This Week in Food Blogs: Homemade Green Bean Casserole and Pecan Pie Rugelach

Smitten Kitchen: Everyone has their opinion about casseroles, and the green bean varietyis one that evokes strong opinions -- you either love it or hate it. But, for those who don't enjoy the casserole made from canned ingredients and fake fried onions, try this recipe from Smitten Kitchen, which uses all fresh ingredients (and the crispy onions are made from actual onions). You'll definitely impress everyone at Thanksgiving with this homemade rendition of a classic side dish. It's also made in a cast-iron skillet, which makes it that much better.

Hank On Food: Here's another place to grab an excellent gourmet burger and shake. Hank checked out Grub Burger Bar in CityCentre and indulged in the Lockhart Legend Burger, complete with an Angus beef patty, applewood-smoked bacon, Cheddar cheese, Dr Pepper BBQ sauce, two Shiner Bock-battered onion rings and dill pickles. He paired it with fries, onion rings and the November milkshake, the Twisted Butterscotch Shake, made with butterscotch and crushed pretzel twists. While the burger and onion rings both received an A on his report card, the milkshake came out victorious with an A+.

Adventures in a New(ish) City: Kim Ogonosky checked out RDG + Bar Annie this week during Happy Hour and fell in love with just about everything during her visit, including the free self-parking behind the restaurant. The BBQ Brisket Taquitos and Lime & Black Pepper Potato Chips with Smoked Cheddar Bacon Dip stole her heart, as did the Fried Chicken Mignottes with a blue cheese dipping sauce.

Blue Jean Gourmet: Thanksgiving and the first full day of Hanukkah are on the same day this year. Blue Jean Gourmet has a delicious recipe for those merging the two holidays -- pecan pie rugelach. A traditional rugelach has cream cheese and dried fruit, but this rendition has a pecan pie filling. Enjoy the best of both holidays with a Thanksgivingukkah treat.

H-Town Chow Down: Chicken fried steak is one of my absolute favorite foods, so when I saw that H-Town Chow Down visited a new restaurant serving the dish I just had to read the review. Texas Beer Garden, located north of The Woodlands, serves a hand-breaded chicken fried steak smothered in white gravy. While the gravy was under-seasoned, H-Town Chow Down sees potential for it to be an outstanding dish. Texas Beer Garden also serves BBQ (the pulled pork is sweet, smoky and rich) as well as burgers and sandwiches.

The Leader: This week, The Leader Eater checked out El Rey Taqueria on Shepherd and chose the Cuban tacos as the favorite item. The tacos are filled with beef or chicken and stewed plantains, adding a Caribbean twist to a classic taco; the fresh tortillas make the meal extra special, too. Topped with sour cream, these Cuban tacos are a can't-miss item. Even though El Rey has a drive-thru window, that doesn't mean it serves crappy fast food.

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