New Year’s Eve Sparkles

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Green Bean Casserole

This is a side dish I have been cooking for the past Thanksgivings. It is courtesy of Paula Deen but I did omit a couple of things and it was just as delicious.

1/3 stick of butter

1/2 cup diced onions

1/2 cup sliced fresh mushrooms

2 cups of sliced green beans

3 cups chicken broth

1 (10 3/4 ounce ) can of cream of mushroom soup

1 (2.8 ounce) can French-fried onion rings ( I omitted this)

salt, pepper and garlic powder to taste

1 cup grated cheddar cheese ( I omitted this)

Preheat the oven to 350 F degrees.

Melt the butter in a large skillet. Saute the onions and mushrooms in the butter.  Boil the green beans in the chicken broth for 10 minutes and drain. Add the green beans and the mushroom soup, onions rings and seasoning to the onion mixture. Stir well. Pour into a greased 1 1/2 quart baking dish. Bake for 20 minutes and top with the cheese and bake again for another 10 minutes till cheese is melted.

Potato-Leek Gratin

This dish is such a crowd pleaser! Everyone was digging into it before I could get a good picture. I make this on the holidays and special dinners. I got the recipe from the Williams -Sonoma catalog years ago. Their catalogs used to be filled with great recipes. I made adjustments to it for my preference. I assemble it in a baking dish instead of a covered fry pan. The measurements can also be adjusted depending on how many quests. I’ve made smaller versions of it as well.

5 tablespoons unsalted butter

4 pounds of leeks, white and light green portions, rinsed well and cut into 1/4 inch rings

1 1/2 tablespoon Kosher salt

1 teaspoon fresh thyme

1/4 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg

3/4 teaspoon freshly ground pepper

1 cup heavy cream

6 ounces grated Gruyere cheese

3 ounces grated Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese

3 pounds of russet potato, peeled, cut into 1/4 inch slices

3 tablespoons of minced chives

In a large non stick fry pan with a cover over medium heat, melt 4 tablespoons of butter. Add the leeks and salt stirring to coat with the butter. Cover and cook stirring occasionally until the leeks are tender.

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About 20 minutes. Add the thyme, nutmeg, cream and pepper. Simmer uncovered till it thickens. for about 15 minutes. Transfer to a bowl and let cool. Wipe the pan and grease it with the remaining butter.

I skip this step and grease the balking pan instead and start my layering process. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F.

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In a bowl combine the cheeses. Layer of the potatoes on the bottom. Spread the leek mixture on top. Sprinkle with the cheese and chives. And repeat, 2 more times. Cover and bake in the oven for 45 minutes. Uncover and bake for anther 30 or till golden brown.  Sprinkle with the remaining cives and let sit for 15 minutes before serving.

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