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 Ham & Cheese Green Bean Casserole

-from Bennie

This recipe comes from Betty Crocker, who has this to say about it: "Our Ham and Cheese Green Bean Casserole recipe starts with fresh green beans and gets two indulgent additions that made it our new favorite: chopped ham and a smooth cheese sauce made with Cheddar, cream cheese and Progresso chicken broth. It’s a scratch recipe that you’ll be proud to set out on the table for a crowd—just don’t be surprised if it becomes the most-requested dish for all of your family gatherings (and maybe even for weeknight occasions, too!)."

I'd call this a gourmet version of the old classic and it's worth the trouble to make it, though in reality it looks more difficult than it really is. I used homemade chicken broth and substituted light cream for the half-and-half, since that's what I had on hand and I added 1/2 tsp of garlic because we're a garlic-loving family. I'm pretty sure that didn't hurt the finished product.

In all, this is a dish that's perfect for using to show off to your in-laws ;-). There was absolutely none left over at the end of dinner; I think someone actually licked the casserole dish clean! LOL

Visit Betty Crocker to see what the finished product looks like!



INGREDIENTS:

  • 1 container (2.8 oz) French-fried onions
  • 2 lb fresh green beans, trimmed and cut into 1 1/2-inch lengths
  • 1/4 cup Gold Medal™ all-purpose flour
  • 1 cup half-and-half
  • 2 cups shredded Cheddar cheese
  • 6 cups water
  • 1/4 cup butter
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup Progresso™ chicken broth (from 32-oz carton)
  • 4 oz cream cheese
  • 1cup finely chopped cooked ham

DIRECTIONS:

1- Heat oven to 350°F. Spray 13x9-inch (3-quart) baking dish with cooking spray.

Reserve 1/2 cup French-fried onions for topping.

2- In 4- to 5-quart saucepan, heat 6 cups water to boiling over medium-high heat. Add green beans. Cook 6 minutes, stirring occasionally. Remove from heat; drain, and place green beans back into pan; set aside.

3- Meanwhile, in 3-quart saucepan, melt butter over medium-high heat. Add flour and salt; stir with whisk or fork until blended. Gradually stir in broth and half-and-half; cook and stir 6 to 8 minutes or until smooth, bubbly and sauce thickens. Remove from heat. Add cream cheese and Cheddar cheese; stir until cheeses are melted. Stir in remaining French-fried onions and the ham.

4- Pour cheese mixture over green beans; stir to coat. Spread mixture in baking dish. Top with reserved 1/2 cup French-fried onions.

5- Bake 25 to 30 minutes or until hot and bubbly.

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