Thursday, December 30, 2010

Green Bean Casserole

Green bean casserole is a classic at most holiday tables.  The debate for me was do I go with the classic cream of mushroom soup variety or switch it up with something a bit better for you...  Amazingly, better for you won!

I think the result was pretty good.  It definitely wasn't the original, but close enough for me to want to make it again.  I love that it does not contain anything canned.

Image from  I thought there might be mutiny if I brought out the camera and started snapping pictures of the casserole instead of just eating it!

Green Bean Casserole
(recipe adapted from: Amy Barry)

  • 4 tablespoons butter
  • 4 tablespoons all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt (taste to see if you need more)
  • 2 teaspoons white sugar
  • 1 onion, diced
  • 1 lb mushrooms, sliced
  • 1 can waterchest nuts, drained and diced
  • 2 cups sour cream (light or full fat, not fat-free)
  • 2.5 lbs green beans, cooked
  • 2 cups shredded Cheddar cheese
*Preheat oven to 375.
*Saute onions and mushrooms in a small amount of oil (or butter) until the mushrooms have released their water and it has evaporated.
*Melt butter in a large skillet over medium heat. Stir in flour until smooth, and cook for one minute. Stir in the salt, sugar and sour cream.
*Add green beans, onion and mushroom mixture and waterchest nuts to sauce. Stir to coat.
*Transfer the mixture to a greased casserole dish. Spread shredded cheese over the top.
*Bake for 45 minutes to 1 hour in the preheated oven, or until the cheese is bubbly.
(I made mine the day before and took it out a few hours before cooking to warm up a bit.  It worked well.)

Hope you like it!

-Carla :)

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Roasted Cauliflower

Okay, I know that Toffee Pretzel Bark is a pretty hard act to follow, especially with a vegetable, but I figured I might need to eat a bunch of this to make up for eating too much of the Toffee Pretzel Bark.

I made this the other night with baked potatoes and salmon.  G immediately told me he didn't like cauliflower, but I put some on his plate anyway.  He ate his potato, then reluctantly put a piece of cauliflower in his mouth.  I waited for the complaint, but it never came.  He gobbled it up and then said, I do like cauliflower!

This was a great change from steamed cauliflower.  I have also done this with broccoli.  It was yummy but I liked the cauliflower better.

Picture from Flicker ex.libris.  Ours got eaten too quickly to take a picture! (Mine looked exactly like this though!)
 This recipe is super simple...

Roasted Cauliflower
  • 1 head cauliflower
  • olive oil
  • crushed garlic cloves
  • salt (sea salt if you have, if not regular works too)
  • pepper
*Preheat your oven to 400 degrees (375 if you have convection).
*Break cauliflower into bite sized pieces and place into a large bowl.
*Add crushed garlic.
*Drizzle with olive oil.
*Season with salt and pepper.
*Spread on a cookie sheet (I used my Pampered Chef stone).
*Bake for 20-30 minutes or until browned (that's what makes it taste so good).


-Carla :)

Toffee Pretzel Bark

Each year at Christmas time, I always have lofty aspirations that I will make all sorts of delicacies that involve plenty of time and talent.  As Christmas draws closer and closer those aspirations start to disappear and reality sets in...  Which means in the back of my mind I am always searching for one ridiculously simple and easy recipe.  This year it is Toffee Pretzel Bark.

A ridiculously easy recipe combining dark chocolate, salty pretzels, crunchy, buttery toffee bits and a bit of white chocolate to round it out.  It seriously takes 10 minutes of "busy" time mixed in with a few trips to the fridge to cool.

Doesn't that look great?  When I took it to work the nurses kept making trips the the staff room just to grab another bite!

Here's the recipe:

Toffee Pretzel Bark
  • 12 ounces dark chocolate chips
  • 2 cups broken pretzel pieces
  • 1 1/2 cups Skor toffee pieces, divided
  • 6 ounces white chocolate chips
*Line a baking sheet with parchment paper or a silicon baking mat.
*In a double boiler (or a metal mixing bowl placed over a pot of boiling water), melt the dark chocolate chips, stirring until the chocolate is melted and no chips remain. (You can also melt the chocolate in the microwave, stirring it at 30 second intervals.)
*Remove from the heat, add the pretzels and 1 cup of the toffee pieces, and stir to combine.
*Spread the chocolate mixture out on the prepared baking sheet, and transfer to the fridge for about 30 minutes.
*While the mixture hardens in the fridge, melt the white chocolate chips.
*Remove the baking sheet from the fridge, and spread the white chocolate in a thin layer over the top.  The white chocolate and dark chocolate will swirl together a little.
*Sprinkle with the remaining toffee pieces, and return to the fridge for about 30 minutes.
*Once the chocolate has hardened break into pieces, using a knife if necessary. I just used the tip of my knife to break bite sized pieces off.  Or you can roughly cut it if you prefer a more consistent look. Store in an airtight container.

-Carla :)