The Flavors Of Home: Traditional Chicagoland Thanksgiving Dishes

shschicagometro 15 Nov 2021


Often referred to as the best meal of the year, Thanksgiving dinner serves up a sweet and savory spectrum of tastes. Talk about the holiday with our Seniors Helping Seniors® caregivers, and you’ll likely hear stories of family gatherings, friendly visits – and yes, glorious tablescapes of food!

So, we decided to dig into some of our favorite flavors of Turkey Day, specifically those nostalgic recipes so dear to us here in Chicago. Let’s get eating!


Green Bean Casserole

Does any Thanksgiving dish have a higher approval rating than casseroles? A melting pot of goodness, casseroles mix simple ingredients to create a delicious side. Our favorite? That of the green bean variety!

Chicago has been plating up this rich side since the ‘30s. However, the green bean casserole really gained popularity in 1955 when Campbell’s Soup introduced a recipe for this modern Thanksgiving staple. The nice thing about this delicious take on veggies? It can literally be thrown together and placed in the oven almost as an afterthought, though no one sees it that way once it hits the table!

What you’ll need:

  • 1 lb. of fresh green beans
  • 3/4 stick of butter
  • 1 yellow onion, sliced into fourths
  • 8 oz. of sliced baby bella mushrooms
  • 1 tbsp. of minced garlic
  • 1/4 cup of all-purpose flour
  • 3 cups of whole milk
  • 1 1/2 cup of French’s fried onions
  • Kosher salt
  • Ground black pepper
  1. Preheat oven to 350°. Heat water in a pot and boil green beans until bright green, about 6 minutes. Transfer green beans to ice bath to cool, then drain and place in a large bowl.
  2. In a skillet over medium heat, melt 2 tablespoons of butter. Sautee onions until tender. Add mushrooms and season with salt and pepper. Cook until mushrooms are golden, stirring in minced garlic, and cook until fragrant then mix into the bowl with green beans.
  3. In the same skillet over medium heat, melt the rest of the butter. Whisk in flour, cooking for about 2 minutes while gradually whisking in milk. Bring to a simmer and cook until mixture is thickened about 4 minutes. Remove from heat and add green bean mixture, tossing until evenly combined.
  4. Place mixture into a casserole dish, cover with foil and bake for about 30 minutes until warmed through and bubbling.
  5. Top with fried onions and bake, uncovered, for 5 more minutes. Plate up and enjoy!


Jell-O has made its way as a common ingredient into many Chicago Thanksgiving treats. However, it’s probably best known for its use in whipped salads! There are all types of flavorful versions to this sweet concoction, but the basic recipe calls for whipped cream, fruit (like maraschino cherries), and of course Jell-O. Depending on the home, this must-have dish can be served up with the main meal’s savory sides, or it can wind up on the dessert table for a lighter option!

Family Makes Everything Taste Better

Traditions play a huge role in our holiday routines, and food enhances those special days. Regardless of what’s on the table at Thanksgiving, the main course is always better when shared with loved ones.

At Seniors Helping Seniors® in-home care service, we value our care receivers and the moments they create with family during the holiday season. If you or a loved one need help in the home this holiday season, call or text us at 312-526-3666. Information on our services can be found here:

We wish you a Happy Thanksgiving and hope the day fulfills you with spectacular dishes, memories, and companionship! 

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