I knew it was the perfect occasion to pull out my most dog-eared and most-sticky-noted old cookbook…because this month’s theme for The Recipe ReDux is ‘Vintage Side Dishes.’ As you can see below, I’ve had a lot of fun with this one, “Favorite Recipes From Our Best Cooks, Compiled by Ladies Aid Society of St. Paul’s Lutheran Church.” It contains thrifty German recipes like Zucchini Pickles from dear old ladies in my church and classic 70’s jello concoctions like Frosted Lime Walnut Salad (which my Grandma brought along with her fried chicken to every family function of my youth.) And being that tomorrow is Thanksgiving, and this book contains several fun renditions of the vintage classic Green Bean Casserole, I decided this would a perfect recipe to ReDux.
On page 64 and 65 of “Favorite Recipes” is a recipe for Green Bean Casserole containing sour cream , cheddar cheese, corn flakes, grated onion and 2 packages of frozen French green beans. Green Bean Royal contains a can of cream of mushroom soup, grated cheese, green beans, hard boiled eggs and crushed potato chips. And Classic Green Bean Casserole lists 4 slices of bacon, can of cream of celery soup, canned or frozen green beans and chopped onion. (There is also a Creamy Green Beans recipe with green beans, herb stuffing mix, sour cream and shredded American cheese!)
I don’t think I can be so bold as to say I can ‘improve’ the ‘classic,’ because to some folks (like my brother-in-law) there is no substitute for Campbell’s Cream of Mushroom Soup…but, I do really enjoy fresh green beans and fresh Cremini mushrooms can pack quite a mushroomy punch without any artificial flavors. And while opening a can is obviously fast, this white sauce takes only about 5 minutes and thickens beautifully to coat your green beans. I keep caramelized onions in the freezer because they take a while to make, but in my opinion their unami and sweet flavors are more tasty than canned French fried onions that tend to coat the top of my mouth with something filmy. The resulting Healthy Green Bean Casserole was a hit with my kids…who have already asked for it on more than the occasion of Thanksgiving.