Green Bean Casserole and Sweet Potatoes

 

A delicious plate all for me!

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I hope everyone had a nice Thanksgiving yesterday!  One that included successful cooking, relaxation, family & friends, and not dropping a 12″ cast iron skillet on the top of your foot.  Yes that was me, definitely not my finest moment.  But otherwise I can’t complain.  I took my time in the kitchen and had a peaceful day cooking by myself.  In all honestly I think I preferred the cooking part of the day most.  Brought me quite a bit of zen, cooking in the new house with plenty of space and light.  Preparing the cranberries and pumpkin cookies in advance proved to be a great idea so I didn’t have to rush and could take a moment any time my back needed a break.

I chose to make my top three Thanksgiving dishes this year: green bean casserole, sweet potatoes, and cranberries – plus a turkey Italian sausage stuffing.  Stuffing ranks up there in my top 5 but I like it when it’s baked inside a turkey, and this was a road I didn’t want to travel.  Our guests added a couple more side dishes to the spread, mashed potatoes, gravy, and macaroni & cheese.  We had plenty for the 7 of us to feast.  It was really good eats and we were all very mellow.  I guess too mellow as one person fell asleep at the dinner table!

My favorite of the night and every Thanksgiving since I can remember is the green bean casserole.  I don’t know what it is about this dish but it never fails to hit the spot, especially french cut green beans.  So I made my way to a cooking store and bought the little gadget to be able to french slice my fresh beans.  My recipe is traditional but not heavy at all.  I did use a cup of cream but that really wasn’t much when you think of the large bowl I made.  They were definitely a hit!

For the sweet potatoes I used my mom’s recipe.  I had never made them myself before and was pleased at how easy it was to prepare.  The sweet potatoes cook in a pressure cooker with orange juice, orange zest, and a tad bit of sugar.  As you can imagine they are creamy and taste delicious!   I did melt marshmallows on top, something I could do without but I went ahead and put them on for Jake.  His smile when he noticed made it all worth it.

And lastly the stuffing I made followed the same recipe from previous batch I made a few weeks ago.  I used turkey Italian sausage so we had some meat to add to our feast.  Otherwise it was pretty basic: fresh herbs, homemade croutons, dried cherries, onion, and celery.  I passed on eating any as I ate extra green beans instead, but the overall verdict was plenty positive.

In the end it was definitely a Thanksgiving success.  Next year I’m thinking green bean casserole, sweet potatoes, rutabaga, cranberries, and kale.  Oh and a pumpkin pie.  I wasn’t inspired to make one this year but I wish I would have in hindsight.  Pumpkin pie is just too good to pass up!

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French sliced green beans and the tool to slice them

Blanched green beans

Mushrooms cooking to make the sauce

Stock and flour added

Cream added and thickening

Beans mixed in with sauce, topped with onions, and ready to bake

Baked and ready to feast!

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Sweet Potatoes pressure cooked

The liquid they cooked in being reduced into a glaze

Topped with glaze and marshmallows melted

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And last but not least the baked stuffing!

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Green Bean Casserole

  • green beans, just under 2 lbs
  • fried onions, 1 1/2 cups
  • salt, 2 tablespoons plus more
  • butter, 2 tablespoons
  • mushrooms, 12 oz chopped
  • black pepper, 1/2 teaspoon
  • garlic, 3-4 cloves minced
  • nutmeg, 1/4 teaspoon
  • spelt flour, 4 tablespoons
  • Better Than Bouillon chicken base, 2 teaspoons
  • water, 2 cups
  • cream, 1 cup (I used Kolona Super Natural brand and I very highly recommend it if you can locate it)
  1. French cut green beans and wash.  Chop mushrooms
  2. Blanch beans: boil a pot of water with 2 teaspoons of salt.  Add beans and cook 4-5 minutes.  Immediately drain and place in ice cold water to stop the cooking.  Drain.
  3. Melt butter in a 12″ skillet over medium-high heat.  Add chopped mushrooms and garlic and cook 4 minutes or so until they soften.  Add nutmeg, chicken base, and s&p.  Mix.  Sprinkle flour and mix until combined.  Add the water and bring to a simmer, cook 2-3 minutes.  Turn heat down to medium-low and add the cup of cream.  Cook until thick 8-10 minutes.
  4. Add green beans and 1/2 cup of fried onions to the mushroom sauce.  Mix well and place in a large casserole dish.  Top with remaining cup of fried onions.
  5. Cover with foil and bake in a 350° oven until bubbling on the sides 30-45 minutes.  Lastly remove foil and allow onions to lightly brown.
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Mom’s Sweet Potatoes

  • 5 yams, peeled and sliced in half lengthwise
  • 1 cup orange juice
  • 1 teaspoon orange zest (I used a tablespoon)
  • 1/2 cup brown sugar (I used a bit less)
  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • dash of salt
  • marshmallows, optional
  1. Place all ingredients in a pressure cooker.  Place on the stove and pressure cook slowly for 8 minutes.
  2. Immediately place pressure cooker in sink and run cold water over it to cool until able to be opened.
  3. Remove sweet potatoes with a slotted spoon and place in a casserole dish.
  4. Simmer the sauce in a small skillet until it thickens into a glaze.  Pour over sweet potatoes.
  5. Top sweet potatoes with marshmallows and melt them in the oven, 1o minutes or so.

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