SUPERIOR — Lu Matthews Hutchcraft still submits recipes to contests whenever she can. She began this endeavor in 1999.

“I really like to cook and I enjoy adding some of my own ingredients to enhance their flavors,” Hutchcraft said.

Hutchcraft was born in Kaplan, Louisiana, where she learned the “cajun” cooking style. Her submission to the Hastings Tribune recipe contest this year was named Shrimp Jambalaya. She starts with rice and adds onions, bell peppers, several other ingredients, and shrimp.

“Make sure the shrimp is deveined,” she said. “It is usually marked that way, but quite often it is not.”

As a child and young person, French was the language the family spoke, then later she learned English. She is still fluent in both languages.

Hutchcraft’s husband, Robert, entered the Tribune contest this year as well. His winning entry was Rhubarb Custard Cake.

When he offered this reporter a taste of his recipe, he presented two pieces because he said, “You can’t eat just one piece,” and he was right!

Robert admits he likes to alter recipes, and he and others enjoy many of the combinations he has developed.

He grew up in Union Star, Missouri, and graduated there in 1966. He has been cooking since he was around 10-12 years old because they lived on a farm where they milked 287 cows a day and raised beef cattle as well.

“It was quite a chore when we milked by hand,” Robert said, “but it became much easier when we installed milking machines.”

Both Lu and Robert enjoy cooking and trying new combinations. They like entering contests, and winning, but they agree it is fun entering the contests, even when they don’t win.

Lu’s Shrimp Jambalaya

1 can cream of mushroom soup

1 medium bell pepper, chopped

1 medium onion, chopped

1 pound medium shrimp

2 celery ribs, chopped

½ cup green onion tops, chopped

2 cups cooked rice

Season to taste

In heavy pot put soup, onion, bell pepper, celery, shrimp and onion tops. Cook for 25 minutes. Add cooked rice. Mix well and season to taste.

Cook 10 minutes more and let set for about 10 minutes before serving.

Serves 4-5.

Robert’s Rhubarb Custard Cake

Real good served either with vanilla ice cream or Cool Whip.

4 cups chopped rhubarb

1 ¾ cups white sugar

1 yellow cake mix

1 pint whipping cream (unwhipped) or 1 pint half-and-half

Prepare rhubarb and combine with sugar. Set aside.

Prepare yellow cake mix according to box directions, or use homemade yellow cake recipe. Pour into a 9-by-13 pan. Sprinkle rhubarb mixture over top of cake. Pour whipping cream or half-and-half over top of all, and bake in preheated 350-degree oven for 1 hour. Cake will rise to top and sauce will be at the bottom of pan.

Yield 10-12 servings.

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