Tuesday, May 12, 2015

Dru Ann’s Tuna Melt in a Bowl: a Cheesy, Creamy Tuna Mac Casserole via Cleo Coyle



All of us here at Mystery Lovers’ Kitchen were excited to learn that our friend, book reviewer and honorary Cozy Chick, Dru Ann Love was nominated for an Anthony Award this year for her blog.

If you have yet to discover Dru’s Book Musings, then you’re in for a treat. Dru not only shares book reviews and hosts giveaway, she challenges authors with a creative question: 

How would you describe "A Day in the Life" of your sleuth? 



http://drusbookmusing.com/2014/12/11/clare-cosi/
Our Clare Cosi in avatar form.
To read her Day in the Life
at Dru's blog, 
click here.
Marc and I took up the challenge a few months ago, putting our Coffeehouse Mystery sleuth, Clare Cosi, through her paces on Dru’s blog. And every one of our fellow Mystery Lovers’ Kitchen cooks have written Day in the Life features for Dru, as well! Just click here and use the search bar on the left column to look for your favorite author's Day in the Life.

With Dru's Anthony nomination still hot off the press, Marc and I thought it would be fun to give her a little foodie tribute so we decided to whip up one of her favorite recipes, one she shared as a guest here at Mystery Lovers’ Kitchen. 


We have made Dru's version of this easy, cheesy pasta dish several times and (yes) LOVE it—which is quite appropriate since it came from a lady named Love!

Enjoy!

~ Cleo




Dru Ann's Tuna Mac and Cheese Casserole

(or as we call it) "Tuna Melt in a Bowl"

To see Dru Ann Love’s original recipe post 
(with her step-by-step photos and commentary) , click here. 

Our version is practically identical. We made some very small changes in the recipe writing and some notes on the seasonings, that's it!

Serves 4

Ingredients:

1/2 box of medium pasta shells (1 lb box)

3/4 of an (8 oz) block extra sharp cheddar cheese (or you can use the entire block if you want it extra-cheesy)

1 (5 oz) can solid white tuna in water

2 - 3 heaping tablespoons mayonnaise (Hellman’s is Dru's favorite, and ours, too.) 

1/2 teaspoon or so of seasonings (see the suggestions in the note below)

Directions: First preheat your oven to 350° F. Prepare the pasta as directed on the box, and be sure to make it al dente (do not overcook or the casserole will be mushy). While the pasta is cooking, drain the tuna well, place it in a large bowl, and flake it with a fork. Season it (see note below) and set aside. Slice the block of cheese into small cubes and set aside. When the pasta is finished cooking, drain well, and pour it into the bowl 
with the seasoned tuna. Add the cubed cheese and mayonnaise. Toss well, until all the pasta is coated. If needed, add more mayonnaise. Pour the pasta into a casserole dish (1-1/2 quarts in size) or a loaf pan (9x5-inches) and bake for 20 to 30 minutes. Remove from oven and let stand 5 minutes before digging in!



Seasonings note:

Dru Ann suggests Black & Red from spice merchant Penzeys. 
This is a great seasoning suggestion! If you don’t have this on hand, you can make your own by mixing freshly ground black pepper and a pinch of hot red cayenne. 


Our suggestion from Penzeys is Northwoods Fire. Again, if you don’t have this on hand, you can make it yourself with this mix of spices: coarse salt, paprika, ground chipotle pepper, black pepper, cayenne red pepper, thyme, rosemary and granulated garlic.



Visit Dru Ann's 

award-nominated blog here.




Like Dru on facebook

Follow Dru on Twitter.


And may you always...




Eat (and read) with joy!

~ Cleo Coyle

New York Times bestselling author of
The Coffeehouse Mysteries 





* * * 




CONTEST FUN!

Have you Entered Our
May Giveaway?




3 Gifts Cards and a
Coffeehouse Grand Prize Pack
will be awarded to four winners
next Monday at Midnight.


Find out how to enter in 
our Spring Newsletter.

It was sent out this past weekend and
includes recipes, news, and video fun...




If you didn't receive it or would like to sign up,
simply click here and follow the instructions.

After you subscribe, an auto-reply will send
you a link to several past newsletters.


Thanks for stopping by the Kitchen!

~ Cleo




32 comments:

  1. This is the easiest of recipes I own and make often for a quick meal. Tank you for this lovely honor to showcase me and my blog.

    Dru

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Dru - We're the ones who are glad to thank *you*! Your dedication and enthusiasm to the joy of reading are an inspiration, and all of us mystery writing cooks here at MLK treasure you. Warmest congrats again on the much-deserved Anthony recognition for your work in the field of mysteries!

      ~ Cleo

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  2. ooh, I'm going to buy the Northwood Fire spice. Is it spicier than the black & red?

    Dru

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Dru - Good question. I would describe the Northwoods Fire as having controlled heat. The heat is definitely there from the cayenne, but it's not overpowering. NF also features ground chipotle pepper, which lends a more mellow smoky heat, and that blends nicely with the herbs and the granulated garlic. We haven't tried the Black & Red so I can’t tell you whether NF is spicier or not. I'd say medium spicy. Penzeys makes this same blend without the cayenne heat and calls it simply Northwoods. Both are tasty on roasted chicken, veggies, potatoes, as well as grilled meats and seafood.

      Okay, now I’m hungry!

      ~ Cleo

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  3. This looks great! Tuna Casserole is one of my favorites, although I use cream of mushroom soup instead of mayonaise, lots and lots of cheese, and crushed potato chips on top. I definitely have to try Dru's version!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Joyce - I love "lots and lots of cheese" as its own ingredient! (And I know our Cheese Shop maven, Avery Aames, would agree!) Thanks for dropping by today and we'll see *you* here soon with your mystery series launch coming later this year. Very exciting!

      ~ Cleo

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  4. Cleo, you're so smart! Dru Ann, we're so so so thrilled about your nomination. I won't be able to attend Bouchercon this year, but please imagine me stuffing the ballot box! xo

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. LOL on the ballot box, Lucy/Roberta, we are all cheering for her!

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  5. Dru Ann, your nomination is well-deserved. I don't know anyone (especially a solo blogger) who works harder and collects so many great writers in one place. And an easy recipe for comfort food is always welcome!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Well put, Sheila, thank you for dropping in today!

      Delete
  6. Nice tribute to Dru Ann, who has helped us all with a great place to share our characters! Love the recipe. Congrats, Dru Ann, on your well-deserved nom!

    Daryl / Avery

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Beautifully said, Daryl/Avery, Dru does a service for readers, writers, and a host of fictional characters yearning to break out of their pages. It's a pleasure to read (and occasionally write for) Dru's Book Musings, we're lucky to have her.

      ~ Cleo

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  7. Tuna melt in a bowl?
    YES!
    I think I'll add a bit of mustard to the mix.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. A dash of mustard would be a wonderful addition, Libby, spot on. Thanks for dropping by today, it's always a pleasure to "see" you in the Kitchen!

      ~ Cleo

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    2. My daughter saw this post on my FB page and has asked if I will make it for a family dinner!

      Delete
    3. Libby - You're on the spot now! :) On the other hand, it's incredibly easy to put together. I hope you all enjoy it, and thanks for letting us know! ~ Cleo

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    4. By the way--a half pound of pasta (good luck finding a pasta box that is actually a pound any more)? One can of tuna?
      That is supposed to feed FOUR?!

      Delete
  8. this looks delicious. I'll be trying it.
    Anything with cheese has to be good.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Mary - We are cheese lovers here, that's for sure. (Bacon lovers, too, but that's another blog post. :)) Thanks for dropping in, I appreciate it!

      ~ Cleo

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  9. Food, friends, and good mysteries -- what could be better? Thank you, Dru Ann, for all your contributions to mystery world, and for a tasty recipe, too!

    PS: My pal Pepper, owner of the Seattle Spice Shop, says blends like this are so handy -- and perfect for adding extra flavor on nights when you need a quick dinner!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks to our resident spice maven for the sweet comment, and for dropping by today. Have a great week, Leslie!

      ~ Cleo



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  10. This sounds really good! I love that you added the spices for that extra kick! Thanks for sharing !

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks for dropping in today, Terri, and (like our resident spice maven, Leslie) we love to spice things up around here!

      ~ Cleo

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  11. Hi Dru! I am so happy about your nomination. Good luck!!! Cleo, thanks for featuring Dru today. We all love her. And I love her cheesy pasta with tuna. Yum!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Krista - Agreed! Dru's nomination is definitely worth celebrating, and at any celebration, well, you gotta have food, right?! Thanks for dropping by today, K, cheers!

      ~ Cleo

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  12. Dru Ann is so deserving of this nomination. I am cheering for her to win!! I love using shells in any mac and cheese dish because of the way the cheese melts into the shells. Thank you for the recipe ~

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    Replies
    1. Linda - What a lovely note, thank you, and (as you can probably tell) everyone here at MLK could not be happier for Dru. On today’s recipe, great point about the shells, their shape really does help scoop up and hold all that delicious cheese flavor. Even better, these days, there are a lot of more healthful pastas being sold with added fiber and lower carbs and calories, some are even gluten-free, so it's all good. Thanks for dropping in today, Linda, wishing you joy in all things...

      ~ Cleo

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  13. The recipe looks very good! I pinned it for future use. Thanks!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Elaine - We love pins. Thanks for sharing the love, and we hope the recipe brings your taste buds joy.

      ~ Cleo

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  14. It was such exciting news to hear about Dru Ann's nomination; so well deserved for sure. I make a similar casserole when I have a lot of leftover chicken using that instead of the tuna. I have also made it with cooked shrimp and I use Penzey's spices often and I think it is wonderful but have not used the Northwoods Fire yet so cannot comment on the heat of it. I would make up some of your garlic mayo Cleo, and put that in with the pasta for wonderful flavor (if you like garlic, that is, and I do).
    I love tarragon with chicken so most always I use some when I make chicken with pasta. I know some of the chefs on t.v. do not like having cheese with fish but I think that is up to the person eating it to decide. Personally, cheese is fine with me with shrimp. Our tastebuds should be our guide sometimes, am I right?? Thank you so much for the great postings Alice and Marc. You know how much I love you guys and your writing talent. Keep up the great work. All of the MLK ladies are wonderful gals. <3

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