This green bean macaroni casserole was my favorite dish from Friendsgiving this year. I’ll admit, casseroles are not the most photogenic dish, but to me, being from the Midwest, casseroles are an ESSENTIAL part of Thanksgiving. This one is extra special as it combines my husband and I’s favorite side dishes. Yes, that’s right, this casserole is like if green bean casserole and baked macaroni and cheese got together and had a casserole baby. 🙂
Fresh green beans are essential in this casserole, as we’ll blanch them and then bake them—and you don’t want them too mushy.
Then everything gets topped with the good stuff—French fried onions! Which is a very classic topping for green bean casserole and it makes a great replacement to breadcrumbs which is what I normally top baked macaroni and cheese with.
There are two additional things I love about casseroles for Thanksgiving, and this one in particular. You can easily make this ahead and refrigerate overnight. Then just top with the French fried onions and bake before your big meal. Make ahead dishes are essential to me as I don’t like feeling rushed or stuck in the kitchen ALL day, even if I’m hosting.
Second thing, casseroles are my favorite leftovers from Thanksgiving. I know, I should be making some kind of crazy sandwich from the leftover turkey, or eating these pie bars for breakfast the next day. But to me there’s nothing better than rewarming this casserole the next day, when family is still around or while I start my (online) Black Friday shopping. So if you have been tasked with bringing a casserole to your Thanksgiving this year, I highly recommend this green bean macaroni casserole. Thanks for letting me share! xo. Emma
Credits // Author: Emma Chapman. Photography: Janae Hardy and Emma Chapman. Photos edited with A Color Story Desktop.
Green Bean Macaroni Casserole
- 12 ounces fresh green beans
- 6 ounces baby Bella or button mushrooms
- 6 cloves of garlic
- 16 ounces macaroni noodles
- 1/2 cup butter
- 1/4 cup flour
- 1/4 teaspoon cayenne
- salt and pepper
- 1 cup milk
- 2 cups vegetable stock
- 16 ounces shredded cheese divided
- 6 ounces French fried onions
Prepare the green beans by cutting off the ends and chopping into bite-size pieces (maybe 1/2 inch or smaller). Blanch in boiling water for 2 minutes. Strain and immediately rinse in cold water (to stop the cooking process). Set aside.
Boil the noodles according to the package directions to al dente. You want them a little hard in the center still as they will absorb more liquid when they bake in the casserole later.
Clean and slice up the mushrooms, discarding the center stem. Mince the garlic. In a large pot, melt the butter. Add the mushroom and garlic and cook for just a minute or two until the mushrooms begin to soften. Whisk in the flour and cayenne, this will become a paste. Season generously with salt and pepper. Then slowly whisk in the milk and vegetable stock so it incorporates well (you don't want a bunch of chunks of flour paste floating in the mixture). Then stir in 12 ounces of the shredded cheese. Once it begins to look melted, or mostly melted (sort of stringy on your mixing spoon), then stir in the green beans and noodles.
Add this mixture to a greased casserole pan (9x13 or close to that size if it's a different shape, like an oval). Sprinkle with salt and pepper, then top with the remaining cheese and French fried onions. Cover with aluminum foil and bake at 350°F for 15 minutes. Then remove the aluminum foil from the top and bake another 15 minutes.
If you want to make this ahead, you absolutely can. Just don't top with the French fried onions until you are ready to bake. What kind of shredded cheese should you use? Really any kind you like. I prefer a mixture of pepper jack and sharp cheddar.