Tuna Helper.

Tuna Helper!

Tuna Helper!

Another boxed food that I found VERY hard to give up was Tuna Helper.  It was just the ultimate comfort food – noodles, cheesy flavor, salty..where could you go wrong!  Unfortunately, every time I pick up that box now I look at the ingredients and nutrition information and sadly put it back.  I found quite a few Hamburger Helper recipes on the internet, but the Tuna Helper ones always seemed more like tuna casserole – not like the cheap box stuff.  I finally found one that came really really close.  Thank you lynnskitchenadventures.com for the recipe!

Ingredients:

  • 12 ounces uncooked macaroni or similar noodle
  • 1 can chicken broth
  • 12 ounces evaporated milk
  • 12-15 ounces of tuna (if using a can, drain well)
  • 2 cups shredded cheddar cheese
  • salt and pepper to taste

Instructions:

  • In a skillet or large pan, heat broth and evaporated milk.
  • Add pasta and bring just to a boil.
  • Reduce heat to simmer; cover and cook for 10-12 minutes or until pasta is tender (stir once or twice while cooking).
  • Once pasta is tender, stir in tuna and cheese and heat over low just until heated through and cheese is melted.

Notes:

  • Ok, seriously like the real thing.  Look at the picture.  I was amazed!
  • The only thing that was a little off was (believe it or not) it was actually a little too cheesy.  Bob almost fell over when he heard me say that (not sure that line has ever come out of my mouth before) – but, when going for a virtual duplicate of the box stuff, it was cheesier than it should have been.  Guess the powdered stuff doesn’t give that kind of flavor.  It was not a bad difference, but next time I may back off a bit on the cheese and see if it’s more “authentic”.
  • I did pretty much follow the recipe exactly (aside from using homemade chicken broth).  I used wide egg noodles rather than the macaroni.
  • Be careful when boiling the broth/milk; the milk will start to burn or stick to the bottom of the pan quickly if you wander off around the time it begins to boil.  I made sure to stir the pan every few minutes.
  • This got two thumbs up, I ate a fat plate full and spent the rest of my evening in a comfortable couch coma.  Just like the real thing (without any negative stomach sort of side effects!).

Addendum:

  • This freezes surprisingly well, and makes great single-serving meals for me on a busy day.  To make the reheat even better – heat the helper in the microwave, all the way through.  Then put into an oven safe pan, and sprinkle with a little extra cheese and some bread crumbs.  Put under the broiler for a minute or two until the cheese gets melty and the breadcrumbs brown.  If you are extra lazy, you can heat the helper in the baggie that you froze it in and line the oven pan with foil…no dish except what you eat it off of when you’re finished!
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