Cooking, Curry, Hospitality, Recipes, Sisters

Project S.T.I.R.

Although I’m not a Foodie, I’ve done lots of cooking for my family and occasionally share family recipes here. So when my Arkansas Women Blogger friend, Sarah Shotts, invited me to become an ambassador for Project S.T.I.R., I knew I could find one of Mother’s or Mo’s recipes worthy of sharing. 

Sarah’s on a mission to video cooks of one generation passing on a favorite family recipe to someone in the younger generation. Learn all about it at Project S.T.I.R. You may even want to become a supporter. I did.

My mother was a Foodie of sorts. Her first response to any upcoming occasion was what shall we serve? She loved to cook for people, so there was always room to scooch-in one more chair around our table. 

Mother with my sister-in-law, Martha, and
Terry’s brother, Jerry, way back when

She set a pretty table, using her best china and fresh flowers or berries from the yard. 

If you stopped by our house, Mother offered you something to drink, along with at least a cookie. Maybe that came from growing up on a farm when travelers often arrived hungry and in need of a drink of water.

Mother’s 3 older sisters–Mary, Dorothy & Betty
at Oak Dale Farm where they grew up

One of nine children and the youngest of four sisters, Mama was the one who stayed in Searcy.  Consequently, our home became the gathering place for her siblings and their offspring. 

Dorothy Dale & Betty Spencer

Dorothy and Betty were career women who lived in Washington D.C. Every summer, they came home for two weeks. 

Aunt Mary was a sweetheart.

Aunt Mary lived in Little Rock so it was easy for all four sisters to be together. 

When that happened, there was always food involved. And talk. Oh, my yes, lots of talk, cooking and laughter. They didn’t even seem to mind cleaning up. If sisters-in-law were present, they joined in the fun. I was there, too, basking in all the joyful doings.

Afterwards, someone would suggest a nap. They were big on naps.

Aunt Betty, the most adventurous cook, usually brought a new recipe to share. One year she made crepes, another bread pudding. But the dish that got the most mileage at our house was her Curried Spaghetti.

Mom & co-worker, Bev, enjoyed
a mutual admiration society.

Mother loved to cook up a big batch and invite her office crew in for lunch. She’d extend the dining table as far as it would go and set up card tables in the living room. My friend, Suanne, mentioned those gatherings just the other day.

In the late 1960s, curry was a bit exotic to our Arkansas branch of the family. But Mother completely embraced it and converted us. (I’m not sure it was ever Daddy’s favorite, but he never let on in front of company. He was well-trained like that.) 

 Curried Spaghetti, served with salad and
French bread, makes a great company dinner.

Curried Spaghetti serves 12, so it’s great for a dinner party or pot luck. Or you can opt for what I did and invite neighbors over for dinner one evening and a couple of friends in for lunch another day. 

Mother’s go-to dish was a hit with my guests. Everyone wanted the recipe. I thought I’d share it with you, too.

Curried Spaghetti
3 cans cream of chicken soup
2 cans cream of mushroom soup
1-cup milk
1-lb. thin spaghetti
4 tsp. curry powder, dissolved in ¼ cup warm water
½ tsp. thyme
¼ tsp. basil
¼ tsp. oregano
1 Tb. scraped onion
1 6-oz. can whole mushrooms with liquid
2 cans solid-packed tuna (I used Albacore)
Combine first three ingredients and simmer over low heat ten minutes, stirring constantly.
Add curry-water blend to soup mixture, along with mushrooms, onion, basil, oregano and thyme. Simmer 10 more minutes, stirring. 
Add tuna. (If tuna makes you shiver, substitute chicken.) 
Cook the spaghetti. 
Mix sauce and spaghetti together. Turn into a large casserole dish and reheat in the oven it just before serving.  Fix it a day or two ahead. The flavor just gets better.)

Serve with condiments such as pineapple bits, diced tomato, chopped hard-cooked eggs, diced green onions, bacon bits, peanuts, chutney, coconut, or raisins. 

I passed around peanuts, raisins, bacon bits, and coconut. I especially like the flavor of peanuts and raisins on it.

I had forgotten how tasty this dish is. If you make a batch and invite friends over, they may just want the recipe, too. Let me know how they liked it.

And don’t forget to visit Sarah at Project S.T.I.R. 
She gets up while it is still night; 
she provides food for her family…
Proverbs 31:15a

Copyright © Reflections from Dorothy’s Ridge 2015. All rights reserved

Recipes, Soup

Soup in July?

Normally, it would be absolutely insane to make Mo’s Hamburger Soup in July, but the outdoor thermometer read 63 degrees this morning. And my cold feet are telling me it is a good day for soup. So that’s what we’re having for supper tonight. Yes, supper. An evening meal of soup and cornbread is definitely supper. 

I grew up eating soup for lunch on Saturdays. It was a concoction of whatever leftover meat and vegetables Mom had in the refrigerator, fluffed up with chopped tomatoes, a generous portion of diced potatoes and seasonings.
A close friend told me recently how Winnie’s Saturday soup was one of her comfort memories. You know, those things that make us feel warm and loved as we look back. She and I spent lots of time at each others houses, which meant eating lots of meals together. One of my favorite memories involves Rotel Cheese Dip, Fritos and playing Dominoes with her dad on Saturday afternoons.



Mo’s recipe for Hamburger Soup is flexible

My mother didn’t have a formal recipe for her Saturday soup, but my mother-in-law did. I’m pretty sure it came from someone at her church. Whatever its origin, I’ve been making a variation of Hamburger Soup for lots of years. I say variation because like my mother, I use what I have on hand. Sometimes I start with leftover pot roast and gravy, which make a wonderful base for the soup. And I always substitute frozen vegetables for the canned. If I have okra, I throw in a little. 

Today, the meat is ground bison I found in the freezer. It has less fat than ground beef and works well in this recipe. When I realized I didn’t have a potato, I just added Lima beans and a few more green peas to the package of carrots, corn, green beans and green peas. (You can buy a blend of frozen soup veggies that includes potatoes, but I don’t keep it on hand because I prefer to use fresh potatoes.) 
Our soup is simmering on the stove as I write this. I thought I’d share the recipe just in case soup sounds good to you today. It doesn’t take long to make.


1 lb. ground beef
1 cup chopped onion
1 cup diced raw potato
1 cup sliced celery
1 cup sliced carrots
2 16-oz. cans chopped tomatoes
4 cups water
1 can beef consume
2 T beef bouillon
½ T salt
¼ tsp. basil, crushed
1 bay leaf
¼ tsp. thyme, crushed
¼ tsp. pepper
Simmer 30 minutes; then add:
7 oz. can gold whole kernel corn (undrained)
8 ½ oz can cut green beans (undrained)
8 ½ oz. can small early peas (undrained)
(Good with cornbread)
I’m sure we’ll be back to sweating next week, but tonight cornbread and soup will hit the spot! Did the cool snap affect your menu planning this week?
Next time, I think I’ll tell you about learning to make Mama’s cornbread. Even on hot summer days, purple hull peas call for cornbread. Don’t you love air conditioning?
…He has shown kindness by giving you rain from heaven and crops in their seasons;
he provides you with plenty of food and fills your hearts with joy.”
Acts 14:17b


Copyright © Reflections from Dorothy’s Ridge 2014. All rights reserved