Green Bean Casserole From Scratch

I can’t believe Thanksgiving is just over a week away! We were originally expecting to still be in China for the holiday, so it’s been a pleasant surprise getting to plan a full on American feast. There are some foods that were just hard to find in Suzhou, like turkeys. One grocery store did have 1 frozen turkey. But they literally had that same turkey the entire time we lived there, so I had my doubts about the quality. Here I have my choice of ingredients, a nice big kitchen to prepare it in, and a group of friends to share it with.

My menu is shaping up to look pretty similar to last years, with just a few adjustments and additions. One thing that was requested this year was green bean casserole. Of course I could just go with the traditional casserole made with cans, but that wouldn’t be quite as fun! So I searched for a from scratch recipe that would be the best balance between the traditional taste and better for you non-processed ingredients. I think I found a real winner! One that gives the canned casserole a run for its money!

One last thing – For the trial run I bought a bag of crispy fried onions for the topping but on the actual day of I plan to make them myself.

 

 

Apple Cider Vinegar Glazed Green Beans

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I have nothing against the traditional green bean casserole that is found on so many Thanksgiving tables. I’ve even been known to sneak an extra spoonful or two when going back for seconds. But it’s also not my favorite way to eat green beans. I like them crisper and, like so many other things in the world, with bacon. So when the menu planning was entirely up to me, I opted for my style of green beans.

After doing an online search I knew what kind of flavor I wanted to go for. Tangy and savory, and of course with bacon. But I also wanted to bring in something “fall” like. So I adapted a recipe to use apple cider vinegar and the broth/drippings from the turkey. Like most of the things I made for our Thanksgiving dinner, the picture was AWFUL! So I recreated the dish, only using regular chicken broth, to get a better picture. Of course it was a little richer with the turkey drippings, but both ways we were good enough for me to eat half of them all by myself!


Apple Cider Vinegar Glazed Green Beans with Bacon and Shallots

Ingredients
1 lb fresh green beans, blanched or steamed for 4 minutes (I used fresh “steam in bag” beans)
3 strips of bacon, cut into 1-inch pieces
2 shallots, cut into strips
1/4 cup broth
2 Tbsp apple cider vinegar
2 Tbsp brown sugar
1/2 tsp kosher salt
1/2 tsp black pepper
Directions
In a large skillet or wok, cook bacon over medium heat for about 5 minutes, stirring often. Add the shallots and cook for another minute. Remove bacon and shallots from pan and set on a paper towel lined plate. Remove all but 1 tablespoon of bacon fat from the pan.

Increase the heat to medium-high and add the green beans to the pan, stir to coat with bacon grease. Add the broth, apple cider vinegar, brown sugar, salt and pepper to the pan. Cook over medium high heat for 7 minutes or until the liquid has reduced and thickened, stirring often. Remove from heat and return the bacon and shallots to the pan.

Transfer to a serving dish and serve immediately.

Adapted from Cooking Light, via My Recipes

Garlicky Green Beans

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Living in San Diego has a lot of perks. For one, the weather here is darn near perfect almost the whole year. Not too hot, not too cold. Just mellow. Unfortunately there a few downsides. Most of the downsides have to do with me missing things about Ohio. Family, friends, and my extended dance family.

A little background for those of you that might not know, for almost 10 years I taught Irish dancing. If you do anything for that long it is bound to become a part of you, but I find that dancing especially seeps its way into who you are. Sometimes when I’m driving I’ll start singing a jig, just to make sure I didn’t lose it (because man it took a while to not accidentally slip into a reel mid-song). Other times I catch my feet doing a dance under my seat (or more embarrassingly, while waiting in a long line).

I have to admit that as much as I enjoy having my weeknights and weekends free, I’m a little sad to think that starting this week all my little dancers will be going back to class and I won’t be there. Even though Garlicky Green Beans aren’t really Irish, they are green. And in honor of my green McGing sweatshirt wearing dancers, I am posting this recipe for their first official week of the 2011-2012 dance year.

Quick notes about these green beans. 1) They are ridiculously easy 2) They are flavorful, crunchy, and the perfect fix it and forget it side dish.

Garlicky Green Beans
(Sunny Side Up original)

Ingredients
1 1/2-2 pounds fresh green beans, cleaned and cut to be even
1 shallot, thinly sliced
2-3 cloves garlic, minced or pressed
4 tsp olive oil
Kosher salt and black pepper to taste

Directions
Preheat oven to 450 degrees*.

Toss all ingredients together in a bowl**.

Spread green beans on a foil lined baking sheet and bake for 10-12 minutes until the skin starts to shrivel, stirring once or twice during baking.

* I settled on 450 because that’s the temp my main course required. I’m sure it would be fine to use whatever temp your main course is. If it is less than 450 it will require more time, but will still work.

** For an extra flavorful punch do this about 30 minutes before you plan to cook the green beans and allow them to marinate in the oil/garlic.