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‘Care Today, Character Tomorrow,’ and cooking, too, with Junior Auxiliary

Cruising the recent Strawberry Festival meant a stop at the Cabot Junior Auxiliary booth (the Junior Auxiliary sponsors the annual event) for Strawberry Shortcake.

Also at booth was the JA Tasteful Traditions cookbook. Local cookbooks have a particular attraction for me and I pick them up as I find them; my collection has books more than 100 years old that come from Turkey to the Sandwich Islands. So I had to get the JA book, too, especially when I found out that once the supply of this edition is gone, they are gone. Neener, neener if you didn’t get one.

So. What is Junior Auxiliary?

The national JA website said the National Association of Junior Auxiliaries has roots in the Great Depression and various women’s missions groups in Arkansas and Mississippi. The women worked in their communities caring for children who were enduring “the desperate conditions of suffering and poverty arising out of the economic depression beginning in 1929.”

In 1941, women from individual groups formed the national organization to coordinate the work while each group met child welfare in its own area. Cabot JA was formed in 1987.

Melissa Davis, public relations chair for Cabot Junior Auxiliary, told about the group’s work.

The motto of the Junior Auxiliary of Cabot is a perfect description of the non-profit organization - “Care Today, Character Tomorrow.” JA members work to ensure the health and welfare of the community’s children, Davis explained.

Stock the Pantry, Christmas Blessing, Reading First, Smile Program and Child Welfare - “These events are just a few of the ways Junior Auxiliary gives back to the community,” Davis said.

Through Stock the Pantry, members distribute non-perishable food items to schools to ensure children who rely on school meals have food when school is out.

Christmas Blessing assists families in the Cabot School District with gifts and clothing during the holiday.

In Reading First, JA members visit schools to read aloud for and to give a book to each first-grade student.

The Smile Program ensures free dental screenings are conducted at the schools, with children given a toothbrush to take home.

Child Welfare is helps meet other needs of students including clothing, coats, lice kits, toiletries and other items requested during the year.

Funding for the Junior Auxiliary comes primarily from annual events such as Strawberry Festival and Bunko Bash, Davis said.

Strawberry Festival is a family event held in April, promoting local strawberry growers, and includes a carnival, pageant, vendors, food and children’s games. Bunko Bash, held on Fat Tuesday, is a dinner, entertainment and shopping for an evening of fun.

“Without these events, and donations from local sponsors, Junior Auxiliary would not be able to provide support for the community of Cabot … The ladies of Junior Auxiliary each share a common goal and join in order to enrich the lives of children in their community,” Davis said.

Becoming a member means a six-month provisional training program to learn about JA and its foundations; becoming an active member is a five-year commitment to service. Members form lifelong friendships, “It’s a rewarding group to be a part of, and new faces are always welcome to grow the organization,” Davis said.

For more information, contact Junior Auxiliar through the website, by email to, or through Facebook and Twitter.


The next week, after getting the Cabot Junior Auxiliary cookbook at Strawberry Fest, this recipe was used for our church potluck; there were no leftovers…


1 sm. head cabbage

1 lb. ground chuck

1/2 c. chopped onion

1/2 c. rice, uncooked

1/4 tsp. black pepper

1/2 tsp. salt

1 can tomato soup

1 1/2 c water

1/2 c. cheese, grated

Chop cabbage into small pieces and spread in the bottom of a greased 13 x 9 inch baking dish. Brown ground chuck and onions in large skillet; stir in rice, salt and pepper. Spread over cabbage. In a small saucepan, heat tomato soup and water until hot; then pour over all ingredients. Sprinkle with grated cheese. Cover tightly with foil and bake 1 1/2 hours at 350°. Fluff with fork before serving.


CATFISH PARMESAN - Beverly Thompson

6 catfish fillets

1 c. dry bread crumbs

3/4 c. grated Parmesan cheese

1/4 c. chopped parsley

1 tsp. paprika

lemon wedges, for garnish

1/2 tsp. whole oregano

1/4 tsp. whole basil

2 tsp. salt

1/2 tsp. pepper

1/2 c. melted butter or margarine

parsley, for garnish

Pat fish dry. Combine bread crumbs Parmesan cheese, chopped parsley, paprika, oregano, basil, salt and pepper. Stir well. Dip catfish in melted butter and roll each in crumb mixture. Arrange fish in well-greased 13 x 9 x 2 dish; bake at 375 approximately 25 minutes or until fish flakes easily when tested with a fork. Garnish with lemon wedges and parsley.



2 to 3 4-oz. cans roasted, peeled, diced green chilies

1/2 c. non-fat Monterey Jack cheese, grated

1/2 c. non fat sharp Cheddar cheese, grated

1 pkg. egg substitute

2/3 c. non-fat sour cream fresh cilantro


Preheat oven to 350. Lightly coat an 8 x 8 oven proof baking dish with light vegetable cooking spray. Layer in 1/2 the chilies. Follow with 1/2· the Jack cheese and 1/2 the Cheddar cheese; then remaining chilies and cheeses. Whisk eggs until frothy; fold into sour cream. Pour over chilies and cheeses. Bake 30 minutes or until golden brown. Garnish with fresh cilantro; serve with salsa.



1 gal. whole tomatoes, mashed

1 lg. chopped onion

1 bulb garlic, chopped

Juice of 4 limes

2/3 can beer

1/3 c. sugar

1 to 2 jalapeno peppers, chopped

1/3 c. salt or more, to taste

Mix tomatoes, onion, garlic, lime juice, beer, sugar, jalapeno peppers and salt in a large bowl or jar. Chill. This recipe needs a lot of salt. Makes 1 gallon.


DUMP SOUP - Diana Graf

1 lb. ground beef

1 can corn

1 onion, chopped

1 can hominy, drained

1 can stewed tomatoes, with liquid

1 can diced tomatoes with green chilies

1 can black beans, with liquid

1 pkg. taco seasoning mix

1 can pinto beans, with liquid

1 pkg. ranch dressing mix

Cook ground beef and onion; drain and rinse. Combine tomatoes, beans, corn, drained hominy, diced tomatoes with green chilies, taco seasoning mix and ranch dressing mix with beef. If doubling recipe, do not double taco seasoning mix. Suggestion: prepare the night before and place in crock pot the next morning.



7 oz. pkg. uncooked elbow macaroni

1/4 c. butter or margarine

3 T. all-purpose flour

2 c. milk

8 oz. pkg. cream cheese, softened

1/2 tsp. salt

1/2 tsp. pepper

2 tsp. country style Dijon mustard

2 c. cubed 1/2 inch Cheddar cheese

1 c. fresh breadcrumbs

2 T. butter or margarine, melted

2 T. chopped fresh parsley

Heat oven to 400°. Cook macaroni according to package directions; drain. Meanwhile, in a 3-quart saucepan melt 1/4-cup butter; stir in flour. Cook over medium heat, stirring occasionally, until smooth and bubbly, about 1 minute. Stir in milk, cream cheese, salt, pepper and mustard. Continue cooking, stirring occasionally, until sauce is thickened, about 3 to 4 minutes. Stir in macaroni and cheese. Pour into 2-quart casserole. In small bowl, stir together remaining ingredients; sprinkle over macaroni and cheese. Bake for 15 to 20 minutes or until golden brown and heated through.



2 tsp. salt

1 lb. ground chuck

3 T. chopped green pepper

2 slices toasted bread, crumbled

1 T. Worcestershire sauce

1 egg, beaten

1 sm. onion, diced

1 tsp. chili powder

salt and pepper

dash celery flakes, opt.

1/2 tsp. prepared garlic, opt. dash sage, opt.

dash lemon pepper, opt.

Mix egg, green pepper, onion, bread crumbs, chili powder, Worcestershire sauce, salt and pepper. Add ground chuck, mix and shape into loaf. Pour sauce over meat loaf. Bake uncovered for 1 hour at 375°.

Sauce for Meat Loaf

3/4 c. water

3/4 c. ketchup

2 T. prepared mustard

1 1/2 tsp. chili powder

Mix water, ketchup, prepared mustard and chili powder well. Pour over meat loaf.



2 lbs. stew meat

6 potatoes, cubed

3 carrots, cubed

1 c. chopped celery

1 onion, chopped

1 T. sugar

1 15-oz. can tomato sauce

2 T. tapioca

salt and pepper to taste

Layer meat, potatoes, carrots, celery and onion in Dutch oven. Sprinkle salt, pepper, sugar, tomato sauce and tapioca on top. Bake at 250 for 4 hours. Do not open lid while cooking.


CHEESE DIP - Dottie McNeill

1 lb. Velveeta cheese

1 tsp. garlic salt

1 can tomatoes and green chilies

1 tsp. garlic powder

1 can chopped green chilies

1 lb. hamburger, cooked and drained

1/2 onion, chopped

Cube cheese and put into a blender. Heat remaining ingredients and pour over cheese and blend. Add more cheese if necessary to thicken.


BEER BREAD - Brenda McKim

3 c. self rising flour

1/2 c. sugar

1 can beer

Mix with wooden spoon. Cook at 3500 for 30 minutes in well greased loaf pan. Slit top and pour butter on top; cook an additional 15 minutes.


This column is for readers to share their recipes. The recipes need not be fancy or original; just good cooking that you and your family enjoy -a few sentences of history behind a recipe would be great.

Civic organizations, non-profit organizations, churches, school classes, EHC, 4-H, etc. can also take part. Collect six or seven recipes from members, include their names; tell about the purpose of the organization, maybe a little history; include when and where the group meets, and how to join.

When submitting recipes, include all ingredients and instructions. Give amounts and measures as well as sizes of cans and packages. It is also helpful to know sizes of dishes or pans used. Include a contact name, city of residence and phone number; the phone number will not be published but is needed should questions arise while preparing for print.

Please print if handwritten. Original photos of the recipe results are invited, but subject to space limitations; attach pictures to the email in jpeg format. Photos must not be copyrighted.

1- e-mail - send to, with “Lick the Spoon” in the subject line

2 - U.S Postal Service: mail to Cabot Star-Herald, P.O. Box 1058, Cabot, AR 7202

The Cabot Star Herald, Lonoke Democrat, and Carlisle Independent websites are available only to print and digital subscribers. If you are already a subscriber, you can access these websites at no additional charge.