Warning! Garlic Ahead!

27331832_10214656203417048_5096134799804782722_nI 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. 

 
As we all know, however, along with the benefits of garlic, comes a lingering odor some people find offensive.  That’s because when minced or crushed garlic is ingested, it releases volatile sulfur compounds that can offend those with a sensitive sense of smell. The potent compounds are absorbed into the bloodstream and then become vaporized while going through the lungs. Furthermore, the garlic aroma is not limited to your breath; it is also excreted through your pores and is a lingering “fragrance” that can last for twenty-four hours or more after consumption. And if you eat it on a regular basis, you’ll like earn a reputation and notice some people purposefully dodging you because of the offensive fragrance that consistently emanates from you.  Still, it’s SO worth it!  And this recipe, in particular!
Chicken & Bacon Pasta in Garlic Cream Sauce
Serves 4
Ingredients
6 bacon strips, cooked, drained, and crumbled
2 tbsp olive oil
1 lb boneless, skinless chicken breasts
1 tsp paprika
1 tsp Italian seasoning
 2 14.5 oz. diced tomatoes (drained)
7 oz. diced tomatoes with green chiles
3 cups of fresh spinach, chopped
5 garlic cloves, minced
1-1/3 cups Half & Half
1-1/3 cups Parmesan cheese, shredded
1 tsp. salt
10 oz. penne rigate
1/2 cup Parmesan cheese, grated, for serving
Directions:
In a small skillet, fry the bacon, drain, and crumble. Set aside on a paper towel,
In a separate, large skillet, heat olive oil on high heat until hot. Keeping the burner at high heat, add chicken breasts, sprinkle with paprika and italian seasoning, and cook on one side for 1 minute. Flip the chicken over and cook on the other side for 1 minute. Remove chicken and slice into thin strips. Reduce the heat to medium and place back into the pan for several minutes until no longer pink in the center. Remove 2/3 of the chicken from the pan and keep warm.
Add tomatoes, spinach, garlic, and half of the bacon and mix together. Add half & half and bring to a boil. After the half & half starts boiling, add grated Parmesan and immediately reduce to simmer and stir for 1-2 minutes (no more than 2 minutes) until the cheese melts and the sauce is creamy. Then immediately remove from heat. 
Add the salt, stir in the pasta, the remaining bacon and strips of chicken. Sprinkle with grated Parmesan and serve with a fresh, green salad! Wonderfully delicious!
 
Food for ThoughtFOOD FOR THOUGHT:
In a similar way, the reactions received by others to a consistent consumption of garlic is a good analogy for what we, as followers of Jesus Christ, will experience when we continually spend time in His presence, read His Word, worship, honor and live for Him. As we daily “taste and see that the Lord is good”, we will be filled with His presence and have the unmistakable “scent” of Christ.  2 Corinthians 2:14-16 says “Now thanks be to God who always leads us in triumph in Christ, and through us diffuses the fragrance of His knowledge in every place. For we are to God the fragrance of Christ among those who are being saved and among those who are perishing. To the one we are the aroma of death leading to death, and to the other the aroma of life leading to life. The Message Bible quotes that verse this way: “In the Messiah, in Christ, God leads us from place to place in one perpetual victory parade. Through us, he brings knowledge of Christ. Everywhere we go, people breathe in the exquisite fragrance. Because of Christ, we give off a sweet scent rising to God, which is recognized by those on the way of salvation—an aroma rich with life. But those on the way to destruction treat us more like the stench from a rotting corpse.” 
 
I LOVE Jesus! He is the Giver of Life and He is so very Good! I pray I am consistently emanating the exquisite fragrance of Jesus to everyone I encounter … and that the aroma is pleasing to you. If it isn’t, it can be! Taste and see, my friends!
 
-Cheri Henderson
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A Different Presentation, But Just As Yummy!

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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
Serves 4


Ingredients
:
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

Directions:
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!

Food for ThoughtFOOD FOR THOUGHT

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

A Birthday Blessing for my Husband

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A couple of weeks ago, my sweet husband celebrated a banner birthday, and so for each evening of his “Birthday Week”, I decided to prepare one of his favorite meals. This recipe was the first one I made for him because it is one of his very favorites! He was very pleased!

Parmesan Turkey & Rice Bake
Serves 4-6

Ingredients:
4 cups chopped cooked turkey (or chicken)
4 cups chopped celery
2 cups mayonnaise
2 cups cooked rice
1 cup shredded Parmesan cheese
4 tablespoons finely chopped onion
4 tablespoons lemon juice
1 teaspoon salt
1 cup slivered almonds

Directions:

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. In large bowl, combine turkey, celery, mayonnaise, rice, cheese, onion, lemon juice and salt. Spoon mixture into greased 9″ x 13″ pan. Top with almonds. Bake 30-40 minutes or until heated through. Great served with sliced tomatoes or a garden salad!

Food for ThoughtInstead of sharing a “Food for Thought” devotional this time, I just want to take a moment to honor my husband, and to say how VERY glad I am that he was born!!! He is such a blessing in my life and his birthday truly is MY gift! And so, this a blessing I want to speak over him for the rest of his days:

“The Lord continue to bless you and keep you; the Lord continue to make his face shine upon you and be gracious unto you; the Lord continue to turn his face toward you and give you peace!”

My partner, my love … he is so much a part of me that it’s impossible to imagine what my life would have been without him. Thank you, Lord, for the precious gift of my husband! Happy Birthday, my sweet Timothy! The adventure continues and I’m looking forward to all that is ahead! I love you so much!

–Cheri Henderson

Say “Cheese” & Smile!

12733604_10208068439047056_7696966460834834525_nOkay; I admit it. I am quite the cheese lover!

Whether alone, breaded and fried, included within or melted over an entrée … it is a great pleasure to my palate! Macaroni and cheese, ham and cheese, grilled cheese, pepperoni and cheese, cheesy mets, etc., etc.  Yummo!!!

In that regard, the following recipe is one of my very favorites!

Cheesy Chicken Spaghetti
(Serves: 8)

Ingredients:
2 cups boneless, skinless chicken breast
3 cups dry spaghetti, broken onto two-inch pieces
2 cans cream of mushroom soup
2 cups grated sharp cheddar cheese
1/4 cup finely diced green pepper
1/4 cup finely diced onion
1 jar (4 ounces) diced pimentos, drained
2 cups reserved chicken broth from the pot that cooked the chicken
1 teaspoon seasoned salt
1/8 teaspoon cayenne pepper
Salt & pepper, to taste
1 cup additional grated sharp cheddar cheese

Directions:
Cook two to three boneless, skinless chicken breasts in a pot of boiling water for 15 minutes. Cut the cooked breasts into ½ inch pieces to make two cups. Cook the spaghetti in the same chicken broth until al dente. Do not overcook. When the spaghetti is cooked, combine it with the 2 cups of chicken breasts and the remaining ingredients, except the one cup of additional sharp cheddar.

Place the mixture in a casserole pan and top with the remaining sharp cheddar. You can cover and freeze it for up to six months, cover and refrigerate for up to two days, or bake it immediately at 350 degrees for 45 minutes until bubbly. (If the cheese on the top starts to brown, cover it with foil).

Then say “cheese”, smile, and enjoy this scrumptious dish!

Food for ThoughtFOOD FOR THOUGHT

As you probably know, photographers for years have instructed their subjects to say “cheese” right before the picture is taken. Why? Because speaking the word “cheese” causes the corners of the mouth to turn up, cheeks to lift and teeth to show, giving the appearance of a smile whether genuine or not.

There’s also another word that, when said, can bring a real smile to our lips and genuine joy to our hearts. It is THE Word … the first Word, the only Word, the final Word … the Word that became flesh and dwelt among us, the Word that has existed from the beginning, was with God, and was God. The Word is Jesus!  There is something about that Name!  And as we speak His Name, recognizing the power that’s in it and all that it provides, how can we not smile?

Eternal Salvation!

  • Neither is there salvation in any other: for there is no other name under heaven given among men, whereby we must be saved.  – Acts 4:12 (KJV)
  • Wherefore God also hath highly exalted him, and given him a name which is above every name: That at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, of things in heaven, and things in earth, and things under the earth; And that every tongue should confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father. – Philippians 2:9-11 (KJV)

Strength, Healing, Deliverance, Restoration & Protection!

  • By faith in the name of Jesus, this man whom you see and know was made strong. It is Jesus’ name and the faith that comes through him that has completely healed him, as you can all see. Acts 3:16 (NIV)
  • And these signs shall follow them that believe; in my name shall they cast out devils; they shall speak with new tongues; they shall take up serpents; and if they drink any deadly thing, it shall not hurt them; they shall lay hands on the sick, and they shall recover. – Mark 16:17-18 (KJV)
  • And she did this for many days. Then Paul, being sorely annoyed and worn out, turned and said to the spirit within her, I charge you in the name of Jesus Christ to come out of her! And it came out that very moment. – Acts 16:18 (AMP)
  • The name of the Lord is a strong tower: the righteous runneth into it, and are safe. – Proverbs 18:10 (KJV)

Answered Prayer & Complete Joy!

  • Very truly I tell you, my Father will give you whatever you ask in my name. Until now you have not asked for anything in my name. Ask and you will receive, and your joy will be complete.– John 16:23-24 (NIV)

As believers in Jesus Christ, we have a lot to smile about, don’t we!

So say His Name … smile, and have a joy-filled day!

–Cheri Henderson

Ham It Up!

Ham, Taters & Cheese Casserole

It was the Saturday after Thanksgiving, a chilly, rainy day with no scheduled events or plans (other than to kick back on the couch and watch my beloved Ohio State Buckeyes take on Xichigan!) It was a couple hours before kick-off and, still dressed in my nightgown and robe, I opened the fridge to consider what might be a good lunch option. The entire second shelf was still filled to capacity with ham … ham, ham, ham! Ham on the shank that still needed to be removed and another container, two-thirds full of thick ham slices, left over from our family Thanksgiving meal on Thursday. Friday’s lunch, of course, had consisted of a delicious ham sandwich, but the thought of ham sandwiches again on Saturday just wasn’t an appealing thought. And then I remembered a wonderful recipe that would fit the bill and be a perfect meal for a chilly, rainy day!

Ham, Taters & Cheese Casserole
(Serves: 4-6)

Ingredients:

  • 2 cups cubed peeled potatoes
  • 1 large carrot, sliced
  • 2 celery ribs, chopped
  • 3 cups water
  • 2 cups cubed fully cooked ham
  • 2 tablespoons chopped green pepper
  • 2 teaspoons finely chopped onion
  • 7 tablespoons butter, divided
  • 3 tablespoons all-purpose flour
  • 1-1/2 cups milk
  • 3/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/8 teaspoon pepper
  • 1 cup (4 ounces) shredded cheddar cheese
  • 1/2 cup soft bread crumbs

Directions:

  1. In a saucepan, bring the potatoes, carrot, celery and water to a boil. Reduce heat; cover and cook about 15 minutes or until tender. Drain.
  2. In a large skillet, saute the ham, green pepper and onion in 3 tablespoons butter until tender. Add to the potato mixture. Transfer to a greased 1-1/2-qt. baking dish.
  3. In a large saucepan, melt the remaining butter; stir in flour until smooth. Gradually add the milk, salt and pepper. Bring to a boil; cook and stir for 2 minutes or until thickened. Reduce heat; add cheese and stir until melted.
  4. Pour over the ham mixture. Sprinkle with bread crumbs. Bake, uncovered, at 375° for 25-30 minutes or until heated through.

My husband and I were able to fill our plates and enjoy this hearty, delicious meal as we watched Ohio State beat Xichigan! What a perfectly wonderful afternoon to “ham it up”!

Food for Thought
FOOD FOR THOUGHT

The phrase “ham it up” evokes thoughts of funny silliness and laughter, doesn’t it? And this particular “ham it up” moment definitely brought a smile to our faces and joy to our tummies because it was centered around some great food! But there is a source of joy … a fullness of joy … that is available to us all day long, year after year and into eternity! The One Who created us wants us to laugh, to be joyful, and to have a merry heart! His Word says so!

“God has made laughter for me.” Genesis 21:6

“A joyful heart is good medicine.” Proverbs 17:22

“A glad heart makes a cheerful face.” Proverbs 15:13

“You have put more joy in my heart than they have when their grain and wine abound.” Psalm 4:7

And why?

“Our mouths are filled with laughter, and our tongue with shouts of joy … because the Lord has done great things for us.” Psalm 126:2

“You make known to me the path of life; in your presence there is fullness of joy; at your right hand are pleasures forevermore.” Psalm 16:11

I pray today and the rest of your life are filled with the laughter and joy that can only come from Him!

–Cheri Henderson