Baked chicken, spinach, and mushrooms … edible enough on their own .. but taken to a whole other level in this recipe with a covering of herbed cream cheese and melted mozzarella! The covering makes all the difference!
1 container of green onion cream cheese
1/4 cup olive oil
1/2 cup chicken broth
1 Large package of sliced mushrooms
1 small bag fresh baby spinach
Sprinkle of herb & garlic seasoning (Mrs. Dash or Weber or similar)
Sprinkle of pepper
8 oz shredded mozzarella cheese
In a 9×13 baking dish, lay the chicken out in a single layer, top with spinach and mushrooms. Sprinkle the seasonings over the top. Soften cream cheese and whisk in olive oil and chicken broth. Pour over mixture. Lay a piece of foil over the top, but do not seal. Bake at 375 degrees for 20 minutes. Remove foil and bake uncovered for another 20-25 minutes, then sprinkle mozzarella cheese on top and bake uncovered for another 10 minutes or until starting to brown. Let cool for 10 minutes and serve with a side salad and perhaps some buttered garlic bread!
The covering makes all the difference. Praying you are abundantly blessed!
FOOD FOR THOUGHT
That’s it in a taco shell, kiddos! Not only are these the ingredients that will help you recognize other Christians and be able to truly call yourself a Christian … it’s the complete recipe for eternal life!
A fried egg is good all by itself, but when it’s presented as an “egg in a basket”, seasoned with salt and pepper, layered with white cheddar slices, crisp bacon, sliced avocado, and surrounded with fresh sourdough bread, it’s fantastic!
Egg in a Basket Sandwich
4 slices of bacon
4 sourdough bread slices
3 tablespoons of butter
2 slices of white cheddar cheese
1 avocado, sliced into 1/4-1/2″ slices
salt & pepper
Fry the bacon until crisp. Set aside on a paper towel. Using a small round cookie cutter, cut a hole out of the center of 2 of the slices. (Toss the centers out into your yard for your bird friends or, if you want, eat them later as a mini sandwich of some sort.) Spread all 4 bread slices with mayonnaise.
Over medium heat, melt the butter in a medium-sized frying pan. Place the bread slices with the cutouts into the pan and crack an egg into each opening. Sprinkle with salt & pepper. Add more butter to the pan if necessary. After the eggs have set up, lay a slice of white cheddar on each, followed by 2 slices of bacon, the avocado slices, and top with the other bread slice. Using a spatula, carefully flip the sandwiches and brown the other side.
Remove and serve! Delicious for breakfast with a side of sliced fresh fruit or for lunch or dinner with a cup of your favorite soup!
FOOD FOR THOUGHT
Granted, this wasn’t the easiest sandwich to prepare, but it was done with patience and love, knowing the one to whom I presented it would be blessed by it. As followers of Jesus Christ, it’s similar to how we can present the gospel to someone who doesn’t know it, believe it, or accept it. We can quickly throw out the “plan of salvation” scriptures to someone and hope he or she “gets it”, or we can patiently and lovingly nurture the relationship and take the time to deliver the Truth of Jesus, seasoned with salt, in a way that will bless and change his or her life for eternity. Feed the ones well that God places in your path. They are hungry and they need to be lovingly, patiently and fully fed … by you. “Let your speech be always with grace, seasoned with salt, that ye may know how ye ought to answer every man.” (Colossians 4:6)
I LOVE any recipe that calls for garlic (and I’m sure many who have crossed my path at one time or another have come to a quick realization of that fact!) Not only is garlic a delicious addition to many recipes, it is good for you! Garlic contains vitamins C and B6, manganese, selenium and other antioxidants. Recent evidence-based research also suggests garlic may be effective against high blood pressure, cardiovascular disease, cholesterol, colds and some cancers.
Today would have been my father’s 90th birthday. Four years ago on December 23, 2013, my father’s spirit left this planet to be joined face-to-face with the One he loved and for whom he lived, his Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ.
Are birthdays celebrated in heaven? I don’t know; but I do know this! Of all the gifts Dad ever received on his birthday, there are none that compare to what he is experiencing today. Talk about a celebration! “Praise him in his mighty heavens! Praise him for his mighty deeds; praise him according to his excellent greatness! Praise him with trumpet sound; praise him with lute and harp! Praise him with tambourine and dance; praise him with strings and pipe! Praise him with sounding cymbals; praise him with loud clashing cymbals!” (Psalm 150:1-6)
Dad may not be physically here, but his spirit lives on . . . and there’s nothing preventing me from joining with him in the celebration! I can almost hear the music! “The Lord is my strength and my defense; he has become my salvation. He is my God, and I will praise him, my father’s God, and I will exalt him!” (Exodus 15:2)
In honor of my father, I want to share the recipe of one of his favorite birthday desserts! Without fail on his special day, Dad could always count on receiving a slice or two of this delicacy from one of his children and he relished every bite. So, here’s to you, Dad! I’ll eat a piece for you!
1-1/3 cups white whole wheat flour or whole wheat pastry flour
1 cup sugar
1-1/2 teaspoons baking soda
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
½ teaspoon ground cloves
½ teaspoon ground allspice
½ teaspoon nutmeg, freshly grated or ground
½ teaspoon salt
2/3 cup canola oil
3 large eggs
2 cups carrots, finely grated
1 cup walnuts, finely chopped or ground
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Spray a 9-inch springform pan with cooking spray. Line the bottom of the pan with parchment paper. In a large bowl, combine the dry ingredients (flour through salt) with a whisk. Add oil and eggs and stir together with a spatula. Stir in carrots and nuts. Scrape the batter into the prepared pan. Bake for 30-35 minutes or until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean. Let cool in pan on rack for 10 minutes. Slide a knife around the cake to detach it from the pan. Release the cake from the pan, invert and peel off parchment paper. Let cool right-side-up on rack. Frost with light cream cheese icing, if desired.
Light cream cheese icing:
6 oz. 33% less fat cream cheese, at room temperature
¼ cup sifted powdered sugar
½ teaspoon vanilla extract
Using hand mixer or wooden spoon, whip until creamy.
Store iced cake in the refrigerator.
As I reminisce about my father’s earthly birthday celebrations, I have to smile. Dad was famous for taking forever to open a gift! When he was handed a brightly wrapped package, he’d set the gift on his lap and study it, grinning. Then he might hold the gift up to the light, softly shake it, or run his hands over it, feeling for any unusual bumps or edges. Surrounded by an audience of expectant family members, he would then begin the process of slowly, excruciatingly removing each piece of scotch tape . . . being ever so careful not to rip or mar the wrapping paper in any way. When the last piece of tape was finally removed, he would slowly lift up one corner of the wrapping paper, peak inside . . . and look up at his audience with another grin. Finally, he’d reveal the gift much to our delight . . . and relief!
Dad took great pleasure in the joy of opening a gift. There was no rush to “get on with it”, but rather, he did all he could to savor, prolong, and enjoy the moment. In a similar way, we are surrounded by gifts to be savored and enjoyed that have been created by our heavenly Father for our pleasure. Think about it. Many of the things we see and hear are gifts to us, products of God’s wonderful creative hand. As small as a tiny flower or as grand as a mountain, as lovely as the song of a bird or the sound of a soft summer rain, His gifts are there, waiting to be seen and appreciated and to speak to us in individual, God-designed ways. But, too often we move through life with blinders on, flying along at warp speed, trying to complete all of our many tasks, rushing through our days so quickly we don’t think about creation or our Creator, let alone sit back, relish and enjoy his gifts . . . and Him.
Psalm 71:8 says: “Just as each day brims with your beauty, my mouth brims with praise.”
So take a lesson from my Dad. Slow down. Savor the moment. And truly enjoy “opening the gifts” God has given you. He’ll watch with pleasure.
— Cheri Henderson
Do you remember when you were a child, the joy of waking up the day after Christmas, knowing you were “free” for several days, and the anticipation of playing with all of your new Christmas toys and how exciting that was? That would be me … today! Santa Baby gave me the Pioneer Woman cookware, cookbook and crockpot and I’m beyond happy … and ready to do some cooking! After the newness wears off, I hope my excitement and joy over this wonderful gift remains the same! Kind of like the gift of eternal salvation I received from Jesus. Is it still exciting? Is my joy as great as it was when I first received His gift? Am I still as motivated to share His gospel with others as I once was?
A temporary loss of joy or zeal can happen in every Christian’s life at one time or another. Sometimes it’s our own fault because maybe we’ve stepped away from our daily conversations with the Lord or reading His Word … or perhaps we’ve succumbed to temptation and fallen into sin. Sometimes it is because we’re facing unpleasant, burdensome circumstances that are weighing us down and stealing our joy. Whatever the cause, the most important thing to realize is we don’t have to remain that way. And it’s important that we don’t!
His Word so clearly, firmly, but lovingly teaches us His thoughts about this and how we should respond.
But I have this [charge] against you, that you have left your first love [you have lost the depth of love that you first had for Me]. So remember the heights from which you have fallen, and repent [change your inner self—your old way of thinking, your sinful behavior—seek God’s will] and do the works you did at first [when you first knew Me]. (Revelation 2:4-5 Amp)
So then, since we have a great High Priest who has entered heaven, Jesus the Son of God, let us hold firmly to what we believe. This High Priest of ours understands our weaknesses, for he faced all of the same testings we do, yet he did not sin. So let us come boldly to the throne of our gracious God. There we will receive his mercy, and we will find grace to help us when we need it most. (Hebrews 4:14-16)
Restore to me the joy of Your salvation and sustain me with a willing spirit. Then I will teach transgressors Your ways,and sinners shall be converted and return to You. (Psalm 51:12-13)
Always be full of joy in the Lord! Again, I say rejoice! (Philippians 4:4)
“For behold, I bring you good news of great joy that will be for all the people: Today in the City of David a Savior has been born to you. He is Christ the Lord! (Luke 2:10-11) For God so [greatly] loved and dearly prized the world, that He [even] gave His [One and] only begotten Son, so that whoever believes and trusts in Him [as Savior] shall not perish, but have eternal life. (John 3:16 Amp) And His name will be called Wonderful, Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace. (Isaiah 9:6)
I wish each and every one of you a very Merry, Joy-Filled Christmas that lasts all year long!
Here’s a delicious, new recipe I prepared night-before-last, so I could just put it in the crock pot and turn it on before leaving for work yesterday morning! Sometimes it takes a little advance preparation to be able to fully satisfy the hungry ones you’ll be feeding the next day, doesn’t it?
Red Beans, Chicken and Sweet Potato Stew
2 15 – ounce can no-salt-added red beans, rinsed and drained
4 cups peeled, cubed sweet potatoes (about 1 pound)
8 ounces boneless chicken breasts, cut into bite-size pieces
8 ounces boneless chicken thighs, cut into bite-size pieces
2 14 1/2 – ounce can reduced-sodium chicken broth
2 1/2 cups chopped green sweet peppers (2 large)
1 14 1/2 – ounce can no-salt-added diced tomatoes, undrained
1 10 – ounce can tomatoes and chopped green chiles, undrained
1 tablespoon Cajun seasoning
2 cloves garlic, minced
1/4 cup creamy peanut butter
Sour cream to taste if desired
In a 5- to 6-quart slow cooker combine beans, sweet potatoes, chicken, broth, sweet peppers, diced tomatoes, tomatoes and green chiles, Cajun seasoning, and garlic. Cover and cook on low-heat setting for 10 to 12 hours or on high-heat setting for 5 to 6 hours. Remove 1 cup hot liquid from cooker. Whisk in peanut butter. Stir into mixture in cooker. Add sour cream to individual serving if desired.
Sometimes it takes a little advance preparation to be able to fully satisfy the hungry ones you’ll be encountering the next day … and as followers of Jesus Christ, that same concept applies on a spiritual level. Will you be prepared to “feed” someone who God might put in your path tomorrow? “All Scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness, that the man of God may be complete, thoroughly equipped for every good work.” 2 Timothy 3:16-17 “But in your hearts set apart Christ as Lord. Always be prepared to give an answer to everyone who asks you to give the reason for the hope that you have.” 1 Peter 3:15-16
Prepare in advance: Pray, study the Word, and spend time in the presence of the Lord. You might need to feed someone tomorrow!
— Cheri Henderson
Another Henderson recipe favorite is Chicken Cacciatore! Did you know that Cacciatore means “hunter” in Italian? In cuisine, alla cacciatora refers to a meal prepared “hunter-style” with onions, herbs, usually tomatoes, and sometimes wine. So what do you say? Let’s go hunt us some chicken and make up a batch!
Crockpot Chicken Cacciatore
2-4 pounds chicken (breasts or thighs, skinned and boneless)
1 28-ounce can plum tomatoes, chopped
5 cloves of garlic, minced
1/2 cup dry white wine or broth
2 tablespoons capers
20 pitted Kalamata olives, chopped coarsely
1 bunch fresh parsley or basil, stemmed and coarsely chopped
Kosher salt and pepper
Cooked angel hair pasta
Place sliced onion in the crockpot and cover with chicken. In a bowl, stir tomatoes, salt, pepper, garlic, and white wine together. Pour over chicken. Cover and cook on low for 5-6 hours or on high for 3-4 hours, or until chicken is tender. Stir in capers, olives and herbs just before serving. Serve over cooked pasta.
Sprinkle with parmesan cheese and enjoy!
FOOD FOR THOUGHT
Just like a “chicken hunter” goes after the main ingredient to create a wonderfully nutritious and appealing meal, so too, as followers of Jesus Christ, we are to be “soul hunters”, going after the lost ones so they can give their hearts to Jesus, experience new life, and become part of a spiritually nurturing, beautiful Body of Christ! And Jesus said unto them, “Go everywhere and announce the good news of Jesus Christ to every living person you meet. He who believes [in Me] and is baptized will be saved [from the penalty of God’s wrath and judgment]; but he who does not believe that I died in their place as the penalty for their sins and rose from the dead so that they, too, could do the same, will be condemned to an eternity of isolation, darkness, burning wind, and flames of unquenchable fire“. (Mark 16:15-16)
“I love them too much to see this happen! So get busy! Go hunting … and bring them to Me!”
— Cheri Henderson
There isn’t a meal more gratifying than this one … particularly if you are a Reuben Sandwich lover! Mix it all together, let it slow cook, and voila! It’s equally as good, if not better than the sandwich model! Granted, it may be a different presentation, but when all the ingredients are there, the taste is just as exquisite!
Crockpot Reuben Casserole
1 can (16 ounces) undrained sauerkraut
1-1/2 pound corned beef (raw), with the fat removed and set aside, and the beef cut into thin strips
2 cups Swiss cheese, shredded
1/2 cup Thousand Island dressing
1/4 cup mayonnaise
2 fresh tomatoes, sliced
2 tablespoons of melted butter
1 cup soft rye or pumpernickel bread crumbs
Place sauerkraut in the bottom of a slow cooker. Top with a layer of beef and sprinkle with half of the seasoning packet that came with the corned beef. Top with the shredded cheese. Combine the mayonnaise and thousand island together in a small bowl and then spread over the cheese. Top with tomato slices. Cut the fat into slices and lay in various spots on top of the tomatoes. Cook on low for 6 hours. Remove and discard the fat strips. Sauté bread crumbs in butter and sprinkle on casserole before serving. Great served with mashed taters or macaroni and cheese!
Just like the Reuben Casserole is a different presentation, the taste is just as exquisite because all the ingredients are there … from a spiritual perspective, so too are our testimonies! When we share the Gospel, the Good News of Jesus Christ, the life, death, burial, and resurrection of Jesus are the ingredients of the gospel. And your unique story, your testimony is the presentation! Each of us has a different story of how Jesus saved us, but the gospel “ingredients” are always the same. “For God so [greatly] loved and dearly prized the world, that He [even] gave His [One and] only begotten Son, so that whoever believes and trusts in Him [as Savior] shall not perish, but have eternal life.” John 3:16 Amplified
Your story is all yours, and when it’s combined with the ingredients of the Gospel of Jesus Christ, the outcome will be exquisite! So share it! Often!
— Cheri Henderson