Not so Traditional Green Bean Casserole
Everyone has their family favorites during the holidays. That being said, I don’t know of too many tables that don’t have a green bean casserole gracing them. It’s a classic that people seem to either love or hate. And even if people hate it, it still seems to make it onto the table. Whether you love it or hate it let’s talk about an easy green bean casserole that’s totally unique.
Basic Green Bean Casserole
The basics of this classic dish really are fried onions, cream soup from a can, and green beans. I mean that’s about it. Right? Then you can layer in all kinds of variations. This is exactly how we made it for years. Mostly because even though it wasn’t my fav, my husband LOVES it and it just had to be on the table. For us, it was about elevating the ingredients, or at least some of them. There’s something about those fried onions that I was told just had to stay, and I didn’t argue on that one. I mean they are pretty good, and it’s only a couple times a year. However, this is one dish that is very easy to make the classic or go completely from scratch and homemade, and anything and everything in between. So take your pick.
Great news here! You really can use fresh green beans, frozen green beans or even those from the can. So pick your favorite and go from there. If using fresh or frozen I would cook them a little ahead of time and also make sure they’re cut into appropriately sized pieces. But that’s it easy peasy, right?
Here’s where it can get interesting. Oh, how many options there are. So for many, I would say the can is just fine, and there is nothing wrong with that AT ALL. But, those damn cans were getting expensive around us and frankly, they’re not that incredible, and they sure aren’t that great for you. So to save money (that was our primary purpose for switching) I searched for an alternative that would give us the same function. Hello Pinterest, my best friend by the way, when it comes to finding recipes, replacements, and copycats. Check out this powdered version that you can make with real ingredients. We’ve tweaked it a little for us, but this was the inspiration. If you use this I would make a double batch though for the green bean casserole. Otherwise, it’s a fantastic substitute. Plus, you know exactly what’s in it.
Green Bean Casserole with a Twist
Now here’s the twist part. We’ve all made it in a casserole dish of sorts. BUT, did you know you can totally make this upside down in a mold and have an awesome presentation? ! ? ! Even better is you get a nice crunch from the fried onions on top (which are kinda on the bottom). This was such a fun dish to make and it was a huge hit at our dinner. Best part? It was so easy. So you’ve got a dish that you know what the ingredients are in it, a great presentation, and amazing taste all for the most minimal effort. Now that’s my kind of holiday cooking.
The only downer I can really see with this is that you do need two dishes now rather than the one that you probably could get away with making it the traditional way. BUT, a minor inconvenience in my book. So what do you need? Well, I use my microwave where ever I can to speed things up and free up stovetop space. With that in mind, you’ll need a large round with the octagonal bonmat to actually cook your green beans in. We always cook ours first because I’m either using the frozen kind or fresh. Which really is just dependant on when I’m going shopping, my mood, and what’s available. Oh, and maybe price.
If you’re not comfortable using the microwave make sure you have a way of cooking the green beans. A small pot will potentially be needed to cook up the cream soup if you’re not using the condensed version. Finally, you’ll need the mold of your choice. This really is just about what you want it to look like. My personal favorite is the sunflower mold. I love that one because it’s pretty, it’s different, and it’s perportioned in a sense because of the petals. It’s always entertaining to me when watching because people almost always cut on the petal lines. Even if they’re the first to cut into it.
Easy Green Bean Casserole
So how do I actually make my green bean casserole now? Start by cutting 2 pounds green beans into appropriate pieces if not already cut, and then cook. (As mentioned above I almost always use the microwave. Great part is with the mold you can’t even tell it was cooked in the microwave) We use 2 pounds for our casserole. Hubby LOVES eating it even as leftovers so even for small gatherings we make a full batch.
We make up a double batch of the powered cream of something soup mix. Essentially one batch per pound of green beans. Once that is cooked mix it into the large round with the green beans. Then we add 1.5 cups or 3 ounces of the fried onions (feel free to use a little more if that’s to your liking but you’ll need 2 small conisters) and mix it together. It’s about half of the typical 6 ounce container sold in stores.
Now here’s the fun part. The other half of the friend onions (or 1.5 cups) goes down into your mold of choice (because we tend to buy large bags of the onions so we use about 2 cups here). Spread them out so they form a good layer. Then add the mixture of green beans, soup, and onions on top of the friend onions. Smooth it out and pop in the oven for about 20-25 minutes at 350 degrees. The more you have in the oven the more time you’ll need to cook it. Best guage is to look for tiny little bubbles bubbling away. That is typically an indicator that it’s heated and cooked all the way through.
Presenting Your Easy Green Bean Casserole
Once it has cooked you’ll want it to cool and come together some before you do anything. There’s a fine line between letting it cool too much and it being too hot. The biggest problem if its too hot would be it might not stay together when you flip it. Yes I did say flip it. I mean how else would you get it to look all pretty?
So once it’s cooled a little you’ll need a plate to fit the mold. Then? Place the plate on top of the mold and flip it over. You should be able to remove the mold now. And like magic you’ll have gorgeous crunchy onions on top and an incredible presentation if you choose a fancy looking mold.
This approach has converted me. I have been loving this version of an easy green bean casserole that totally fits our needs and tastes. The wows from guests also don’t hurt. Enjoy. And if you want more holiday tips come check out our growing community online