Eggplant Ritz Casserole

Serves 6-8. Recipe from “Come to the Table” cookbook published by St. Edmond Knights of Columbus Ladies Auxiliary in Lafayette appears in “Best of the Best from Louisiana Cookbook III: Selected Recipes from Louisiana’s Favorite Cookbooks,” edited by Gwen McKee and Barbara Moseley.

1 pound ground beef

1 medium onion, chopped

1 small green bell pepper, chopped

2 ribs celery, chopped

2 cloves garlic, chopped, or 1 teaspoon garlic powder

3 medium eggplants, peeled and diced

1 (103/4-ounce) can cream of mushroom soup

1 (8-ounce) box Ritz Crackers, crushed (reserve one cup for topping)

Parsley

Salt and pepper to taste

Butter to dot topping

Paprika for garnish

1. Brown ground beef with onion, bell pepper and celery.

2. Add garlic eggplants and small amount of water (about 1?8 cup). Simmer till eggplant is very tender.

3. Add soup, crushed crackers and parsley. Season to taste.

4. Place in casserole dish, and top with reserved crushed crackers. Top crackers with dots of butter and paprika. Bake at 350 F for 30 minutes.

Note: Mirliton or squash may be substituted for eggplant.