It's no surprise that 90% of my holiday traditions involve food. Okay, I'm not gonna lie...
It's probably closer to 99%. And this simple Green Beans & Mushrooms (4 WW points on the blue plan) is one of those beloved food traditions; a side dish that my Auntie Carol makes for our Christmas dinner. And to me, it symbolizes Christmas.
When I first moved away, it was painful to miss family holiday celebrations, especially Christmas dinners. Then I went through a very long stretch where I couldn't go home for Christmas at all (10 years to be exact), so if I wanted to enjoy our family holiday food traditions, I had to learn to make all our favorites on my own. And now I'm sharing them all here so that my kids and future generations will have all these recipes. And they are just too good not to be shared with the world!
Just like our family’s stuffing, Auntie Carol's Sweet & Sour Slow Cooker meatballs, our family's Ceasar salad (minus the chicken for holiday dinners) and my Mom's Scottish Cabbage Rolls, this recipe is a staple on a holiday dinner table. It not only symbolizes Christmas, even more importantly, it means I’m home for Christmas! And there are few things better than being home for Christmas. I know that very well.
Oh and I can't forget the desserts and baking: Grandma's Butter Tarts, Whipped Shortbread and some of my very own that I've added to the holiday baking tradition: Holiday Biscotti and my Gingerbread Lime Bars.
Why holiday food traditions are important
So, why are holiday traditions so important to us? One anthropologist claims that holiday traditions serve as anxiety buffers because they are predictable, where as everyday life is full of uncertainty. Having a special time of the year when we know exactly what to do, the way we’ve always done it, provides a comfortable sense of structure, control and stability. Research shows that holiday traditions can also provide a number of psychological benefits as well, including helping us relax and enjoy ourselves, as well as connect with loved ones. Holiday traditions truly provide a refuge from the daily grind.
Holiday Food Traditions
And no holiday tradition would be complete without a celebratory meal. All cultures have rituals that revolve around food and meal preparation and most cultures reserve their best and most elaborate dishes for the important holidays. Sharing a ceremonial meal symbolizes community, brings the entire family together around the table and serves as a means for connection. The most significant function of holiday rituals is their role in maintaining and strengthening family ties. In fact, for relatives who live far apart, holiday rituals may be the glue that holds the family together. Our fond memories of our family holiday experiences will predominantly consist of all the rituals, but especially the holiday food traditions. Hear! Here!
Green Bean Side Dish
My Auntie Carol, like most of us, doesn't like to measure stuff. Since she wasn't really sure about how much of everything she actually used in the recipe, it took a little trial and error on my part. But I think I finally got it! However, the amounts can be adjusted to your liking.
*She usually cooks this dish in an electric frying pan, so if you are in the market for one, check these out!
This dish is not complicated, as it only has a few simple ingredients and that's what I love about it. But it's not only that simplicity that I find so comforting, it's the predictability. And now I understand why. So, if you are looking for a simple, healthy and delicious side dish to add to your holiday dinner repertoire, then give this one a try.
Happy Holiday meal and memory making!
Green Beans with Mushrooms
- skillet, frying pan or electric frying pan
- Trim beans
- Slice mushrooms (if you didn't purchase pre-sliced). I would recommend slicing them as thick as you see in the photo.
- Boil beans in hot water over high heat for about 10 minutes under just tender (a fork can go through)
- Meanwhile, sautee the mushrooms in butter in a large frying pan or electric frying pan over medium heat. Add garlic powder, onion powder and salt and cook stirring frequently for about 10 minutes. Remove from heat and set aside.
- Drain the beans and add them to the skillet with the mushroom mixture and add if desired, additional garlic powder, onion powder or salt to taste. Add a dash of pepper.
- Continue to sautee, stirring frequently (stir fry style) for about 5-8 more minutes (to combine flavors).
- Serve hot and enjoy!
This post is part of The Country Cook Weekend Potluck!