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Tuna Noodle Casserole (gluten-free)

I’m a comfort food kind of woman. Although complex flavors are appealing I’ll cave every time to something as simple and ordinary as Tuna Noodle Casserole.

This dish is not a regular visitor to our table. I’ll let you in on a little secret—my guys are not actually in love with it.

Once in a blue moon they’ll indulge my craving and with half hearted smiles come to the table to stare at it’s creamy goodness. (Yes, they eat it. Without too much whining I might add.) Personally, I don’t get why it’s not a favorite. I think it’s sinfully divine.

It could be I enjoy it not only for it’s taste but because tuna casserole and I have a bit of history together. We met when I was in high school, introduced by a high school beau who would whip it up for lunch, dinner, or just a midnight snack. Needless to say during that period of my life I ate a lot of tuna casserole and, well, it just kind of stuck with me.

Sometimes the foods we grew up with and that still remain in our recipe boxes are a nice bit of comfort to ease life in a fast paced world.

Tuna Noodle Casserole (gluten-free)

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.

Bring a large pot of lightly salted water to a boil. Add and cook until just al dente (about 2/3 the time recommended on the package):

8 ounces gluten-free fusilli pasta (I used Bionaturae)

Drain the pasta, rinse in cold water, and set aside.

While the pasta is cooking heat over a medium flame in a heavy skillet:

2 tablespoons olive oil

Add in:

1 ½ cups fresh mushrooms, sliced and coarse diced
1 small sweet onion, diced
3 celery stalks, sliced

Sauté until the vegetables are wilted and the liquid subsides…about 10 minutes.

Sprinkle over top and mix in with the vegetables:

¾ teaspoon celery seeds
1 teaspoon dry mustard powder
4 teaspoons sorghum flour

Add, a quarter cup at a time, mixing in and letting it simmer to allow the liquid to begin to thicken:

1 cup chicken broth mixed with
½ cup hemp milk

Take the skillet off the heat when the liquid is thickened and reduced to about three quarters.

Add and mix through:

1 ½ cups shredded manchego or cheddar cheese
salt and pepper to taste
2 cans of solid white albacore tuna, drained

Gently mix in the cooked fusilli.

If the mixture is too thick you can add a tablespoon or two more of broth or water to loosen it.

Spoon everything into an ovenproof casserole dish and sprinkle the mixture with:

1/3 cup gluten-free breadcrumbs
1/4 cup shredded manchego or cheddar cheese

Bake about 20-25 minutes until the casserole is bubbling and beginning to brown on top.



Chocolate Raspberry Bars

Sometimes I read back through my blog and realize it’s a cooking chronicle of my life. Little tidbits of the current days sprinkled throughout my musings of favorite foods—like Chocolate Raspberry Bars.

How, I’m wondering, do I sprinkle in the kind of week I’ve had with this pretty little dessert? What kind of week was it, you ask? The kind of week where the work days are too long, the weather is too cold, and my mom is driving me crazy. Yes, even at my age (which no, I’m not divulging but suffice it to say I have a college-aged son) your mom can still drive you crazy. Maybe more at my age than, let’s say, at my son’s age—although I’m pretty sure he wouldn’t agree.

As my mother ages I open my eyes to what faces me as much as what faces her. I had a discussion with a good friend about the stages of life and we (both being at mid-life) settled on old age for most of the conversation. We thought about how to assure we’d live that part of our lives richly—diminishing the focus on aches and pains, juggling little bottles of pills, and loss of access to the world.

It’s pretty simple really—keep healthy of mind, body, and spirit now. It’s an investment for a rich future. And, it requires a conscious daily deposit. Exercise. Eat right. Live what’s in your heart.

Apropos to Valentine’s Day. So, this weekend celebrate your loved ones—old and young—and celebrate yourself, as well. Savor these days and invest in your future days.

Happy Valentine’s Day!


Chocolate Raspberry Bars

At first I was a bit skeptical about the batter for these bars—it was dense and seemed a bit greasy. But, I’d mixed it together so decided there was nothing to do but go for it. Despite my original worry they popped out of the oven looking delicious—and they were! Enjoy.

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.

Mix together in the bowl of a stand mixer:

2 1/4 cups gluten-free flour blend*
1 cup almond flour
1 cup sugar

In a separate measuring cup whisk together with a fork:

8 tablespoons Earth Balance Buttery Spread (or similar butter substitute)
4 ounces applesauce
1/2 teaspoon vanilla

Add the wet ingredients to the dry ingredients a little at a time mixing on low speed until thoroughly combined.

Remove about one cup of the dough and set aside.

Add to the remaining dough (still in the mixing bowl):

1/3 cup cocoa
1/4 cup chocolate chips

Mix on low, scraping the sides frequently until the cocoa and chips are blended in.

Line a 8” x 8” pan with parchment. Press the chocolate dough into the bottom of the pan and spread out evenly. Bake in the oven for 15 minutes.

Remove the cake from the oven and let cool a few minutes. Spread out over the cake to about 1/4 inch from the sides:

1 cup seedless raspberry (or any favorite berry) jam

Dot the whole thing with the remaining vanilla dough, dropping in small chunks over the raspberry jam.

Pop it back in the oven for another 20 minutes or until the top is lightly browned.

Cool thoroughly (no cheating here!). Remove from the pan and cut into bars.

*For GF flour blends that do not have xanthan gum included as an ingredient: add 3/4 teaspoon xanthan gum to the dry ingredients in this recipe.