Green Bean Casserole? To the CURB! Garlic Roasted Shrimp Cocktail..oh my yes!

Now don’t get me wrong, I adore green bean casserole made with Campbell’s Mushroom soup and Durkee’s French Fried Onion rings, but let’s face it.  How many times will you either make it or have it served to you in the next month?  Many times many.  By January I’m sick to death of it.  It seems that for every holiday party there are green bean casseroles up the wazoo on the table.  So I’m here to be your Calgon…let me take you away from all that.

Here’s the class picture:

Dairy?  Check.

Pork? Check.

More dairy?  Check and check.

Green veggies?  Check.

Grab those slivered almonds and throw them onto a lined small baking sheet for toasting.  This will take all of ten minutes start to finish.

Then, in a really big skillet toss in some butter and that entire bag of frozen pearl onions.  If you’ve never used these little nuggets, now’s your chance.  I always try to keep a couple bags of these in the freezer.  They’re great.  Or, if you’re hungry for extra work, buy them fresh.  Then spend the next hour prepping those mothers jewels for cooking.  These frozen onions will brown up very nicely in about 5 minutes.

 While they are browning, get the green beans ready.  Wash in colander and then trim the ends.  I grab a handful, line them up and then cut off the ends.  Grab that same bunch, line them up again, and cut off the other end.  Fast and slick.  Once you’re done with that, cut them all into 2 inch pieces.

Those onions should be done by now so spoon them onto a baking sheet with sides.  They will cool down some.  And if one should fall onto the counter, that’s up for dibs for snacking on.  Jus’ sayin’.  ONLY ONE.

Grab those beans, ¾ cup of water and a little salt.  Throw all that into the same skillet, cover, and turn it on medium.  Once it starts to let steam escape, continue cooking for about 7 more minutes.

Meanwhile, chop up the bacon.  I always cook more than what the recipe calls for because I feel that as the Quality Control Manager of the kitchen, it is my duty to make sure that the bacon is cooked up to my standards.  I must taste the cooked bacon several times to make sure it passes muster.  :: Ahem :: 

Those beans should be done by now, right?  Drain the pan and toss the beans into the same baking sheet as the onions.

If you have a quart Pyrex cup, you’re good to go.  If not, find something that will hold 2 cups of liquid and will not overflow when cooked in the microwave.  Combine the milk, chicken broth and mustard into your Pyrex and cook for about 4 minutes until hot and steamy.  Well, at least it takes 4 minutes in my microwave.  Once that’s done, set it aside for just a minute.

In the same skillet you used for the onions and green beans, add the last of the butter and melt it.  Once melted, add the flour for your roux, whisking until all combined.

Now add the hot and steamy milk concoction to it and whisk away.  It will thicken quickly so don’t let it sit while you’re off folding laundry.

Once it thickens up, add the onions, green beans, and bacon letting everything heat up together.

Now it’s time to put it into either your serving dish, or if you’re making it ahead of time, into an aluminum casserole pan for freezing.  Top it all off with the toasted almonds and you’re good to go.

Take that, Green Bean Casserole!

I encourage you to check out all the recipes provided this week and let us know what you think.  Let us know if you cook them for your holiday meal!  We really enjoy the feedback you provide.

Creamed Green Beans with Mustard Sauce

½     cup slivered almonds, toasted

4       T    butter

1       package (16 oz.) frozen pearl onions

2       pounds green beans, trimmed and cut into 2 inch pieces


1 ½   cups whole milk

½      cup chicken broth

¼      cup Dijon mustard

3       T all-purpose flour

         Freshly ground black pepper

10     slices of bacon, diced

 Preheat oven to 325*.  Once heated, spread almonds on a small baking sheet and toast in the oven for 10 minutes, until fragrant.

Melt 2 T of butter in a large deep skillet over medium-high heat.  Add still-frozen pearl onions and sauté, shaking pan occasionally until golden brown, 5-7 minutes.  Dump onto a large rimmed baking sheet.

Add green beans, ¾ cup water, and a scant teaspoon salt to same skillet.  Turn heat to medium, cover, and cook until wisps of steam begin to escape around lid.  Continue to cook until beans are tender but still bright green, about 7 minutes longer.  Drain beans, transfer to baking sheet with onions, and spread out to cool.  Set skillet aside.

In a fresh skillet, add bacon and cook until crisp.  Drain on a paper towel lined bowl.  Set aside.

Combine milk, chicken broth, and mustard in a 1 quart Pyrex measuring cup or small microwave-safe bowl and microwave until steamy.

Meanwhile, melt remaining 2 tablespoons butter in same skillet beans were cooked in.  Whisk in flour, then add hot milk mixture all at once and whisk until smooth and simmering.  Add beans and onions and simmer until sauce is thick enough to cling to them, about 5 minutes.  Season with salt and pepper to taste.  Add chopped bacon.

Transfer to a serving bowl, sprinkle with toasted almonds, and serve.

Serves six (it’s really rich and filling)

Recipe courtesy of Pam Anderson

And now for the appetizer du jour.

Just let me get this out first.  I absolutely love my mother-in-law.  She was the first one to tell me about having Shrimp Cocktail at Thanksgiving dinner.  I had never even given that a thought.  Shrimp?  For Thanksgiving?  But to think about it with the whole Pilgrim thing…they had to have had shrimp to eat at the first dinner.  Perhaps not Cocktail, but certainly seafood would have been served.  She said that she always had shrimp cocktail to start their Thanksgiving dinners.  Now, I don’t know if it was a 1950’s kind of chic thing to do back then, but I was on board with it.  I love me some shrimp, cocktail or otherwise.  What I never have cared for plain was the Cocktail Sauce you could buy in the stores.  Simple?  Yes.  Tasty?  Not so much.  In my quest for making a better cocktail sauce to serve with shrimp or crab, I ran across this one at Fine Cooking.  I would have to say that this gets top billing this year for the sauce.  It’s a teensy bit on the spicy side, but I like that in a sauce.  A Saucy Sauce, so to speak.

And, oh good Lord, the garlic shrimp!  If you like scampi, this is right up your alley.  When I make this, there are a couple of shrimp that never even make it to the table.  Ok, maybe more than a couple.  Several.  Many.  Many shrimp and garlic and I sit on the kitchen floor and chow down.

Let’s get the ball rolling because I’m burning daylight here.

The reunion photo:

Let me tell you, this comes together very, very fast.  We’ll do the shrimp first.  Make sure that when you buy the shrimp, that it’s raw and it’s on the large size.  You don’t want to cook it and when done is smaller than your thumb.

Peel the shells off the shrimp.  If you want to leave the tails on to be fancy schmancy, go ahead.  It just takes me longer to peel them if I leave the tails on.

Dice up the garlic…don’t mince it too small because you will want to taste it on that shrimp body.  Oh my yes.  You will want to taste it.

Throw it on top of the shrimp along with the olive oil, salt, and pepper.   Toss it all around gently.

 Place it on a baking sheet.  I lined mine because I don’t need an extra pan to clean up on Thanksgiving.  Seriously.  Roast it for three minutes on one side and four minutes on the other.  Done.  Pretty easy huh?

 Now, just let them cool down and refrigerate until chilled.  This is a perfect thing to get done the evening before the meal.

you don't need very much of this!

 The cocktail sauce is very fast and easy as well.  Just remember that when you buy the jalapeño, buy a small one because you will only need ½ teaspoon of it diced.  That is, unless you’re serving forty or so people, then buy a big one.

You’ll notice that I’m using a shallot instead of a red onion as the recipe calls for.  Mr. Fae complains of horrible heartburn if I use red onions but shallots don’t seem to bother him.  And since the recipe calls for only ¼ cup of diced red onion, a shallot fits the bill quite nicely and I don’t have extra red onion sitting in the refrigerator getting ignored.

I also buy extra hot horseradish.  Why?  Because we are addicted to spicy hot foods.  When out to dinner and we’ve ordered prime rib (OMG!), we also order uncut horseradish.  We like to live dangerously.  But, if your taste buds aren’t up to it, just grab a jar of regular creamed horseradish, you’ll be just fine.

Mix all this up together in a bowl and chill.  Once again, this is a great recipe to whip up the night before the meal, letting all the flavors blend together. 

A word of warning here.  You may be tempted to eat this all to yourself on your kitchen floor.  I’ve heard that it’s been done before.

mmm mmmm good!

Garlic Roasted Shrimp Cocktail

1 ½ lb. jumbo shrimp (16-20 count) shells peeled

2       cloves garlic, finely chopped, about 1 tablespoon

2       T extra virgin olive oil

½     t kosher salt

½     t cracked black pepper

Heat the oven to 450*.  Peel shrimp, leaving tails on to be purty.  In a large bowl, toss the shrimp with the remaining ingredients.  Spread all of it onto a rimmed baking sheet in a single layer.  Roast for three minutes on one side then turn the shrimp over with tongs and roast an additional three minutes or until the shrimp are opaque and firm.  Transfer to another dish, cover and refrigerate until ready to serve.

Cocktail Sauce with Red Onion and Jalapeno

½     cup tomato ketchup

½     cup chili sauce

¼     cup grated red onion or shallot, using a box grater

½     t finely chopped jalapeño

3       T prepared horseradish

1       T fresh lemon juice

Kosher salt

Grate the onion, dice the jalapeno and place all of them along with remaining ingredients together in a bowl.  The sauce is best made one day in advance and will keep for up to a week.  Just before serving, taste and add more lemon juice or salt as needed.

Recipes courtesy of Fine Dining



About Fae

Although I have other blogs I do for my grandchildren, I felt it wasn't enough to satisfy my inner author. I needed a grownup blog to share things on or rant about. Purely egocentric. Hope you like it.
This entry was posted in Cooking. Bookmark the permalink.

2 Responses to Green Bean Casserole? To the CURB! Garlic Roasted Shrimp Cocktail..oh my yes!

  1. Mari says:

    I’m a product of the 50’s, too. Shrimp cocktails were always on Mom’s Thanksgvng and Christmas dinner tables. Not with jalapeno…so I’ll try it. I also like the idea of garlic shrimp.

  2. Fae says:

    Mari, you will LOVE the garlic shrimp!! Let me know how the Fam likes it all…xoxox

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