Here’s What’s Cooking: Tuna Pasta Casserole

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One of my favorite websites I’ve discovered to help me along in my weight loss goals is eatbetteramerica.com, which not only offers free coupons (yay!), but also offers hundreds of “healthified” versions of America’s favorite comfort foods. Since Matt and I were getting a little sick of just eating ground beef and chicken as our main meat staples, I decided to branch out a bit and try out this tuna pasta casserole. It’s MUCH healthier than the original (only 360 calories per one-cup serving!) and uses a lot of vegetables that Matt and I frankly don’t usually give a second thought to. Besides eating it, my favorite part of cooking this was seeing all the rich colors of the vegetables all mixed together in my frying pan…I don’t know, there’s just something deliciously eye-pleasing about all those reds, greens, and creams mixed together…

Tuna Pasta Casserole (from Eatbetteramerica.com)
Prep Time: 20 min (it took a little longer than this for me to chop everything up)
Start to Finish: 1 hr
Makes: 8 servings (1 cup each)

2 1/2 cups uncooked multigrain or whole-grain rotini or penne pasta (8 oz)
2 teaspoons olive or canola oil
1 medium green bell pepper, chopped (1 cup)
1 medium red bell pepper, chopped (1 cup)
1 medium onion, chopped (1/2 cup)
1 package (8 oz) fresh mushrooms, chopped
2 teaspoons finely chopped garlic
1 can (10 3/4 oz) condensed 98% fat-free cream of mushroom soup with 45% less sodium
1 container (8 oz) reduced-fat sour cream
2 oz 1/3-less-fat cream cheese (Neufchâtel), softened
1/2 cup fat-free (skim) milk
1/2 teaspoon pepper
2 cans (5 oz each) solid white albacore tuna in water, drained
1/2 cup shredded reduced-fat sharp Cheddar cheese (2 oz)
2 tablespoons grated Parmesan cheese
12 stone-ground wheat crackers, coarsely crushed (about 1/2 cup)

1. Heat oven to 350°F. Spray 13×9-inch (3-quart) glass baking dish or 3-quart casserole with cooking spray. Cook pasta as directed on package, omitting salt; drain.
2. In 12-inch nonstick skillet, heat oil over medium-high heat. Add bell peppers, onion, mushrooms and garlic; cook 4 to 6 minutes, stirring frequently, until vegetables are tender.
3. Stir in soup, sour cream, cream cheese, milk and pepper until well blended. Stir in tuna, pasta and Cheddar cheese. Spoon into baking dish; spread evenly. Sprinkle with Parmesan cheese and crushed crackers.
4. Bake uncovered 35 to 40 minutes or top is golden brown and mixture is bubbly.

High Altitude (3500-6500 ft): Increase fat-free (skim) milk to 1 cup.