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Beyond the Casserole: Quick, Healthy and Tasty Tuna Recipes

The tuna casserole has been a favorite dinnertime standby for many years. And for good reason - canned tuna is cheap, easy to store, nutritious, quick to prepare, and appeals to kids and adults alike. As good as a tuna casserole can be, when served too often - eyes can begin to roll! Now's the time to expand your tuna repertoire. Here are several ideas for using our favorite fishy in new dishes.

Tuna patties: Like crab cakes or salmon patties, make little cakes with tuna, egg white, breadcrumbs and seasonings. Fry in a little olive oil for a very tasty and quick lunch or dinner. They are even better with some fresh-squeezed lemon juice.

Open-Faced Tuna and Tomato Melts: Slice french bread crosswise. Lightly spray with cooking spray (sprinkle with a touch of garlic salt if desired) and brown under broiler. Mix tuna, a small amount of light mayonnaise, chopped celery, and seasonings. Spread on broiled bread slices. Top with sliced tomato and a small amount of mozzarella cheese. Sprinkle with italian seasoning. Broil under cheese is melted and tuna is heated through.

Tuna Salad Stuffed Tomatoes: Use same tuna mixture as described above. Hollow out tomatoes (but don't throw away - eat the insides!). Scoop tuna mixture into tomato shell.

Tuna Pasta Salad: Cook some whole wheat pasta (shells, macaroni, penne, etc) according to package directions. Stir in tuna, light sour cream or mayonnaise, chopped veggies - such as celery, green onion, green or red bell pepper, cucumber, asparagus, broccoli or cauliflower, and seasonings. Chill before serving if desired.

Tuna on Salad: Tuna is also a great topping for a tossed salad. Simply flake it and add your other favorite vegetable toppings and lowfat dressing.

Tuna Roll-ups: Mix tuna as described in 'Tuna Melts' above. Spread on lowfat or fat-free tortilla, add a generous amount of sliced tomatoes and lettuce and roll up.

To keep all of these dishes healthy, just make sure you don't overdo the mayonnaise. A little goes a long way. Light mayonnaise still adds a great flavor and texture. You can also try substituting plain fat-free yogurt. What you can use liberally are dried or fresh herbs, ground black pepper, and other salt-free seasonings. Tuna packed in water is a healthier choice than that packed in oil. You will also want to experiment with the different varieties of tuna, such as albacore, for even more taste dimensions. You can even buy tuna now in plastic envelopes that you don't have to drain. Because tuna is so versatile, you'll probably be able to come up with endless variations on these and other recipe ideas. So, go grab that can opener and enjoy!

© Health-E-Meals.com, 2002

Erin Rogers, a work-at-home mom of two, is the founder of Health-E-Meals.com, providing practical healthy living resources for busy people. Visit her website to sign up for the FREE newsletter, 'Dinners on the Double' - offering a quick and healthy, no-recipe dinner idea each week. Other available services include quick and healthy recipes, healthy cooking articles, fitness and motivation tips, healthy living web links, and lots more! Erin can be reached via email at erin@health-e-meals.com.

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