Thursday, March 12, 2015


I woke up wide-eyed and bushy-tailed at 3:00 a.m. (damn Daylight Saving!) Certainly not the first time, but this time was different. I woke up in the middle of a nice dream. I dreamed I was six or seven and walking down the rows of sweet corn out in the kitchen garden on the farm on 24-Mile Road. I was happily choosing the best corn (I knew how, even back then) and looking forward to dinner when, suddenly, I was awake in Redford. And, I never fell back asleep again...


Sidebar: My Mother often told me about similar experiences, where she was someplace in her dreams and then, awakening, she was confused and didn’t know where she really was. I guess I’m getting old…

Be that as it may, I had a serious hankering for corn on the cob!

I managed to stay awake until lunch. I just went to Time Out and got a bowl of beef noodle soup and a cheeseburger. Then I went to Larry’s Foodland and picked up some items for tonight’s dinner (celery, tomato sauce, etc.) BUT, they did not have the pasta I needed!

Sidebar: Well, it was ditalini pasta and this was Larry’s after all…

I tried to reset the clock in the truck, using the Owner’s Guide directions, but it didn’t work! I’ll have to ask Vicky (she did it the last time).

I had a meeting from 2-3:00 p.m. which help keep me awake in the afternoon. I walked outside again and that was refreshing! But, the last thing I did before leaving work was to have a cup of coffee.

Instead of going straight home, I stopped at Westborn for that pasta. I also grabbed some grated Parmesan while I was at it. So, I got home 10 minutes late.

When I got home, I fixed the fluorescent lights over the washer/dryer. I changed clothes and then I started the Wednesday night wash.

Next, I started prepping for my supper. I diced up one cup of carrots, one cup of celery and 3/4 cup of yellow onion. I also minced two cloves of garlic (the recipe calls for one, but I like garlic!)

Then I added a tablespoon of olive oil to the Dutch oven and started browning a pound of ground chuck.

Note: You can also use mild Italian sausage, but I had thawed out ground chuck, so I was going with that.

Oh, in case you were wondering, I was making Pasta e Fagioli soup.

I took the ground chuck out with a slotted spoon (I don’t need all that fat, but you can use it if you want). I dumped the fat, wiped out the Dutch oven with paper towels and added another tablespoon of olive oil.

Sidebar: You might have noticed I was not saying “Extra Virgin Olive Oil.” I love EVOO, but I only use it for dressing things. Regular, plain olive oil has a higher smoke point and is better for cooking.

So, with the Dutch oven back on medium-high heat, I added in the carrots, celery and onions. I sautéed them until tender (maybe five minutes). Then I added the garlic and sautéed that for another minute or so.

Then I turned the heat to low. I added three (8 ounce) cans of tomato sauce, a box (four cups) of beef stock, one cup of water, one (15 ounce) can of diced tomatoes (undrained) and then:

  •    One tablespoon granulated sugar
  •    1 1/2 teaspoons of dried basil
  •    One teaspoon dried oregano
  •    3/4 teaspoon dried thyme
  •    1/2 dried marjoram
  •    Salt and fresh-ground pepper to taste (I went light on the salt, heavy on the pepper)

I added back in the cooked beef, covered it with a lid and let is simmer another 30 minutes or so, until the veggies were soft.

Meanwhile I cooked a scant one cup of the ditalini pasta according to the package directions, cooking to al dente.

When the veggies were soft, I added in the cooked pasta, one (15 ounce) can of dark red kidney beans (drained and rinsed) and one (15 ounce) can of Great Northern beans (drained and rinsed) and enough extra beef broth (in my case, about a cup) to thin the soup. I let that cook another five minutes and then plated.

Although the recipe said to top it with grated Romano cheese, I used Parmesan.

It was excellent! Some serious good eats.

I let it cool down, before sticking the rest in the fridge.

Sidebar: The longer it sits, the more the pasta absorbs the liquid. So, be prepared to add more beef broth or water to thin the leftover soup.

I watched some old episodes of “Sherlock” on the BBC channel until about 9:30 p.m., then I crashed.


  1. Dinner looks excellent. I haven't had that in a long time. I will add it to my recipe box for next winter.

  2. First time for me. It was perfect!