Green Beans, Mushroom Soup and French’s Onions: The Famous Side Dish

Source: Southern Living magazine

This an interesting story from the Washington Post of Dorcas Reilly and her famous green bean casserole.  It wouldn’t be Thanksgiving for Mr. and Miss Bee if I didn’t make her beloved side dish for them every holiday.

It started with a call from the Associated Press and a question: What’s a good recipe for a vegetable side dish that features common pantry products?

In 1955, the AP, like other newspapers and magazines of the time, was running a feature of an easy-to-make Campbell’s Soup side. The question came with a caveat: the recipe had to be built around green beans and Campbell’s Cream of Mushroom Soup, two items most Americans regularly had in their homes in the ’50s.

The request fell to the Campbell’s Soup Co. test kitchen in Camden, N.J., an arm of the company that focused on coming up with recipes for its products. Dorcas Reilly, a supervisor for Campbell’s home economics department, was tasked with leading her team to figure out what could be done. The group would test and grade recipes repeatedly. Only a perfect score would qualify it as ready to go. In November of that year, Reilly and her team settled on what would be first known as “the Green Bean Bake,” an easily adaptable six-ingredient recipe of green beans, cream of mushroom soup, milk, soy sauce, black pepper and French fried onions that takes 10 minutes to prep and 30 minutes to bake.

“We worked in the kitchen with things that were most likely to be in most homes,” she told NPR in 2015. “It’s so easy. And it’s not an expensive thing to make, too.”

When Campbell’s started to put Reilly’s recipe on the cans of its cream of mushroom soup in 1960, the popularity of the dish hit new heights. More than 60 years since the dish was invented, green bean casserole is a Thanksgiving staple, with an estimated 20 million-plus American households expected to serve it this year, according to Campbell’s.

Throughout her life, Reilly, a culinary trail blazer during a time when women were often on the sidelines in corporate America, remained astonished at the success of a dish based on green beans and cream of mushroom soup, one referred to by Campbell’s as “the mother of all comfort foods.”

Homemade Tomato Basil Soup

Tomato Basil soup and grilled cheese are at the top of my best-of list.  Soup is a perfect dish for winter and when I found this recipe for Creamy Roasted Tomato Soup on Pinterest from Cafe Delites, I wanted to give it a try.

 

First, I always wash my vegetables with Thieves fruit and vegetable spray.  It’s all natural, filled with essential oils and smells amazing.  It’s really important to clean your vegetables thoroughly before you slice or eat them.

You roast the tomatoes and garlic in the oven first and it makes the house smell heavenly.

 

For step four I don’t have an immersion blender, so I ladled the soup in batches into my food processor to make it creamy.  I think you really need to blend the soup because otherwise you might be overwhelmed by the skins from the tomatoes.  It brought the ingredients to a creamier state perfect for dipping your sandwich.

For my grilled cheese I always use English toasting bread from the bakery and extra sharp cheddar cheese I slice from the block.  It just oozes deliciousness.

Plate it all up on the cutest soup and sandwich set from Sur la Table.  And, since the soup is red why not serve it for your Valentine on Wednesday!

Potluck Broccoli Salad

My sweet niece gave me a wonderful cookbook for Christmas – Love Welcome Serve:  Recipes that Gather and Give by Amy Nelson Hannon.  I swear I want to make everything in this book – every recipe sounds so delicious!

Starting with this recipe for Broccoli Salad.  Our neighbors had a get together for Super Bowl and I took this dish.  It transports well, makes enough for about 8-10 people and I think would be a perfect side salad with sandwiches, too.  Don’t be afraid of the mayonnaise and sugar addition; it makes the perfect sauce.

Ingredients:

1 cup golden raisins

1 cup mayonnaise

1/2 cup sugar

1/4 cup white vinegar

1 large head of broccoli, cut into bite-sized florets

1/2 red onion, finely chopped

1 cup cashews

Put the raisins in a small bowl and splash them with a few tablespoons of water.  Heat them in the microwave for about 15 seconds, stir them, and let them soak in the water so they’ll plump up and become tender.

Meanwhile, in a small bowl, whisk together the mayonnaise, sugar, and vinegar.  In a medium bowl, toss together the broccoli, red onion, and cashews.  Drain the raisins and add them to the mix.  Stir in the mayonnaise sauce and coat everything well.  Cover and chill for 30 minutes before serving.  Enjoy!

 

Stuffed Peppers With A Twist

The June issue of Southern Living magazine features a series of recipes where the star is a vegetable.  One of my favorite things about this time of year is the plentiful bounty of garden vegetables.  Growing up, Mother made stuffed green bell peppers usually with ground beef and rice. I have never been a fan of the green bell pepper, but serve me their cousins “red, orange, and yellow” and I am sold.  So, when I saw this recipe for Stuffed Peppers with Grits and Sausage I knew I had to give it a try.

Note:  Miss Bee does not eat red meat or pork.  I substituted the pork sausage for turkey sausage (Jimmy Dean’s breakfast sausage crumbles).  It was the perfect switch and Miss Bee gave it two-thumbs up.  This is a big deal, folks.

June 2017 Southern Living magazine

The recipe can be found here.  But I will also provide.  It takes about an hour to prep and cook this dish, so be sure to allow yourself enough time, but it will be well worth the investment.

Ingredients:

3 large red bell peppers

1 TBL canola oil

3 hot Italian sausage links, casings removed (I used one bag of Jimmy Dean’s Turkey Sausage breakfast crumbles.  They are precooked so I just warmed them up with the onions in a skillet).

1 cup chopped sweet onion

1/2 cup coarse cornmeal (they recommend McEwen & Sons, I used the regular cornmeal I bake with).

1 1/2 cups chicken broth

1 cup whole milk

1 tsp. kosher salt, divided

1/4 cup chopped fresh parsley

3 oz. mozzarella cheese, shredded and divided

3 TBL. olive oil

2 TBL. white wine vinegar

1/4 tsp black pepper

2 cups heirloom grape tomatoes, halved

1/2 cup basil leaves

Directions:

Preheat oven to 350.  Microwave bell peppers on HIGH for 2 minutes in microwave.  Cut bell peppers in half through the stem. Remove seeds and white membranes using a serrated tomato corer or melon baller, leaving stem intact.  Discard seeds and membranes.

Heat canola oil in a large skillet over medium-high.  Add sausage to skillet and cook 4 minutes, stirring to break into small pieces.  Add onion to skillet; cook, stirring occasionally, until sausage is cooked and onion is tender, about 3 minutes. Remove sausage mixture from pan.  Add cornmeal to skillet and cook 1 minute, stirring constantly. Add broth, milk, and 3/4 tsp. of the salt to the skillet; bring to a boil. Cover, reduce heat to a medium and cook stirring occasionally until liquid is absorbed, about 20 minutes.  Stir in parsley, sausage mixture, and half of the cheese. Divide mixture evenly among bell pepper halves.  Place side by side on a baking sheet.  Sprinkle with remaining mozzarella cheese.

Bake in a preheated oven until cheese is browned and peppers are tender, about 30 minutes.

While the peppers are baking, whisk together olive oil, vinegar, black pepper and remaining 1/4 tsp of sale in a medium bowl.  Add tomatoes and basil; toss to coat.  Serve over peppers.

The inside is so delicious and is the perfect filling to accompany the pepper.  I couldn’t help but think this would be a hearty entree to serve for brunch because it has grits, sausage and cheese.

The family loved it so the recipe is now torn out of the magazine and into the permanent recipe binder.  Let me know if you make it and how you liked it!