I’ve posted a lot about how our traditional Turkey Day menu has been the same for as long as I can recall. What I can’t remember, though, is when the green bean casserole got added to the mix because we didn’t grow up with it. I asked my sister, thinking it might have coincided with a newly added in-law. Her husband doesn’t do mushrooms so I’m pretty sure it wasn’t on his account. Although neither of us can remember why or when, one thing is for sure…if I’m making it, there won’t be any canned soup in it.
The ironic thing is that condensed soup is actually really easy to make from scratch. Combine fresh ingredients with low fat milk, bind them together with either flour or corn starch and you have the making for something far tastier than you can ever get out of can without all the yucky additives, preservatives and sodium.
I pulled the basics for this extremely rich base from an old Weight Watchers recipe. The sauce is so thick that the texture is similar to condensed soup as it comes out of the can. You could easily take this technique and use it to create any variety of “cream-o” soups.
This recipe is easily adaptable to either one or two pounds of green beans. You can use either fresh or frozen green beans. Since the mushroom mixture is so thick, you may need to add extra milk (1/4 cup at a time) until you get a consistency you’re happy with. I’ve chosen to top this year’s presentation with caramelized onions. In years past I’ve also done a mixture of grated Parmesan cheese and Panko bread crumbs with equal success.
Cream of Mushroom Soup
- 2 teaspoons olive oil
- 1.5 cups fresh mushrooms, chopped (I use baby bellas)
- 1 cup nonfat or lowfat milk
- Optional: 1/2 cup chicken broth
- 2 tablespoons cornstarch
- 1/4 teaspoon dried thyme
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1/4 teaspoon pepper (I prefer white pepper in this recipe)
- Add the milk, cornstarch, thyme, salt and pepper to a small bowl. Whisk together. Cornstarch clumps together in liquid so keep the whisk handy.
- In a medium saucepan, heat the oil over medium heat until hot but not smoking.
- Add the mushrooms and cook for about five minutes until they start to release their juices.
- Pour this milk mixture into the saucepan with the mushrooms. Increase the heat to medium high. Stir constantly as the mixture thickens considerably. This will happen quickly so be careful not to let it burn.
- Remove from heat and set aside.
Green Bean Casserole
- 1 medium onion, sliced into 1/4″ rings
- 2 teaspoons olive oil
- 2 pound bags frozen cut green beans
- 1 portion cream of mushroom soup, above
- 1/3 cup panko or whole wheat breadcrumbs
- Pre-heat oven to 350°
- In a medium frying pan, heat the oil. Add the onion slices and cook over medium low heat until they are golden brown (about 15 to 20 minutes).
- Spray a 1 1/2 to 2 quart casserole dish with non-stick spray.
- Spread the beans in the casserole dish. Pour the mushroom soup in and stir. If the mixture it too thick, add milk 1/4 cup at a time until you achieve a nice creamy consistency.
- Sprinkle the top with bread crumbs and then top with the caramelized onions.
- Bake for 10 to 15 minutes or until golden brown.
Kat’s tip: You can easily start with frozen green beans; you just may have to leave the casserole in the oven a while longer.
Calories 80.8 Total Fat 3.3 g Cholesterol 1.5 mg Sodium 21.7 mg Potassium 118.4 mg Total Carbohydrate 9.7 g Protein 2.0 g