Ample folks get the winter doldrums when cooking this time of year is concerned. After all the exotic foods of Christmas and New Year's, planning meals and finding recipes to suit can be rather ho-hum.
Not for me. I've got a nice pile of "untried"s that have been waiting for Christmas to end so I can get back to regular meal preparation; I don't have to live off my life-saving frozen-meal supply any more. I've been pleased these last few nights to wipe the dust off the plastic sleeve that contains my wish-list recipe cards. (Besides, our garden spot that has slept through the winter is about to be tilled on Friday to get ready for those first plantings. Can spring be far behind?) I'm stoked.
One of the first on my to-do list was Heart O' Green Casserole which (no surprise, considering this recipe hails from the Chickasaw Nutrition Services) once again mixes the unusual and emerges with a winner. Heart O' Green (couldn't this be served again for St. Patrick's Day in March?) combines fresh green beans and artichoke hearts into a most interesting yet incredibly tasty casserole that adds new (and of course, healthy) spark to the dinner table.
I loved the freshness and the golden crumb topping. This makes a nice accompaniment to the black-eyed peas Hubby made that we're still downing for our New Year's good luck. (Wish I'd tried Heart O'Green before Christmas so I could have added it to my potluck offerings. Bet I will in 2011!)
Heart O'Green Casserole
3/4 pound fresh green beens, trimmed and sliced into 1-inch slices
2 tablespoons margarine, melted, divided
2 garlic cloves, minced
1 1/2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
1 cup skim milk
1 (14-ounce) can artichoke hearts, rinsed, drained, quartered
1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
1/4 teaspoon black pepper
1/2 cup bread crumbs
Preheat oven to 425 degrees. Cook green beans in a large pot of boiling water for 4-6 minutes. Drain beans and set aside. In a large saucepan over medium-high heat melt 1 tablespoon margarine. Add garlic and saute. Whisk in flour. Do not let brown. Gradually whisk in milk; bring to a boil. Continue stirring and reduce to a simmer until sauce has thickened. Into sauce stir in green beans, artichoke hearts, cayenne pepper, and black pepper. Remove from heat and transfer to an 8-inch-by-8-inch baking dish. Toss remaining margarine with bread crumbs and sprinkle on top of bean-articuoke mixture. Bake until crumbs are golden brown, 10 to 15 minutes. Makes 8 1/2-cup servings.