Thanksgiving is one holiday that is full of family traditions. From the rule that Grandpa is always the one that carves the turkey, to the familiar prayer said yearly, every family has their traditions.
Thanksgiving is almost always held at my aunt and uncle’s house. They prepare the turkey and some of the sides, my family takes care of the pies. My uncle always leads the prayer, and no one is allowed to leave until football is over and we’ve all eaten at least three slices of pie.
There is something really comforting about traditions. In a constantly changing world, it’s nice to be able to hang on to those wonderful, small routines that bring you closer to your loved ones.
Existing traditions are wonderful, but new traditions have their place too. A few years ago, I tried revamping the family’s traditional back-of-the-French-fried-onion-jar green bean casserole recipe for Thanksgiving, and I think we’re all permanent converts.
A new tradition has been started in my family, courtesy of one particularly helpful Safeway butcher, who basically wrote the menu for our Christmas dinner two years ago, and gave us the recipe for this new favorite. (It’s really quite a long story.) I am forever indebted.
I hope you enjoy this recipe, whether you prepare it for next year’s Thanksgiving dinner or for any old dinner at all. It goes great with just about any main course. Trust me, it will forever change your thoughts on the phrase “casserole.”
Edmund the Safeway Guy’s Is-This-Really-A-Vegetable Green Bean Casserole
(The measurements here are to give you a guideline, but you can definitely play around with the proportions.)
- 12 oz. steamer bag green beans (You can definitely use the loose ones in the produce bins, I’m just not sure what the measurement conversion is.)
- 1 cup of uncooked thick-cut bacon, chopped
- 1/2 cup of white/yellow onion, chopped into bite-sized pieces
- 1 can cream of mushroom soup
- 1 cup mozzarella cheese, cut into small cubes (buy the log/ball of mozzarella, not the cheap bagged stuff. It makes a difference!)
- French fried onions, to preference
Steam the green beans per the bag directions, until tender yet crisp. Transfer to casserole dish.
Sauté bacon and onion in a medium pan over medium-high heat until bacon is cooked and onions are translucent. Once cooked, drain off any excess grease (I don’t usually have much), and place back over medium heat. Add cream of mushroom soup, but do not add any additional water or milk. Stir until thoroughly combined and until mixture is warmed.
Next, begin slowly adding mozzarella, stirring after each addition. Add mozzarella until the mixture is cheesy, but not crazily cheesy (You can define that point, I’m not here to judge. I usually add around 2/3 of the cheese.
Pour mixture over green beans in casserole dish. Top with remaining mozzarella and French fried onions and bake at 350° until French fried onions are browned slightly and cheese is melted.
Eat some more.
Try to convince yourself that this can’t be a vegetable.
Find yourself confused at why you don’t top all of your vegetables with bacon, cheese, onions, cream of mushroom soup, and French fried onions.
Begin making a second batch of sauce to pour over your dinner salad.
Realize that you might be going too far.
Eat some more green bean casserole.
Enjoy! Let me know what you think of the recipe, and if you make any modifications you find particularly delicious, share those too!