Tag Archives: green beans

Szechuan Beans

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Szechuan Beans are one of my favorite dishes at Chinese restaurants. Often at restaurants, they are made with Chinese long beans. When I make them at home, I use the skinny French filet beans.

These beans are slightly spicy, flavored with Szechuan peppercorns, a good dose of garlic, ginger and chili paste. Szechuan peppercorns are actually less spicy than regular black pepper or chili peppers. They have a slightly lemony taste and leave your tongue with an interesting tingly, slightly numb sensation.

Szechuan Peppercorns

Szechuan Peppercorns

I buy whole Szechuan peppercorns from Penzeys. If I am grinding a large quantity of the peppercorns, I use a mini electric coffee grinder. For times when I only need a small amount of ground peppercorn, I have a separate peppermill (the wooden kind you turn by hand) that I keep full of these peppercorns. Don’t use your regular black peppercorn mill to grind the Szechuan peppercorns and then refill with the black ones. As straight Szechuan peppercorns can leave your tongue feeling numb, your kids might not appreciate that sensation when they are expecting regular pepper.

I like to include a small amount of ground pork when I make these beans, but you could leave that out for a vegetarian dish.

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RECIPE:

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Szechuan Beans

1 Tbs oil
¼ lb ground pork
4 green onions, chopped
1 Tbs minced garlic
2 tsp chopped fresh ginger
2 Tbs soy sauce
1 tsp ground chili paste (use more for spicier beans)
1 tsp honey
½ tsp ground Szechuan peppercorns
1 lb Chinese long beans or French filet beans, ends trimmed

Heat oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add ground pork, green onions, garlic and ginger. Cook until pork is cooked through.

Add soy sauce, chili paste, honey and ground peppercorns to skillet. Stir to mix, then add green beans to skillet. Cook for 2 minutes. Add 3 Tbs water to the skillet and cover with a lid. Cook beans for about 3 minutes, or until beans are not quite done.

Remove lid and cook until most of the liquid has evaporated and beans are crisp-tender. Do not overcook beans. Serve immediately.

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Thanksgiving: “Bacon Beans”

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This side dish comes together really quickly for a great Thanksgiving vegetable. With all of the heavy items on the table: mashed potatoes, gravy, stuffing, sweet potatoes- I like to have a vegetable that is crisp and tender and tastes fresh. These green beans are perfect for that.

Of my five children, only one of them thought that they liked green beans. Until I added bacon. It is amazing what a little bit of bacon will do! Adding some nuts and garlic didn’t hurt anything either. This is the one vegetable I cook where there are NEVER leftovers. They go back for seconds on this dish before anything else on the table. What a change! Whenever they smell bacon cooking around dinner time, the first question out of their mouths is, “Are you making bacon beans?”

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I love to use these skinny French green beans, sometimes called filet beans. They are super tender and very flavorful; not at all stringy. They cook very quickly, less than 5 minutes. Be sure not to overcook, or they will be mushy. Both Costco and Sam’s Club carry French beans (different brands, however). I think the one below is from Costco. You can also use regular green beans, but I really love these skinny ones. Bonus: they come with the ends already snapped. No advance prep necessary!DSC02693-1

RECIPE:

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Green Beans with Bacon and Garlic Pine Nuts (or Almonds)

1 lb French green beans (or regular beans, snapped)
6-8 slices bacon, chopped
1/4 cup pine nuts or sliced almonds
1/8 tsp garlic powder (optional)

In a skillet, combine beans and about 1/2 cup water. Add a small amount of salt to the water, if desired. Bring to a boil; cover pan and cook beans for 3-5 minutes, or until beans are crisp-tender. Do not overcook. Drain water and place beans in a serving dish.

Cook bacon in the same skillet until almost crisp. Drain excess grease, leaving 1-2 Tbs of drippings. (If you are using precooked bacon, and there are no drippings, add 1-2 Tbs butter to pan). With bacon still in the pan, add pine nuts or almond slices and cook until nuts are lightly toasted (about 2 minutes). Stir in garlic powder, if using.

Add green beans back to the pan and stir to combine and warm beans.

 

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Teriyaki Salmon and Green Beans with Bacon & Pine Nuts

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Two of my favorite items from Costco are the large Alaskan (or Copper River later in the summer) salmon fillets and the packages of thin French green beans. This meal combines both for a quick to prepare, healthy and flavorful dinner..

These large fillets will feed about 4 people. Start by lining a baking dish with non-stick foil (or spray regular foil with non-stick spray). Place salmon fillet in the baking dish, skin side down. Sprinkle salmon with lime juice (lemon would be fine, as well).

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the salmon before you even put it in the oven.

Top salmon with this soy based marinade and sprinkle with fresh chives or green onions. The marinade includes soy sauce, olive and sesame oils, balsamic vinegar, honey, garlic, ginger and red pepper flakes. (Save half of the marinade to serve with the salmon)

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Bake at 425°F for about 15-20 minutes, or until salmon flakes with a fork. Once cooked, the salmon will easily slide off of the skin with a little help from a spatula. Cooking it with the skin helps to keep it nice and moist.

Serve salmon with additional sauce on the side (bring reserved marinade to a boil in a small saucepan before serving).

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Green Beans with Bacon and Pine Nuts

This side dish comes together really quickly, especially if you use another of my favorite Costco items: precooked bacon. I coarsely chop the pre-cooked bacon and cook it in a small skillet with the pine nuts until the nuts are lightly toasted.

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Remove bacon and pine nuts from pan. Add 1 Tbs olive oil (if you are not using precooked bacon, you could just use 1 Tbs of bacon drippings from the pan) and the green beans to the skillet. Cook over high heat for 2-3 minutes, stirring constantly.

Add 2 Tbs water to the pan, cover, and cook for about 2-3 minutes, or until beans are crisp-tender. These thin French beans cook very quickly and are very tender. Don’t overcook!

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Stir in bacon and pine nuts and serve.

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RECIPE:

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Spicy Teriyaki Salmon

1 large salmon fillet
1 lime, juiced
2 Tbs olive oil
2 Tbs soy sauce
1 Tbs balsamic or rice vinegar
1 Tbs honey
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 tsp minced fresh ginger
¼ tsp crushed red pepper flakes (add more for more heat)
1 Tbs sesame oil
2 Tbs fresh chives or green onions, chopped

Preheat oven to 425°F.

Line a baking dish with non-stick foil (or spray regular foil with non-stick spray). Place salmon fillet in a baking dish, skin side down. Sprinkle salmon with lime juice.

In a small bowl, whisk together the olive oil, soy sauce, vinegar, honey, garlic, ginger, red pepper flakes and sesame oil. Pour half of sauce over salmon. Set remaining sauce aside. Sprinkle salmon with chives or green onions.

Bake at 425°F for 15-20 minutes, or until cooked through. Fish should flake easily with a fork.

Meanwhile, bring reserved sauce to a boil in a small saucepan. Serve over cooked salmon.

RECIPE:

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Green Beans with Bacon and Pine Nuts

1 lb French green beans (or regular beans, snapped)
6-8 slices bacon, chopped
1/4 cup pine nuts

Cook bacon in a small skillet until almost crisp. Add pine nuts and cook until nuts are lightly toasted. Remove from pan.

Drain bacon drippings, leaving 1 Tbs of drippings in the pan. (If you are using precooked bacon, and there are no drippings, add 1 Tbs olive oil to pan).

Add green beans to the pan and cook over high heat, stirring constantly, for 2-3 minutes.  Add 2 Tbs water to the skillet, cover, and cook for about 2-3 minutes, or until beans are crisp-tender. Do not overcook.

Stir bacon and nuts back into beans and serve.

 

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Super Simple Szechuan Shrimp

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Easy prep, easy cooking, easy clean-up, and ready to eat in under 30 minutes, start to finish (even if your shrimp are frozen). Simple enough for a quick mid-week meal, but elegant enough to serve to company.

This is a recipe that I adapted from Kalyn’s Kitchen. I had bought some Szechuan peppercorns from Penzeys and thought that this would be a great recipe to add them to. Szechuan peppercorns are not spicy in the same way that some other hot peppers are. Rather than a burning feeling, they produce kind of a “numbing” sensation on your tongue. But when used sparingly, they add a great flavor!

To save on clean up, I like to prepare this recipe using Ziploc bags and a foil lined roasting pan.

Combine fresh green beans with a little olive oil, coriander, cumin and ground Szechuan peppercorns (you could also use red pepper flakes or other spicy pepper if you don’t have the Szechuan ones).DSC06536-1

To save on time, I bought raw, peeled shrimp (they still had tails, and I left them on). To thaw frozen shrimp, place them in a colander and run cool water over them until thaw.

Combine shrimp with olive oil, lemon zest and salt and pepper.DSC06545-1 Arrange beans on a foil-lined pan in a single layer .DSC06541-1

Roast  beans at 425°F for 5 minutes.

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After 5 minutes, arrange shrimp on top of beans and roast 8-10 minutes more, until shrimp are done but still tender and juicy. DSC06550-1 Serve with lemon wedges.

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RECIPE:

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Szechuan Shrimp and Green Beans
—————–(((adapted from Kalyn’s Kitchen)

For the green beans:
1 lb. green beans
1 Tbs. olive oil
1/2 tsp. ground coriander
1/2 tsp. ground cumin
1/4 tsp. salt
1/2 tsp. whole Szechuan peppercorns, ground**

For the shrimp:
1  lb. medium-large raw shrimp, thawed and peeled
2 Tbs. olive oil
zest from one lemon (save the lemon and cut into wedges)
1/4 tsp. salt
1/4 tsp. fresh ground black pepper

Preheat oven to 425°F.

If shrimp are frozen, place in a colander and rinse with cool water until thawed. Peel and devein.

Grind whole Szechuan peppercorns (I use my regular black pepper grinder). Place with green beans in a Ziploc bag with remaining “green bean” ingredients.

Combine shrimp and remaining “shrimp” ingredients in a separate Ziploc bag. Reserve lemon wedges for later.

Line a roasting pan with foil. Spray with non-stick cooking spray. Arrange beans on pan in a single layer as much as possible. Roast  beans at 425°F for 5 minutes. After 5 minutes, arrange shrimp on top of beans and roast 8-10 minutes more, until shrimp are done but still tender and juicy.

Serve the shrimp and beans immediately with lemon wedges.

**NOTE: If you don’t have Szechuan peppercorns, you can substitute crushed red pepper flakes, or other hot peppers. I get my peppercorns from Penzeys.

Makes 3-4 servings

 

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Green Beans with Toasted Garlic Almonds

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Green beans are one vegetable that everyone at our table will eat. That and broccoli. So I try to change up the presentation every now and again, so that it doesn’t look like we are eating the same vegetable every night. This is a simple to prepare side dish that pleases even my picky eater (she’s the one helping out below!).

Start with enlisting the help of someone to wash and snap your fresh beans (even if she won’t look at you when you are holding a camera).

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Wash beans and put into a pan with a small amount of salted water.

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Cover and cook until just barely crisp-tender. Drain beans and set aside. In the same pan, melt 1 Tbs butter. Add about 2 Tbs sliced or slivered almonds.

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Cook, stirring constantly, for about 2 minutes. Sprinkle almonds with a small amount of garlic powder. Continue cooking (and stirring) until garlic powder just begins to brown (don’t overcook). Add beans back to the pan and stir to reheat.

RECIPE:

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Green Beans with Toasted Garlic Almonds

1 lb fresh green beans
1 Tbs butter
2 Tbs sliced or slivered almonds
Garlic powder

Wash and snap beans. Place in a pot with a small amount (about 3/4 cup) of salted water. Cover and cook until just barely crisp-tender. Drain and set aside.

In the same pan, melt 1 Tbs butter. Add about 2 Tbs sliced or slivered almonds. Cook, stirring constantly, for about 2 minutes. Sprinkle almonds with a small amount of garlic powder. Continue cooking (and stirring) until garlic powder just begins to brown (don’t overcook). Add beans back to the pan and stir to reheat.

 

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