I grew up in what I would term a “no frills house”. We were the kids in the cafeteria with the natural peanut butter and strawberry preserves on whole wheat bread and a bag of celery sticks. We didn’t have Capri Sun juices or Oreos in our (brown bag) lunches or Little Debbie snacks after school.

You probably knew kids like my brother and me (or maybe you are just nodding your head right now in solidarity if you were one of us). We were the ones that would come over to play at your house and stare wide-eyed at the amazing delicacies in your fridge and cupboards. We’d drink your Sunny Delight or Five Alive and snack on your Devil Dogs* or Doritos, then whisper, “Don’t tell my mom what we had, ok?”.

At Thanksgiving time, I remember marveling over concoctions I heard other people speak of – Sweet Potatoes with Marshmallows?! Green Bean Casserole?! Pillsbury Crescent Rolls?! These things sounded amazing to my little natural-peanut-butter-fueled brain yet I knew that they would never appear on our family’s Thanksgiving table.

When I came across Smitten Kitchen’s recipe for a from-scratch, no can of condensed soup required Green Bean Casserole; I knew I needed to try it. This will be my third year making this recipe for our Thanksgiving meal. It’s everything my 8 year-old-self wanted it to be (with ingredients that my thirty-something-self feels good about).


Someone give these poor kids some Skittles.

* For those not familiar with the wonder of Drake’s and their Devil Dogs, they are an East Coast “delicacy” – check it out here

** To my Mom, if she is reading this:: Don’t worry; our sugarless, un-processed childhood did not scar us. In fact, it is probably what led us to love cooking and love good food.


from The Smitten Kitchen


2 onions, halved and very thinly sliced
1/4 cup flour
2 tbsp panko or plain breadcrumbs
1/2 tsp
high-heat oil, for deep-frying


3 tbsp butter
12oz shiitake mushrooms, coarsely chopped
black pepper, to taste
3/4 tsp salt
2 cloves garlic, minced
3 tbsp flour
1 1/2 cups vegetable or chicken broth
1/2 cup heavy cream


1 1/2 lbs green beans, trimmed and halved

MAKE THE CRISPY ONIONS:: On a plate mix together the flour, breadcrumbs, salt and pepper. Line a baking sheet with paper towels or a cut open brown paper bag. Toss onions with the flour mixture.

Heat a ½” high heat oil in a high sided pot until hot but not smoking. Add 1 strand of onion to test if the oil is ready – it should start sizzling immediately. Add a handful of onions and fry until a lightly golden brown. Remove with a slotted spoon then lay out on your lined baking sheet to drain. Repeat with remaining onions. Set aside until needed and attempt not to eat them all.

Heat oven to 400F.

PREPARE THE BEANS:: Bring a large pot of salted water to boil. Add the beans and cook for 3-5 minutes or until tender but not mushy. Drain then immediately run under cold water to stop the cooking. (I cook my green beans in a pressure cooker)

MAKE THE MUSHROOM SAUCE:: Melt butter in large skillet over medium-high heat. Add the mushrooms, season with salt and pepper and sauté until they start releasing their liquid, about 3 to 5 minutes. Add the garlic and sauté one minute more. Sprinkle the flour over top of the mushrooms and stir it until the mushrooms are fully coated. Add the broth, 1/4 cup at a time, while continuously stirring. Simmer mixture for 1 minute, then add cream and bring back to a simmer. Continue cooking and stirring until the sauce thickens a bit, about 5 to 6 minutes.

TO ASSEMBLE:: Add the cooked greens beans to sauce in the skillet and stir to fully combine. Transfer the mixture to a baking dish or casserole dish. Sprinkle the crispy onions over the top. Bake for 15 minutes, or until sauce bubbles and the onions are crisp. Serve immediately.*

*I like to put this in the oven to bake right after I take the turkey out. The casserole will bake while you are resting and carving the turkey and will be nice and hot for serving. Have the casserole set to go [beans cooked and mixed with mushroom sauce] then sprinkle with the onions just before baking. 

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