Sunday, November 13, 2011

Kick up the family’s fave: green bean casserole

Readers, y’all know I crave the exotic, but the classic holiday green bean casserole is not something I’ll ever turn down. Sometimes I add things that no one else thinks will be good, because they don’t want to stray from the original. I’ll have you know, the following add-ins are Campbell’s approved:

For added crunch, add ½ cup sliced almonds to the onion topping.
For bacon lovers, add 4 slices bacon, cooked and crumbled, to the bean mixture.
For a festive touch, stir in chopped red pepper with soup.
For cheese lovers, stir in 1 cup shredded Cheddar cheese with soup. Omit soy sauce. Sprinkle with an additional 1/2 cup additional Cheddar cheese when adding the remaining onions.
For Golden Green Bean Casserole, substitute Campbell's Condensed Golden Mushroom soup for Cream of Mushroom soup. Omit soy sauce. Stir in 1/2 cup chopped red pepper with the green beans.
For more ideas, tips and recipes for the holiday feast, visit
Can dessert get too adorable?
Pumpkin pie isn’t just for pilgrims anymore, two mini-cooks say. As if their tiny pies weren’t cute enough, they top them with tiny crust hearts or gingerbread people, etc. Some time ago, after a few pumpkin beers, Christy Beaver and Morgan Greenseth decided to get into the mini dessert business. Now they have a little book that tells you how to make pies in tiny mason jars, bake grapes into something heavenly and tempt with “Dirty Chai.” Savory Sweet Potato with Rosemary and Cayenne gets rosemary topping. These pies are just for one. They’re wee, and you won’t want to share. Here’s a topper from “Mini Pies”:
Basil Whipped Cream (for Sweet Strawberry Pie)
(Something you didn’t know you’d been missing out on.)
¼ cup heavy whipping cream
½ cup finely chopped and packed fresh basil leaves
2 tablespoons sugar
¾ cup mascarpone cheese
Combine the cream, basil and sugar in a metal bowl. Place the bowl over a saucepan of simmering water and stir until the sugar dissolves. Cover with plastic wrap and chill for two hours to infuse the whipping cream with basil flavor.
Chill the whisk attachment and bowl of an electric mixer in the refrigerator for 30 minutes.
Strain the solids out of the chilled cream mixture. Combine the cream mixture and the mascarpone cheese in the chilled mixer bowl and beat until stiff peaks form.
From the “mother grain”
I fell for quinoa the very second time I tried it. My first introduction to this “mother grain” was as a breakfast cereal, but maybe that’s just not my thing. Then I had it seasoned with garlic, pepper and was amazed at its versatility. I love that you can buy it in bulk and flavor as you like, and now I love Roland’s packets that cook as easily as a boxed mac and cheese dinner. Nutritious Andean quinoa is rich in fiber and amino acids and prized for its high protein content. I started with Toasted Sesame Ginger over a green salad, had a breakfast of egg over Roasted Garlic, and am warming myself through the adventure of several more flavors. Here are ideas from the makers:
-Toss Mediterranean Quinoa with cherry tomatoes, feta, fresh basil, lemon and olive oil.
-Pack Black Bean Quinoa, cheddar cheese, beans, and salsa into a flour tortilla for a healthy burrito
-Top Roasted Garlic Quinoa with a wilted greens and a fried egg
-Substitute Sesame Ginger Quinoa for rice in any stir fry—try cooking cabbage with snap peas or mushrooms in ginger, garlic and soy sauce

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