Our first family Thanksgiving was a total success (if I do say so myself). Traveling went well, no one got the pat down at the airport, and BOISE STATE LOST (!!!). I can't imagine having a better Thanksgiving, surrounded by family.
I didn't take many pictures, other than the one at the head of the post, because I was hustling and bustling about. Joan took an ordinary grocery store bouquet and turned it into a beautiful centerpiece. She seriously has an eye for this stuff, whereas I don't. I did most of the prep in the weeks and days beforehand, but left some last minute things (such as making rolls, etc) for the day of, so I would be busy. There is one picture I would have LOVED to have - at one point Sam and I were debating turkey and oven rack placement, and apparently we looked hilarious - I had on one normal oven mitt, and an oven mit in the shape of a lobster claw, and was gesticulating wildly.
I like to challenge myself by making things from scratch - often making something from scatch can be done more cheaply then buying the processed version, and you can control levels of salt/fat/whatever, which is pretty important to me. This Thanksgiving, I made ALMOST everything from scratch - the two exceptions were the pumpkin pie - I used canned pumpkin, and the guest-requested cool whip. I made a somewhat traditional green bean casserole, making the sauce instead of using the canned soup, and it was a big hit.
Green Bean and Mushroom Casserole
1 lb. fresh green beans, trimmed
2.5 tbs. butter or margarine
0.5 lb. baby portobella mushrooms, sliced
3 cloves garlic, minced
2 tbs. flour
0.75 c. chicken broth
1 tbs. dry sherry
0.5 c. heavy cream
1 slice whole grain bread
- Preheat oven to 425 F. Coat a 2-quart casserole dish with cooking spray.
- Cook the green beans in salted water for about 3 minutes - you want them to be crisp and bright green. Drain beans, and shock in ice water to stop cooking. Drain again and transfer to the casserole dish.
- Melt 1.5 tablespoons of butter in a skillet over medium-high heat and add mushrooms and garlic. Saute for about 6 minutes (adjusting heat if necessary) until the mushrooms are softened, but retain some of the moisture. Stir in the flour and cook for about a minute. Stirring constantly, mix in chicken broth, sherry and cream. Allow to come to a boil, then reduce heat, and simmer for 10-15 minutes, until the sauce has thickened. Add salt and pepper to taste, add sauce to green beans in casserole.
- If you're making this dish ahead, after the last step, you can cover the casserole and refrigerate it for a day).
- Break the bread into pieces and pulse in a food processor until it's crumb-y. Add remaining butter and pulse again until blended.
- Sprinkle crumbs over the beans. Bake uncovered for 15 minutes until the casserole is bubbly and the crumbs are browned.
A few notes:
- I totally spaced the bread crumb part. Didn't realize there were supposed to be a topping on this until I re-read the recipe after starting this post. Obviously it didn't make much of a difference.
- As I only have one oven (when we get a house, it was unanimously agreed upon by all parties present that I NEED to have the dual oven setup), and the turkey's roasting temperature trumped every other dish, I actually ended up baking this dish for about an hour at 325.
- I obviously don't pay proper attention to ingredients at times - I used full grown portobellas. Using the baby ones (or even button mushrooms) would have been better - everyone would have gotten smaller slices, instead of the larger pieces.
- One could throw the french fried onions, or fry up some shallots for the topping instead of the bread crumbs, I opted not to, as I was hell bent on making almost everything from scratch.