Tiarra Black
Tiarra Black
Neshoba County's 2014 Distinguished Young Woman is in Meridian this week competing for the coveted state title.

Tiarra Keylee Black left Sunday for the program, formerly known as Junior Miss, where she will compete with 32 other young ladies starting on Thursday.

The 57th annual program will be Thursday through Saturday in the Temple Theater. The preliminary competition will be Thursday and Friday at 7:30 p.m. 

The final night of competition will be Saturday with the curtain rising at 8 p.m. One talented young woman will walk away with the title of Distinguished Young Women of Mississippi for 2014 and a $10,000 cash scholarship to use at the college or university of her choice. In total, the Mississippi Junior Miss program will award over $42,000 in cash scholarships during the three nights of competition.

Tiarra is the daughter of Tina and Jowaski Black.

She will stay in the home of Jill and Health Gilmore of Meridian during the pageant. Her roommate is Kaci Bryan of Taylorsville.

Tiarra will do a dance/gymnastics routine for her talent competition. Her song selection is "All About Me" by Chelsea Staub.

The busy teen worked hard on her talent presentation prior to leaving for Meridian. She also prepared well for her interview.

"I think winning the local program helped me prepare myself better mentally," she said. "It raised by self esteem and made me more confident."

When her name was called as Neshoba County's Young Woman, Tiarra found herself in a state of shock.

"I couldn't believe it," she said. "Several of my friends was screaming 'go Tiarra' when I was doing my talent presentation."

Here parents were equally excited.

The oldest of four children, Tiarra loves to tumble and have a great time with her family. When she was only 11 years old she knew that one day she wanted to be an attorney. Since then, she has worked hard to be the at top of her class. She plans to attend the University of Mississippi after graduating from Philadelphia High School in 2014.

In her free time, Tiarra also likes to hang out with her friends. She also enjoys preparing sweets.

She started out by baking brownies and chess squares. She is now trying to master caramel icing!

Tiarra likes shrimp scampi but admitted that "home cooked" meals were her favorite.

She has shared several of her favorite recipes.



QUICK AND EASY SHRIMP

Melt a stick of butter in a pan.

Slice one lemon and layer it on top of butter.

Put on top of fresh shrimp.

Sprinkle one package of dried Italian dressing on the shrimp.

Put in oven and bake at 350 degrees for 15 minutes.



SHRIMP AND GRITS

4 cups of chicken broth

1 teaspoon salt

1 cup quick cooking grits

2 tablespoons margarine

1 bunch green onion, chopped

1 green bell pepper, diced

2 cloves garlic, minced

1 pound peeled and deveined small shrimp

1 cup shredded Monterey Jack cheese

3/4 cup shredded sharp cheddar cheese

10-ounce can diced tomatoes and green chilies

1/2 teaspoon black pepper

1/4 cup shredded sharp cheddar cheese

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Grease a 9x12 inch baking dish. Bring chicken broth and salt to a boil in a large saucepan over high heat.

Stir in the grits, return to a simmer, then reduce heat to medium-low and continue cooking for 20 minutes, stirring frequently.

Meanwhile, melt the margarine in a skillet over medium heat.

Stir in the green onions, green peppers and garlic.

Cook until the peppers have softened about five minutes.

Add the shrimp, and cook until they begin to firm.

Stir the Monterey Jack cheese, 3/4 cup cheddar cheese, shrimp and vegetables, canned tomatoes and black pepper into the grits.

Pour into prepared dish and sprinkle with remaining 1/4 cup cheddar cheese.

Bake in preheated oven until the cheese is bubbly and beginning to brown, 30 to 35 minutes.



BANANA SPLIT CAKE

2 cups graham cracker crumbs

3/4 cup white sugar

1/3 pound butter, melted

2 8-ounce packages cream cheese

1 1/2 cups confectioners sugar

4 bananas, sliced

15-ounce can crushed pineapple, drained

16-ounce container frozen whipped topping, thawed

16-ounce jar maraschino cherries, drained

12 ounces crushed peanuts

Combine the graham cracker crumbs, white sugar and melted butter.

Mix together and press into a 9x13 inch cake pan.

Refrigerate until chilled.

Beat together the cream cheese and confectioners sugar.

Spread over graham cracker crust.

Layer bananas and pineapple over cream cheese mixture.

Cover fruit with whipped topping.

Top with cherries and chopped nuts. Refrigerate and serve chilled.



LEMON GARLIC PEPPER WINGS

2 pounds chicken wings

1/2 cup lemon juice

1 whole garlic clove (4 slices)

2 tablespoons salt

1 tablespoon pepper

1/4 cup vegetable oil

Place wings in bowl and pour lemon juice, garlic and pepper on top.

Sprinkle with salt and add oil. Stir.

Marinate for two hours at room temperature, stirring occasionally to keep coated.

Wings may be barbecued or placed in saucepan and baked 20 to 30 minutes, basting occasionally.



NO BAKE YUMMY STRAWBERRY

CHEESECAKE

1 Keebler graham cracker crust

8-ounce tub Cool White

8-ounce Philadelphia Cream Cheese

1/2 cup sugar

Mix softened cream cheese and sugar in medium bowl until fluffy. Fold in Cool White.

Pour onto crust and garnish with fresh strawberries or strawberry topping. Refrigerate for one hour.



Topping

1 pint strawberries, fresh or one can pre-made strawberry topping