, onions, mushrooms, frozen veg & cooked noodles to the dish. Stir till well combined.
7. Season with salt & pepper to your family's taste. And, if you're feeling fancy, top with bread crumbs or shredded cheese. (I tried the bread crumbs & the kids weren't impressed. lol)
8. Plop it in the oven, uncovered, for about 20 mins, or until a teeny bit bubbly.
9. Gobble it up!

This made enough for all 5 of us to have a hearty meal without sides, (Dan Jr. had seconds!) and still have enough left over for 2 grown-up size servings.  I'm sure Dan & I will enjoy the rest for lunch tomorrow! We could have easily served 8, if I had made dinner rolls & a salad.

If you decide to make a smaller version, then just omit one can of the cream of mushroom soup, lower the milk to 1c, use half the noodles & veggies, and us only 1 or 2 cans of the tuna. Leave everything else the same. Especially the mushrooms. That's what gives this it's winning flavor!

It's not fancy & I'm sure there have been loads of Tuna Noodle Casseroles over the centuries, but this was a fantastic combination AND was made mostly with what I had in my pantry. Score!

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