TUPELO – Tupelo Junior Auxiliary members are shaking things up a little at this year's Charity Ball.
"This is a whole different show, a different ballgame," said Erin Stubbs, Charity Ball chairman. "We want folks to eat with us instead of eating first and then coming to the ball. We'll have a full menu. Let us entertain you."
This year's event is Friday, Feb. 24, at the Cadence Bank Arena in downtown Tupelo. Doors open at 6 p.m. and dinner begins at 6:30, followed by the Living Ads – senior girls in Tupelo and Lee County who represent different businesses – the announcement of the Citizen of the Year, and live music.
Tickets are $50 each and available at Busylad, the women's department at Reed's, or online at www.jatupelo.givesmart.com.
Typically, the meal comes after the Living Ads and Citizen of the Year announcement, but this time around, JA members wanted to showcase their culinary talents by feeding folks before the festivities begin.
"This year, we're not using a chef, as we've done in the past," Stubbs said. "We've always prepped with the guidance from a chef, but this year we're taking everything back over."
Stubbs said JA is fortunate to have local caterer Krisha Mims as the food chairman this year.
"With Krisha's expertise, we felt like we could do this," Stubbs said. "There are 12 members on the food committee, the food display committee will help, and eight JA ladies will come help and serve the buffet that night."
The evening's menu includes classic braised beef with caramelized mushroom and onion au jus over herbed rice; Gulf shrimp with Cheddar grits; sweet and savory green beans; crunchy romaine toss with fresh fruit and red wine vinaigrette; and assorted desserts.
"We're playing off the theme of the 60th anniversary for the Charity Ball," Stubbs said. "It's 'A Grand Gala: Helping Our Community Shine Like Diamonds.'"
"What could be more grand than beef and shrimp?" Mims said.
The band this year is D'ivine Play out of New Orleans.
"They have horns and trumpets, backup dancers and singers, just very entertaining," Stubbs said. "It's going to be a nice night."
The Charity Ball is Junior Auxiliary of Tupelo's only fundraiser to support its projects, which include Clothes Closet, Drama Queens, Silent Servings, School Aid, SHINE, WAVE, SMART, Class Crowns and scholarships.
CRUNCHY ROMAINE TOSS WITH FRESH FRUIT AND RED WINE VINAIGRETTE
1/2 stick unsalted butter
1 (3-ounce) package ramen noodles, crushed (discard flavor packet)
1 cup vegetable oil
1 cup sugar
1/2 cup red wine vinegar
1 tablespoon soy sauce
Salt and pepper
4 heads romaine lettuce, chopped
1 cup sliced strawberries
1 cup blueberries
Melt butter in a large skillet over medium heat. Add crushed ramen noodles and stir noodles until toasted, about 5 minutes. Transfer noodles to a plate lined with paper towels and set aside to cool.
In a small bowl, whisk together oil, sugar, vinegar, soy sauce, salt and pepper.
To serve, combine ramen noodles with chopped romaine in a large serving bowl. Pour desired amount of dressing over all and toss to coat. Top with strawberries and blueberries and serve.
SWEET AND SAVORY GREEN BEANS
5 (14-ounce) cans cut green beans, drained
8 slices bacon, cooked and crumbled
1 cup brown sugar
1/2 stick butter, melted
7 teaspoons soy sauce
1 1/2 teaspoons garlic powder
Place drained green beans in a 9x13-inch casserole. Top with cooked, crumbled bacon.
In a small bowl, combine brown sugar, melted butter, soy sauce and garlic powder. Pour mixture over green beans and bacon.
Bake green beans, uncovered, at 350 degrees for 40 minutes.
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