Slow Cooker Green Bean Casserole

SAM_4432This recipe for green bean casserole uses fresh green beans instead of canned and delicious porcini mushroom bisque (which also works GREAT as a vegetarian mushroom gravy!) instead of what most traditional recipes call for, which is Campbell’s Cream of Mushroom soup. I did stick to the traditional topping of French’s Fried Onions, though. It’s an easy recipe that can be thrown into the crock pot for 2 1/2 hours while you prepare the rest of your holiday meal. Makes about 6-8 side dish servings.

What you will need:

a crock pot and very large skillet
2 lbs. fresh green beans
8 oz crimini mushrooms (I used the washed and sliced ones to make things a little bit easier)
1 1/2 cans of Amy’s Mushroom Bisque with Porcini Mushrooms (Amy’s condensed mushroom soup also works great for this recipe and makes for a really good gravy, too.)
1/2 c almond milk (or your milk of choice)
2 1/2 tbs butter
Swiss cheese slices
6 oz French’s Fried Onions
1 small sprig of fresh rosemary

Rinse green beans and let dry. Remove stems by snapping them off and discard. Then snap the green beans in half. Meanwhile, turn the crock pot on high heat and let it warm up. In a very large skillet, melt the butter and add the green beans and mushrooms and cook until the veggies soften (about 15 minutes). Add Amy’s Mushroom Bisque, almond milk and fresh rosemary and continue to cook for 5 minutes. Then, transfer the mixture to the crock pot, cover with Swiss cheese slices (I think I used about 8) and top off with about half of the French’s Fried Onions. Cook on high heat for two and a half hours. You’ll know it’s done when the edges of the cheese start to brown and get nice and crispy. Sprinkle more of the French’s Fried Onions on top and serve with Thanksgiving dinner.

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Four Cheese Quinoa and Rice Casserole with Mushrooms, Asparagus and Spinach with a Creamy Brie and Aged Fig Balsamic Sauce

SAM_4313It’s that time of year for warm, comforting, cheesy casserole dishes. This recipe comes as a request from my friend, Kelli. I posted a question on Facebook asking what recipes you guys would like to see, and her request was a rice casserole.

So, I headed over to my friend, Faith’s, house today to have a picnic in her backyard on this beautiful fall day. We worked on this dish together and it turned into a great collaboration between the two of us. Faith made a delicious creamy brie and fig balsamic sauce with fresh garlic, onions, mushrooms and a fig balsamic vinegar that’s been aged 22 years. My main job was to cover the casserole in cheese- and lots of it. Smoked Swiss, Parmesan, Asiago, and Welsh cheddar were my weapons of choice. Makes 4 servings.

What you will need:
6 oz casserole dish and sauce pan

Four Cheese Quinoa and Rice Casserole with Mushrooms, Asparagus and Spinach
1 c cooked quinoa
1/4 c cooked brown rice
1/8 c vegetable broth
5 oz crimini mushrooms
1/2 bunch of asparagus
1 c fresh spinach
4 slices of smoked Swiss cheese
grated Welsh cheddar cheese
grated Parmesan cheese

grated asiago cheese
1/2 c diced scallions
a couple pinches of Italian seasoning

Preheat oven to 375 degrees Fahrenheit. Cook rice and quinoa according to directions on the package for each. Once both are done cooking, combine in a pot and add vegetable broth. Simmer for about 7 minutes or until the broth is absorbed. Line the bottom of the casserole dish with the quinoa and rice mix and pat down. Then, take the asparagus and cut or break off the hard, tough ends and discard them. Cut the rest of the asparagus into bite size pieces along with the mushrooms and layer it on top of the rice and quinoa. Layer the smoked Swiss cheese evenly over the top of the casserole, then grate the Welsh cheddar, asiago and Parmesan cheeses over top and sprinkle on some Italian seasoning. Bake for 25 minutes. You want the the cheese to be crispy and brown around the edges and nice and toasty on top. Then, cover the casserole with scallions and sprinkle more Parmesan cheese on top, set you oven to broil, and bake for another 3-5 minutes. Serve with with Faith’s recipe for creamy Brie and aged fig balsamic sauce.

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Creamy Brie and Aged Fig Balsamic Sauce
1 1/2 tbsp butter
3 shallots
3 oz mushrooms, chopped
2 tbsp aged fig balsamic vinegar
3 cloves garlic, chopped
2 pinches of Italian seasoning
2 pinches of salt
4 oz Brie
1/2 c Greek yogurt

Heat butter in a sauce pan on low heat. Cut shallots into thin, uniform slices and add to the butter in the sauce pan. Continue to cook on medium low heat until onions become translucent, then add the chopped garlic, chopped mushrooms, Italian seasoning and fig balsamic vinegar. Continue to cook on low heat for another 5-7 minutes, then add the Brie and Greek yogurt. Simmer until sauce thickens and serve over the cheesy quinoa and rice casserole.

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Faith, sipping her coffee and contemplating how awesome our meal just was.