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!

Advertisements

Roasted Vegetable Lasagna

photo

My grandma used to make me vegetable lasagna when she would come to visit and I loved picking it at for the whole week. Now I’ve come up with my own roasted vegetable version and I think it’s a great, hearty option for a Meatless Monday or any day you want to pack in lots of vegetables and still feel satisfied. In our household, it’s a great way to use up whatever vegetables we have in the fridge before they go bad. You really can throw in just about any vegetable you’d like. This is also a great make-ahead option if you are planning on serving a crowd or if you’re dropping off a family meal for friends.

What You’ll Need:

A pile of your favorite vegetables, we used –

1 large eggplant

4 small zucchinis

1 onion

1 red bell pepper

1 green bell pepper

1 cup of mushrooms

2 cups of spinach

1 box of lasagna

15 ounce container of ricotta

8 ounce bag of shredded mozzarella

1 ounce parmesan

1 45 ounce jar of your favorite pasta sauce (we used Prego traditional)

Italian seasoning or a blend of basil, oregano, thyme, and parsley

Garlic powder

Salt and pepper

Olive oil

Optional fresh basil

How To:

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees. Slice the eggplant and zucchini into ¼ inch rounds and cut the onion, peppers, and mushrooms into ½ inch pieces. Toss the vegetables with approximately 2 tablespoons of olive oil, and season with salt, pepper, garlic powder, and Italian seasoning to taste. Spread evenly onto baking sheets and roast for about 30 minutes or until tender. Meanwhile, mix together the ricotta, half of the mozzarella, parmesan, spinach, and Italian seasoning in a bowl.

During the last ten minutes of roasting, prepare the lasagna noodles according to package instructions and strain. They may stick together if they are left to rest too long, but running them under water can help to pull them apart. Oil a baking pan and spoon enough sauce to coat the bottom before beginning to layer the lasagna.

Lay the first layer of noodles and top with the eggplant and zucchini, then cover the vegetables with sauce.

photo (4)

Then, lay down another layer of noodles and spread half of the ricotta mixture. If you’re not afraid to get dirty, smushing this around with your hands seems to work best.

photo (3)

On the next layer of noodles, spread the onions, peppers, and mushrooms and cover with more sauce. Then add one more layer of the ricotta mixture.

photo (2)

Finally, cover the last layer of noodles with the remaining sauce, optional fresh basil, and the rest of the mozzarella. At this point you can cover the dish and freeze it for later or bake it 400 degrees for approximately 30-40 minutes or until cheese is melted and beginning to brown.

Let rest for at least twenty minutes before slicing and enjoy!

photo (1)

The Vine:

photo (6)

The fresh basil in this recipe is optional but adds a great burst of freshness to the dish. It also makes a perfect garnish if you like to make food look as good as it tastes. This is another herb that I would recommend starting with if you have any interest in a home herb garden. It’s relatively easy to find, inexpensive, and easy to maintain. Just make sure it gets lots of light, water thoroughly approximately once each week, and pinch off leaves from the top of each stem rather than the bottom to promote bushy growth.