Crunchy Creamy Tuna Casserole

tuna casserole

One of my all time favorite dinners, growing up, was tuna noodle casserole. I’m sure many people my age have their own favorite version of this classic dish. My mom made the one with lots of peas inside and crushed potato chips on top.

Now that I’m a grown up (most days, anyway 😉 I still love a good tuna casserole. It’s comfort food, don’t you think? However, I don’t keep canned peas in the house, and I thought there had to be a more gourmet way to replicate the crunchy goodness of crushed potato chips.  Let me tell you that panko really does the trick.

The main difference between panko and regular breadcrumbs is that panko are large flakes, rather than just little crumbs. This textural difference means that panko absorbs less grease and cooks up lighter and crisper than your run-of-the-mill breadcrumb.

Crunchy Creamy Tuna Casserole

Ingredients:

2 cans (10.5 oz each) condensed cream of mushroom soup

1 cup milk

2 cups frozen country style mixed vegetables (the one without the peas)

2 cans (10 oz. each) tuna in water, drained

4 cups hot, cooked extra wide egg noodles

1 cup shredded Mexican four cheese blend, divided

2 Tbsp. panko breadcrumbs

1 Tbsp. butter, melted

Directions:

Stir soup, milk, mixed veggies, noodles, and half the cheese in a 3 qt. casserole dish.

Bake at 400F for 30 minutes or until hot.

Mix panko with butter in a bowl and sprinkle over tuna mixture. Top with the remaining cheese.

Bake for an additional 5 minutes, or until golden brown. If mixture is already hot and bubbly, turn the oven to low broil for one minute to brown the panko/cheese mixture more quickly.

tuna casserole

Enjoy!!

Coconut Chicken

coconut chicken

Bud and I both love shrimp.  After all, as Bubba says in Forrest Gump,

One of our absolute favorites is coconut shrimp. However, Art is not a big fan of shrimp. 🙁 So one day, I day I made up a recipe for coconut chicken. It’s been such a big hit that we eat it at least once a month. I hope you like it too 😉

I recommend using virgin coconut oil instead of refined. Virgin seems to add more coconut flavor to the dish than the refined version. I also use unsweetened shredded coconut. If you would prefer a little sweetness, feel free to use the sweetened coconut instead.

This dish would go well with a variety of sides, but I like to serve it with Pineapple Fried Rice. (And maybe a cool, tropical beverage?)

Coconut Chicken Recipe

Ingredients:

1 lb. boneless skinless chicken breasts,  cut up and pounded to 1/2″ thick, or chicken tenderloins

2 Tbsp. virgin coconut oil

1/2 cup all purpose flour

1/2 tsp. salt

1/2 tsp. pepper

2 eggs, beaten

3/4 cup Panko breadcrumbs

1 cup shredded coconut, unsweetened

Directions:

Set up a dredging station with three shallow plates (or bowls). I dredge left to  right, with the frying pan at the far right.

Mix the flour, salt and pepper on the first plate. Put the beaten eggs on the second plate. Melt the coconut oil in the frying pan, over medium heat.

Dredge the chicken, one piece at a time, starting with the flour plate, moving on to the egg plate, and finishing with the Panko plate. I use a fork to move the chicken from plate to plate, but you will probably need to press the Panko onto the meat to make sure it sticks. If you don’t like getting your fingers dirty, you can wear thin gloves.

Fry the chicken in small batches, for about 3-4 minutes per side. Drain on paper towels, then you can keep them warm in a 200F oven.

coconut chicken

Enjoy!!