Loaded Green Bean Casserole
Confession: the first time I’ve ever had green bean casserole was when I was 22 years old. It was my first Thanksgiving with my hubby’s family and they had made the traditional holiday casserole concoction with cream of mushroom soup and wormy looking noodles. Nobody in my family had ever made such a dish and it was no wonder why. Let’s just say I was not impressed with green bean casserole. And it’s nothing against my in-law’s cooking (there are good cooks in the family!); I was just not thrilled with the combination of ingredients and couldn’t for the life of me figure out why anyone would willingly eat this, let alone make it a holiday tradition!
Fast forward a few years; 6 or 7 to be exact. I was in charge of putting together a Christmas dinner for the women’s organization at my church. I worked with a committee and during our planning meeting, green bean casserole was suggested as part of the menu. You can imagine my disgust, but one committee member assured me that her recipe was very different from the traditional green bean casserole we were all used to. In fact, the only common ingredient in the dish was the green beans itself. Rather than cream of mushroom nastiness and dried worms, her recipe used sour cream and cheese with a cracker topping. She insisted that it was fabulous and so we decided to add it to our menu. When the night of the party came, I hesitantly took a small scoop of green beans on my plate. I took a bite of her “fabulous” green bean casserole…and I have been hooked ever since! This dish quickly became a family favorite and it’s just not Thanksgiving now without it! And sometimes I’ll even make it for Christmas or Easter. It really is fabulous!
I have made a couple of modifications to the recipe. For one thing, her recipe calls for 4 cans of french cut green beans. The recipe is fine with canned green beans, but nothing beats fresh! You can try it either way and see which you like, but for my recipe I’ve written it with fresh green beans. I also added bacon to mine. Bacon makes everything better! You can easily omit the bacon if you don’t like it. I also felt like it needed a little more crumb topping than she had written in her recipe.
Here is everything you’ll need!
First, wash your green beans, and then cut off the ends. I always cut mine in half just because I like them more bite sized as opposed to super long. Either way works. Put your washed, cut green beans in a pot and cover with water. Bring the water to a boil and boil the green beans until they are soft (about 15-20 mins).
Once the grean beans are cooked, drain the water and set the beans aside.
Meanwhile, make your bacon. When your bacon is cooked all the way through, let it cool down and then chop it into small, bite sized pieces. Set aside.
Chop your onion. You only need a quarter cup of chopped onion. Melt 2 TB of butter in a pan and saute your onion until it is translucent.
Stir in flour until smooth and then cook for one minute.
Remove the mixture from heat. Stir in salt, sugar sour cream and 1 cup of the cheese.
Add the green beans and stir until the beans are coated completely. Then stir in your bacon.
Transfer the mixture into a 2 1/2 quart casserole dish. I always spray a little coconut/vegetable oil in the dish first so that it doesn’t stick.
Now, take your crackers and put them in a small Ziploc bag. The best crackers (in my opinion) are the buttery crackers. Smash them up, using a meat cleaver or whatever works. You don’t want it crushed as fine as sand; it’s okay to leave some cracker chunks in there. Measure out 3/4 cup cracker crumbs and put it into a small dish. Melt 3 TB butter and mix it in the dish with the crackers.
Sprinkle the remaining 1 cup of cheese, followed by the crackers on top of the casserole.
Pop it in the oven at 350 (uncovered) and bake for about 3o minutes, or until the top is golden brown and the cheese is bubbly.
And now the best part of all…eat! Try not to eat the whole dish! I’m telling you, it is the best green bean casserole you’ll ever try!