Writing My Life

Now and Then


Bean Soup for the ????

I’ve been thinking more upon food – don’t know why it’s been so much on my mind the past couple of days. Last evening when I couldn’t get onto the Internet, I created an entry about making bean soup but other food ideas stood in the way. I still think it’s a fun essay, so here it ’tis. (Well, it will be posted soon. My cute grand-daughter needs her sleep, so I’m kicked out of the computer/bedroom AGAIN! Everyday blogging ain’t easy!)

One Tuesday, I hurried home to fix dinner for hubby for the second night in a row! Feeling just a bit guiltyabout how rarely I prepare meals, I committed to cook more than once or twice a week. Furthermore, I promised myself that I would whip up something a little more nourishing than grated cheese with salsa over tortillas – a staple around our house. In spite of good intentions, however, I stumbled over the same block – I had NO clue what to fix!

I realize this problem is related to my organization-impaired personality. I so rarely plan menus that I can’t remember the last time I pulled out the cook books, listed meal ideas, and then created a grocery list. Instead, my modus operandi is to search the cupboards and fridge for inspiration. Believe me there is little in my kitchen that ignites imagination.

Once in a while, I notice an ingredient here or there that makes me think, “Perhaps . . . .“ Unfortunately, a quick check in the crisper drawer or the pantry destroys the moment. Not enough a major ingredient moves me onto plan B.

Now plan B usually means substituting an item in my cupboard for the one listed in the recipe – IF I’m following a recipe. Substituting ingredients is a dangerous decision that rarely works for me. One of my worst concoctions was root beer frosting – I subbed root beer flavoring, the sort used to make homemade root beer, for vanilla. Because the final color was a yukky brown, I threw in some blue food coloring. The poor cake looked TERRIBLE and TASTED worse! But that was then . . .

That particular Tuesday night, things went a bit better. After toying with the idea of making gourmet potatoes, a real UNfavorite of Hubby’s, I decided upon potato soup. I dusted off a couple of cook books to find a recipe, but all required too many ingredients that I’d have to substitute. But I didn’t give up! I turned to the Internet to Google “quick and easy soups.” A couple of clicks later, just a few more minutes of indecision, and I decided upon Quick and Easy Bean Soup – I’d only have to substitute 3 ingredients. YaY!

As a kid, I always loved my mom’s Navy Bean Soup! As a married woman, I tried to recreate her masterpiece, but the soup was one of her many non-recipe dishes. Mom would throw together this and that, add salt, and YUM, a great meal! To recreate a non-recipe is very hard, especially for a non-cook.

When I looked over the quick and easy bean soup recipe, I didn’t anticipate that it would taste anything like Mom’s. I was just happy that I had 4 of the 7 ingredients! Well, I threw it all together, and it turned out GREAT! But what was even more rewarding is that it tasted like a chunkier versions of Mom’s!

Here is the recipe I found from Cooks.com. My substitutes are in parentheses.

2 cans Campbell’s Bean and Bacon soup (I was afraid this ingredient would rob the soup of its homemade taste, but it did NOT!)
2 cans pinto beans (subbed 1 big, fat can of red kidney beans)
2 cans great Northern beans (subbed 2 cans of small white beans)
1 pound link sausage [beef or pork] sliced (subbed 1 medium slice of left over ham, diced; 1 4 oz. package of Canadian ham, diced; 1/3 pkg. of thin sliced gourmet ham for sandwiches, diced – that’s all that was left.)
1 medium onion, chopped
2 cloves garlic, minced (1/2 t. garlic powder)
1 tbsp. olive oil

Sauté onion, garlic and sausage in olive oil. Add soup, beans, and 2 soup cans water. Simmer 45 minutes, stirring occasionally to keep from sticking. Good with Corn Bread. (I did serve soup with corn bread made from Marie Calendar’s packaged mix, and I didn’t have to sub ANYTHING because all it calls for is WATER!)

I have no idea what the original recipe would taste like, but I am GRATEFUL that MC Woodard submitted it to Cook.com!