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Kitchen Mailbox Countdown to Dinner Dining
Countdown to Dinner: From a small garden in Lincoln Place, lots of big ideas for elegant vegetables

Thursday, January 13, 2000

Tested by Nancy Anderson

Marie McElhinny is the vegetable queen of Countdown To Dinner. She's sent us four recipes, all with vegetables, and we've used three -- Sugared Asparagus, Green Beans with Hazelnut Butter and today's entry, Green Beans Supreme.

The peppy, 84-year-old great-grandmother likes to experiment with vegetables.

"When I had a big garden, I was always trying to come up with different sauces to put on vegetables," she said. "I'd put in this and that till I got it right."

We'll agree that she "got it right" again. Green Beans Supreme is a delicious way to serve this old standard and it gets raves, too.

How can the dish fail? If you added butter, onions, sour cream and Cheddar to sawdust, it would be heavenly.

McElhinny, who lives in Lincoln Place near Century III Mall, has a smaller garden now because it's easier to take care of.

A widow with one daughter, Patricia Cartwright in Dubois, three grandchildren in Clarion and two great-grandchildren, she also loves to bake but says she's slowing down.

"This Christmas, all I made were some cookies and a fruitcake," she sighed. She also makes her own bread and rolls because the "grandkids" like the homemade kind.

Green Beans Supreme went over the 30 minutes by 2, mainly because of the oven temperature. Raise it to 375 degrees and the Cheddar will melt faster.

We served the casserole with another favorite Countdown recipe, Pan Crisped Chicken Scaloppine with Balsamic Vinegar, and boil-in-bag rice for an appetizing, inviting dinner that bordered on being gourmet.

Green Beans Supreme

1/3 cup minced onion
2 tablespoons butter
1/2 cup sour cream (low-fat is fine)
Salt and pepper
2 cups French-style green beans, canned or frozen, drained
1/2 cup grated Cheddar cheese

Simmer onion in butter. Add sour cream and salt and pepper to taste. Heat through.

Blend with cooked beans (we used frozen and cooked them in the microwave) and pour into a shallow baking dish. Top with cheese and bake at 350 degrees for 15 minutes. Makes 4 servings.

Do you have an entrée, salad or vegetable side dish recipe (no desserts, please!) that can be made in 30 minutes or less from six ingredients or fewer (not counting water, salt and pepper)? Share it with Countdown to Dinner.

The PG tests all recipes and if we select your recipe for publication, you'll receive a free selection from our cookbook grab bag of current releases.

Send your recipe to Countdown to Dinner, Post-Gazette Food, 34 Blvd. of the Allies, Pittsburgh, PA 15222, or fax to 412-263-1313. Please include your name, neighborhood and daytime phone number. Or e-mail to: nanderson@post-gazette.com Questions? Call 412-263-1760.

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