Coming Down and Tuna Casserole with Fresh Tomatoes

by Joanne on September 10, 2012

Coming down off my “feel good”, confident high due to a very slow run this past weekend. It was my last long run before the marathon in Dayton, OH.  I left Shane at home since I wanted to keep running without having to turn for home and drop him off.  My course was flat since I wanted to give my self the advantage of a good run and confidence boost. It just didn’t happen.


I’m not sure if it was just me having a bad run or if it was the 10 mph to 16 mph wind gusts or if it was a bit more humid than I had bargained for, whatever the reason, I ran slow.

I finished the run relieved it was over but in a completely fowl …foul (I hadn’t sprouted wings so I think it was “foul”) mood.  I burned my tortilla in the toaster that was intended for my egg white omelet wrap.  I went to the grocery store with an ear full of hair conditioner, not discovering the mass of yellow goo until I was back in my car heading home and having had conversations with multiple people. FOUL mood! Baring teeth smile

….and so the very confident self that was looking forward to running an easy race with no nervousness has flown the coop (there’s that bird thing again!).  I feel as if I should go out and try to run another 18 miles before next Saturday just to see if I can do any better.  Since that won’t happen nor would it do me any good, I’ll run a few 40 – 60 minute runs this week with one speed session and hope the legs are feeling fine (although wings would help).

As for eats…as promised, here is that Tuna Casserole using the fresh, robust Basil Pesto from last week.

Garden fresh tomatoes and tender baby spinach mixed into a classic casserole with tuna and further enhanced with wonderful flavors of dill and basil pesto.  What a way to celebrate the end of summer tomato gardening.

Tuna Casserole with Garden Fresh Tomatoes1

Serves 6 – based on a recipe in Cookingclub, developed by Nancy Maurer

Tuna Casserole with Garden Fresh Tomatoes6

  • 6 oz. Bow Tie pasta
  • 2 TBS olive oil
  • 1 medium white onion, chopped
  • 2 tsp. minced garlic
  • 2 TBS whole wheat flour
  • 1/2 cup 2% milk
  • 1 3/4 cup vegetable broth
  • 1/2 cup homemade pesto (see here for the recipe) or purchase from store
  • 3 TBS lemon juice
  • 1 TBS chopped fresh dill
  • 1/2 tsp. salt
  • 1/2 tsp. pepper
  • 12 oz. can water packed tuna
  • 3 cups baby spinach
  • 15 oz. cannellini beans, drain and rinse
  • 4 fresh tomatoes, chopped in chunks
  • 1 1/2 cups vegetable chips such as “Sweets and Beets” (sweet potato crisps and beet chips)

Preheat oven to 400 F.  Spray a 11 x 7 or 13 x 9 glass dish with non stick cooking spray.

Cook pasta according to package and set aside.

Heat oil over medium high heat and cook the onion 4 minutes then add garlic for another 30 seconds. Stir in flour and whisk constantly for 1 minute.  Whisk in milk and broth, bringing to a boil.  Reduce to a simmer for 3 minutes, whisking frequently.

Stir in pesto, lemon, dill, salt and pepper.  Gently add the noodles, tuna, spinach, beans and tomatoes. Spoon into the baking dish. Top with the chips.

Bake for 25 minutes or until bubbly.

Tuna Casserole with Garden Fresh Tomatoes4

Such a rewarding meal!

Tuna Casserole with Garden Fresh Tomatoes7

Mmmmm…starting to feel much better.

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  • At 2012.09.10 08:45, Ali @ Peaches and Football said:

    Sorry about the run – wind is absolutely NO FUN and it’s amazing how much it hinders exercise. But it’s better to have a bad training run than a bad marathon so now that you’ve got the bad run out of the way, you’re all set to rock it in Dayton!!!!!!!!!

    • At 2012.09.11 11:45, Joanne said:

      I keep reminding myself that this first marathon must be taken easy anyway – that’s if I want to run Mohawk to Hudson in 3 weeks. But it’s tough to keep it all in perspective.

      • At 2012.09.10 10:14, misszippy1 said:

        I hate finishing the training cycle on a bad note, BUT–you are experienced enough to know that it doesn’t mean a thing to your overall fitness. You’ll be fine and you will skip that 18-miler!

        Look for Mark Cucuzzella at the marathon–he won it last year at the age of 45. Great guy!

        • At 2012.09.11 11:47, Joanne said:

          He is on the Air Force website offering recommendations on running the marathon.

          • At 2012.09.10 12:05, Heather said:

            Try to focus on all the GOOD training you’ve had. This one less-than-perfect run is just letting you know that you have to work for it. 🙂
            You got this!!

            • At 2012.09.11 11:47, Joanne said:

              Trying to keep my focus and hoping for a mild temperature, sunny day.

              • At 2012.09.10 19:24, Choc Chip Uru said:

                We all have those days my friend, I am sure everything will be fine (and knowing your awesome fitness, it probably was the winds!)
                Loving casserole, indulge and jump back on your feet 🙂


                • At 2012.09.11 11:48, Joanne said:

                  Thanks. 🙂

                  • At 2012.09.11 19:00, claudia @whats cookin italian cuisine said:

                    I love this recipe! sounds awesome!

                    • At 2012.09.12 12:14, CJ at Food Stories said:

                      I’ve never put bean in my tuna casserole before; however, this looks stunning. May just have to try it … Hope you’re having a great Wednesday 🙂

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