• 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 1/4 sweet onion sliced (optional)
  • 1 bag Trader Joe's sliced Cremini mushrooms (optional)
  • 1 package TJ's organic asparagus, chopped
  • 1 lb TJ's brussel sprouts
  • 1 lb TJ's All-Natural Chicken Breast Tenders, cut into bite size pieces
  • 1 11oz container TJ's Condensed Cream of Portobello Mushroom Soup
  • 1/2 cup water
  • 1 1/12 cups shredded Swiss cheese (or cheese of choice)
  • 1/2 can TJ's Gourmet Fried Onion Pieces
  • 1/2 box Giada's Organic Gobetti pasta (or pasta of choice)

My mom never made green bean casserole growing up because nobody else in my family, except maybe my dad, will touch a mushroom. It probably also had to do with the fact that her mom never made it either. As a result, I endured 23 Thanksgivings without this classic American side dish. I never really knew if I was missing out on something great. I am not a huge fan of processed foods anyways so the idea of combining French’s fried onions and  Campbell’s mushroom condensed soup in a dish had little appeal, until now.

We are officially no longer bound to these products because Trader Joe’s offers natural alternatives. When comparing the ingredient list between Trader Joe’s Gourmet Fried Onion Pieces and French’s French Fried Onions, I found though they had similar nutritional facts, Trader Joe’s product lists onions first meaning that is the predominant ingredient (which you would expect), while French’s lists onions 3rd meaning that palm oil and flour make up most of the product.

Moving on to the condensed soup, Trader Joe’s offers a version with all natural ingredient whereas Campbell’s version includes the following: Water, Mushrooms, Modified Food Starch, Wheat Flour, Contains Less Than 2% of: Salt, Cream, Dried Whey, Monosodium Glutamate, Soy Protein Concentrate, Yeast Extract, Spice Extract, Dehydrated Garlic, Vegetable Oil: Corn, Cottonseed, Canola and, or Soybean. If you ask me, there are way too many unnecessary ingredients in this list for a simple mushroom soup including MSG which has shown to cause harmful side effects in some individuals. Anyways, I think you get my point.

I have always been curious about green bean casserole after watching years of  holiday French’s commercials raving about how great it is. When I saw these seasonal products on the shelves of Trader Joe’s I was intrigued, so I went ahead and followed the recipe for green bean casserole on the back of the can of fried onions. It was good, but the green beans were definitely not the star of the dish. The mushroom sauce was delicious and the onion crispy and flavorful, but I really didn’t think the green beans were the right vegetable for this dish.

The next time I made it, I swapped the green beans for brussel sprouts and asparagus and added chicken and Giada’s Gobetti pasta. Voila! Why waste your time making a side dish when you can just as easily make an entire meal that would trump a simple green bean casserole any day. That’s my opinion anyways. If you don’t believe me try it for yourself!

Directions:

Preheat oven to 375 degrees F.

Cook pasta in a large saucepan as directed on the package, but drain 2 minutes before al dente because it will continue to cook in the oven.

Heat olive oil in a large skillet; add mushrooms and saute until lightly browned. Add onion and saute until soft. Add the brussel sprouts and asparagus and continue to saute.

At this point add the chicken after lightly seasoning with salt and pepper. Saute for about 5 minutes until chicken is partially cooked.

Combine the cooked pasta and the contents of the skillet into the large sauce pan. Add the mushroom soup and water and mix well.

Pour into a 9X13 and top with shredded cheese and fried onions. Bake for 15-20 minutes until cheese is melted and onions are crispy.

I will definitely be stocking up on TJ’s gourmet fried onions to keep this dish in circulation all year long. They are also amazing for coating chicken.

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