Green Beans and Casserole

Ah, the weather is getting colder, and my cooking is quickly meeting the bill.  I was inspired by a post on I Eat Food, mostly because it had veggie dogs in it.  I don't know why, but I had a yen to make something with those.  They're so cute!  Although, I was thinking as I cut the weiners up, the real things are gross.  I'm sure you know all the random parts that end up in what seems to be a staple in the American diet.  Just the other day I saw some of my friends eating them at lunch, because the cafeteria was serving hot dogs.  And I thought schools were supposed to be converting to healthier food.  Go figure.  What I think would be really neat is if the cafeteria served vegetarian food once a week.  Although that would probably cause more than a few complaints.
The green beans were rather a random choice to make that night- partly because there was pretty much nothing else to eat with the casserole, and partly because they taste really good...  It's a staple recipe at my house, and one of the few with oil in it.  So easy, too.  I normally use regular green beans, but long beans were what was on hand today, so that's what I used. 
And the casserole- yum!  It was incredibly filling, and so easy, not to mention quite fun, to throw together.  I put it in the oven in under half an hour, and that's saying something.  I loved the slightly smoky flavour, and it only got better as I ate more.  Most certainly something that's made for winter, and a healthy comfort food.  Just a side note- the type of veggie dog makes all the difference.  Mine were nice and firm, and packed with flavour.

Hot Dog, Pasta, and Bean Casserole
Adapted from I Eat Food
Serves 6
1 1/2 cups whole wheat shell pasta
1/3 cup parmesan cheese, grated
3 vegan hot dogs, sliced into coins and then halved
1 large onion, chopped
1 red bell pepper, chopped
1-2 tsp chili paste
14 oz crushed tomatoes
¼ cup ketchup
Generous ½ cup beans (I used great northern and pink)
1 tsp liquid smoke
2 tbsp molasses
¼ cup brown sugar

Preheat the oven to 375 convection. Cook the pasta until al dente, drain, and set aside.
Saute the onions and bell pepper for about 7 minutes, until tender.
Combine all ingredients except cheese in a casserole dish. Bake for 45 minutes, removing 10 minutes before done to top with cheese.

Japanese Sesame Green Beans
Serves 4
1 tablespoon canola or peanut oil

1/2 tbsp sesame oil
1 pound fresh green beans or long beans, trimmed
1 tablespoon soy sauce
Splash of balsamic vinegar
1 tablespoon toasted sesame seeds (baked at 350 for 3 minutes or so)

Heat a wok over medium-high heat.  Add the oils.  When those are hot add the beans.  Saute for 10 minutes.  Add the soy sauce and vinegar, cover, and cook for 5 minutes.  Remove from heat, stir in sesame seeds, and serve.

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