Reba Hawkins

Reba “Mama Reba” Hawkins has been working with a girls’ group home in
Bruce for 21 years and part of what she does is help them learn to cook.


Reba “Mama Reba” Hawkins has been working with a girls’ group home in Bruce for 21 years and part of what she does is help them learn to cook. She also cooks for their work-related special events. A favorite of those is “Gypsy Christmas” where there are always requests for her surprise bread, fudge, divinity and cheeseballs.
Hawkins began cooking with her mother when she was 9 or 10 years old. The first thing she learned to make was a chocolate cake with white icing, which recipe came from the Hershey’s Cocoa can, and she burned her brothers out on it.
She loves to cook whatever the season–and uses black skillets for almost everything. She still uses one that belonged to her mother, who was also a good cook. For Thanksgiving and Christmas, her family wants her chicken and dressing, apricot salad and sweet potato casserole. They also love her fried chicken, but seafood is her favorite.
Paula Deen’s cooking show is also a favorite and Reba collects cookbooks, picking one up anywhere she goes. She enjoys trying new things from them, but always goes back to her “old favorites.”

Bar-B-Q Shrimp
5 lbs. large shrimp
3 sticks Parkay
2 medium bottles of Worcestershire
4 Tbsp. Tony’s creole seasoning
2 large bulbs garlic
1 Tbsp. salt
Wash shrimp, leave shells on. Put in large 9×13 pan. Peel garlic. Place on top of shrimp. Put pats of butter over the shrimp, pour all the Worcestershire sauce, sprinkle salt and Tony’s seasoning all over the shrimp. Place  in a 350° oven for 20 minutes, stir and keep checked until they are done. Serve with French bread to dip in the gravy.

Surprise Bread
2 frozen loaves French bread
1 lb. ground chuck
1/2 lb. pork sausage
1 large bell pepper
1 large onion
1 can black olives (sliced)
1 can mushrooms
1 pkg. sliced sharp cheddar cheese
1 pkg. sliced mozzarella cheese
2 tsp. Tony’s creole seasoning
Thaw bread at room temperature. Cook ground chuck and sausage with Tony’s seasoning until brown, then drain. Chop onion, bell peppers, slice olives. Roll the French bread dough to a rectangle 24”x12”. In the center, place three slices of cheddar cheese overlapping. Top with half of meat mixture. Top that with bell pepper, onion, olives and mushrooms. Place three overlapping slices of mozzarella cheese on top. Fold the dough over the center of both sides. Take the ends and pull over the center and tuck under. Place on cookie sheet in 350° oven until golden brown. Remove and spread Parkay over the entire loaf.

Chicken Dumplings
6 chicken breasts (with bone/skin)
1 stick Parkay
Salt and pepper to taste
Cook until tender. Pull meat from bone, cut in bite size pieces. Save broth.
2 cups self-rising flour
1 egg, beaten
1/2-3/4 cup sweet milk
1/2 stick Parkay
For later: 1/4 cup flour and 1 cup sweet milk
Mix like you are making biscuits. Roll out thin, let rest for one hour. Cut into strips. Drop in broth that’s come to a rolling boil. Stir often. Lower heat, put lid on pot, stir to keep from sticking. Mix the 1/4  flour and 1 cup milk stir until all lumps are gone. Slowly add to dumplings, then add chicken. Make sure all is mixed and chicken has re-heated.

Simple Cheese Ball
1 stick Parkay
1 cream cheese
3 green onions (chopped fine)
1/2 can small black olives, chopped
1/2 cup finely chopped pecans
Mix margarine, cream cheese with mixer until light and fluffy, add green onions, olives and pecans. Mix. Serve with 5-grain wheat thin crackers.

Elvis Presley Cake
1 box Duncan Hines butter cake mix
1 cup chopped pecans
2 cups sugar
1 large can crushed pineapple
Cook cake as directed, add nuts. Cook in 9×13 pan at 350°. In saucepan, mix sugar and pineapple, boil 5 minutes. Pour over hot cake. Cool.
Icing:
1 box powdered sugar
8 oz. cream cheese
1 tsp. vanilla
1 stick Parkay
Nuts-optional
Mix, and ice cooled cake.

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