Cheesy Green Bean Casserole with Bacon
Yields 6 to 8 servings Prep Time 15 minutes Cook Time 45 minutes Total Time 1 hr
4 strips bacon, diced
1 medium yellow onion, finely diced
2 cloves garlic, minced
3 tablespoons flour
1 cup whole milk
2 tablespoons sour cream
Freshly ground black pepper, to taste
1 pound cut green beans, thawed if using frozen
1 cup shredded sharp cheddar cheese
1 cup French's fried onions
Preheat the oven to 350°F.
In a medium skillet set over medium heat, add the bacon. Cook, stirring often, until most of the fat has rendered and the bacon is beginning to crisp. Add the onions and cook until soft and translucent, about 4 minutes. Add the garlic and cook for 1 minute, stirring. Remove the mixture to a paper towel-lined plate.
Sprinkle the flour over the bacon drippings and whisk to combine. Cook for 1 minute, whisking constantly. Gradually whisk in the milk then add the sour cream and bacon mixture. Stir until the mixture has thickened to gravy consistency. Remove from heat and season with black pepper to taste.
In a large bowl combine the bacon mixture with the green beans, tossing to coat. Spread evenly among a greased 9 by 13-inch baking pan.
Make ahead: At this point you can cover and refrigerate the unbaked, untopped casserole for up to 2 days.
Top with shredded cheese and fried onions. Bake for 30 minutes, or until golden brown.
Creamy Mashed Potatoes
Yield: 10 servings Total: 1 hr 15 min
5 pounds russet or Yukon gold potatoes
1 1/2 sticks (12 tablespoons) butter, plus more for topping
One 8-ounce package cream cheese, softened
1/2 to 3/4 cup half-and-half
1/2 to 1 teaspoon seasoned salt, such as Lawry's
1/2 to 1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
Peel and cut the potatoes into pieces that are generally the same size. Bring a large pot of water to a simmer and add the potatoes. Bring to a boil and cook until the potatoes are cooked through, 30 to 35 minutes. (When they're cooked through a fork should easily slide into the potatoes with no resistance, and the potatoes should almost, but not totally, fall apart.)
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.
Drain the potatoes thoroughly in a large colander. Place them back into the dry pot and put the pot on the stove. Mash the potatoes over low heat, allowing all the steam to escape before adding in all the other ingredients.
Turn off the heat and add the butter, cream cheese and about 1/2 cup of half-and-half. Mash, mash, mash! Next, add about 1/2 teaspoon seasoning salt and 1/2 teaspoon black pepper. Stir well, and then taste and add more half-and-half, seasoning salt and pepper if needed.
Transfer the potatoes to a medium-sized baking dish. Throw a few pats of butter over the top of the potatoes and place in the oven until the butter is melted and the potatoes are warmed through.
Cranberry White Chocolate Chip and Macadamia Nut Cookies
2 cups unsalted butter
1 1/2 cups brown sugar
1 cup granulated sugar
3 eggs plus one egg yolk
3 tablespoons hot water
2 teaspoons baking soda
1 tablespoon pure vanilla extract
4 cups all purpose flour
2 teaspoons kosher salt
3 cups old-fashioned oats
1 11.5 ounce package white chocolate chips
1 1/2 cups chopped macadamia nuts
1 1/2 cups cranberry-raisins
Melt the butter and allow to cool slightly. Cream the butter and sugars in the bowl of a stand mixer set to medium-high until creamy, light and fluffy, about 3 to 4 minutes. Add the eggs and egg yolk one at a time, mixing well in between additions. In a ramekin or small bowl dissolve the baking soda in the hot water and add to the creamed mix with the vanilla. Sift the flour and salt together. Add half of the flour mix to the batter and mix then add the other half and mix. Reduce the mixer speed to low and add the oats, white chocolate chips, macadamia nuts and cranberries and mix until just combined.
For chunkier textured cookies, cover and refrigerate for 30 minutes up to 3 days.
Preheat the oven to 375 degrees if using unrefrigerated dough and 350 degrees F if using refrigerated.
Line 2 baking sheets with parchment paper and use a cookie scoop to form balls and gently roll in the palms of your hand then place onto the cookie sheet about 2 inches apart from each other. Bake one sheet of cookies at a time for 10 minutes or until just golden. Remove from oven and let cool on the cookie sheet for 3-4 minutes then move to a wire cooling rack until completely cooled.