In the kitchen: the Cuisine of the Midwest (Jello molds and Casseroles)

Both and the rolling and wiggling were a treat to watch, doncha know?

JC called to see what I was bringing to our Midwestern potluck. He was making “Tuna Hotdish” (translation: “tuna mac”) and wanted to know if I’d give green bean casserole a shot.

“Aw geez, I dunno,” I said, doing my best Frances McDormand. “I was thinking of doing Jell-O instead. Too many vegetables, you know. Folks might not like them.”

Not only did JC disagree with me, but now I was also into for a Jell-O mold. Yikes! Haven’t made Jell-O since I was in elementary school. What’s a girl to do?

Why, run to her local grocery, pick up a can of cream of mushroom and a few boxes of gelatin, of course. And check a few websites. Perfect for when the weather turns cold (hey, it ain’t spring yet!) or when you feel lazy.

Green Bean Casserole (adapted from the Campbell’s website)
Serves: 6

INGREDIENTS:
1 can (10 3/4 oz) condensed cream of mushroom soup
1/2 cup milk
Dash of ground black pepper
4 cups cooked cut green beans
1 1/3 cups french fried onions

DIRECTIONS:
Preheat the oven to 350F.
Mix soup, milk, pepper beans and 2/3 cup onions in a large casserole dish.
Bake for 25 minutes or until hot.

Remove from oven, sprinkle with remaining onions and bake another 5 minutes until onions crisp up. Serve immediately.

Variations:

Add 1/4 cup red pepper to soup
Add 1/2 cup shredded cheddar to soup and top with another 1/4 cup cheese
Add 4 cups broccoli florets rather than green beans

And for dessert:

Layered Bing Cherry Mold (adapted from the Jell-O website)
Yield: 12 servings 1/2 cup each

INGREDIENTS:
1 1/2 cups boiling water
2 pkgs (4oz each) cherry-flavor Jell-O or 1 8oz pkg
1 1/2 cold water
1 9.8oz can Bing cherries, halved, pitted
1 1/2 cups Cool Whip

DIRECTIONS:
Stir boiling water into dry gelatin in a large bowl for at least 2 minutes until dissolved. Still in cold water and refrigerate about 1 1/4 hours or until slightly thickened (consistency of unbeaten egg whites). Reserve 1 1/2 cups of the gelatin at room temperature.

Spray a 6-cup mold or bundt pan with cooking spray. Stir the cherries into the cooled and thickened gelatin and spoon the gelatin and cherries into the mold. Refrigerate for 15 minutes or until set but not firm (gelatin should stick to finger when touched or mound slightly).

Add Cool Whip to the room temperature gelatin. Stir with a wire whisk until well blended. Spoon over the gelatin and cherry layer in the mold.

Refrigerate for 4 hours or until firm.

Note: if the gelatin gets too solid in the first step, put it in the microwave and stir until slightly liquid and then refrigerate again until desired consistency is achieved.

TO UNMOLD:
Dip the mold in warm water for about 15 seconds. Gently pull the gelatin from around edges with moist fingers. Place a serving plate on top of hte mold. Invert the mold and plate, shaking the mold slightly to loosen. Gently remove the mold and center gelatin on plate.

VARIATIONS:
This could be a long list…

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One response to “In the kitchen: the Cuisine of the Midwest (Jello molds and Casseroles)

  1. >You know my brother burnt jell-o once. He left the sugar packet in a hot pan and let it smolder into a little crisp. he forgot to add the water…

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