Wednesday, July 27, 2016

Tuna Noodle Casserole from Scratch

I don't know if anyone has noticed (probably not :) but my recipes lately have deviated from Paleo more than normal. In general I am going to keep it grain-free, but as my diet and thought process has changed, but recipes will as well. Here's the "why"...

The Past...

 Well the main goal of me eating the way I do is health, second goal is fitness. So let's backtrack a bit... Although criticized by a lot of people (especially those that hate CrossFit as well) the Paleo Diet, or "eating like a caveman," has a focus on not consuming processed foods, and only eating things that come out of the ground or from an animal- no grains, dairy, refined sugar, artificial ingredients, etc. I think this was a great place to start for me as I moved away from a vegetarian diet. Re-thinking the foods I was eating and re-setting my body to move away from, specifically for me, sugar and grains, helped me feel waaaaaay better, stronger, more awake and really got my diet in a better place. As a vegetarian I ate a lot of processed foods- trying to mimic meat. Although I made my own "seiten" and other "meat" products, my diet was incredibly high in grains, soy and more gluten found in the fake-meat as vital wheat gluten. If you are starting to transition your diet I would highly suggest going cold turkey with something like Whole30... it is a more extreme version of Paleo and gets you to start reading ingredient labels, clearing out your pantry and thinking about your food. 

So why move away from Paleo? 

One of my biggest issues is the portions, or lack there of, therefore high caloric intake. In general, Paleo baked goods are usually extremely high in calories and fat compared to their non-Paleo counter parts. Although there are guidelines of how much of each food you should eat, like more lean meat than nuts, there is basically no portion control in Paleo. If it fits the parameters of the diet you are good to go! I found myself eating way too much fat, and therefore way too many calories, but not calories readily available for my body when I train. 
Second issue stemming from the first- I was also reading about other diets used by athletes and thought that I was probably not eating enough carbohydrates which are essential for fitness because they are the most readily available source of energy. I love sweet potatoes, but watching Matt eat 3 cups of rice in one meal made me long for something on the "no-no" list of Paleo. It was becoming mentally not sustainable to me. Long story short I started on RP Strength- a diet many of my friends were following- you can read about how it went here. Although I didn't care for the diet as a whole, I learned a lot about food-timing when I train. I also started thinking that eating bread and sugar are not the devil, in moderation and of higher quality- what I mean is eating toast with jelly before a workout (sugar, therefore carbs) won't kill me. Sugar is used quickly by the body and my body knows what to do with it, it is not stored like say high-fructose corn syrup which is still on my "don't consume" list. 

So how do I eat now? 

I eat far more carbs (I was eating almost none) and way less fat... still a lot of protein (my body weight in grams spread throughout the day basically.) The result has been what I wanted. It is more sustainable to enjoy rice, condiments (I still read labels for processed oils and junk), etc. again and the lower calorie intake has made me leaner. If you want to give a name to what I am doing, it is a lot closer to "macro counting." Although I am currently not "counting" :) But in macro counting ("If it fits your Macros" IIFYM) you are allotted a certain amount of grams of carbs, fat and protein (your macromolecules)- there are programs/people to help you figure it out if you are interested- and you eat clean and what you want as long as it fits with your macros. If you want a donut? Do it, but you are using a lot of your carbs for the day! Although I won't be eating donuts, you get the idea... carbs aren't evil, they help when you train... fat isn't evil, monounsaturated fats like an avocado won't make you fat, but keep you full... protein is delicious, how am I supposed to get "too bulky" without it? :) 

Us at the new penguin aquarium at the Detroit Zoo- the lighting was fabulous ;)

What will happen with blog recipes? 

Although some of my most popular recipes are Paleo, recipes in the future will contain gluten and things like ketchup sometimes, but I will still steer clear of processed oils, refined ingredients, etc. You are welcome to substitute with your homemade version of the ingredient or I can help you find a Paleo, or gluten-free substitute. I will still focus on non-processed, fresh ingredients- I hope you guys don't mind :) 
So food prep now looks more like this... lots of veggies, lots of rice, lots of meat. 

Based on the above paragraphs, this week's recipe and next week's are lightened up versions of some favorite comfort foods. Starting with Tuna Noodle Casserole usually made with condensed Campbell's soup- still not something I want to eat based on the ingredients on the label... ew.

Tuna Noodle Casserole from Scratch

-  1 Tbsp Olive Oil
- 1 Sweet Onion, finely chopped
- 1 Garlic Clove, minced
- 8-oz White Button Mushrooms, sliced
- 1/3 Cup Arrowroot Powder (Cornstarch if you aren't Paleo and probably 3 Tbsp)
- 4 Cups Milk (your choice) (or half chicken stock, half milk)
- 1 tsp Salt
- 1/2 tsp Black Pepper
- 1/2 tsp Dried Thyme 
- 2 Cups Frozen Peas
- 12+ oz Canned Tuna, in water, drained
- 16 oz Dried Pasta (I used gluten-free rotini)
- 1 Cup Dried Bread Crumbs (I used gluten-free Panko)

Preheat to 375 degrees
1. Boil the pasta in salted water according to the directions. Drain and set aside. While it is cooking you can start on the sauce part of the recipe.
2. In a large pot over medium heat, drizzle in the olive oil and add the onions, garlic and mushrooms. Cook until soft, about 7-10 minutes. 

3. Add the arrowroot powder and spices. Stir. Using a whisk and whisking constantly, add the milk one cup at a time- when you add the first cup whisk fast so there are no lumps, the sauce will already start to thicken. Add the rest of the milk slowly whisking the whole time until smooth. 

When the sauce has begun to thicken add the peas, tuna, and pasta. Taste for salt. 

4. In a greased 9x13 baking dish, pour the entire mixture. 

Top with the bread crumbs. Bake 20-25 minutes until bubbly. 

Macro content of my version with 2% milk, gluten free pasta and panko as listed above:
Nutrition Facts
Servings 8.0
Amount Per Serving
calories 329
% Daily Value *
Total Fat 6 g9 %
Saturated Fat 2 g10 %
Monounsaturated Fat 2 g
Polyunsaturated Fat 1 g
Trans Fat 0 g
Cholesterol 29 mg10 %
Sodium 647 mg27 %
Potassium 270 mg8 %
Total Carbohydrate 48 g16 %
Dietary Fiber 4 g14 %
Sugars 11 g
Protein 20 g40 %
Vitamin A8 %
Vitamin C8 %
Calcium18 %
Iron10 %
* The Percent Daily Values are based on a 2,000 calorie diet, so your values may change depending on your calorie needs. The values here may not be 100% accurate because the recipes have not been professionally evaluated nor have they been evaluated by the U.S. FDA.

1 comment:

  1. What a great idea to dye your crust!!! These are such a fun idea for the 4th…pinning this for sure! I'm thinking I need to add to my baking collection with some of those cute rings:-) Access the Dark Web Deep Web stories Deep Web Reddit Links Deep Web Browsers