Tag Archives: green beans

Not Your Usual Green Bean Casserole

For Thanksgiving we are going to a friend’s house and when I asked what I could bring, I was asked: “How about that green bean casserole thingy? Thanksgiving wouldn’t be complete without it!” I said ok and searched for the usual recipe. Growing up in my house was very different when it came to Thanksgiving. Why? Well it wasn’t until we were all much older that we started to actually have a turkey for the Thanksgiving dinner. I’m not joking. I never really remember Dad carving a turkey. Ever. I do remember us having a huge tray of lasagna though. Every year. And sometimes a ham. But never a turkey. It was usually lasagna. When we started dating and then had to do the two house thing for the holidays we all discovered how different things were out there! Nobody had lasagna! I was flabbergasted! I don’t know why we didn’t have turkey, maybe Dad hated carving? I don’t know. But once we started experiencing the ‘normal’ Thanksgiving foods I was introduced to the green bean casserole. And for some reason it is rarely served any other time of year! Why? Again, I don’t know. So of course I have never made it before. This is a first. But I also didn’t want to do the same ho-hum basic green bean casserole. So I scoured the magazines and internet. I then took a little bit of each recipe that I found and it’s now something new. I am making it Thursday so I won’t know how it tastes until then. I will report back though for sure. And I will remember to take a picture before we eat it!  And have no fear everyone, I’m still using those french-fried onions. My husband insisted on it. I have to keep remembering, change is good. It will be fine. Thanksgiving will still be a food fest. Happy Eating!

**Ok, the green beans were a hit! Very tasty and full of crunchy goodness! The water chestnuts and almonds are a nice change from the ordinary. I also lowered the oven temp to 350 degrees, because the onions got a little too well done, but still really yummy! I’m also thinking next time maybe a little hot sauce added to it would be good also.


INGREDIENTS:

3 packages (9 ounces or so each) of frozen French-style green beans

3 tablespoons butter or margarine

1 (10.5-10.75 ounce) can cream of mushroom soup, undiluted (I am using the 98% fat-free kind)

3 ounces cream cheese, softened (I am using light cream cheese)

1 cup french-fried onions

1 (8 ounce) can sliced water chestnuts, chopped

¼ teaspoon garlic salt

¼ teaspoon ground black pepper

1½ cups shredded cheddar cheese (I am using 2%)

1 (2½ ounce) package slivered almonds

paprika

DIRECTIONS:

1. Cook green beans according to package directions, drain.

2. In a large pot or dutch oven melt the butter. Add the soup and cream cheese and cook over low heat, stirring constantly until cream cheese is melted and mixture is smooth. Remove from the heat.

3. Stir in the green beans, 2/3 cup of the french-fried onions, water chestnuts, garlic salt, pepper, and cheddar cheese.

4. Spoon the mixture into a lightly greased 1¾ quart casserole dish. Top with the almonds and remaining french-fried onions. Sprinkle with paprika.

5. Bake at 350º, uncovered, for 45 minutes.

Serves 8

Devilish Oven Fried Chicken w/Green Beans

I swore I would do the blog in the morning, so that when 7pm rolled around I wasn’t scrambling to get dinner ready and writing my blog at the same time. But here I am at 7:15pm writing the blog. I get so swamped in the morning. Between getting up with my husband at 7am, make his lunch & breakfast for him to take to work, feed the cats, clean the litter boxes, take the garbage out for pickup, do two more loads of laundry, check my email, eBay and whatnot…Oh and I wanted to do my daily walk as well at around 10am. HA! It was noon by the time I did that. So once the morning was gone the thought of writing the blog was too. I spent the afternoon job hunting as usual. No luck. So here I am now writing about a yummy dish I made last night. The original version of this recipe is from Rachael Ray (my fave!) and I changed it to suit what I had in the house. It originally called for 4 chicken legs w/thighs. I had 5 chicken thighs. The recipe also called for removal of the skin! I know! I left it on. That is pretty much it on what I changed. Though next time I am adding more hot sauce. Recipe only called for 1 tablespoon, not enough. I would add about ¼ cup next time. I served it with a side of green beans. The beans were the frozen kind in a ‘steamer’ bag. I was steaming them for about 5 minutes in the microwave till I heard the bag pop! No, it’s not supposed to do that! So I took them out of the microwave. In the meantime I had sautéed a shallot and 3 cloves of garlic in a little olive oil. I drained and dumped the beans into a microwave container and added the shallots and garlic. Then I added about 4 ounces of crumbled light feta cheese. Then I put it all back in the microwave for another minute or so. By then the chicken was done! Whew! So without anymore babbling here is the chicken recipe!

Green beans with shallots, garlic and feta cheese!

Chicken thigh with the delish green beans!

INGREDIENTS:

¼ cup Dijon mustard

¼ cup reduced-fat plain greek yogurt

¼ cup hot sauce (I used Frank’s Buffalo Wing Sauce)

4 large whole chicken legs separated from thighs (I used 5 thighs)

¼ cup extra-virgin olive oil

1 1/3 cup panko bread crumbs

4 teaspoons italian seasoning (only if you don’t have seasoned bread crumbs)

salt and pepper

DIRECTIONS:

1. In a large bowl, whisk together the mustard, yogurt and hot sauce. Add the chicken, turning to coat and let stand at room temperature for 30 minutes. If you aren’t ready to cook right away cover and refrigerate for up to 12 hours.

2. Place a rack in the upper third of the oven and preheat to 400º. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper and grease with 2 tablespoons of the olive oil.

3. In another large bowl, toss together the panko bread crumbs and Italian seasoning. Skip this if you have seasoned panko. Add 1 teaspoon salt and ¼ teaspoon pepper to crumbs. Working with 1 chicken piece at a time, coat in the panko mixture and place on the prepared baking sheet. Drizzle with the remaining 2 tablespoons olive oil and bake until golden brown and cooked through, about 40 minutes.

Chicken all dressed up for the oven!

Parisian Green Beans

Ok I have no clue why these are called “Parisian”. Maybe because they dress up plain old frozen green beans into something fancy? I’ve never been to Paris, maybe this is how they serve them there. It could be because the French were the first ones to put green beans on their menus! No matter what the reason, this recipe is great. It’s different from your normal ho-hum green beans. As you all know I normally double or triple the garlic amounts in recipes but this one already has 3 cloves in it so I think that’s enough. It’s also got bell pepper flakes, which is something you don’t see too often in recipes. (It should be in the spice aisle). Dill weed and walnuts round out this recipe giving it that something extra. It’s a very low-calorie recipe, low carbs, and good fiber! If you have nut allergies, leave out the walnuts. My husband would also insist on putting parmesan cheese on top of these as well. Making it Italian/French! Bon appetit!

INGREDIENTS:

32 ounces frozen green beans, cooked

3 garlic cloves, minced

1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil

¼ cup bell pepper flakes

1 tablespoon dill weed

½ teaspoon salt

¼ cup chopped walnuts

DIRECTIONS:

1. Cook beans as directed on the package. Drain any liquid off.

2. Heat a skillet on medium with the olive oil. Add beans to skillet. Add the rest of the ingredients and cook over medium heat for about 5-7 minutes.

Makes 6 cups


Back of the Fridge Chicken Soup

Ever have one of those days when you just want to clean everything out of your fridge but you can’t throw it away because it’s still ok to eat? I did that last week. I had a bunch of little containers with leftover veggies, leftover rotisserie chicken from the supermarket and a freezer full of turkey stock I made from the my Thanksgiving in July dinner. You can use whatever you have left in your fridge or freezer and it will be delicious! I had some frozen mushrooms also that I threw in. It was very tasty! We actually had it two nights in a row.

INGREDIENTS:

4 cups chicken or turkey broth or stock

1 8oz. package Tofu Shirataki Noodles, prepared according to package

4 cups mixed veggies of your choice (I used a mix of frozen chopped spinach, broccoli rabe w/chicken sausage, mushrooms, peas, green beans, onion and garlic), chopped into bite sized pieces

1-2 cups chopped leftover chicken, whatever you have is good

1 15-16oz. can cannellini beans drained and rinsed.

½ cup chopped parsley

2-3 tablespoons olive oil

DIRECTIONS:

1. Saute the chopped onion and garlic in the olive oil. When soft pour in broth and rest of the ingredients except for the beans, parsley and noodles.

2. Bring to a boil and then lower heat and simmer for about 15-20 minutes until everything is heated through.

3. Add the beans and noodles and continue to cook for another 5 minutes or so until the beans are heated through. Add the parsley and serve.

4. Serve with parmesan cheese if you like!

Makes 4-6 servings.

Buying Fresh Fruits & Vegetables at Their Peak (Part 2)

As promised here is the list of when it is the best time to buy fresh vegetables, when they are in season.  What are the best vegetable to buy now? Or in 3 months from now?  Right now in Florida where I live the corn is just starting to come out where in the north it won’t be at its best until August or September. I remember when we spent the summers in Maine as kids and we couldn’t wait for August because we’d go to the farm stands and get all of that delicious sweet yellow and white corn, fresh from the farms. It was so crunchy and sweet and you could eat 2 or 3 ears at a sitting without any problem.  Some vegetables are great all year-long which is a good thing! I hope this information helps out when you’re shopping. Another thing when you are buying items at their peak they are usually the best price as well. So keep that in mind as well! Happy shopping and eat your veggies!

  • Artichokes: March-May: Look for heavy, compact, plump globes. Large tightly closed, fleshy leaf scales. Good green color. Heavy for size.
  • Asparagus: March-June: Look for tightly closed buds. Straight, tender, rich green stalks. Open tips and angular or ridged spears are signs of over maturity.
  • Green/Wax Beans: April-October: Look for crisp, long, straight, blemish-free pods.
  • Lima Beans: April-August: Look for bright color for the variety. Crisp, dark-green, well-filled pods.
  • Beets: June-October: Look for firm, round, smooth, deep red-colored roots. Fresh-looking tops. Avoid those with long roots and rough, scaly areas on surface, because they are tough, fibrous and strong flavored.
  • Belgian Endive: October-May: Look for firm without bruises. Color should be white with greenish cast.
  • Broccoli: October-May: Look for firm, closed, dark-green florets. Firm, tender stalks. Yellowing green-colored heads of broccoli are over mature.
  • Brussel Sprouts: October-November: Look for miniature, compact, bright-green heads.
  • Cabbage: All Year: Look for well-trimmed, solid heads. Heavy for size.
  • Carrots: All Year: Look for firm, bright-colored, smooth, clean, well-shaped. Avoid rough, cracked or green-tinged roots.
  • Cauliflower: September-November: Look for bright-green leaves enclosing firm, closely packed creamy-white curd or florets. Avoid bruised or open florets.
  • Celery: All Year: Look for fresh, crisp branches. Light green to green color. Should not have wilted, rough look or puffy feel to the stalk.
  • Corn: May-September: Look for fresh-leaved, green husks. Plump, milky kernels. Avoid cobs with small or large, dented or shrunken kernels.
  • Cucumbers: May-August: Look for bright, shiny green; firm; well-shaped.
  • Eggplant: August-September: Look for firm, heavy, smooth, even dark purple. Free of bruises or cuts.
  • Lettuce: All Year: Look for fresh green leaves with no wilted or bruised areas. Heading varieties of lettuce should be medium weight for size.
  • Mushrooms: November-April: Look for dry, firm caps and stems. Small brown spots or open caps are still good in flavor.
  • Okra: May-September: Should have tender, bright-green, bruise-free pods, less than 4½ inches long. Pale, faded, hard pods are tough and fibrous.
  • Onions: All Year: Look for well-shaped; hard; small necks. Dry paper skins. Free of green spots or green-depressed leathery areas. Crisp green tops. Two to three-inch bleached-white roots.
  • Parsnips: October-April: Should be small to medium size; smooth-skinned; firm. Decay and bruise free.
  • Peas: April-July: Look for well-filled, bright green. Swollen, light-colored or gray-flecked pods contain tough, starchy peas.
  • Peppers: All Year: Look for good shape; firm exterior; thick flesh and bright, glossy skin.
  • Potatoes (White): All Year: Should be fairly smooth; well-shaped; firm. Free of most blemishes. Avoid bruised, sprouting, shriveled or green-tinged.
  • Potatoes (Sweet): September-December: Look for thick, chunky, medium-sized with no bruises or decay. Should taper at the end.
  • Radishes: May-July: Look for medium-sized (¾-1 inch diameter); good red color; plump; round; firm; crisp. Bright-green tops.
  • Spinach: March-May: Look for large, bright, blemish-free leaves with good green color. Yellowing indicates the start of decay. Avoid leaves with coarse stems.
  • Squash (Summer): June-August: Look for bright color; smooth; glassy skin. Heavy for the size; firm; well-shaped.
  • Squash (Winter): September-November: Should be heavy for the size. Hard, good-colored, unblemished rind.
  • Tomatoes: May-August: Should be well-formed; blemish-free; plump. Over all rich red color and slight softness.
  • Turnips/Rutabagas: September-March: Should be small to medium size; smooth; firm; heavy. Few leaf scars at top and few fibrous roots at base. Purple-tinged white ones are turnips. Yellow-skinned, larger roots are rutabagas.

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