Food.  I do love food.  Cooking, smelling the aroma as flavors blend, tasting as it cooks and then enjoying the finished dish.

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It’s been awhile since you’ve seen a new recipe from me so I’m sharing one of my favorite holiday side dishes.  Sautéed Green Beans with Almonds and Mushrooms.2013-12-01T18-34-25_0

It’s not the typical holiday green beans with mushroom soup and crunchy onions as that’s never been one that I could really dig into.  This one keeps the flavor and taste of the vegetable at the top of the palate and enhanced with sautéed mushrooms and nutty almonds.  Cook them al dente so that the flavors still compliment each other and do not turn into a limp blend of soggy beans. 

Ingredients:

1 pound fresh green beans; ends trimmed
2 tablespoons Olive oil
1 tablespoon Butter
1 cup Fresh mushrooms; sliced
3 tablespoons Almonds; slivered
1/2 teaspoons Salt
1/2 teaspoon Cavendar’s Greek Spice; Can substitute other spice mix
1/2 cup Chicken broth; Can substitute vegetable broth

Preparation:

Wash and trim green beans.  Try to pick a young slender beans around 5 – 6 inches long.  If you choose a more mature bean then cut beans into 3 – 4 inch lengths.

Add olive oil and butter to medium size fry pan and bring to medium heat.  Add sliced mushrooms to the melted butter and olive oil.  Sauté mushrooms until they begin to soften.   Add beans and continue to sauté at medium low heat.  Add and stir in raw slivered almonds, salt and Cavendar’s spice and continue to cook until almonds begin to brown and beans begin to soften slightly.

Add chicken broth or vegetable broth (I prefer Knorr’s Homestyle Stock) and continue to simmer over low heat until beans reach desired doneness.   Cook  the beans cooked al dente which is where the cooked bean begins to bend in half but is not limp.  Remove from heat and serve immediately.

A favorite at many restaurants, the twice baked potato is easier that it appears to make.  You just need to allow the right amount of time for them to be perfect.  Made for Memorial Day Weekend for a good-sized group of friends.  If you have vegetarian friends, just set aside enough potato mix before adding the bacon and everyone will be happy.

Ingredients
8  Large russet potatoes
8  strips cooked bacon  cut into slivers with scissors
16  ounces sour cream
1  cube butter
Salt and pepper to taste
1  cup shredded Mexican three blend cheese

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Notice the two vegetarian potatoes in the center that do not have bacon on the top.  These potatoes were gigantic huge russets from Costco and took almost 2 hours to cook.  They were probably double the typical size of a standard russet.  If you have smaller potatoes then you will need more potatoes than 8 to go with the other ingredients or you may not need as much butter, cheese or sour cream.

Preparation

Wash and then oil with olive oil each potato.  Then generously sprinkle each potato outside with sea salt.

Bake at 375 until can pierce easily with fork.  Time approx. 1.5-2 hours depending on elevation and size of potatoes.  These potatoes were so big that it took 2 hours until potato felt soft on inside when squeezed lightly.  Allow to cool for 20-30 minutes or until you can handle to touch.

Cut each potato in half with sharp knife.  Scoop out potato inside into large bowl leaving a small amount of potato in the skin.

Reserve the best 8 potato skins to be filled.

Using two knifes, cut  potatoes in the bowl into fluffy bits with like you we’re working with pastry.  Add remaining ingredients a little at a time mixing gently as you go until you reach the right texture of filling.  If you add too much butter or sour cream the potatoes may end up mushy.  (reserving a little cheese and bacon for garnish).

Mix with large spoon until blended but do not over mix.

Fill each potato skin to the top and then heap over top with any remaining potato  mixture so that each potato has about the same amount of filling.  Place filled potatoes onto foil lined cookie sheet; skin side down potato filling up.

Garnish with extra cheese and bacon and could also shake a little paprika on top for extra coloring.

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Optional: chives in filling and parsley for garnish.

Cook in 325 oven for 30 min in middle if oven until cheese is fully melted and potato is completely heated through.

If you want the top browned then broil on high at top of oven for 2-3 minutes.