I’d like to start doing a series of recipes that I make regularly that are both healthy and inexpensive. Many of them will be made with items that can be purchased with WIC checks if your family qualifies for such. I’ll tag these as WIC Friendly Recipes, so you can easily search for them. Many of my “recipes” are actually more of a basic formula than a specific recipe, but I will give a specific recipe as an example.
Today, we will do my basic casserole formula, using a tuna casserole as the basis. The entirety of the tuna casserole can be made with items available to breastfeeding mothers through WIC. Slight variations on the recipe leave it both allergen friendly, and costing little.
2 Cups Cooked Rice (or couscous, quinoa or pasta)
1 Can Tuna (or 1/2 to 1 lb ground beef, chicken, pork or ham, or beans for vegetarian)
2 Cups Frozen Veggies (I love to use a mixture of whatever I have in the freezer or use a pre-mixed variety. Frozen veggies can be replaced with fresh, but this is more time consuming and often more expensive and less nutritious. When mixing, I aim for a variety of colors for optimum nutrition, and a variety of textures as well. One of my favorite combos is peas, carrots, lima beans, green beans, and onions.)
1 to 1 1/2 Cups Chicken Broth (or water to make it entirely from WIC food, or beef or veggie broth, or even milk or a milk substitute)
1/4 to 1/2 Cup Shredded Cheese (or cheese substitute, or omit altogether)
Stir all ingredients together in a casserole dish (I prefer my 9×13 rectangle, but this works equally well in a bowl, or other shape as long as it is big enough to hold everything).
A great step to add here is to make double the recipe and to pop half of it into the casserole dish and the other half into a zippered freezer bag, mark what it is and pop it in the freezer for a super fast meal another night. If you do this, when you are ready to use the freezer portion, thaw it completely then finish the recipe.
Bake at 350*F for 20 – 30 minutes. Tuna will take less time as you are only heating all of the ingredients and melting your cheese, so it will be closer to 20 minutes. If you use a raw meat, such as ground beef, it will need to be thoroughly browned so you will want to give it closer to 30 minutes. Don’t worry, you will be able to tell when it is done as there will be a lovely crusty layer over the top and the meat will be browned and the cheese melted.
Let it set while you set the table and serve it up. Then watch the kids devour it!