Bon appétit with a change   

Two Generations And Change

Thanksgiving is a cornerstone of tradition and any deviating is frowned upon, but not for me.  I see it as a testing ground for different ideas and change.  Last year was different from the previous years.   I undertook the Green Bean Casserole and the Stuffing for a traditional dinner with the daughter and tribe at my best friends house.  

It Took A Turkey To Make Me Realize

Only I dragged a SPATCH COCKED TURKEY ALONG for the ride in 2017…its last.  This Thanksgiving I wanted something different. 2018 — 2019 I tried another technique called the “ Johnny Five version of Turkey".  Basically you disassemble the whole thing and use the parts for what they were intended for.  See JOHNNY FIVE TURKEY and Spatch Cocking.  But back to beans

Holidays are what we make of them and generally we make what we have made before and it usually does not vary from year to year nor generation to generation.  Psychologically, thats because we all enjoy what the traditional dinner represents, the continuation of the family structure which dwindles down to one or two days a year.

Holidays are a great family bonding idea, it still rewards us though we have endured, during the most emotion and sensitive times, the tribulations of travel, mixed generations, new paths, and the typical reflections of both good and bad memories at this time of year.  It also is a controversial holiday as sooner or later something like sports, politics, and past relationships will develop into hot topics and ruffled feathers, but not on the turkey.

Not In My World

In short, I changed, altered spiced up the traditional bean and mushroom soup casserole and brought it to the gourmet level.   
And I made the casserole since then for four different holiday and guest occasions.  No left overs, the casserole dish was scraped clean. 

The secret is lots of sweet Visalia onions caramelized in butter mixed with a dash of brown sugar cooked and added to the soup together with additional cans of fresh mushrooms, garlic, Parmesano Reggiani and some Cheddar cheese, Panko bead crumbs, a little sweet white wine that was on sale, a small touch of Garam Masala and some thyme.  ( I have also made it with Herbs de Province instead of the Garam Masala as a variant)

Most think that sometimes you can’t improve on traditions. Wrong, even something simple as this can be tweaked.  And green bean casserole had the inside track on what people expect on Thanksgiving and in this recipe, it got a whole lot better.  Not a big change just a small tweaking.  This year we spiked the menu a little more and did a  Spatch-cocked Turkey  and learned a few tricks I’ll share with you.


  • 2 Cans (10 3/4 oz) Campbell’s® Condensed Cream of Mushroom Soup
  • 2 Cans  Giorgio Mushrooms Pieces and Stems (8 0z total)
  • 4 Cans Green Giant Cut Green Beans, drained (I prefer fresh but didn’t like what I saw, it had been picked over)
  • 1 Sweet Big (Vidalia or white onion)  sliced thin to caramelize

  • 2 tablespoon butter,
1 tablespoon sugar to carmelized the onions

  • 1 tablespoon bacon bits or leftover ham cooked to render out the fat

  • 1/2 teaspoon Black pepper plus a few red pepper flakes 

  • 1 Teaspoon Spanish Paprika (option)

  • 1/4 Teaspoon Garam Masala (option)

  • 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt

  • 1/3 cup FRENCH'S® Original or Cheddar French Fried Onions

  • 1/4 cup parmesan cheese mixed with the soup

  • Using a potato peeler, I slice some fresh Parmigiano Reggiano on top after primary cooking


  • Cook the  caramelized onions, bacon bits, or ham bits in butter and sugar till done, clear and soft browned, your preference.
  • In mixing bowl, mix the cooked onions and bits with the soup, add the mushrooms, salt, pepper, paprika, garam masala, salt.
  • Place in big enough 2- 21/2 -qt. baking dish

  • Stir in beans 
  • BAKE at 350°F for 30 min. or until hot.

  • Stir softly so as not to make mush.  
  • TOP with 2/3 cup of FRENCH’S ONIONS.  
And I shred some Parmigiano Reggiano on top, never enough of the good stuff…
  • Bake 5 min. until onions are golden
  • Enjoy…..

Beans Are Good For You

Because of their rich green color, we don't always think about green beans as providing us with important amounts of colorful pigments like carotenoids. Recent studies have confirmed the presence of lutein, beta-carotene, violaxanthin, and neoxanthin in green beans. 

In some cases, the presence of these carotenoids in green beans is comparable to their presence in other carotenoid-rich vegetables like carrots and tomatoes. The only reason we don't see these carotenoids is because of the concentrated chlorophyll content of green beans and the amazing shades of green that it provides.

You can enjoy green beans while supporting food sustainability! Recent surveys have shown that 60% of all commercially grown green beans are produced in the United States, with large amounts of green bean acreage found in the states of Illinois, Michigan, New York, Oregon, and Wisconsin. 

If you are unable to obtain fresh green beans, you can still get many valuable nutrients from green beans that have been frozen or canned. We like fresh greens the best! But we realize that access to them can sometimes be a problem. When first frozen and then cooked, retention of some B vitamins in green beans (like vitamins B6 and B2) can be as high as 90%. 

Recent studies have shown that canned green beans, on average, lose about one third of their phenolic compounds during the canning process. They lose B vitamins as well but in the case of some B vitamins like folic acid, as little as 10%.

Green beans (referred to as "string beans" by the study authors) have recently been shown to have impressive antioxidant capacity. Research comparing the overall antioxidant capacity of green beans to other foods in the pea and bean families (for example, snow peas or winged beans) has found green beans to come out on top, even though green beans are not always highest in their concentration of specific antioxidant nutrients like phenolic acids or vitamin C. 

It's not surprising to find recent studies highlighting the antioxidant capacity of green beans! Researchers now know that the list of antioxidant flavonoids found in green beans is not limited to quercetin and kaemferol but also includes flavonoids like catechins, epicatechins, and procyanidins. Researchers also know that the antioxidant carotenoids in this vegetable are diverse, and include lutein, beta-carotene, violaxanthin, and neoxanthin, as noted above.

Green beans may be a particularly helpful food for providing us with the mineral silicon. This mineral—while less well known that minerals like calcium and magnesium—is very important for bone health and for healthy formation of connective tissue. Green beans have recently been shown to stack up quite well against other commonly-eaten foods as a good source of absorbable silicon.