Sweet Potato Tuna Mac & The Meaning of Home
Good Afternoon Everyone,
Today I feel quiet and reflective. I usually ask how you’re doing and hope that you’re having a good day. But today I know better. Today most of us are feeling scared and unsure. It seems like every new week brings another wave of violence here in the U.S. And honestly… it’s scary. It’s terrifying that police officers, who we’ve grown up to know are a “safe” person to talk to, are being attacked and killed… and are killing innocent people too. People are angry. Hearts are broken. And the violence still continues.
Nothing ever good comes from violence. Nothing.
Times like these when things feel unsure, I often turn to comfort dishes and things that remind me of home. What things remind you of home? As a lover of musicals, I am reminded of that song from “The Sound of Music”, “Favorite Things”. Do you know that song? Julie Andrews hugged the Von Trapp children during a thunder storm and sang to them all about her favorite things. Things that make her smile.
Today I want to share a dish that makes me smile, and hopefully, it will make you smile too. Macaroni and cheese… let’s dive in together. Not long ago I experimented cooking with Paula Deen’s Macaroni and Cheese. To be honest, I was left feeling a tad disappointed. It was bland and so very basic. Not to mention that I don’t want a heaping scoop of butter and cream in my macaroni. I know, I know, but it’s macaroni and cheese! It’s supposed to be creamy, right? Well, kind of. But hear me out.
I’ve tried the Vegan mac and cheese thing, and again I was left disappointed, but let’s get real: nutritional yeast does NOT taste anything like real cheese. I’m sorry. It just doesn’t! That being said, I was still hunting for that one mac and cheese recipe that was healthy and yet flavorful. And guess what? I found it!!! YAY!!! After much hunting and cooking, I am SO excited to share it with you. A HUGE thank you to Erin from Texanerin Baking for her amazing recipe. This allowed me to expand upon it and add steamed broccoli and canned tuna right into the mix for a complete meal!
If your family isn’t a fan of broccoli, try peas! If canned tuna isn’t your thing, try salmon or cooked tilapia! The choices are endless. Now I’ll stop gushing for a moment and tell you why this pasta is so great:
- It uses whole-wheat pasta. My family was skeptical if the pasta would taste terrible, but honestly it didn’t! We couldn’t even tell a difference.
- The “sauce” is actually a yam/sweet potato! Yes, you read that correctly. A yam is boiled, mashed, and pureed with milk, garlic powder, and a bit of cheese to make a creamy, healthy, sauce. No butter required!
- It still tastes like macaroni and cheese but without being too cheesy. As a family with sensitive tummies to dairy, I have to be careful on how much dairy we consume. This mac and cheese dish allows me to serve up big bowls without worrying about the effects.
Enjoy this awesome recipe everyone. Hug your loved ones and hang in there… things are bound to get better ❤ God bless and stay safe!
Sweet Potato Tuna Mac
Yields: 8 servings
- 1 box whole-wheat elbow macaroni
- 1 medium sweet potato/ yam, peeled
- 2 cups milk (or rice/almond milk if you prefer)
- 2 cups Cheddar cheese, grated
- 3 cups broccoli florets
- 1 can tuna in water
- 1 tsp. garlic powder
- 1 tsp. paprika
- Salt and black pepper to taste
- Begin by bringing a large pot of salted water to a boil for your pasta. Cook pasta according to manufacturer’s directions.
- While the pasta is cooking, steam the broccoli. If you don’t have a steamer. Take a sauce pot with several inches of water at the bottom. Place the broccoli inside. Set on the lid with just a bit cracked to vent and steam for about 10 minutes, or until just tender.
- Drain the pasta and broccoli and set aside.
- Refill the pasta pot with water again and bring water to a boil for the sweet potato. Slice the potato into rounds and boil until just tender. (Mine cooked for about 25 minutes.)
- Test the sweet potato for being tender with a fork. If it pierces easily, you’re good to go! Drain the sweet potato and pour into a large mixing bowl. Combine the sweet potato, milk, garlic powder, paprika, salt, black pepper, and Cheddar cheese and mix with an immersion blender until pureed thoroughly. This is where you’ll see that beautiful, orange creamy sauce come together.
- Add in the cooked pasta and broccoli. Mix well and serve hot! Enjoy!