Sunday, October 27, 2013

Tis the Season for Green Bean Casserole with a KICK



Tis the season...almost. But, I mean, once Costco has their Christmas stuff in stock... don't we all go by that lovely reminder? We are talking early September here folks. Which begs the question, since when did holiday season begin in September? ::Explicative:: That's some kind of pressure, Costco, don't you understand, the downhill spiral that can lead to? All of the sudden our senses begin to believe that it actually is holiday time...which means the requests start early for the "holiday type" food. Problem is, our actual holiday calorometer is not prepared for the increase. WE ARE NOT READY! So, now, instead of the post Christmas pudge that gets everyone in the gym after New Year's, we are fighting 4 months of fat

It's just wrong. Just about as wrong as listening to Christmas music before Halloween is over...which I never do. Almost never.

But back to the matter at hand, actually, the conspiracy theorists might say the Athletic Clubs are in cahoots with the stores, and they are ALL OUT TO GET US. Lock your doors, batten down the hatches, and HIDE your husbands until after the first of the year!!!


Pictured with Chicken Crusted Meatloaf, I'll be posting that recipe very soon!!

Okay , Okay, dramatic much. All kidding aside, holiday season does bring family and friends together. And entertaining becomes a thing. And when we are entertaining, we need recipes...for food, that you cook. Because your friends will sense if you bought something at Fresh & Easy and put it in the oven. They'll know, and they will judge you. So, just make this awesome casserole as your side dish. Hell, there are vegetables in the side dish, there is flour in the side dish... so that counts for your vegetable and your starch, too, right?

They won't even care...just make a double batch!

Ingredients:
2 Tbsp Olive Oil

3 Tbsp Butter
1/2 tsp nutmeg
3/4 tsp salt
1/4 tsp black pepper
3/4 tsp red pepper flakes
3 Tbsp Flour
8-9 Mushrooms, chopped
1/4 Yellow Onion, diced
1 Cup Milk
1 Cup Stock
1 Cup Water plus more, as needed
1 Cup Crispy Onions
1 and 1/2 Packages frozen green beans, thawed (or 1.5 lbs presteamed green beans)
2 Cups Mushroom sauce...see recipe below
Utensils
A pot
Nonstick or ceramic baking dish
Whisk is helpful
Mixing spoon or spatula

Getting saucy. Right, so growing up, we always made green bean casserole from the can. I'd venture to guess that most of us knew green bean casserole the same. Which made me wonder, why? I imagined that a simple sauce could easily serve the same purpose, meanwhile giving the chance to add flavor AND, bonus...you can hide nutrients in the form of...wait for it... vegetables (don't tell my boyfriend.) The convenience of canned cream of mushroom is great, but taking the extra step to make your own sauce is also flavor worthy.



So here we go:

In a pot, over medium heat, add your olive oil and butter. As the butter melts, add pepper, red pepper flakes nutmeg, and salt- the pepper and nutmeg will be aromatic.


Drop in your mushrooms and onions, turn the heat down to low (get low, get low, get low, get low and something about 3-6-9 ~ sorry, that lyric might be in your head the rest of the day) enough to sweat down (there's that song, again) the mushrooms and onions ...I'm sensing a theme here. So, at this point, you should be shaking your booty and rapping Lil John lyrics, while covering the mushrooms and onions. Give them about 5 minutes. Plenty of time for you to find the song on YouTube and seal the deal.

Okay, back to the part where we cook. Add flour, and mix into to the mushrooms/onions. It will likely clump, which is fine. Turn the heat up and cook for another minute to allow flour cook.

On high heat, whisk in Stock, give it a minute to thicken, then add water, lastly add milk. Once the sauce is simmering, turn down your heat to medium, cover and let simmer for a few minutes, remove lid. If it seems too thin, let simmer uncovered for a few minutes, and it will thicken up for you. If it is too thick or has reduced too much, use a bit of water to thin it down...add a little at a time.

Into the blender it goes, for a whirl, until relatively smooth. Save 2 cups for this casserole, and freeze the rest for another day.

Put your thawed/rinsed green beans in a nonstick baking dish and sprinkle with half of the crispy onions. Add sauce evenly and stir it all together.

Sprinkle the top with the rest of the onions.

Cover dish with foil and into the oven it goes, on 375 degrees F for 20-25 minutes. Uncover about halfway through or no less than 5 minutes before done.


AAAANNNNDDD....WALA, it is done! I hold back on the salt when preparing this one, because the crispy onions have their own salt content, but depending on what brand used, the salt level may be lower than to taste, so leave a salt shaker out just in case. Below is a sort of step by step visual, too!



Until next time...Happy Cooking...and booty shaking



XoXo



Sauce is done, not blended yet

Beans in the dish

Add half onions before covering in sauce




Sauce gets blended


Add sauce to the dish and give it a MIX

Top it all off with crispy onions and it is ready for the oven








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