Soups, casseroles are favorites and make excellent leftovers

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By Sandy BondCook Big

“If you like to eat home-cooked meals, you need to learn how to prepare them so your own family can enjoy them also,” Robin Rau said.
Some of Robin’s earliest memories are of spending time in her grandparents’ kitchen. “It smelled so good, and they always had something delicious to eat nearby,” she said.
Robin and her husband Alan and sons Darren, Alex and Justin have been engaged in farming and ranching on a second-generation homestead in Campbell County, 12 miles north of Java. In 1996, they sold the cattle operation and began raising elk. The operation became known as Rau’s Bugling Prairie. Robin is a second grade teacher at Selby Area Schools.
“I’ve always enjoyed working with children,” she said.
The daughter of Carolyn (Schmit) and Tom Raap, Robin was born at Webster and she and her sister Shelli grew up in Andover. They moved to Selby when she was in first grade.
Her dad is retired as a signal maintainer for Burlington Northern Railroad and her mom, from Montana-Dakota Utilities. Carolyn is presently employed part-time at Walworth County Abstract.
Robin graduated from Selby High School.  She graduated with a double major in speech therapy and elementary education from Northern State University in 1986.
Robin was employed by the Oahe Special Education Cooperative as a speech therapist until 1992, and later for the Smee School District at Wakpala. She taught Title Reading in Selby before she became a second grade teacher.
The son of Erwin and Lenora Rau, Alan was born in Mobridge and grew up on the family farm. He graduated from Java High School.

Darren, 23, attended Lake Area Vocational Technical Institute at Watertown and is living and working in Watertown as a welder for Angus Palm. Alex, 20, is in his second year of college at The School of Mines in Rapid City, and Justin, 14, is a freshman at Selby Area.
They are also hosting Gregor, a 16-year-old from Austria, who is a junior at Selby Area, and who has been with them since Jan. 2.
“Mom has always liked to cook,” she said. “We bake cookies and make candies together for the holidays. “
Robin and Shelli often helped their mom in the kitchen while growing up and she recalls having many home cooked meals.
“My mother-in-law was a good cook also, as are her daughters,” she said. “I just can’t make German food like she did.  Although I am getting close to making knoepfle soup almost as good as grandma’s! I just can’t make homemade fudge like my mother-in-law did. It always ends up in the refrigerator, eaten with a spoon.”
Although she enjoys baking, she really likes to make soups and casseroles. She seems to make more tomato-based casseroles, especially with pasta, she said.
“I like to simmer soup in the winter-it warms the kitchen and offers an inviting aroma,” she said. “I will often make a large casserole so we can have leftovers on the nights our schedules don’t allow a home-cooked meal.  I also try to cook a kettle of soup over the weekend so we can eat that during the week also.”
Spending time with family is a high priority and just being outdoors, hiking, camping, enjoying the river and snow skiing.
She enjoys making cards and scrapbooking, although, she said, she rarely takes time to enjoy that hobby. She loves to read.
“I enjoy church activities, including youth group events, choir, and fellowship with my church family,” she said. “I rarely miss school events in which our kids participate. It’s fun to cheer for our teams.”

ROBIN RAU’S RECIPES

Cavatini Hotdish
1 1/2 cups pasta-any shape
1 pkg. pepperoni
1 green pepper, finely chopped
1 small onion, finely chopped
1 can mushrooms, chopped
1 can black olives, sliced
1 pint spaghetti sauce
1 can tomato sauce
1 1/2 lbs. browned ground beef (or elk)
12 oz. shredded mozzarella or co-jack cheese
Cook pasta, drain and rinse.  Add browned meat and remaining ingredients.  Place in 2 1/2 -quart casserole dish.  Top with pepperoni and cheese.  Cover and bake at 350 degrees for 1 hour.

Italian Sausage Soup
1-2 pkgs. frozen mixed vegetables
1 can chicken broth, whisked with 2-3 cups mashed potatoes (leftovers work great)
1 pint tomatoes, chopped
1 quart of tomato juice
1 quart water
1 can tomato sauce
2 cans pinto beans
1 can navy beans
1 ring of sausage, cooked, sliced and quartered
1 tsp. Italian seasoning
Garlic salt to taste
Blend tomatoes, tomato juice, tomato sauce, water, and broth/potato mixture and heat.  Add spices, beans, mixed veggies and sausage.  Simmer until vegetables are tender.  Serve with garlic bread or toast.

Crunchy Garlic Toast
Spread butter on one side of bread.  Sprinkle with garlic salt to taste.  I use a pizza cutter to quarter the slices of bread.  Broil on low heat for 8-13 minutes, watching closely so as not to burn.  Remove from oven, turn off oven, and a few minutes later, return pan to oven to finish drying completely, about 2 hours.   Store in loosely covered container-keeps well.

Setting Pretties
2 cups butter
1 cup brown sugar
4 egg yolks (save whites for later)
2 tsp. vanilla
1 tsp. salt
4 cups flour
Finely chopped walnuts
Creamy vanilla frosting
M&M’s
Blend butter and sugar, add egg yolks and vanilla.  Stir in flour and salt.  Mix well. Chill 1 hour (optional).   Beat remaining egg whites until white and foamy.   Roll cookies into balls. Drop in beaten egg whites, and roll in chopped nuts.   Bake at 350 degrees for 9 minutes.  Remove from oven and flatten slightly with the bottom of a cup or similar item.  Cool and frost with creamy white frosting.   Top with 2-3 M&M’s.  “These are fun to make at holidays with colored M&M’s, or for special events such as showers or graduations topped with color coordinated M&M’s.”

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