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Lima Bean Milano Casserole

February 8, 2011

So, since I’m working less, we’ve been on a more strict food budget. Now I’m not complaining–sometimes one can discover new things when stricter parameters are set. And tonight, I discovered a new thing.

First, a little background. I remember eating a lot of vegetable beef soup when I was a little girl. I don’t remember particularly liking or disliking the soup–it was a an often-served entree and there was always bread, so I ate it. But what I didn’t like were lima beans in the soup. I’d eat those, too (complaining was an action with consequences in my family of origin), but I did not enjoy it. And I remember one particular opportunity I had to bring canned goods from home to a school food drive. Mom said, “Choose something from the cupboard” and lo and behold there was a can of lima beans. I must have thought something like, “Great! Now I can be generous and not have to eat lima beans at the same time.” And I gave those lima beans away. Ha! Tricky me!

Well, a play that featured lima beans closed this past weekend at Calvin College and the leftover canned lima beans were with my Jello molds (I made the food props), so I brought them home and tonight I cooked with them. I suppose I could have given away to a food pantry, but college students cleaned up the food props and I’m guessing that if they had wanted the canned lima beans they would have taken them. They didn’t.

Until tonight, I had never opened a can of lima beans in my life. But let me tell you–what I made wasn’t bad at all and definitely better than I remember. I was recently gifted a cookbook series that had been my Grandmama’s (I wrote about them on this post here.) and in the Vegetable book there are probably 15 recipes for lima beans. Tonight I made one called “Milano Casserole” (supposedly named after the Italian city) that featured lima beans and Italian ingredients.

I, the self-described lima-bean disliker, liked it.

Justin like it.

Evelyn liked it.

It has passed our household test.

Let me know if it passes yours!

Milano Casserole

1 15 oz. can lima beans or 2 C. frozen or dried/cooked lima beans

1 small can (8 oz. or 1 C.) tomato sauce (I use the pizza sauce recipe from Simply in Season that is posted here. I make this sauce in the summer and can it. Bookmark that recipe; it’s good stuff.)

1/2 c. grated Parmesan cheese

3/4 C. chopped black olives (I used kalamata olives.)

1/2 C. chopped sweet pepper (red or green–I used frozen chopped red pepper.)

salt and pepper

Combine all ingredients reserving a small amount of cheese for topping. Pour into a small casserole dish. Sprinkle with the remaining cheese. Bake at 350 for 30-40 minutes. Serves 4.

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