It’s funny what your subconscious decides to attach memories to… or for that matter, how or why it decides that particular events in your past need remembering. I’m not talking about monumental events, I’m talking about bizarre, crappy little happenings in your life – a fleeting moment that really has no bearing or influence on future events. I keep thinking that one day I’ll wake up and all that random brain flotsam will coalesce, finally giving me the answers to some great truth.
Panama City was our “summer vacation town”. When we were all toddlers, we’d rent a cottage on the beach, play in the sand all day and go out to eat at night. I had one of those swanky Captain Anderson’s skipper caps with the patent leather bills even….. I wore it for years. So, when my aunt moved there, Panama City became our anytime of the year vacation destination. We’d visit during the summer, of course.. but then there were the odd Halloween visits, and in particular… a Christmas visit.
Which to someone used to seasons – was odd.
This is where the random event thing comes in –
Whenever think about Christmas, I have this…
… running through my head.
An 80 degree Christmas is one thing, going for walks after a dinner of her famous ground beef casserole in shorts and flip flops to look at the lights – is another… but a family in the neighborhood had decorated their entire house in bright blue lights and the yard (including the palm trees) was awash in silver tinsel, and that song was blaring from loud speakers mounted on the roof. Evening listening to it now, I can close my eyes and still see the house perfectly.
Joyce’s ground beef casserole is something we had a lot growing up. Think of it more as a simple moussaka – it’s easy dish that would take care of a hungry crowd at the table.
Joyce’s Ground Beef Casserole
1 Pound Ground Beef (Chuck)
2 Cups Elbow Macaroni – Cooked
1 Cup Grated Mozzarella Cheese
1 14 oz. Can Stewed Tomatoes
1 Cup Mushrooms – Chopped
1/4 Cup Black Olives – Drained and Chopped
4 Tablespoons Butter
4 Tablespoons Flour
2 Cups Milk
1/4 Teaspoon Nutmeg
2 Quart Casserole Dish
Medium Saute Pan
Medium Sauce Pan
- Preheat oven to 350
- Cook the macaroni as per instructions on the box
- Make the White Sauce:
- Melt the butter in the sauce pan over medium heat
- Add the flour and stir until lightly bubbling
- Add the milk and nutmeg, and stir until thickened – about 5 minutes
- Remove and set aside
- Brown the ground beef in the saute pan – drain and set aside
- Saute the mushrooms – set aside
- begin layering ground beef, pasta, tomatoes, mushrooms and olives – at least 3 layers each
- pour the prepared white sauce on top and bake for30 minutes at 350