Dinner Bell: Sondra South, Caraway

Wednesday, May 7, 2003

Sondra South of Caraway and her husband, Joe, moved back to Caraway in 1999 after being away for 35 years. Both are natives of the Caraway area and their roots go deep in the cotton country.

She is the daughter of the late William and Lola "Bill" Adams and he is the son of the late J.A. and Pearl South.

"Like most people that were raised in the area, I pulled a cotton sack and chopped a little cotton growing up," Mrs. South said. "We had split term school and family farms."

Mrs. South's grandfather, C.W. "Code" Adams, helped clear the land for farming in the early days of Caraway.

Mrs. South said in those days there were no jobs in the area other than farm related and most young people had to leave the area to work. After graduation she left Arkansas and moved to California to work. Mr. South, who she had gone to school with for 12 years, also decided to move to California and get a job. She was staying with family friends and he was staying with his brother in a neighboring town.

The couple had never dated in school but through mutual friends in California, they began dating and married while in California. They lived in California for a few years before coming back to Caraway where Mr. South went to work for David Sales and Service. They bought the first house built in the Jennings Subdivision of Caraway. Their children, Barry Joe, and Robyn, were born while they were living in Caraway.

Mr. South got a job at Gould near Pine Bluff and they lived there for two years before moving to Southhaven, Miss., where they spent the next 33 years.

Mrs. South worked in a finance office as a secretary for 23 years. Mr. South worked for Sears for 35 years before retiring. He served as service manager and customer relations and when a service department was built in Southhaven he served as manager of that department.

Caraway was always where they called home and they are happy to be back. Mrs. South said things have changed a little through the years.

"We had a few more stores years ago. We had two restaurants, two drug stores, a hardware store, Mann's Variety Store that we called the five and dime and others. There may be fewer stores, but there are more job opportunities now. It is a lot easier to get to Blytheville or Jonesboro than it was years ago."

Mr. South is now serving his first term as mayor of Caraway.

"He is really enjoying serving the city of Caraway. He looks forward to going to the office every day, taking care of the city business and working with the people in Caraway," she said. "Joe is concerned about what people want done and has a lot of things going right now."

The South's are members of the First Baptist Church in Caraway.

They have five grandsons and look forward to their visits. Barry has three sons, 11, 9 and 6. They live in Southhaven. Robyn has two sons, 11 and 9. They live in Toledo, Ohio.

She calls herself a "little of this and a little of that" cook but is sharing some of her tried and true recipes.

"One of my favorite recipes comes from the Lord: "Whither therefore ye eat, or drink, or whatsoever ye do, do all to the glory of God." I Cor. 10:31.

Peanut Butter Pie

1 pkg. (3-4 oz.) cream cheese, softened

cup peanut butter

1 cup confectioner's sugar

cup milk

1 carton (8 oz.) frozen whipped topping, thawed

1 chocolate crumb crust (9 inches)

Carmel ice cream sauce

cup chopped peanuts (optional)

In a mixing bowl, cream cheese until fluffy. Mix in peanut butter and sugar. Gradually add milk. Mix well. Fold in whipped topping. Spoon into crust. Refrigerate overnight. Garnish with caramel ice cream sauce drizzled on top and peanuts if desired.

Butterfinger Cake

1 pkg. Yellow (butter flavor) cake mix

1 can Eagle Brand Condensed Milk

6 oz. Carmel ice cream topping

1 carton Cool Whip

3 king size Butterfinger bars

Bake cake according to box directions in 9x13" pan. Let cool. Punch holes in cake with handle of small wooden spoon. Mix Condensed milk with ice cream caramel topping and pour over cake. Allow to soak in.

Crush candy bars. Crumble approximately two bars over cake. Cover with softened Cool Whip and sprinkle remaining candy bar crumbs on top. Refrigerate.

Ice Cream Frosty's

1 bowl Cool Whip

1 gallon chocolate milk

1 can Eagle Brand Milk

Mix Cool Whip and Eagle Brand Milk together. Add chocolate milk up to full line in manual or electric ice cream freezer. Freeze and eat.

(Taste like Wendy's.)

Frozen Salad

12 oz. Cool Whip

1 can Eagle Brand Milk

1 can cherry pie filling

l large can crushed pineapple

nuts if desired

Mix together and freeze. To serve, let thaw about five to 10 minutes and slice off what you need.

Cake Mix Cookies

1 box cake mix (any kind or flavor)

2 eggs

cup oil

to cup water

Optional: nuts, coconut, raisins, M&M's, cup peanut butter, chocolate chips, Heath chips, white chocolate chips.

Mix dry cake mix, eggs and oil. Add chips, nuts, etc. (anything you like). Drop by heaping teaspoons or tablespoons on Teflon, ungreased, cookie sheet. Bake at 350 degrees seven to 10 minutes.

(Will not look done, but these will overcook fast.) If using tablespoon, cook 10-14 minutes. If using teaspoon cook 8-10 minutes.

Stuffed Shells

package (6 oz. Or approximately 18 shells) Jumbo pasta shells

Cook according to package directions. Drain, do not overcook.

Heat oven to 350 degrees.

Spray 13x9x2 inch glass baking dish with non-stick cooking spray.

1 Jar (27 oz.) Lasagna or Marinara Sauce

1 egg

1 (15 oz.) container Ricotta cheese

cup (3 oz.) grated Parmesan Cheese, divide

2 cups (8 oz.) shredded Mozzarella Cheese (divided)

2 Tbsp. Fresh chopped parsley or (1-1/2 tsp. dried)

2 cups cooked, drained, ground beef or boiled chicken breast, cut up, seasoned with salt and pepper.

In large bowl, beat egg. Stir in Ricotta, 1-3/4 cup Mozzarella, cup parmesan, parsley and meat mixture.

Spread one cup sauce in baking dish.

Fill cooked shells with Ricotta mixture. Arrange filled shells in baking dish. Pour remaining sauce over shells and top with remaining cheeses.

Bake covered with foil, about 45 minutes. Uncover and continue cooking about five minutes. Let stand five minutes.

Makes six, three shell servings.

Burrito Wraps

1 packet (1 oz.) Hidden Valley original Ranch Dressing Mix.

2 cups shredded, cooked chicken breasts

1 cup sour cream

cup salsa

1 package Kraft Shredded Mexican Cheese

4-6 (10-inch) flour tortillas, warmed

Optional fillings: black beans, lettuce, cabbage, red pepper strips.

Combine dressing mix, chicken, sour cream and salsa in saucepan. Heat thoroughly. Fill tortillas with chicken mixture and desired fillings. Wrap.

Maxes 4-6 servings.

*Left over ham or cooked drained ground beef can be used.

Chicken White Chili

2-3 chicken breast, boiled, chopped or cubed to equal 1-1/2 to 2 cups. Salt and pepper to taste.

1 medium onion, chopped

3 Tbsp. Olive soil

1 tsp. ground cumin

2 cans Navy beans

1 (14 oz.) can green chilies, drained

3-4 Tbsp. heaping, flour

1 (14-1/2 oz.) can chicken broth

Plain Dorito chips

Optional: Shredded Montery Jack Cheese, Salsa, Sour Cream

In large pan, cook onion in oil until transparent. Add chilies, flour and cumin. Cook and stir two minutes. Add beans and chicken broth, bring to a boil. Reduce heat; simmer until thickened. Add chicken, heat until hot. Garnish with cheese, salsa or sour cream if desired. Serve with plain Dorito chips.

(I use left over broth along with canned broth and use cornstarch to thicken, if needed). This taste's like Ruby Tuesday's.

Red Beans and Rice

1 pound smoked sausage

2 (16 oz.) cans red beans

1 (10 oz.) can Rotel

1 (10-3/4 oz.) can cream of mushroom soup

tsp. Creole seasoning

4 to 4 cups cooked instant white rice

Brown sausage until heated through. Add beans, Rotel, soup and seasoning. Heat thoroughly. Then add cooked rice and heat again if necessary.

Cabbage Casserole

1 medium head cabbage, sliced

1 cup cheddar cheese, grated

1 cup buttered cracker crumbs

1 can cream chicken soup

1 soup can milk

Grease a 1-1/2 quart casserole dish 13x9x2. Cook cabbage in small amount of water, covered, for 10 minutes. Drain thoroughly. Mix cabbage, cheese, cream of chicken soup and the milk. Spread in casserole dish. Top with buttered crumbs. Bake 30 minutes uncovered at 350 degrees.

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