Green Beans with Pecans and Parsley

"Thanksgiving is a stressful holiday because it's all about the food." -- The sentiments of one young mother who works full time and does not enjoy spending her free hours in the kitchen. And she is not alone. To varying degrees, these feelings ring true with many people.

HostingThanksgiving can be overwhelming for novice cooks, but also for anyone too busy to spend weeks planning, a day shopping and hours cooking. This is the time commitment we perceive to be required.

Even taking one side dish or dessert stirs feelings of inadequacy if one's culinary efforts don't match the highly stylized images from magazines, television and even food blogs.

By contrast, the first Thanksgiving was a simple affair. But, even by today's elevated standards, we can still find simplicity and meaning in this holiday by turning to basic, everyday ingredients and simple recipes which use them creatively. In recognition of abundance, we can turn to our pantries and find ingredients to create breads, soups, elegant sides, piquant relishes; all the makings for an exquisite Thanksgiving dinner. Then, we must look inside ourselves and create our own spirit of Thanksgiving -- one that is joyful, grateful and manageable.

Try these simple sides featuring green beans and staples from the SimplyCooking® pantry.

green beans with pecans and parsley

3 cups fresh green beans, or 1 10 oz. pkg. frozen green beans

1 tsp. butter

1/4 cup minced fresh parsley

1/4 chopped pecans, toasted

Salt and pepper, to taste

Place fresh green beans in a medium sauce pan fitted with a steam basket and filled with 1- inch of water. Bring water to a boil and steam green beans for 5 minutes or until tender but crisp. Remove from stove and place in serving bowl. Stir in butter, parsley and pecans. Season to taste with salt and pepper.

garlicky green beans

3 cups fresh green beans, or 1 10 oz. pkg. frozen green beans

2 Tbsp. butter

2 cloves garlic, peeled and minced

1/4 cup finely minced onion

1/4 cup finely minced celery

1/4 cup finely minced parsley

1/2 tsp. dried thyme

1 tsp. rice wine vinegar

Salt and pepper, to taste

Place fresh green beans in a medium sauce pan fitted with a steam basket and filled with 1- inch of water. Bring water to a boil and steam green beans for 5 minutes or until tender but crisp. Remove from stove and place in serving bowl.

In a sauté pan, melt the butter over medium/low heat. Add the garlic, onions and celery and saucé for 5 minutes until limp and translucent.  Add the green beans, parsley and thyme and toss well. Cook until heated through. Sprinkle with vinegar and season with salt and pepper right before serving.