Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Green Bean and Tomato Casserole

I had a package of green beans, one of those plastic containers of cherry tomatoes, and an onion and decided to make something a bit different. If you are into calories, this dish is very low cal. There are a lot of options when making this. Play around with the ingredient proportions and seasonings and make it your special recipe.

Ingredients with suggestions for other ways to go:

1 pound cut green beans (fresh or frozen)
1 t olive oil
2 cups onion, thinly sliced (I think this will be great with leeks too so if that's what you have, go for it)
1 t sweetener of your choice, I used agave (sugar, honey, etc..)
6 cloves garlic, chopped (or equivalent dried granules)
1/4 t fresh cracked black pepper
1 t dried basil ... although now that I think of it, fresh basil would be awesome, maybe 1/4 cup packed?
1 t dried oregano
1 1/2 T good quality balsamic vinegar
1 container (10.5 oz) good cherry tomatoes, cut in half
1/4 cup Panko (found in the same aisle as you find breadcrumbs as they are Japanese bread crumbs and are remarkably crispy)
1/8 (or more if you like) cup freshly grated Parmesan

pre-Panko and Cheese
Easy assembly instructions:

Preheat oven to 400F

Remember to do all your prep ahead of time - all cutting and measuring. Put the spices in a little bowl.

In a casserole dish, nuke the green beans in a little water until crisp tender. My microwave is old and I nuked them for eight minutes. You may only need to nuke them for four-five minutes if you have one of those new fast as lightening microwaves. Drain, remove the green beans to a bowl, allow the casserole to cool, wipe with a paper towel.

While the green beans are a-cooking, heat a non-stick pan over medium heat. When the oil is shimmering, add the onion and saute until caramelized. You may give one or two twists of salt at this point - it does make the onions taste great when you "check" on their state of caramelization every now and then by tasting several of the delectable strands. Do not stir too often as it is sitting on the pan a bit that will make them brown up nice.

When the onions are nicely browned, add the garlic cloves and saute for another couple of minutes. If you are using ground garlic powder, then add it with the other seasonings. After the garlic has sauteed a tad, dump in the pepper, basil, and oregano (and garlic powder). Saute for one minute. Stir in the vinegar and stir another minute. Remove from heat.

Spray the casserole with Pam and add the green beans, top with the onion mix, top that with the cherry tomatoes, top that with Panko, and then give a light sprinkle of Parmesan all over the top.

Pop in the oven and bake, uncovered for about 25-30 minutes or until the cheese is lightly browned.

This is good left over, but the Panko will no longer be crispy and as mindful as it was the day you made it.

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