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Keen Beans (VRP 036)

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Keen Beans offer a delicious twist on the traditional green bean casserole by incorporating a spicy cheese sauce and a unique foil-baking method. This recipe not only infuses the beans with incredible flavor but also simplifies serving and cleanup, making it a perfect side dish for busy dinners or special occasions.

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Keen Beans

Keen Beans

Front of the recipe card for Keen Beans.

Keen Beans

Back of the recipe card for Keen Beans.

Food History

Green beans have long been a staple in various cuisines due to their versatility and availability. Transforming them with cheese and spices reflects a modern twist on comfort food, where traditional ingredients are enhanced with bold flavors and innovative cooking techniques, such as foil packet baking, which locks in flavor and moisture.

Recipe Discussion

This recipe starts by preparing the green beans—either fresh or frozen—by washing and trimming them. The sauce is a roux-based creation starting with butter and flour, to which milk is gradually added until the mixture thickens. Seasoned with Tabasco sauce and enriched with sharp Cheddar cheese, the sauce becomes a creamy, spicy coating for the beans. The beans are then divided into pieces of heavy-duty aluminum foil, topped with the cheese sauce, and sealed into individual foil packets. This method not only steams the beans, preserving their vibrant color and nutrients, but also enhances their flavor with the spicy cheese mixture.

Serving Suggestions

Keen Beans are best served hot from the oven. The individual foil packets make for an exciting presentation and can be opened at the table, releasing the delicious aroma and steam for an immediate sensory impact. They pair well with grilled meats or roasted chicken, making them versatile for various meal types, from casual barbecues to formal dinners.

Preparation Tips

  • Bean Preparation: If using fresh green beans, ensure they are evenly snipped for uniform cooking. If using frozen, there is no need to thaw them first.
  • Sauce Consistency: Keep the heat low when cooking the roux, and add milk to prevent any lumps from forming. The sauce should be smooth and velvety.
  • Foil Sealing: Ensure the foil packets are well-sealed to prevent steam from escaping during cooking. This helps cook the beans thoroughly and infuses them with the sauce’s flavors.
  • Opening the Packets: Be cautious when opening the foil packets, as the steam can be hot.

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Keen Beans Recipe

Keen Beans
Yield: 4 servings

Keen Beans

Cook Time: 35 minutes
Total Time: 35 minutes

Ingredients

  • 1 pound fresh green beans or 2 packages frozen
  • 2 tablespoons butter or margarine
  • 2 tablespoons flour
  • ½ teaspoon salt and salt to taste
  • 1 cup milk
  • ¼ teaspoon Tabasco pepper sauce
  • ¼ pound sharp Cheddar cheese, grated
  • 4 squares 14-inch Heavy Duty Reynolds Wrap

Instructions

  1. Wash beans; snip ends.
  2. Melt butter in saucepan; blend in flour and ½ teaspoon salt.
  3. Cook 3 minutes over low heat.
  4. Gradually add milk; cook until thickened, stirring constantly.
  5. Blend in Tabasco and cheese.
  6. Divide beans onto shiny side of foil; salt.
  7. Top servings with sauce.
  8. Bring up 2 sides of foil over beans and seal top with tight double fold (leave space between foil and sauce). Repeat seal at ends.
  9. Cook in 350° oven, 35 minutes (25 if frozen).
  10. Open and serve.

Keen Beans are an innovative and flavorful way to enjoy green beans, making them more than just a side dish. Whether you’re looking to spice up a weeknight dinner or impress guests at a gathering, these cheesy, spicy green beans wrapped in their individual packets are sure to be a hit.

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