Rachel Elizabeth Thomas
Rachel Elizabeth Thomas
Oxford is a perfect fit for Ole Miss student Rachel Thomas who aspires to be a pharmacist.

The Neshoba County native loves both the city and the university.

"I live in an apartment right now," Rachel said. "It is so much fun."

Home with her parents, Steve and Jane Thomas, for the holidays, Rachel plans to attend Saturday's bowl game in Birmingham where the Rebels will face the Pittsburgh Panthers.

Rachel is a faithful fan as she attended the home football games this past year.

"The Grove is so much fun on Saturdays," she said. "We get there early and tailgate until kickoff. Then we sit in the stands and scream hotty toddy the whole game."

Rachel enrolled at Ole Miss after graduating from Neshoba Central High School in 2011.

She is a member of Alpha Omicron Pi sorority, which she enjoys.

"It takes up a lot of my time," she said. "We do a lot of events to raise money for our philanthropy which is arthritis research."

She is also a member of Phi Delta Chi, a professional pharmacy fraternity.

"We are just about to start our recruitment for new members," she said. "We are hosting a poker party the first week back in school to raise money for our philanthropy which is St. Jude's."

In her limited free time, Rachel enjoys reading.

Pride and Prejudice is her favorite book. She also likes to watch movies.

"That's about all I get to do in my free time now," she said. "It's starting to get really hard in school."

After six years of college, she hopes to do her residency in a hospital pharmacy.

"I would like to work in a hospital," she said. "I don't think I would do retail. I feel like as time goes on I will see where I want to be."

Currently, she shares an apartment in Oxford with three friends including Ouida Meruvia, a classmate from NCHS. Her other roommates are from Memphis and Columbus.

The group cooks about once a week in the apartment.

"We do tacos, spaghetti, baked chicken and stir fry!" she said.

They also like to dine in their favorite restaurants: Ajax and South Depot.

"Mexican food is my favorite," she said.

Rachel has shared some of her family's favorite recipes including one for her favorite desserts: Dirt Cake.

"It's almost like an Oreo cookie with cream cheese, Cool Whip and tons of sugar!" she said.

Burger-Potato Bites

16 large frozen French-fried waffle-cut potatoes (1/3 of a 22-ounce package.)

1 pound ground beef or turkey

2 - 3 teaspoons grilling seasoning blend

4 slices cheddar cheese, cut into quarters (4 ounces)

4 cherry tomatoes, sliced

Mustard, ketchup, dairy sour cream, and/or dill pickle slices

Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Line a baking sheet with foil. Evenly space potatoes on baking sheet. Bake potatoes for 18 to 20 minutes or until crisp and lightly browned. Remove from oven. Adjust oven racks and preheat broiler. Meanwhile, in a medium bowl combine meat and seasoning. Form into sixteen 1-ounce mini burgers (about 2 tablespoons). In a 12-inch skillet cook burgers, uncovered, over medium-high heat for 5 minutes or until temperature registers 160 degrees on an instant-read thermometer, turning burgers once halfway through cooking. Drain fat. Top each potato with a burger, cheese quarter, and tomato slice. Broil 4 to 5 inches from heat for 1 to 2 minutes or until cheese is melted and tomato begins to brown. Serve with mustard, ketchup, sour cream, and/or pickles. Makes 16 snacks.

Sweet Chicken Bacon Wraps

4 boneless, skinless, chicken breasts

1 (1-pound) package sliced bacon

2/3 cup firmly packed brown sugar

2 tablespoons chili powder

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Cut chicken breasts into 1-inch cubes. Cut each bacon slice into thirds. Wrap each chicken cube with bacon and secure with a wooden pick. Stir together brown sugar and chili powder. Dredge wrapped chicken in mixture. Coat a rack and broiler pan with nonstick cooking spray. Place chicken wrap on rack in broiler pan. Bake 350 for 30 to 35 minutes or until bacon is crisp.

Baked Chimichangas

8 (6 inch) flour tortillas

1 1/2 cups cooked and cubed chicken

2 ounces grated cheese

3/4 cups tick and chunky salsa

Mix chicken, cheese and salsa. Warm tortillas in 400-degree oven or 5 seconds each in microwave. Dampen one side of tortilla with water and place wet side down. Spoon on chicken mixture. Fold to hold in filling. Spray baking dish with nonstick cooking spray. Lay chimichangas, seam side down, on baking dish. Bake for 15 minutes.

Beefy Mac and Double Cheddar

1/2 pound ground beef

3 1/2 cups water

2 cups uncooked elbow macaroni

1 jar Ragu Cheesy Double Cheddar Sauce

Brown ground beef in 12-inch skillet. Drain. Remove ground beef and set aside. Bring water to a boil in same skillet and stir uncooked macaroni. Cook 6 minutes or until tender. Do not drain. Stir in ground beef and sauce. Heat through.

Cornish Hens

4 Cornish Hens

4 tablespoons margarine

1/2 cup water

2 tablespoons soy sauce

Rub hens with margarine.

Place in greased baking dish and spoon water and soy sauce mixture over hens. Cover with foil and bake for 45 minutes. Remove cover and bake 15 minutes longer.

Sausage Muffins

1 can Cheddar Cheese Soup

2 cups Bisquick

1 pound sausage

Brown sausage, do not drain grease, mix together, and put in small muffin pans. Bake 350 degrees for 10 to 15 minutes.

Lemon Sour Cream Pound Cake

1 lemon cake mix

1 8 ounce carton Sour Cream

1/4 cup sugar

2/3 cup oil

1/3 cup water

4 eggs

Blend together for four minutes. Cook 350 degrees for 50 minutes. Cool in pan for 25 minutes.

Dirt Cake

1 (1 pound 4 ounce) bag of Oreo Cookies

16 ounces Philadelphia cream cheese

2 1/2 cups of milk

16 ounces Cool Whip

1 stick of butter

1 1/2 cup powdered sugar

3 small packages instant vanilla pudding

Crush Oreo cookies and set aside. In a bowl, cream butter, cream cheese and powdered sugar. In another bowl, mix milk, pudding and Cool Whip. Fold together mixture from both bowls. In a trifle bowl layer crushed cookies, then filling, then cookies, etc.

Top layer should be cookies. Chill at least 2 hours before serving.