Green Beans and Mushroom Casserole _lowres

Advocate staff photo by PATRICK DENNIS -- Slow-cooked Green Bean and Mushroom Casserole is a variation of the popular holiday dish.

Vegetables can be simple or they can be dressed up a bit. Both have their advantages, but most often it boils down to personal preference. Are you a veggie purist or do you prefer that more flavors surround your favorite vegetable?

Perhaps it depends on the vegetable. The popular green bean casserole that many serve during their holiday meals is one of my favorites.

Whether it’s a comfort food from days gone by or the taste itself, I couldn’t tell you, but it’s one I enjoy changing up every now and then, even during nonholiday dinners.

Since I am now part of the generation cooking for two, rather than growing children, the freezer is important.

Many leftovers are frozen in portion-sized containers and labeled for another day. There may be several slices of leftover brisket, a few pieces of cooked chicken and, yes, vegetable casseroles.

So, take a few minutes to enjoy a veggie, dressed or plain.

Julie Kay is a columnist for The Advocate. She can be reached at