Shrimp Dip

This is a Smith family favorite!  Every holiday at my Chris’ parents’ home, his sister Angela will begin making this.  And we will all hover around her like vultures waiting for it to be finished. So usually the refrigerate for 2 hours part does not happen…it’s just that good.

1 bar cream cheese
1 large carton sour cream
1 pkg. Good Season’s Italian dressing (dry)
2 (4 1/2 oz.) cans shrimp
2 t. lemon juice
1 can cream of shrimp soup

Thoroughly blend cream cheese, sour cream, lemon juice and dressing mix with a blender. With a spoon, mix in soup and shrimp. Refrigerate for 2 hours before serving. Great with Wheat Thins or Triscuit crackers (fire-roasted tomato are our favorite!).

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I still remember the day 20 years ago in a small town called Spring, Texas, where my friend Lisa and a couple of us wanted to learn to make a special meal for our friends back at University of Texas.  I can still see the red- checked cover of the Better Homes and Gardens Cookbook.  We opened the pages and decided to learn how to make lasagna.  I remember the smell of the garlic and mushrooms sautéing in the oil.  I can remember the length of time it took to make and the exquisite taste.  This is a recipe that I have used countless times over the years–my go-to meal for taking to a friend when they have had a baby or come from the hospital or lost a loved one.  This is just plain good!

1 box lasagna noodles
2 lbs. ground chuck
1 t. salt
1/4 t. pepper
1 regular-sized carton mushrooms, sliced
1 medium Vidalia onion, minced
4 cloves of garlic (remember, a clove is a section of a pod), minced
3 T. butter
3 cans fire-roasted tomatoes (purée 2 of them)
1/4 c. sugar
2 t. Italian seasoning (or 1/2 t. each of oregano, basil, marjoram, thyme and 1/4 t. rosemary)
1/2 c. white cooking wine
2 T. ketchup
1 bar cream cheese
1 small carton small-curd cottage cheese
16 oz. mozzarella, medium grate
8 oz Parmesan, finely grated

Brown beef on medium heat in a large frying pan with the lid on. Sprinkle with salt and pepper. Crumble into small pieces.

In a separate small frying pan, melt butter. Sauté mushrooms, onions and garlic for about 5 minutes on medium heat.

In a large stock pot, add tomatoes (note that two are puréed), browned and crumbled meat, sautéed veggies and Italian seasonings. Cook on medium heat until hot and bubbly. Add sugar, ketchup and white cooking wine. Reduce heat to low and cook for 20 minutes more.

In a large stock pot, cook lasagna noodles according to package directions (can do while browning the meat and lay the cooked noodles separately from one another on a plate to cool, while using the same pot rinsed out to do the sauce afterwards).

Blend with a hand blender or mixer the cream cheese and cottage cheese until completely smooth.

Now layer in a 13 X 9 inch, greased (Pam is fine) baking dish:
4 noodles across the bottom
Sprinkle a bit (1/4 cup) of mozzarella and a bit (3 T.) of Parmesan cheese
Evenly spread 1 1/2 c. meat sauce
Then spread 3/4 c. cream cheese mixture over that
And sprinkle a bit of mozzarella and Parmesan cheeses.

Depending upon the depth of your baking pan, layer it at least one more time, but can layer it two more times. Top with 4 noodles, mozzarella and Parmesan cheeses

Bake at 350 degrees for 25 minutes. Serve in squares.

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Razzle Dazzle Pie

This is the perfect pie for fall–bringing a bit of fresh summer flavor into the cool crisp air.  We love this pie in our home!

3 c. each blackberries and raspberries (if using fresh berries or
1 bag each frozen berries (do not thaw)
3 T. flour
1/3 c. sugar
2 pre-made pie crusts (Pillsbury or your own 2 -9 inch)

Mix up the berries, add flour, and sugar and mix.
Pour into pie crust. Cut slits in pie crust & gently lay top crust on
Trim off excess with knife or kitchen shears. Pinch the seams &
Brush edges of pie crust with water.
Sprinkle water on top crust and sprinkle with sugar.
Bake at 375 degrees for approx. 45 min.
(Put foil on oven bottom for spills)

Serve with your favorite home-made vanilla ice cream! or store bought is good too! From Louise Denton in the Siesta Fiesta Cookbook.

Grocery List
pre-made pie crust

Approximate Cost: $6.75

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Tortilla Soup

This is a fall/winter staple in our home.  Everyone loves it and they can add the toppings they want, which is great for the motley and assorted taste buds in a family of six.

4 chicken breast halves
1 clove garlic, minced (about 1/2 t.)
2 T. minced onion
2 T. butter
30 oz. chicken broth
2 14 1/2 oz cans chopped stewed tomatoes
1 c. of your favorite salsa
1/2 c. cilantro
1 T. ground cumin
8 oz Monterrey jack, shredded

Toppings (optional): Sour cream, sharp cheddar, tortilla chips, jalapenos

Boil Chicken in a large stock pot with about 10 c. water. Season to taste (salt, pepper, basil, onions, garlic). Save broth. Cube chicken. In another small pan, melt butter. Saute minced garlic and onion. In a crock pot on low, mix together broth, tomatoes, sauteed garlic and onion, cubed chicken, salsa, cilantro, and cumin. Cook on low for about 6 hours. Divide cheese on the bottom of 6 bowls, layer tortilla chips, soup, extra cheddar, sour cream, and jalapenos (if you’d like). So very good and hearty!

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Fergie’s Potato Soup

This is our favorite fall soup in the Smith home.  Make some homemade bread and serve it up in a big bowl!

6 slices of uncooked bacon, diced
1 medium yellow onion diced
1 1/2 c. diced celery (hearts and leaves are best)
1/2 lb. carrots sliced
[Sauté above in stock pot for 10 minutes]

3 qts. hot water
3 T. chicken base or 2 cans chicken broth or 6 chicken bouillon cubes
3-4 c. diced raw potatoes
[Add to above and simmer over med-low heat until all veggies are tender]

2 cans evaporated milk
Roux (see recipe below)
[Add to above when veggies are tender]

1 lb. cubed Velveeta (makes a salty soup) or cheddar (melt very slowly) or American (smooth and rich)
1 teaspoon cracked pepper
[Add and cook on low until soup is thickened and cheese is melted]

Roux: Melt 1 stick butter completely and stir in 1/2 c. flour in melted butter on low for 1 minute

From our friends the Ferguson’s mom, Mrs. Ferguson. As for any recipe, you may find that you alter this. I have by cooking the bacon pretty crispy before sautéing the vegetables (Chris doesn’t like wiggly bacon). Also, I use 2 quarts of water instead of three (Chris doesn’t like his soup too runny). Are you seeing a trend here? Maybe Chris is a bit picky???? Ha Ha!

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