Alright, who doesn’t like green beans? Seriously, I don’t know if I’ve ever met someone who doesn’t like green beans. (Except for a couple weirdos who spout things like, “I don’t like any vegetables.” I mean, is it even possible to be that close-minded and picky? How do they survive??) And really, what’s not to like about green beans?
-Green Beans are also known as ‘French beans,’ ‘string beans,’ ‘squeaky beans,’ and ‘snap beans’
-The first “stringless” bean was bred in 1894 by Calvin Keeney, called the “father of the stringless bean,” while working in Le Roy, New York (Wikipedia) (Le Roy is in Genesee Co.)
-60% of commercially grown green beans are harvested here in the United States, mostly from Illinois, New York, Wisconsin, Michigan and Oregon
-Green beans are in season here from July to October; look for bright green beans with stiff ends that aren’t bulging with beans
-Store in the fridge in a plastic bag up to one week
-Green beans are a good source of absorbable silicon, which promotes bone health and the formation of connective tissue
-If you can’t get fresh, use frozen! Frozen green beans retain about 90% of their B Vitamins, while canned beans lose 33% just in the canning process
-Green beans are great in quick-cooking dishes, like stir-fries or sautes
-Saute them up with a little olive oil and slivered almonds, optional: add bacon!
-Throw them into any salad, or steam quickly and serve with a little salt and pepper
Green Bean Casserole with Madeira Mushrooms
It may not be Thanksgiving yet, but don’t miss this remake of the classic green bean casserole we all grew up with. Even for a ‘real food’ eater like me, it’s hard to imagine a turkey day without the canned-mushroom-soup version, but this one gives it a run for its money!
1 1/2 pounds green beans, trimmed and halved crosswise
2 tablespoons olive oil
3 cups chopped sweet onions
1 teaspoon chopped fresh thyme
8 ounces shiitake mushrooms, stemmed and sliced
1 (8-ounce) package presliced button mushrooms
1/3 cup Madeira wine or dry sherry
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
3 tablespoons all-purpose flour $
1 cup fat-free, lower-sodium chicken broth $
1 cup (about 2 ounces) canned fried onions (such as French’s)
1/2 cup (2 ounces) grated fresh Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese
1. Preheat oven to 425°.
2. Place beans into a large saucepan of boiling water; cook 4 minutes. Drain and rinse with cold water; drain well. Place beans in a large bowl; set aside.
3. Heat a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add oil to pan; swirl to coat. Add onion and thyme to pan; sauté 4 minutes or until onion is tender, stirring occasionally. Add mushrooms; sauté 10 minutes or until liquid almost evaporates, stirring frequently. Stir in wine, salt, and pepper; cook 2 minutes or until liquid almost evaporates. Stir in flour; cook 1 minute, stirring constantly. Gradually stir in chicken broth; bring to a boil. Cook 1 minute or until thick, stirring constantly. Add mushroom mixture to green beans; toss well. Place green bean mixture in a 2-quart glass or ceramic baking dish. Combine fried onions and grated cheese in a small bowl. Top green bean mixture evenly with fried onion mixture. Bake at 425° for 17 minutes or until top is lightly browned.
Nutritional Information: 8 servings (3/4 C each)
173 cal, 8.5g fat (2.3g sat), 18.7g carb., 5g fiber, 6.6g protein
Holly R. Layer received a B. A. in Journalism from Penn State and served four years in the U. S. Air Force before deciding to go back to school to become a Registered Dietician. She loves running, reading, fine stationery, colorful kitchen gadgets and ALL things food-related. An avid cook and baker, you can find her in the kitchen most days whipping up something yummy. Too bad her husband, Andrew (an East Aurora native) is the pickiest man alive! You can find her at www.thefrozenpineapple.com.