Tuna Pasta Bake – for days when you REALLY don’t want to spend hours in the kitchen!

I had plans to make some elaborate meal involving chicken and garlic sauce for tea, but my local supermarket foiled me by having no chicken breasts left – the supermarket running out of things is a common occurence when I’m forced to go shopping after work! I had no plan B, and after dragging my disappointed self all the way round the supermarket then carrying the far too heavy bags home in the dark I really wasn’t in the mood for slaving over our evening meal anyway, so we’re having my usual “can’t be bothered to cook properly but don’t want to just shove some crispy chicken in the oven (plus there is no crispy chicken in the freezer)” fallback meal: Tuna Pasta Bake. Here’s how to make it:

The ingredients:
Pasta – something like penne or farfalle works best
Whatever vegetables you have to hand and can be bothered to deal with (I used courgette and leek today. On less lazy days, I might chop an onion. Lazier days involve a tin of peas or kidney beans)
Tin of chopped tomatoes
Tin of tuna (in water/juice, not oil)
Freshly ground black pepper
Mixed herbs
Cayenne pepper (optional)
Cheese (preferably Cheddar, but any strong cheese will do. The mild type where you need practically a whole block just to be able to taste anything won’t work here!)
Ready salted crisps

The method:
1. Place enough pasta for the number of people you are in a pan and add boiling water. Cook for about half the time the packet says to – it will continue cooking in the oven later and you don’t want it to go mushy!

2. While the pasta is cooking, chop up your vegetables – or just open the tins if you’re going for the really lazy method – and place them in an oven-proof dish.

Vegetables
Vegetables

3. Add the tinned tomatoes and tuna and stir everything together, then add herbs and spices.

4. Add the pasta and stir until most of the pasta is covered with tomato. If there isn’t enough tomato for all your pasta, add another tin (I make pasta for 2-3 people and one tin is enough for that)

Pasta
Pasta

5. Grate cheese all over the top of your pasta/veg mix. Or use ready-grated stuff.

Cheesy!
Cheesy!

6. Crush a handful of ready-salted crisps and sprinkle them over the top of the cheese.

Ready for the oven
Ready for the oven

7. Place the dish in the oven at around 180° for about 20-30 minutes, until the cheese has melted and top is starting to go golden brown.

8. Dish out and enjoy

If you’re vegetarian or just don’t like fish, you can leave out the tuna and add extra vegetables for a vegetarian version – I’ve done it before and it works well. Oh, and the usual reaction I get when I mention the crushed crisps is a look of disgust, so if you’re currently sitting pulling faces at your computer then I would like to say try it first! It’s nice, honest!

Simple pleasures

Take a couple of slices of bread. Toast them on one side.
While the bread is toasting, open a tin of tuna in brine and drain out the brine.
Turn the beautifully bread over and spread a generous helping of tuna on the untoasted side.
Place the now tuna-d back under the grill and toast the tuna side.
Remove and place on a plate.
An (almost) instant recipe for a happy Bev.

Dinner for one

Either I slept in an incredibly weird position last night or I’ve been exercising in my sleep. I’ve been aching all over today. Stiff neck, sore back and legs that feel like I’ve been climbing mountains. I blame the housework! Just another reason why mopping and scrubbing is best left to someone else. I’ve also been incredibly tired all day, despite the fact that I got to bed at a reasonable-ish time (11pm). I could mhave done with a quick 40 winks this afternoon. Don’t think work would have been too happy about it though.
I remember reading somewhere that Japanese businessmen do that. Sleep at work I mean. They take regular power naps throughout the day, just closing their eyes and having a brief sleep wherever they are. Sometimes they even sleep standing up. There’s a proper name for it but I can’t remember what it is. Definitely something that should be introduced over here in Europe.

I was going to meet Jan for lunch today, but apparantly he had to film a robot at 1pm, which is when I start my lunch break, so I settled for buying crispbread and random tuna sandwich paste stuff from Karstadt. Hopefully that will last me the next 2 days, meaning no more money will have to spent on lunch this week (I have Thursday and Friday off). Result!

I’m now trying to decide what to make for tea tonight. Jan’s not coming over, so it’s just me. I hate cooking when it’s just for myself. It seems so pointless and it means I have to both prepare the meal and clean up the mess afterwards with nobody to help me. *sigh* Also, food tends not to come in one person portions. I can make chilli for two but not for one (how silly would it be to use half a tin of kidney beans and half a tin or tomatoes? And where sells mince in portions that small anyway?) No wonder single people (and students) resort to pot noodle and microwave meals. But as I am trying to a) save money and b) eat healthily neither of those is an option. Maybe I’ll just chop an apple into some yoghurt. It’s healthy, cheap and there won’t be any washing up involved. 😉 (In all seriousness, I might actually go for that option if I wasn’t so hungry. As it is I’m just going to have to bite the bullet and cook something proper. All I have to do is figure out what…)