Family Dinner: Authenticity is So Important


Tonight for dinner, I was so pleased to be able to use the organically grown squash my son and I picked up at the local farm. I find that watching me shave pieces of nature into noodles helps my son develop his fine motor skills. I always strive to live a more organic, kinesthetic philosophy of parenting . After all children are our future. #greenparenting

We’ve all seen this Facebook update. I mean, I’m guilty of trying to make myself look more Pinteresty, more desirable. It is in fact ruining us all. I have mountains of anxiety about precisely this issue, so why would I ever play into it further? Because its what you do. A few friends of mine have recently inspired me to try to be more authentic so here it goes.

We did go to an adorable organic farm this week, Providence Farms in Edmond. We did not go because I am trying to save the planet one organically grown zucchini at a time. We went because they open at 8am and Ben woke up at 5:45. I made a casserole with it because we live in Oklahoma and vegetables are so much better with cheese. Utilizing this as a base recipe:

Grilled Zucchini Double Cheese Tuna Bake a delicious healthy, cheesy and creamy bake, the perfect family dinner summer casserole. A new favorite/

Photo and recipe credit:

Course: Main Dish
Cuisine: Italian
Servings6 servings
Calories382 kcal
  • 3 medium zucchini sliced (not too thin) lengthwise and grilled
  • 6 ounces tuna 140 grams
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons bread crumbs 10 grams
  • 1 cup shredded firm mozzarella 100 grams
  • 1 egg slightly beaten
  • 1/4 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese + extra for sprinkling 25 grams
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil 15 grams
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt 2.6 grams
  • 1/2 teaspoon parsley .3 grams
  • 1/2 cup white sauce homemade or storebought 120 grams
  • 1 tablespoons butter 15 grams
  • 1 tablespoon flour 13 grams
  • 1/2 pinch salt
  • 1 1/4 cups milk 280 grams
  1. Pre-heat oven to 350° (180° celsius), lightly grease a deep (8×6 inch / 20×15 centimeter) baking dish
  2. In a medium bowl mix together, tuna, bread crumbs, mozzarella, egg, Parmesan, olive oil, salt and parsley.
  3. Line the baking dish to cover the bottom with grilled zucchini top with 1/3 tuna mixture and pour half the white sauce on top, cover with another layer of grilled zucchini, 1/3 tuna mixture and remaining half of the white sauce, cover with remaining grilled zucchini, tuna mixture and sprinkle with freshly grated parmesan (how much you want), bake for approximately 20-25 minutes, let sit 5 minutes and serve. Enjoy!
  4. **Homemade White Sauce: In a small pot on medium heat add the butter until melted, add flour and salt and whisk to combine, add milk and continue whisking until thickened. Remove from heat.

I bet it would have been delicious. Problem was I had no bread crumbs, Parmesan, or patience.

My version involved swapping breadcrumbs for StoveTop Stuffing. Obviously, you have this on hand after an August trip to Target while hungry and pregnant. I prepared the stuffing and used it as a layer. There was additionally no grilling of zucchini. Whatever random squash I bought was shaved thin and used as noodles without the benefit of aesthetically pleasing grill marks. Layer mystery squash, tuna/Stovetop mixture, and white sauce in lasagna fashion. Be sure to eat a handful of shredded mozzarella. Top with extra cheese and some crushed up potato chips because 1) My MIL always used potato chips in her tuna noodle casserole and I didn’t one time and it was “fine” but not the same 2)  This is America. 3) If my husband errr…toddler is eating squash instead of real noodles I am thrilled enough and will entice with whatever necessary. 350 for 50 min. Pairs well with Chardonnay and zero ounces of motherhood guilt.

Authors note: I wish I could really have had it with chardonnay. #pregnant

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