When you cook green beans this holiday season, will you open a can of condensed soup and let the beans bake for hours? Most people do. Baking vegetables over a long period of time reduces their nutrient value.

Plus, if you are trying to have a stress-free holiday cooking experience, you’re probably preparing the casserole a day in advance. That large casserole dish takes up a lot of room in your refrigerator. And, since it’s flat, there are usually items piled on top of it, further ruining its appeal.

There’s a better way to retain the nutrients when you cook green beans, save refrigerator space, and make it much easier on yourself come the big holiday meal.

Steaming is the best method to “par-cook” vegetables before preparing them in other ways. ManPans Cookware was kind enough to furnish a free set of pans for me to play with, and I especially like the steamer insert for their wok.

The steamer insert allows me to cook green beans until they’re slightly soft, but not completely done. I’ll “shock” the beans by submerging them in ice water, stopping the cooking immediately. These vegetables are now partially cooked, but retain more nutrition than baking them in a fatty sauce.

Since we’ve cooked such nice beans, it seems a shame to cover them with canned soup. I can call upon some basic cooking methods and create a roux to thicken simmering milk. The cold roux is added to the hot milk in small increments until the liquid thickens to the consistency I’d like.

Then, I can add cheddar cheese for Broccoli in Cheese Sauce, or add diced mushrooms and create my own quick white sauce with mushrooms that didn’t come from a can.

Combining my partially cooked green beans with the mushroom white sauce in a plastic zipper bag allows me to simply warm it up in boiling water when the holiday meal comes.

The best way to cook string beans, save refrigerator space, and give yourself time to actually enjoy your holiday meal this year is to consider steaming and shocking vegetables first.

Author's Bio: 

Chef Todd Mohr is a classically trained chef, entrepreneur, cooking educator and founder of WebCookingClasses. You CAN learn to cook without written recipes by taking his FREE cooking class that will change the way you think about cooking forever!