A Melbourne doctor has shared the ‘secret weapon’ tuna pasta bake recipe she swears by when cooking for her family in lockdown – and revealed why she loves it when she’s short on time and ingredients.
Dr Preeya Alexander said while it can be hard to get your hands on fresh foods when you’re in a strict lockdown such as the stage 5 coronavirus restrictions in Melbourne, that doesn’t mean you can’t make your family a delicious and nutritious meal.
‘This veggie-packed tuna pasta bake is easy to make and lots of the ingredients can be substituted for something else,’ Dr Alexander said in a recent Instagram video.
‘This meal is also great because it stores well in the fridge and it’s kid-friendly.’
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A Melbourne doctor has shared the ‘secret weapon’ tuna pasta bake recipe she swears by when cooking for her family in lockdown (Dr Preeya Alexander pictured with her kids)
‘This veggie-packed tuna pasta bake is easy to make and lots of the ingredients can be substituted for something else,’ Dr Alexander said (finished result pictured)
To make the budget, child-friendly recipe Dr Alexander learned from her grandmother, you’ll need to get your hands on countless store cupboard staples – including canned tomatoes, tuna, dried pasta and extra Virgin olive oil.
Dr Alexander said you can use any type of pasta you want and it doesn’t have to be giant shells like the ones she has – and you can even mix and match several styles if that’s all you have.
Once you have those items from your pantry, you’ll need a few fresh vegetables including mushroom, cauliflower, spinach and silverbeet.
‘Broccoli and zucchini work beautifully in this if you don’t have those particular fresh veggies,’ Dr Alexander said.
Finally, you’ll need some Kalamata olives and some ricotta, as well as garlic and ginger.
To make the budget, child-friendly recipe the doctor (pictured) learned from her grandmother, you’ll need to get your hands on countless store cupboard staples
How do you make Dr Preeya Alexander’s tuna pasta bake?
Dr Alexander shared the recipe for the veg-packed tuna pasta bake (pictured) online
Canned tomatoes x 3
Cauliflowers x 2
Spinach and silverbeet x 1 handful
Garlic x 3 cloves
Cans of tuna in olive oil x 3
1. Heat your water and cook the pasta according to packet instructions.
2. While the water is heating up for the pasta, add a good splash of extra Virgin olive oil to a neighbouring pan and a decent amount of crushed ginger. Then, add some garlic.
3. Fry off both the garlic and the ginger until it’s slightly fragrant, and then add in your tuna. You do need to fry off the tuna quickly, but not for very long.
4. If you’re using broccoli or cauliflower, blitz them in your blender. Use all parts of the cauliflower including the stalks.
5. Add in three cans of tomato to your mix and stir it through a bit. Allow it to gently simmer for five minutes and then throw in the veg.
6. Add in your mushrooms, spinach cauliflower and broccoli blended. Stir it through and add a little passata if you need it.
7. Cook for 20-30 minutes so that all the veg is softened. Add your olives and a little bit of ricotta to make it creamy and delicious. Two tablespoons is a good amount. Finally, put a few teaspoons of chilli flakes inside it.
8. Pop the pasta into a glass oven-proof dish and pour your sauce through it, making sure all the pasta is coated.
9. Add a sprinkle of cheddar cheese and bake in the oven for 20 minutes.
10. Serve hot with a side salad.
Source: The Wholesome Doctor
Dr Alexander shared the recipe on her Instagram page, explaining that what ‘makes’ the dish is ginger (pictured during the cooking process)
Dr Alexander shared the recipe on her Instagram page, explaining that what ‘makes’ the dish is ginger.
‘You can cut it back, of course, if you don’t like it, but it adds so much flavour and it’s my grandmother’s base sauce recipe and she swears ginger is the absolute key,’ she said.
Dr Alexander also said you can use whatever cheeses you like best, whether that’s cheddar, mozzarella or ricotta.
The Melbourne doctor (pictured) has been sharing practical tips and strategies to follow during Melbourne’s strict COVID-19 lockdown
Dr Alexander shares practical tips to follow during lockdown
1. Routine helps
Dr Alexander shared her practical tips to following during coronavirus lockdown
Dr Alexander said routine will help you ‘in a huge way’ as you approach the second wave of lockdown.
She recommends you keep to a regular sleep and wake time, and try to keep a separate work space so that you have a designated area with start and finish times.
2. Don’t binge drink
While Dr Alexander said she enjoys a glass of wine as much as the next person, she also said you need to watch your consumption in lockdown.
‘In lockdown, it’s easy to reach for a wine to either end the work day or mark survival of the parent day,’ the GP said.
But this can easily turn into two or three, and before you know it, you’re effectively binge drinking four or five nights a week.
‘If you’re going to have a glass of wine, try and mindfully drink it,’ Dr Alexander said.
3. Stay connected
One of the ‘key’ things to handling lockdown well is staying ‘connected’ with your family and friends, despite physical distance.
‘Surround yourself (technologically) with people who bring joy and who genuinely ask how you are,’ she said.
4. Stay active
Dr Alexander said exercising in sunlight like walking, running and cycling helps your sleep quality, mood and fatigue.
5. Keep kids active
Dr Alexander recommends a roster for this – filled with ‘routine, routine, routine’.
‘Draw up timetables, bring structure to the day for them (and you), and you’ll feel instantly better,’ she said.
6. Seek help if you need it
Lastly, if you’re doing all of these things and still struggling, you might need help from elsewhere.
‘Your GP, psychologist and maternal child health nurse are all still there,’ the GP said.
‘There are loads of supports, and Lifeline (131114) is also a 24/7 service in Australia.’
Thousands who saw the simple recipe online said they couldn’t wait to try it for themselves.
‘Made this tonight for our twins who have been rather fussy of late (toddlers), and they wolfed it down (as did me and the husbo!) Keep the recipes coming!’ one commenter posted.
‘Yum! I make a creamy one but have never fried the tuna… I add it later… I’m going to adapt and try it this way!’ another added.
The Melbourne doctor has been sharing practical tips and strategies to follow during Melbourne’s strict COVID-19 lockdown, including staying active and keeping your children active, and seeking help if you need it.