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  1. Tuesday, November 20, 2012

    {Thanksgiving Prep} Green Bean Casserole from Scratch

    Today’s post might be a little controversial. Maybe even more controversial than the 2012 presidential election. I know. Are you ready?

    I don’t like green bean casserole. You know, the casserole that practically everyone else in America seems to LOVE except me. The casserole that graces many a Thanksgiving table every November. I appreciate that it is a staple and I love that other people love it. But, yeah. I’m just not that into it and always pass when it’s available.

    See. Controversy. I may as well just tell you who I voted for for president. That might actually cause less of a stir! So, I voted for…

    What, did you REALLY think I’d fess up about my secret ballot? Yeah right!

    Back to casserole. I decided to invite green bean casserole into my life this year. But I also decided I wanted it to be made completely from scratch. Fresh green beans and mushrooms, no canned soup, homemade onion rings. The task was daunting, but I have to tell you, I am SOOOOOO glad I tackled this challenge. Because the end result was unbelievably delicious. And I am NOT speaking in hyperbole here.

    Our friend Brandon, a renowned casserole hater, took a bite and said, “Where have you been all my life?”

    Is that enough of a build up for you? Are you ready to cast aside the canned soup and the store-bought french fried onions and throw a little blood, sweat and tears into your green bean casserole? Good. Here you go.

    {Thanksgiving Prep} Green Bean Casserole from Scratch
    Adapted from two recipes, one from Williams Sonoma the other from Cook’s Illustrated
    Recipe type: Side Dish, Thanksgiving
    Cuisine: American
    • 1½ pounds green beans, trimmed and cut into 2”³-3”³ pieces
    • 1 cup water and a large bowl of ice water
    • 8 ounces cremini mushrooms, sliced
    • 3 tablespoon butter
    • 1 small onion or ½ regular-sized onion, chopped
    • ⅓ cup flour
    • 1½ cups chicken or veggie stock/broth
    • 1 cup cream
    • ½ teaspoon salt
    • ¼ teaspoon pepper
    • 3 shallots, sliced very thin
    • ¼ cup flour
    • ¼ teaspoon salt
    • ⅛ teaspoon pepper
    • ¼ cup canola or vegetable oil
    1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
    2. In a large skillet with a lid, heat 1 cup water to boiling over medium-high to high heat. Add green beans. Put on lid and cook for three minutes. Remove beens and place in ice water. Set beans aside.
    3. Pour water off of the skillet. Reduce heat to medium and melt butter. Add mushroom and cook for about 5 minutes. Add chopped onion and cook an additional 5+ minutes, until onions are soft and translucent. Sprinkle ⅓ cup flour over the mushrooms and onions and stir well, cooking for a minute or so. Slowly stir in the chicken broth. Slowly stir in the cream. Mix well. Add ½ tsp salt and ¼ tsp pepper. Stir well then mix in green beans. Transfer to 9×13 casserole dish and place in oven. Bake for 30 minutes (you will put fried shallot rings on top for the last 5 minutes of baking”¦see below).
    4. While casserole is baking, heat ¼ cup oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Mix flour, ¼ tsp salt and ⅛ tsp pepper in a medium to large bowl. Mix shallot rings in the flour, coating well. Use your hands to mix the shallots in the flour so you can break the rings up and get them coated really well. Transfer floured shallots with tongs to the skillet. Cook, stirring frequently, until shallots are crisp and golden.
    5. Sprinkle fried shallots over the top of the casserole at the 25 minute baking point. Bake 5 more minutes. Serve hot!
    6. If you want to make this ahead of time, I would do everything except the fried shallot rings and put the casserole in the fridge BEFORE baking. Bake 5-10 minutes longer since the casserole will be going into the oven cold and make the fried shallot rings while the casserole is baking.

    green bean casserole from scratch by @janemaynard from

  2. Thursday, October 27, 2011

    Stefania’s Braised Chicken

    My friend Stefania (a.k.a. CityMama) brought us a delicious dinner after the baby was born. Stefania blogs about food AND does meal plans each week, so she’s a girl after my own heart. I was looking forward to seeing what she would bring us for dinner and, let me tell you, she did not disappoint. This braised chicken served with a side of bulgar wheat with sliced almonds was scrumptious.

    Stefania sent me the recipe with a note that it’s an easy “wing it” recipe that is very forgiving. I like those kinds of recipes! And not only is it easy, but the flavors are wonderful – a perfect balance of savory tastes with a bit of sweet thrown in. Yum!

    Stefania's Braised Chicken
    Recipe type: Main Dish, Poultry
    • olive oil
    • 3 pounds of cut up chicken parts (Stefania used thighs because she loves them, and I wholeheartedly agree!)
    • 1 onion, diced
    • 2-3 cloves of garlic
    • ½ cup or so dry white wine
    • 2-3 glugs (tbsps) white wine or white balsamic vinegar (very important!)
    • 3 sprigs of fresh rosemary
    • ½ cup of golden raisins
    • 1 basket of white mushrooms trimmed and sliced in half
    • salt and pepper to taste
    1. In a Dutch oven or covered braising pan, heat olive oil (as much as you like) over medium heat. Season chicken with salt and pepper and add to pan. When chicken is browned, toss in garlic and onion and continue cooking until onions are soft. Deglaze the pan with wine and vinegar, scraping up all the yummy bits. Add rosemary sprigs, raisins, and mushrooms. Stir gently, cover and continue cooking about 15 minutes until chicken is done. Salt and pepper to taste. Remove rosemary before serving. Even better the next day. (Great over rice, pilaf, pasta, bulgur wheat or with bread to soak up the yummy juices!)
    One night I went to make this and realized I didn't have any dry white wine, so I just substituted with chicken stock. It turned out awesome...I might even like it better that way!


  3. Tuesday, September 30, 2008

    Heavenly Lunch

    My friend Melissa invited the girls and me over for lunch last Friday. It was wonderful! The table was set beautifully and the food, oh the food. I suppose pretty much anything is a step above my usual PB & honey sandwich. But this lunch was probably a million steps above that. It was a real treat. Cate gobbled up the salad. That’s really saying something when a 3-year-old will eat SALAD.

    Melissa was kind enough to share the recipes with me. Enjoy!

    Cranberry Salsa
    Beautiful and delicious!
    Recipe type: Main Dish, Lunch, Salad
    Serves: 3 cups
    • 12 ounce package cranberries (fresh or frozen)
    • ½ cup sugar
    • 1 medium jalapeño
    • 1 bunch green onions
    • 2 tablespoon fresh cilantro
    • ¼ teaspoon cumin
    • ¼ teaspoon ginger
    • juice and zest of a lemon
    1. Blend in food processor and chill for a couple of hours to allow flavors to marinade. For a twist, serve salsa over cream cheese and top with fresh cilantro.

    Bookclub Chicken Salad
    From “Favorites” by Grace Ivory Rock & Jane Ivory Metcalf
    Recipe type: Main Dish, Salad
    • 6-8 chicken breasts
    • 8 ounces slivered almonds
    • 4 tablespoons sugar
    • 2 bags European blend salad mix
    • 1 head iceberg lettuce, torn into pieces
    • 1 pound bacon, cooked and crumbled
    • 1 cup raisins or craisins
    • 1 cup shredded Mozzarella cheese (or Feta and/or Apricot Stilton)
    1. Cook chicken breasts for 30 minutes at 350 degrees (or in the microwave on high 4-6 mins, or until done). Cool and cut into small pieces. In a small skillet sprinkle sugar over almonds and cook over medium heat until almonds are coated and sugar has dissolved. Cool.
    2. Mix all ingredients together and top with sweet red onion dressing.

    Sweet Red Onion Dressing
    • ½ red onion, or less if onion is large
    • 2 cups sugar
    • 4 teaspoons dry mustard
    • 1 teaspoon salt
    • 1 cup red wine vinegar
    • 2 cups vegetable oil
    1. Finely chop red onion in food processor (or blender). Add sugar, dry mustard, salt and vinegar and blend until frothy. Slowly add oil. Toss with salad.


  4. Wednesday, January 31, 2007

    Sausage, Pepper & Onion Sandwiches

    sausage hoagies from @janemaynard

    Sausage & Peppers Sandwich
    Prep time
    Cook time
    Total time
    This isn't even really a recipe it's so easy!
    Recipe type: Main Dish, Sandwich
    • Italian sausages, sweet or spicy depending on your preference
    • Sliced onions
    • Sliced bell peppers (not green)
    • Sliced tomatoes
    • Olive oil
    • Bulkie/Kaiser/Hoagie Rolls
    1. Cook onions and peppers in olive oil in a large skillet over medium heat.
    2. You can cook the sausages whole, but I like to cut them in half length-wise so they cook faster and are easier to eat on the roll later. Add sausages to the onions and peppers and cook until hot.
    3. Add sliced tomatoes and cook for a few minutes, stirring well.
    4. Serve on toasted rolls.