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WHAT'S COOKING? Family gathering features scrumptious fare
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WHAT'S COOKING? Family gathering features scrumptious fare

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Teresa Hatchell 2005

Teresa Hatchell

My youngest sister called me last week to let me know that the menu lineup for our Labor Day celebration at the lake was going to be Low Country Boil (a/k/a Beaufort Stew), which a few folks in our group are not totally crazy about. As a solution, our thoughtful menfolk cook all of the “Boil” ingredients – shrimp, sausage, potatoes and small ears of corn -- separately and pour them into huge bowls from which attendees may use tongs to make their plates. I decided that the casserole shared below would be a delicious alternative for the holiday table as my sister said everyone else was bringing various dips and appetizers. She gave birth to her son on Labor Day many years ago, so we were also planning on a double birthday cake for dessert. What a wonderful family celebration!

The weekend menu and the opening of high school and college football seasons inspired me to share the following entrée and seafood-related dip recipes. They are delicious and portable (please adhere to food safety guidelines). I hope you will enjoy them soon and keep the recipes on hand for upcoming gatherings. Please note that you may double or triple these dip recipes if you are having guests.

Succulent shrimp, sausage and rice

5 tablespoons butter

2 stalks of celery, de-stringed and chopped (optional)

2 or 3 large onions, peeled, chopped

1 medium bell pepper, seeded, chopped

1 pound of your favorite kind of link sausage, cut into medium-size pieces

1 pound of your favorite kind of ground sausage

2 to 3 pounds of large shrimp, cleaned, deveined, chopped into large pieces

2 tablespoons butter

3 tablespoons soy sauce

3 tablespoons Worcestershire sauce

1 pound of rice (one medium bag) or more

In a large skillet, melt four tablespoons of butter. Then sauté chopped celery, onions and peppers, link sausage and ground sausage until the sausage is done. Set this pan aside.

In another skillet, melt two tablespoons of butter. Add the soy sauce and Worcestershire sauce and sauté the prepared shrimp pieces until they are done. COMBINE the ingredients of both skillets into a large pot and simmer on very low heat for about 15 minutes so all flavors can blend. Meanwhile, cook your rice as usual in a separate pot.

In a large roasting pan or baking pan of sufficient size, combine the sausage and shrimp mixture with the cooked rice. Stir until all ingredients are evenly distributed throughout the rice. Cover the pan tightly with foil or a lid. Bake on 350 degrees for about 45 minutes. Serve this hot.

Shrimp dip

1-1/2 cups cleaned shrimp, cooked

1/2 cup Miracle Whip

1/2 teaspoon Worcestershire

3 tablespoons heavy cream

Salt and pepper to taste

Puree the shrimp in a blender. Pour this into a medium bowl and add the Miracle Whip, Worcestershire sauce and heavy cream. Whip the ingredients until they are creamy. Add salt and pepper and stir, repeating until the dip reaches a taste that suits you. Serve with a tray of your favorite crackers, cocktail bread slices, chips or fresh vegetables.

Crab dip

8-ounce package of cream cheese, softened

8 ounces cooked, minced crab

2 drops Tabasco sauce

1/4 teaspoon salt

Dash of pepper

1 teaspoon minced onion

1 teaspoon lemon juice

In a medium bowl, mash the cream cheese with a fork and stir until it is smooth. Stir in the crab meat. Beat these ingredients with an electric mixer on medium speed until smooth. Add Tabasco sauce, salt and pepper, minced onion and lemon juice. Stir until well combined. Refrigerate the dip until chilled. Serve with Captain’s wafers, cocktail bread slices, chips or fresh vegetables.

Smoked oyster spread

2 (8-ounce) packages cream cheese, softened

2 tablespoons mayonnaise or Miracle Whip, your preference

2 teaspoons Worcestershire sauce

3/4 teaspoon garlic powder

Vegetable cooking spray

2 (3.66-ounce) cans smoked oysters, drained and chopped

Garnishes: paprika and/or lemon slices

In a medium bowl, combine the cream cheese, mayonnaise or Miracle Whip, Worcestershire sauce and garlic powder. Coat a 15-inch-long piece of wax paper with cooking spray. Spread the cream cheese mixture on the paper in a 10-x 6-inch rectangle. Place the chopped oyster pieces evenly over the cheese. Roll this yummy creation up as you would a jellyroll, starting with the long side. Cover the "roll" and chill it. When you are ready to serve this as a "spread," add the garnishes if you opt to use them and serve the spread with bagel chips and/or melba rounds.

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