Homemade Green Bean Casserole

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

Let me preface this whole post by saying I don’t think I have ever had the green bean casserole with the canned green beans and cream of mushroom soup. I have definitely had those french fried onions (#latenightsnacking).

I’ve made homemade green casserole before on the blog, but I was never completely satisfied by it. One of the hardest things when first cooking what how to get sauces to thicken with a roux. I swear that I would follow recipe directly exactly but it would never thicken up as promised (I am looking at you chicken pot pie recipes…).

BUT I was determined. And I wanted to make a casserole completely from scratch to see if I could get those french fried onions to be even better than than those boxed ones.

And finally I feel like I was able to master a homemade version of cream of mushroom! Forgive the darker photo from a winter evening and make this homemade this holiday season!

HOMEMADE GREEN BEAN CASSEROLE
Adapted from Cooks Illustrated & Pioneer Woman

For the Casserole:
1 lb green beans, trimmed and chopped
1 lb cremini mushrooms, chopped
Salt and pepper
3 tablespoons butter
3 cloves garlic, minced
3 tablespoons flour
3/4 cup chicken stock
3/4 cup half and half

For the onions:
1 onion, thinly sliced
2 cups buttermilk
2 cups flour
1 tablespoon salt
1 teaspoon pepper
1 teaspoon cayenne
Oil for frying

DIRECTIONS

Cover sliced onions with buttermilk and refrigerate for an hour.

Heat large pan and add green beans. Cook for 2-3 minutes until sizzling. Add water until beans are just covered and cook for 4-5 minutes until crisp-tender. Drain green beans and cool with cold water (or do water bath if you aren’t feeling as lazy as I was when cooking).

Heat large pan and add butter and mushrooms. Season with salta and pepper and cook until mushrooms have released water, about 6-8 minutes. Add garlic and cook until fragrant, about 1-2 minutes. Stir in flour and cook for 1-2 minutes. Slowly stir in chicken stock and half and half. Bring to boil and reduce to simmer while stirring. Simmer until thicken for about 15-20 minutes. Remove from heat and transfer into 8×8 casserole dish (or 9×9 if you want a smaller filling to fried onion ratio.)

Preheat oven to 425°F. Heat oil to 375°F.

In large dish, mix flour, salt, pepper, and cayenne. Working in batches, drain onions and dip into flour mixture, coating to cover. Fry in oil for 1-3 minutes, until golden brown. Transfer to paper towels to drain and salt when hot out of the oil. Repeat with remaining batches.

Sprinkle onions on top of casserole. Bake in oven for 15-20 minutes, until bubbling and onions are golden brown.

Thanksgiving Nachos

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

Most people know exactly what they are going to make for their Thanksgiving meal. There are the must-haves of turkey, stuffing, and cranberries, and people have their own traditional or family recipes to include too. So why bother sharing more recipes for the day-of when likely 1) you literally can’t add any more dishes because of time, dishes, and space or 2) you have traditions to follow. But if that’s what you need you can look here.

Instead lets focus on leftovers. Now, the main Thanksgiving meal is great and wonderful. But leftovers are really where it’s at. The days after Thanksgiving are full of some of the best turkey sandwiches ever. But let me tempt you to try using your leftovers a new way: on nachos.

If you love to combine all your Thanksgiving food on your plate, this is for you. These nachos do just that but add a crunchy, salty tortilla chip and some salty cheese on top.

Now I do not advocate nachos and no turkey sandwiches, but think about these nachos when you are tired of eating your leftovers the same way day after day.

THANKSGIVING NACHOS
From Cinnamon Freud

INGREDIENTS:

Tortilla chips
Cojita cheese, crumbled
Turkey, shredded
Cranberry sauce
Stuffing, optional
Gravy, warmed

DIRECTIONS

Preheat oven to 350.

Line baking sheet with tortilla chips. Top with turkey, cheese, and stuffing. Cook in oven for 3-8 minutes, until warmed and browned. Drizzle cranberry sauce and gravy on top.

Homemade Green Bean Casserole

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

It is that time of the year to start eating big, warm, gooey casseroles. The cold wind is blowing outside, and I am refusing to leave the warmth of indoor heating.  However, sticking my hands and head in the oven to get out a warm, bubbly casserole is a lovely way to get warm. I have some understanding on Sylvia Plath in the winter months.

So it’s the time for casseroles: with lots of cheese and carbs- and maybe a few vegetables if we are trying to get on Santa’s nice list. One good old favorite casserole for the holiday season is the classic green bean casserole.

Every one seems to love a good green bean casserole- even botany.  And while there is nothing wrong with making green been casserole from mushroom soup and using the canned fried onions, if you love to cook, green bean casserole from scratch is absolutely delicious- and not really that much more difficult. This is perfect for any upcoming holiday celebration- and even better, all the components can be made ahead of time with just a quick bake before serving.

Santa, I am possibly interested in a stocking full of fried onions.  Let’s talk.

HOMEMADE GREEN BEEN CASSEROLE
From Cinnamon Freud

INGREDIENTS

4-5 shallots, thinly sliced
Flour, for dredging
Oil, for deep frying
1 – 1 1/2 pounds hairicot verts
4 tablespoons butter, divided
2 pounds mushrooms, chopped
Salt and pepper
2 leeks, thinly sliced
1/2 cup all purpose flour
1 cup milk
1 cup chicken or vegetable stock
1 1/2 teaspoons dried marjoram

DIRECTIONS

In a small saucepan, fill oil about 2 inches high.  Heat to 375°F. Dredge shallots in flour.  Shake off excess.  Fry for about 1-2 minutes, until golden brown.  Drain on paper towels.  Repeat with remaining shallots. Set aside.  You can make the shallots the night before- just keep stored in layers on paper towels in an air tight container.

Prepare your hairicot verts (or normal green beans).  Bring a large pot of water to a boil.  Fill a large bowl with ice water.  Working in batches, boil the green beans for about 1-3 minutes.  Immediately transfer to ice water.  Remove from ice water.  Set aside.

Heat a large saucepan over medium high heat.  Melt 3 tablespoons of butter and cook mushrooms until tender, seasoning with salt and pepper (you may need to do this in batches depending how large of a pan you have).  Combine in a bowl with green beans.

In a saucepan, melt remaining 1 tablespoon of butter.  Add leeks and cook until tender, seasoning with salt and pepper, about 5-8 minutes.  Stir in flour and cook for 1-2 minutes.  Slow whisk in milk and chicken/vegetable stock.  Cook, stirring constantly, until thickened about 5-8 minutes.  Stir in marjoram and season with salt and pepper to taste.  Pour sauce over green beans and mushrooms.  Stir together and put in casserole dish.  This can also be stored overnight covered in the fridge.

Preheat oven to 350 °F.  Sprinkle fried shallots on top of casserole.  Bake until warm and bubbly, about 10-18 minutes.

Turkey Sliders with Mustard Poppy Seed Sauce

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

Are you still full?

I hope not because you need to start making room in your stomach for all of those left overs you (hopefully) have.  Having leftovers after Thanksgiving is like having another holiday celebration right after- I love them.

I love the classic turkey sandwich with turkey, maybe a little mayo, stuffing, and cranberry sauce.  I will be definitely having a few of those, but I have so many ideas for leftover recipes that I may need to roast another turkey (just FYI mom).

These turkey sliders are a great way to use up your leftover turkey.  I made these back at my Half Christmas celebration in June- they are also great party food for people.  Take your turkey & gravy, stick it on a slider roll, top with a mustard poppy seed sauce, and bake away.  Delicious.

If in the past few weeks it hasn’t been obvious, I love Thanksgiving.  And Christmas as well, so prepare yourself for the next month.  For anyone who sees me in person, there is a 99% chance I will have some baked good to pass along.

TURKEY SLIDERS WITH MUSTARD POPPY SEED SAUCE
Adapted from Perfecting the Pairing

INGREDIENTS

12 Hawaiian dinner rolls
Shredded turkey
Gravy, optional
Salt and pepper
Provolone cheese, sliced
4 tablespoons butter, melted
1 tablespoon light brown sugar
1 1/2 teaspoon Dijon mustard
1 1/2 teaspoons Worcestershire sauce
1/2 teaspoon poppy seeds

DIRECTIONS

Preheat oven to 350°F.

Slice rolls in half.  Combine turkey and gravy if desired.  Season with salt and pepper.  Divide turkey filling between bottom buns.  Top with provolone cheese and transfer to rimmed baking pan.  Place top bun on top.

In a small bowl mix together melted butter, brown sugar, Dijon mustard, and Worcestershire sauce.  Pour and brush sauce on top of rolls.  Sprinkle poppy seeds on top.  Bake until cheese is melted and turkey is warmed through, about 10 minutes.

Makes 12 sliders.

Turkey Day Inspiration

It’s almost heeeereeee…

Are you ready?  I feel as if I have been born ready, and Thanksgiving could not have come soon enough for me this semester.  If you are still thinking about your plans, here are some Thanksgiving inspired recipes.

I hope you all have a happy Thanksgiving spent with family or friends.  Keep your eye out for some recipes to use up some of those yummy leftovers in the next few days.

Appetizers:

Dill Dip & Veggies
Cheese ball
Caramelized Onion Dip

Side Dishes:

Streusel Sweet Potato Souffle
No Turkey Required Stuffing
Apple Stuffing
Pear and Fig Stuffing
Cranberry Sauce
Sweet Potato Rolls

Desserts:

Gooey Butter Cake
Cranberry Turtle Bars
Texas Sheet Cake
Layered Spice and Cheesecake
Blueberry Sour Cream Pie
Brownie Pudding

Pear and Fig Stuffing

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

Here we are again with our old pal stuffing.  I love stuffing so much, I just wish it was a little prettier to look at.

Are you all ready for the big day this week? I am literally counting down the minutes- nay seconds- until I am on my plane back to Houston.  Back to my family, a big kitchen with lots of counter space, and lots of good food.  My stretchy pants are poised and ready to go into action this Thursday.

If you are still planning your Thanksgiving meal (or if you love to eat stuffing any time of the year), this is a unique but delicious recipe for stuffing.  Not your traditional stuffing fare that typically has mushrooms, celery, or sausage.  Instead, you get sweet pears, chewy figs, and salty cheese.  And it was divine.  I made this late at night for dinner the next day, and I physically could not stop myself from eating little pieces at midnight.

By the way, using Hawaiian rolls for stuffing is an idea that I wish I had thought of years ago.  Especially in this recipe, you will love it.  It tastes even better at in the hours from 12 AM – 1 AM.  Thanksgiving late night snack anyone?

PEAR AND FIG STUFFING
Adapted from Fake Food Free

INGREDIENTS

2-3 tablespoons butter
1 red onion, thinly sliced
3 cloves garlic, minced
1-2 pears, chopped
Salt and pepper, to taste
2 teaspoons dried sage
8 cups torn bread (like Hawaiian rolls)
3/4 cup dried figs, chopped
1 1/2-2 cups chicken broth
1 egg, lightly beaten
1/2 cup cubed Asadero cheese

DIRECTIONS

Preheat oven to 400°F.  Grease a 9 inch by 13 inch baking pan.

In a large skillet, melt better.  Cook red onion until tender, about 5-7 minutes.  Add garlic and cook until fragrant, about 1-2 minutes.  Add pear, salt, pepper, and sage.  Cook until pear is tender, about 5-7 minutes.

In a bowl, stir together bread, pear mixture, and figs.  Stir in chicken broth until you reach your desired stuffing consistency.  Stir in egg.  Spread in prepared baking pan.  Bake for 30 minutes.  Remove from oven, sprinkle cheese on top.  Cook until cheese is melted, about 5-10 minutes.

Turkey Gravy & Mom’s Stuffing

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

Yep, here we go again with some more stuffing. And I got one more coming for you before T-Day.  But today you get a bonus with your stuffing: some gravy.

This stuffing is mom’s traditional Thanksgiving stuffing- we have had it every Thanksgiving I can remember.  Mom always makes two versionS: dry stuffing and wet stuffing.  You see, our family is firmly divided between stuffing texture.  We have some who prefer stuffing to be pretty “wet” or “moist” (such appetizing words right there), and we have others who want it dry as the dessert and crunchy.

I am an intermediary, as I like both types.  So in my role as a diplomat, I always help myself to both kinds.  However, I tend to lean a little more toward the wet side.  <- What a wonderful sentence there.

My new favorite take on Mom’s stuffing is to make my own turkey stock, using Alton Brown’s method.  So, today we are going to talk about getting all up in our turkey bird’s business and use his giblets and other body parts to make us a good turkey stock.

Wetness, giblets, and turkey parts. Yum.  This post if filled with such delicious ways of discussing food.

TURKEY STOCK
Slightly Adapted from Alton Brown

INGREDIENTS

1 tablespoon canola oil
1 turkey neck (and backbone if available)
1 set of giblets
1 red onion, quartered
1 medium carrot, quartered (optional)
2-3 celery stalk tops
¼ teaspoon kosher salt
3 cups water
1 bay leaf
1 teaspoon whole black peppercorns

DIRECTIONS

Heat canola oil in a stockpot over medium heat until shimmering. Add neck (and backbone if available) and sauté 5-6 minutes, until browned. Add giblets, onion, carrot, celery, and salt. Cook, stirring occasionally, until vegetables are softened, 4-5 minutes. Add water, bay leaf, and black peppercorns.

Cover and bring to a boil over high heat. Uncover, reduce heat to low. Let simmer for 1-1 ½ hours until stock has reduced.

Strain stock and discard solids. Reserve giblets if desired.

For Stuffing: Use this turkey stock instead of normal chicken stock to make your stuffing.  My mom’s recipe can be found here.  And it is delcious

For Gravy: Use in place of normal stock.  Here is Alton Brown’s recipe.

Apple Stuffing

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

Last Thanksgiving, we went a little stuffing crazy. According to official psychologist-in-training expertise.  Which, to me, is a perfectly acceptable form of going crazy along with pie crazy, cheese crazy, Diet Coke crazy, and cranberry crazy.

So last Thanksgiving we had a lot of stuffing: 3 types (And I tried lobbying for a fourth).  First, we had our traditional stuffing both “dry” and “wet” due to differing personal preferences, and we tried out this new apple stuffing. This apple stuffing turned out well: rich tasting due to adding an egg, and the apples added a little bite and sweetness.

This year’s Thanksgiving menu is still in it’s draft phase, and I have had dreams of so many different types of stuffing to try.  Oyster, sausage, fig, pear, sourdough, naan- there are some many possibilities with this bread dish.  I think we definitely need a full week long Thanksgiving celebration with at least one full day dedicated to only eating stuffing.

I highly recommend making lots of stuffing this Thanksgiving- that way you have plenty leftover.  There is nothing better than stuffing on a sandwich.  Bread on bread is always the way to go.

Yeah, if you couldn’t tell, I really love stuffing.

APPLE STUFFING
Slightly Adapted from Martha Stewart

INGREDIENTS

3-4 tablespoon butter
2 leeks, thinly sliced
Salt and pepper, to taste
4 apples, chopped (peeled if desired)
1 teaspoon dried sage
1 teaspoon dried rosemary
8 cups bread cubes
1 1/2-2 cups chicken broth
1 egg

DIRECTIONS

Preheat oven to 400°F. Grease a 9 inch by 13 inch baking pan.

In a large skillet, melt butter. Add leeks and cook until tender, about 6-8 minutes. Add apple and season with salt and pepper. Cook until tender, about 6-9 minutes. Season with sage and rosemary. In a large bowl, stir bread cubes and apple leek mixture together. Pour in chicken broth until desired stuffing consistency is reached. Stir in egg.

Spread mixture into the prepared baking pan. Bake for 40-45 minutes.