The first meal I ever really cooked for a guy, or for anyone as a matter of fact, had the traditional green bean casserole as a side dish. You know the one. It’s served at about half the Thanksgiving meals in the country. You take a can of green beans, a can of cream of mushroom soup, a can of fried onion things, and… you know the rest, I’m sure.

If I remember correctly, I also served chicken parmesan that evening. Of course, I used frozen breaded chicken breasts and a jar of Ragu, but I made an entire meal all by myself. I was really proud.

I wasn’t taught to cook when I was growing up, so I’m not ashamed of the first meal I ever really cooked. But, I’ve come a long way (and I still have a longer way to go) in making fresh meals from whole foods.

Green beans are a food I’ve always loved. They are in abundance at the farmers market right now (I can’t seem to get them to grow in my own garden). I’ve found five recipes to use up the abundance.

Honey Orange Green Beans – Grab a jar of local honey at the farmers market when you buy your green beans and make this side dish that also includes garlic, tomato and a few kitchen staples.

Grilled Green Bean and Eggplant Salad – The grilled vegetables go on top of a green salad. You’ll probably need a grilling basket to be able to grill the green beans even though the recipe doesn’t mention it.

Great Greek Green Beans – Tomatoes, olives, and other Mediterranean flavors are mixed with feta cheese. The recipe calls for frozen beans, but go ahead and use fresh beans.

Green Beans with Potatoes and Garlic – Exactly like it sounds green beans, waxy potatoes and garlic are sautéed in with an optional hard boiled egg topping.

Best Ever Green Bean Casserole – For those that love the traditional green bean casserole but want to make it better and healthier, Alton Brown has created a recipe that doesn’t contain a can of beans, soup or fried onions.

Robin Shreeves ( @rshreeves ) focuses on food from a family perspective from her home base in New Jersey.

5 recipes for green beans
Forget mushroom soup and canned fried onions. There are much better recipes for green beans.