This year, my family decided not to have a traditional Thanksgiving dinner with the turkey and stuffing. Instead, we plan to have an International Feast with our favorite foods representing the places that we've visited, close friends who have shared their culture and traditions with us, and our own family heritage. However, one of my favorite Thanksgiving dishes has always been the super-simple, yet oh so tasty, green bean casserole. I haven't been able to enjoy this favorite dish in recent years, because one of the main ingredients is french fried onions, and about 6 or 7 years ago, most brands that make these crispy onions started using palm kernel oil (which I'm allergic to) in their recipes. (I altered and tweaked the original recipe to achieve the same flavor and similar texture without the store bought fried onions, but my altered version, while tasty, is in no way simple. Maybe I'll share it sometime, if I branch out to share time consuming recipes for chefs that have all the time in the world...)
When I found this brand of fried onions at Costco, and they didn't have palm kernel oil, I decided that we had to include green bean casserole in our International Thanksgiving Feast. (It represents my kids' heritage as their mother's favorite childhood Thanksgiving memory!)
For a printable version of this recipe, click here.
Or for a printable version without pictures, click here.
The ingredients are simple:
1 can cream of mushroom soup, 2 lbs. frozen cut green beans, and 2 c. french fried onions (divided)
Pour the frozen green beans into your crock pot. (I used my 3-quart crock pot for this recipe. You could always double the recipe for a larger crock pot.)
Add the can of cream of mushroom soup, and stir. (Many recipes for green bean casserole call for added milk as well. This is totally unnecessary when cooking the casserole in a crock pot, since the moisture tends to stay in the food with crock pot cooking, instead of evaporating as it does in the oven. The moisture already in the green beans is plenty. However, if you prefer a thinner sauce to your green bean casserole, you may add 1/4c. or so of milk.)
Stir in 1 c. of the fried onions. Mix well.
Top with remaining 1 c. of fried onions. Cook on low heat for approximately 4 hours (although it doesn't hurt if you forget about the casserole and leave it cooking longer).
Serve with your favorite turkey, mashed potatoes, stuffing, etc.!
Green bean casserole isn't the only thing you can cook in your crock pot to save valuable oven space this Thanksgiving!
I usually cook my stuffing in the crock pot as well. -- Mix up your favorite stuffing, but instead of shoving it inside the bird (which can be hazardous if not done properly, as stuffing and poultry usually don't reach optimum temperatures at the same time, and no one really wants a case of food poisoning for Thanksgiving dinner), or cooking it in the oven (which often leads to a dry stuffing), simply grease your favorite crock pot, fill it 2/3- to 3/4- full of stuffing, and cook on low for about 6 hours or on high for 4-5 hours - until your food thermometer reads 165 degrees Fahrenheit.
And candied yams are an easy one to cook in a crock pot too, as long as you don't mind that the marshmallows on top don't turn brown, as they do in the oven.
If your crock pot is big enough, or your turkey is small enough, you can cook that in a crock pot too (I "roast" chickens in my crock pot all the time!), but you won't get that perfect-looking, golden-brown turkey that traditionally graces the Thanksgiving table, as it will be so moist that it simply falls off the bones.... :)