Tuna mac & cheese takes a trip to the Southwest with spicy tomato and festive blue tortilla chips on top. Canned tomatoes with green chiles and ancho chile powder add a peppery kick, but if you like, you can keep it mellow by using a 14-ounce can of drained petite diced tomatoes and mild chili powder. Source: EatingWell Magazine, March/April 2011

EatingWell Test Kitchen
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Ingredients

Ingredient Checklist

Directions

Instructions Checklist
  • Preheat oven to 450 degrees F.

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  • Cook pasta in a large saucepan of boiling water according to package directions. Drain and rinse.

  • Meanwhile, whisk flour and 2 tablespoons milk in a small bowl. Heat the remaining milk in a large ovenproof skillet over medium heat until steaming.

  • Gradually whisk a few tablespoons of the hot milk into the milk-flour mixture, then whisk this mixture back into the skillet. Cook over medium heat, stirring constantly, until the sauce is smooth and slightly thickened, 1 minute. Remove from the heat and stir in Cheddar, pepper Jack, chile powder, salt and pepper.

  • Puree cottage cheese in a food processor or blender until very smooth, scraping down the sides as necessary. Stir into the sauce in the skillet. Add tuna and the pasta; stir well to coat with the sauce. Sprinkle drained tomatoes evenly over the top.

  • Bake until hot and bubbling, 20 to 25 minutes. Top with crumbled tortilla chips.

Tips

Make Ahead Tip: Prepare through Step 5 (transfer to a baking dish, if desired, before topping with tomatoes), cool, cover and refrigerate for up to 1 day. Bake at 450°F until hot and bubbling, about 35 minutes.

Notes: Ancho chile powder, made from dried poblano peppers, has a mild, sweet spicy flavor. Look for it in the spice section of well-stocked supermarkets.

Chunk light tuna, like all fish and shellfish, contains some mercury. According to the FDA and EPA, women who are or might become pregnant, nursing mothers and young children should limit their consumption to 12 ounces a week of fish with lower mercury, including canned “light” tuna. Consumption of albacore tuna (which is labeled “white”) should be limited to no more than 6 ounces a week. And, if you're looking for an environmentally sustainable canned tuna option, check the label--tuna that was caught by troll or pole-and-line is considered the best choice, according to Monterey Bay Aquarium's Seafood Watch Program. Or look for the blue Certified Sustainable Seafood label from the Marine Stewardship Council.

We like to use flavorful Rotel brand diced tomatoes with green chiles--original or mild--in place of regular diced tomatoes in Southwest-inspired dishes. Find them near other diced tomatoes and/or in the Mexican-food section at most supermarkets.

Nutrition Facts

442 calories; 11.5 g total fat; 6.2 g saturated fat; 39 mg cholesterol; 725 mg sodium. 380 mg potassium; 55.3 g carbohydrates; 5.5 g fiber; 7 g sugar; 32.9 g protein; 749 IU vitamin a iu; 4 mg vitamin c; 46 mcg folate; 375 mg calcium; 3 mg iron; 79 mg magnesium;

Reviews (10)

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10 Ratings
  • 5 star values: 4
  • 4 star values: 2
  • 3 star values: 3
  • 2 star values: 0
  • 1 star values: 1
Rating: 1 stars
01/22/2018
Definitely need to fix the 1 serving bug. It's either 4 or 6 but I don't get the same results with either 4 or 6 servings. I'm seeing a lot of recipes with "1 serving" and it makes the site much harder to use. Read More
Rating: 5 stars
10/09/2017
Excellent! I wouldn't change a thing. Even my son (who doesn't like tuna or cottage cheese) loved it! But...1 serving? More like 3-4. Read More
Rating: 4 stars
02/10/2016
Quick and Easy Didn't have the tomatoes with chiles so just used drained tomatoes. But since I was short of milk I ended up using the drained juice in the sauce and it added a nice color to the sauce. I used only chili powder. I only had cheddar cheese so doubled to make up for the other cheese. Next time I would save some of the cheese to sprinkle on top with the tomatoes I would make again and try variations. Pros: easily adapted Read More
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Rating: 3 stars
10/17/2014
This recipe was great however I did add some sauteed onion garlic red bell pepper and corn. I used a dash of regular chili powder and crushed red peppers. Also I didn't blend the cottage cheese seemed pointless. It was delish even my 2 yr old gobbled it up. Read More
Rating: 3 stars
10/29/2011
Hot Sardine! I can work with this. Society for the Appreciation of the Lowly Tinned Sardine Read More
Rating: 5 stars
10/29/2011
Delicious! Is this really only 11g of fat per serving? It tasted much more decadent and sinful. Delicious. I used Dreamfield's low carb pasta instead of whole wheat and I forgot the blue tortilla chips but it tasted great without them. I will be making this again. Pros: Easy to make very tasty Read More
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Rating: 5 stars
10/29/2011
Fantastic! I used Trader Joe's Fire Roasted Tomatoes with the Chiles. I omitted the adobo stuff since I can never find it. The sauce was delicious and everything came together wonderfully. The flavor of the tuna was not overwhelming and the creaminess of the cheesey sauce just added to it. It was kind of like tuna noodle casserole but with a little bit of a kick. It was even better the next day! Pros: Tasty rather quick Read More
Rating: 3 stars
10/29/2011
kids compared it to tuna helper (they eat that at their dads) I used the ground ancho pepper instead of "ground ancho chile powder" and it wasn't spicy enough. Substituting regular chile powder may have given in the zip it needed. It wasn't bad by any means and my lower rating may be due to not using what it called for. Pros: easy Cons: I couldn't find acho chile powder-only ground ancho pepper Read More
Rating: 5 stars
10/29/2011
Just spicy enough I made this with canned chicken (which I accidentally opened instead of the tuna) and it was great! The cottage cheese blends with the other cheeses perfectly to make a very smooth sauce. It was just spicy enough without being too spicy. Next time I might omit the salt since there's plenty already with all the cheese and the canned meat. This recipe makes a lowly can of chunk chicken into a pretty decent dinner. Pros: easy tasty Read More
Rating: 4 stars
10/29/2011
Simple Comfort Food I loved this dish. I used chipotle pepper powder and pepper jack cheese because I love spicy food. It was quick and filling without being overly greasy. I will definitely make this again! Pros: Great use of canned tuna loved the cottage cheese swap Read More