Wednesday, November 25, 2020

Redo a “Holiday” Classic

Holiday time is coming upon us and soon we will be seeing the television commercials that try and define the season for us. Unfortunately the holiday season has become very commercialized, so the original true messages of the season may not get through to many.   No lecturing this time from me, as I believe the dramatics of 2020 are bringing back much of the true meanings.

What I would like to address though is a holiday classic recipe, the Green Bean Casserole.   With my family, or most people I knew, this was not ever served for Thanksgiving, Christmas or New Year's Day.   Why is it considered a “holiday classic”?  We never really see any commercials for it from Campbell's or French's until the holiday season, so it is, to me, a classic recipe because these companies say so.

The origin of the recipe came from the Campbell’s Soup Company, located in Camden, New Jersey, in 1955.  Home economist, Dorcas Reilly worked in the test kitchen, and Campbell’s needed a new idea to promote their Cream of Mushroom Soup.  Now this product had been around since 1934, but was mainly used as a filler.  It was so popular with Minnesota potluck casseroles, it was nicknamed “Lutheran Binder”.

During an interview, Ms. Reilly stated that she did not truly know how she came up with the recipe; it was mostly trial and error.  However, adding green beans to the soup mixture created an unappetizing color.   Reilly determined that fried onions on top were an easy way to add texture and color to the grey-green dish.  The fried onions also added a touch of “festive flair”, and festive meant the holiday season.

My hubby and his family, along with the Watkins family, like this dish, so I make it for them whenever I feel like it, not just because a holiday dictates it.  I was a good girl and prepared the dish using the Campbell's recipe verbatim.  Nope, did not play with it at all, the first time I made it.

Here is the original recipe from the Campbell's Kitchen website: 

Classic Green Bean Casserole


1 can (10 3/4 ounces) Campbell's® Condensed Cream of Mushroom Soup (Regular, 98% Fat Free or Healthy Request®)
1/2 cup milk
1 teaspoon soy sauce
Dash ground black pepper
4 cups cooked cut green beans
1 1/3 cups French's® French Fried Onions


Stir the soup, milk, soy sauce, black pepper, beans and 2/3 cup onions in a 1 1/2-quart casserole.

Bake at 350°F. for 25 minutes or until the bean mixture is hot and bubbling. Stir the bean mixture. Sprinkle with the remaining onions.

Bake for 5 minutes or until the onions are golden brown.

ves 6

 By now, my readers know I often do not stick to recipes; I need to play!

Here is my version of the recipe and my hubby says it is better than the original by far.  It has a headier flavor from the Worcestershire, is creamier and just has an overall better flavor.  The French fried onions are crispier, since they are entirely on top of the casserole, not mixed inside and getting soggy.  Seconds are always gone after, and leftovers are slim to none.  Try my version and judge for yourself, but it is perfectly fine if you still prefer the original.


Green Bean Casserole
(An old classic redone)


2 Tbsp. butter
1 small onion diced
1 (4 oz.) can sliced mushrooms
3 (14.5 oz) cans French style green beans, drained
2 (10.75 oz) cans cream of mushroom soup
1 cup milk
1 Tbsp. Worcestershire sauce
½ tsp. each ground black pepper and paprika
2 cups French fried onions


On medium heat, melt butter in small skillet; sauté onion and mushrooms till the onions just begin to soften; do not brown. Remove from heat.

Preheat oven to 350F; spray a 2 quart casserole dish with nonstick cooking spray.

In a large mixing bowl, combine the sautéed onions and mushrooms with all other ingredients, except the fried onions. Spoon into the casserole dish and spread the fried onions evenly over the top.

Bake for 30 minutes; remove from oven and let settle for 5 minutes before serving.

Makes 6-8 servings.

Halloween/Samhain has passed, and I hope you enjoyed making those apple cider donuts I wrote about last time.  Here comes Thanksgiving; hey, those donuts would go well with this holiday as well!  Be grateful for what you have, love those closest to you, be kind to acquaintances and strangers alike; and this too shall pass.

Mary Cokenour