Not Your Campbell’s Green Bean Casserole

Green Bean Cassarole

This is an awesome Thanksgiving side that we practiced ahead of time to make sure it was better than that classic casserole made with a soup can. We wanted to switch it up and make it from scratch, while also taking handy short-cuts to make it an easy side to go along with the million other things we make on the big day. I took the components that sounded the best from other recipes I found online and mashed them together to make this. Speaking of which, this was fantastic smushed up against some mashed potatoes.

What You’ll Need:

Green beans, of course: You’ll need about two pounds if you are going to buy fresh beans that you’ll clean and snap yourself, but we saved a ton of time by buying two 12 ounce bags of prepared green beans from Target. You can find them near the bags of salad.

Baby bella mushrooms: We also took the shortcut of getting already cleaned and sliced mushrooms so all we had to do was cut them in half.

2 white onions  (you can substitute shallots if you prefer a milder flavor or to spend as much money as possible on your produce)

1 tablespoon minced garlic (once again, we used pre-minced garlic from a jar to save time, man, we’re lazy)

3 tablespoons butter

1 cup and 1.5 tablespoons flour

1 cup heavy cream

1 cup chicken stock

1 teaspoon cayenne pepper

olive oil

salt and pepper to taste

How To:

Preheat the oven to 375 degrees. Cut one of your onions in half and dice half the onion. Slice the remaining onion and a half as thinly as possible (a mandolin is handy for this if you have one and was another time saver for us). Lightly oil a large baking sheet. In a small bowl, mix the 1 cup of flour, 1 teaspoon of cayenne pepper, and salt and pepper to taste. Dredge the thinly sliced onion through the flour mix and shake off the excess before laying in an even layer in your oiled baking sheet. Pop that in the oven keeping a close eye on the onions for approximately 10 minutes or until golden brown and crispy.

Next, melt the butter in a pan (we used cast iron) on the stove and cook the mushrooms in one even layer over medium heat until they begin to release their juices and soften. If they seem dry, feel free to add splashes of olive oil or additional butter as needed. Then, add the onions and garlic and cook until the onions are translucent before adding the green beans. Cook until the green beans turn bright green and shiny. Then, sprinkle the flour over the vegetables and add the cream and chicken stock. Once mixed together, this mixture should thicken and you can add salt and pepper to taste (the amount you need will depend on your brand of chicken stock). If your mixtures seems too runny, add teaspoons of flour until creamy. Finally, top with the crispy onions and bake in the oven for approximately 20-25 or until the whole thing is hot and bubbling.

The hardest part of this whole recipe is waiting for it to cool for a few minutes before breaking into it! As with all of our recipes, I encourage you to tweak and experiment. This would be a good one to add a splash of sherry or marsala wine to substitute some of the liquid or to toss some fresh herbs at the end of baking for a hit of freshness. Enjoy!

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21 Ways to Mix Up Your Mashed Potatoes

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One of the things I’ve noticed since we’ve become foodies is that we just can’t leave well enough alone. When we visit my family in Ohio, it drives them crazy to see us spending the whole time eating a meal we’ve cooked discussing how to tweak it the next time. Whereas some see a holiday classic when looking at a big fluffy pile of mashed potatoes, I see a blank slate with endless possibilities. So, here’s a simple recipe for basic mashed potatoes and a list of ideas for combinations of “mix-ins.” When it comes to mashed potatoes, as in life, cheese is your friend.

You’ll Need:

3 pounds of potatoes of your choice (Yukon gold, russet, and reds are favorites)

½ stick unsalted butter

2 cups heavy cream

Salt

Pepper (white pepper can be substituted if you like purely white mashed potatoes)

How To:

It’s up to you whether you want to peel your potatoes, but keep in mind waxy-skinned potatoes are better if you are leaving the skin on. Chop into even cubes and place into a large pot. Cover with cold water, salt the water, and boil until tender. Drain the water and add the half stick of butter and warmed heavy cream as well as salt and pepper to taste. Mash the potatoes using a hand or stand mixer, but be careful not to overwork them as they can become gummy if the starches are broken down too much.

One you have your base ready, have fun adding as much or little of these mix-ins as you like!

  1. Mascarpone cheese and chives
  2. Sauteed or roasted garlic and parmesan
  3. Fontina and scallions
  4. Cream cheese, parsley, and chives
  5. Gorgonzola and crumbled bacon (we use turkey bacon)
  6. Rosemary (chopped finely! we skipped chopping once and it was like potatoes full of little sticks) and sage
  7. Cream cheese, roasted garlic, and red pepper flakes
  8. Sautéed leeks and garlic
  9. Smoked gouda, fontina, and scallions
  10. Caramelized onion and roasted red pepper
  11. Goat cheese and sautéed shallots
  12. Chipotle pepper and cream cheese
  13. Sour cream and dijon
  14. Cheddar cheese (use white cheddar if you want to keep them looking like classic mashed potatoes), chives, and thyme
  15. Mozzarella stirred in and topped with parmesan and breadcrumbs and briefly broiled for a crispy top
  16. Pesto and parmesan
  17. Blue cheese and a dash of cayenne
  18. Alfredo sauce and parmesan
  19. Sour cream and sautéed leeks
  20. White cheddar, sautéed shallots, and chives
  21. Cream cheese, garlic sautéed in butter, and scallions