Traveling Pans: Pansgiving

by Jenn (eating bender) on November 15, 2011

Pansgiving terminology courtesy of Mara, who has already written a fabulous recap post.

The Traveling Pans were at it again Sunday night. This month’s theme: Thanksgiving! What better way to prepare for the “big feast” than with a practice feast among friends?

Would you look at that turkey? I still can’t get over how perfect it looked! Emily did a fantastic job!

We gathered at Liz’s place with our respective contributions. Before long, dinner was served at this beautiful table (below picture courtesy of Mara – my tablescape was a blur).

We went around the table sharing our dishes and recipes. Apple-sausage stuffing made by Liz.

Amy brought a beautiful braised red cabbage (recipe here).

She also brought NPR Molded Cranberry, made with cranberries, onion, sugar, sour cream and horseradish. I loved its vibrant pink color! Amy heard about it on NPR years ago and has been making it for Thanksgiving ever since.

Sue brought a squash dish – that she jokingly called a quiche, claiming it was too “eggy” – made with thyme, leeks and cheese. Even if it wasn’t what you originally intended, Sue, I thought it was wonderful! (Photo below also courtesy of Mara – not sure why a few of mine kept coming out so blurry!)

Tina made a squash dish, as well – a homemade spaetzle! The noodles were delicious, and I loved the crunchiness of the nut topping. Now I want to attempt homemade spaetzle. :)

Mara brought these beautiful buttercup squashes, which were stuffed and baked with cranberry-orange-pecan yumminess. You should definitely check out her post for more on these!

As for my contribution? Drumroll, please…green bean casserole!

Recipe to follow at the end of this post. This was a labor of love – and it turned out great!

We piled our plates high with healthy helpings of every dish. The food and conversation was perfect.

Of course, as is always the case with the sisterhood, dessert was something spectacular.

Not only did Beth bring homemade apple and pumpkin pies…

She also made her own cinnamon ice cream and whipped cream. Does it get any better?

The answer to that question is yes. It does, in fact, get better, the minute they all reach your mouth. :)

Another successful meeting of the Traveling Pans. Can’t wait for the next one!

Ready for that green bean casserole recipe? I was on a mission to NOT use cream of mushroom soup, something I’ve never done before, and came across this recipe from Eating Well: Green Bean Casserole with Caramelized Onions.

After making a few modifications, my recipe was born.

Not-So-Sodium Green Bean Casserole with Caramelized Onions


Onion topping

  • 1/2 teaspoon canola oil
  • 3/4 large onion, thinly sliced

Casserole sauce and green beans

  • 2 cups skim milk
  • 6 black peppercorns
  • Pinch cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon canola oil
  • 1/4 large onion, chopped
  • 3 cups mushrooms, trimmed and sliced
  • 1 clove garlic, chopped
  • 1/4 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1/4 cup nonfat Greek yogurt
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground pepper
  • 2 cups fresh green beans


To make onion topping, heat oil in a large skillet over low heat. Add sliced onion and cook, stirring occasionally, until very tender and golden, about 30-35 minutes. Do this while simultaneously preparing the sauce and green beans.

Preheat oven to 425 degrees. To make sauce, combine milk, peppercorns and cinnamon (I used it as a substitute for nutmeg, which would also be good) in a medium saucepan and heat over low until steaming. Remove from heat and strain into a measuring cup. Discard peppercorns.

Meanwhile, heat oil in a large saucepan over medium heat. Add chopped onion, mushrooms and garlic and cook, stirring often until tender, roughly 3-4 minutes. Sprinkle flour over the vegetables and stir for 1 minute. Slowly pour in the milk, stirring constantly.

Bring the ingredients to a boil. Continue stirring and reduce heat to low, cooking until thickened, about 1 minute. Remove from heat. Stir in Greek yogurt, salt and pepper.

Prep fresh green beans by either boiling, steaming, microwaving, etc. Spread evenly in a casserole dish.

Pour the deliciously healthy sauce over the top.

Top with the reserved caramelized onions. Bake until bubbling, 15-20 minutes. Voila!

I have to admit, I was afraid of how the Greek yogurt would fare versus the sour cream that the original recipe calls for. I was pleasantly surprised to find there was not a heavy “tang” to it – it blended well with the milk and other ingredients for a creamy success!

I think this may just have to replace our usual green bean dish next week. :)

Big thanks to the ladies of the sisterhood for inspiring me to break out of my comfort zone!

What dishes are you most looking forward to at Thanksgiving this year?


1 Kristie November 15, 2011 at 10:29 am

Jenn, green bean casserole is my absolute favorite part of Thanksgiving dinner. Can I have your version and the traditional one? I can’t give up on the traditional and yours just looks too delicious to pass up! :)

2 Jenn (eating bender) November 18, 2011 at 10:12 am

It’s a deal! So glad I picked your favorite dish! :)

3 Lauren November 15, 2011 at 10:39 am

What a FANTASTIC pre-Thanksgiving dinner. I’m all about pre-gaming before the actual event. :) The casserole you made looks fantastic.

4 Jenn (eating bender) November 18, 2011 at 10:07 am

Thank you, Lauren!

5 Mara@ What's For Dinner? November 15, 2011 at 11:39 am

I had such fun catching up with you!!

6 Jenn (eating bender) November 18, 2011 at 10:12 am

Right back atcha!

7 Foodie (Fab and Delicious Food) November 15, 2011 at 12:58 pm

What a fun feast! Looks spectacular! Don’t think I’ve ever had green bean casserole before, but it looks good! Although, I think the caramelized onions on top would be my favorite part 😉

The dish I most look forward to at Thanksgiving is chestnut stuffing!

8 Jenn (eating bender) November 18, 2011 at 10:08 am

The caramelized onions are definitely hard to top…pun intended. :)

9 Jenn@slim-shoppin November 15, 2011 at 1:24 pm

I just saw the post on Mara’s site – I have to come over and read your more! :)

Great dinner!

10 Jenn (eating bender) November 18, 2011 at 10:08 am

I’d love that, Jenn! Same to you – us two “N” Jenns need to stick together. :)

11 Erica November 15, 2011 at 4:14 pm

oh my gosh! Everything looks amazing. I’m so intrigued by the cranberry. Y’all are some awesome cooks!! I am most looking forward to stuffing :)

12 Jenn (eating bender) November 18, 2011 at 10:09 am

Stuffing is definitely in my top three favorite Thanksgiving dishes!

13 Mahealani @ Beauty, Brains, and Balance November 15, 2011 at 6:05 pm

Congrats on the non-canned-soup version of the green bean casserole! I hate that tinned mushroom stuff, it always looks so salty, sad, and gray. Yours looks lively and fresh!

And that cinnamon iced cream? Move over pie, all I need is that!

14 Jenn (eating bender) November 18, 2011 at 10:09 am

Thank you, Mahealani! It was definitely my goal to avoid that grayish look!

15 BroccoliHut November 15, 2011 at 8:06 pm

What a gorgeous feast!! I am looking forward to the cranberry sauce:)

16 Jenn (eating bender) November 18, 2011 at 10:10 am

Thanks, Caroline!

17 Miz November 16, 2011 at 11:05 am

and here I am calling whole foods austin :)

18 Jenn (eating bender) November 18, 2011 at 10:11 am

Haha – I’d love to have a Mizgiving – or at least a Mizmeeting, part two – someday! :)

19 Melissa @TryingtoHeal November 18, 2011 at 3:36 pm

I’m so happy to see the green bean casserole dish came out so well! That looks AMAZING!!! And of course so does everything else…I’m so jealous. I wish my friends did that kind of thing!

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