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6 Green Bean Casserole Upgrades

Green bean casserole is an American Thanksgiving staple – a fact that is both celebrated by fans and bemoaned by foes. For some it’s manna from heaven and for others it’s a spoonful of nightmares. We have to admit that these upgrades very likely won’t turn a hater into a true believer, because we’re not tinkering with the fundamental base of cream of mushroom soup and green beans, but these add-ons (add-ins?) could definitely sway the swing voter. These are simply things you can add to liven up the traditional dish … besides French-fried onions. <strong>1. Actual Mushrooms</strong> This probably comes as a shock to absolutely no one, but the nearly non-existent mushroom nubbins that come in canned mushroom soup just don’t foot the bill. Upgrade by sautéing some chopped button mushrooms (or any other variety you like) and adding them to the mix. <strong>2. Fresh Green Beans</strong> Some of you are saying “duh” while the rest of you are saying, “Huh?” Canned green beans are the easy way out and have become so ubiquitous in recipes that the flavor has become preferred in some circles (yikes). For those of you jammed in Canland, give the fresh bean a try. Just boil them in broth for a few minutes and you’ll be good to go. <strong>3. Chopped Garlic</strong> It must be confessed that green bean casserole can come off as a little bland and garlic can add a bit more bite to the mix. Again, sauté quickly in about a tablespoon of light oil (truffle oil works brilliantly if you have any on hand) and pour the whole concoction into the casserole. <strong>4. Cheese</strong> Perhaps this is another no-brainer, because cheese makes everything better. Now, you’ll want to use shredded sharp cheddar or another strong cheese that can compete with the casserole’s other flavors, and there are two ways to do it: <em>under</em> the French-fried onions or <em>over</em> them. The Lazy Chef recommends going under, because otherwise you may end up with a cheesy onion tent that just slides off the top of the casserole. <strong>5. Bacon</strong> If cheese <em>may</em> have been a no-brainer, bacon is an undisputed no-brainer. Cook it until it reaches your desired level of crispiness, drain it, chop it and stir it in. Done and done! <strong>6. Red Onion</strong> White or sweet onions are a common addition in many recipes, but you might find that red onions hold up a little better. Some people like that the onion more or less disintegrates into the background of the dish, but for anyone who likes to know it’s there a red onion will help. <strong>BONUS: </strong>Mix and match these additions to create a deluxe dish that will steal the Thanksgiving show and prove once and for all that green bean casserole is a tradition worthy of even the most discriminating palate … except for little Joey. That kid won’t eat anything. <a title="ATG Stores Homepage" href="http://www.atgstores.com/" target="_blank">ATGStores.com</a> and the Lazy Chef wish all of you a very happy and delicious Thanksgiving.
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