A Stick-To-Your-Ribs Kind-Of Meal

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Autumn! The beginning of that wonderful time of year when hearty, stick-to-your-ribs soups and chowders slowly simmer on the stove, painting lacy patches of moisture on the kitchen windows and offering a warm, welcoming environment for cold, hungry visitors! Several days ago, the weather forecast called for the first chilly Sunday of the season, so I visited our local market and made sure I had all of the right ingredients on hand to create this splendidly delicious soup!

Hamburger Soup
Serves 12

Ingredients
:
2-1/2 pounds ground chuck or lean ground beef
1 large yellow onion, diced
2 stalks celery, diced
3 cloves garlic, minced
1 14-1/2 ounce can whole tomatoes
4 cups beef broth
1 yellow bell pepper, seeded and diced
1 green bell pepper, seeded and diced
1 red bell pepper, seeded and diced
3 carrots, peeled and sliced diagonally
5 large red potatoes, peeled and cut into chunks
4 tablespoons tomato paste
2 teaspoons salt
1/2 teaspoon black pepper
2 teaspoons dried parsley flakes
1/2 teaspoon ground oregano
shredded cheddar

Directions
:
In a large stock pot over medium-high heat, brown the meat with the onion, celery and garlic. Remove the pot from the heat and drain off and discard the liquid. Return the pot to the stove and add the rest of the ingredients. Stir and then bring to a boil. Reduce the heat to simmer and cover and cook for 20 more minutes until the potatoes are tender. Soup should be somewhat thick, but you can add more broth if you prefer.

Ladle into bowls and sprinkle with shredded cheddar. Serve with warm, crusty bread or rolls!
Food for Thought
FOOD FOR THOUGHT:

There is nothing more gratifying than being able to offer a warm welcome and a hearty meal to a cold and hungry visitor on a chilly day. In a similar way, as followers of Jesus Christ, we can do the same. When we plan ahead and take the time to prepare by spending time in worship and prayer, reading scripture, and following the leading of the Holy Spirit, we can be ready to offer spiritual nourishment to a cold and hungry world. When we open our arms and warmly “welcome them into our kitchen” (which is anywhere a divine appointment awaits) … we are honored to bless them with the love of God and, in answer to their needs, “feed them” warm and nutritious spoonfuls of His Truth! And when they depart, we will have no doubt the meal we’ve fed them is one that will “stick-to-their-ribs” … because “the word that goes forth out of my mouth shall not return unto me void, but it shall accomplish that which I please, and it shall prosper in the thing whereto I sent it.” Isaiah 55:11

— Cheri Henderson

Prepared in Advance!

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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
Serves 6

Ingredients:

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

Directions:

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.

Food for Thought
FOOD FOR THOUGHT:

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

Feeling a Little Fowl

turkey corn chowderI’ve never been one to only bake a turkey on Thanksgiving. In my opinion, turkey isn’t just for Thanksgiving anymore!  Anytime is a good time for my kitchen to be filled with the aroma of a baking turkey, sweet potatoes, and a green bean casserole! And the great thing about baking a turkey is the leftover turkey I can use in another one of my favorite dishes!

Turkey Corn Chowder
Serves 10

Ingredients:
4 slices bacon
1 cup chopped onion
4 cups cubed pared potato
¼ cup margarine
2-1/2 cups chicken broth
1 cup Half & Half
2 (10 oz) packages of frozen whole kernel corn – thawed
2-1/2 teaspoons salt
¼ teaspoon pepper
2 cups of milk
2 cups of cooked turkey in large chunks (if you don’t have the time to bake a turkey, you can use pre-cooked packages of diced chicken instead and the chowder will be just as delicious!)
2 tablespoons chopped parsley

In a 5-quart dutch oven, sauté bacon until crispy; remove and reserve. Sauté onions in bacon fat. Add the potatoes and chicken broth. Bring to a boil. Simmer, covered for 30 minutes or until the potatoes are tender, but not mushy. Meanwhile, in a saucepan, combine the corn, margarine, salt, pepper, turkey and milk. Simmer covered for 5 minutes, stirring occasionally. Add the corn mixture to the potato mixture, along with the Half & Half. Cook, stirring occasionally until hot. Do not boil. Sprinkle in crumbled bacon and parsley and serve!

Food for ThoughtFOOD FOR THOUGHT:
In the same way that turkey isn’t just for Thanksgiving anymore, thanksgiving is never just for Thanksgiving in the life of a believer!  The apostle Paul, a man who learned the meaning of true thanksgiving even in the midst of great adversity, said “Be thankful in all circumstances, for this is God’s will for you who belong to Christ Jesus.” (1 Thessalonians 5:18)  Here was a man, unjustly accused, imprisoned in chains, separated from his friends, and brutally treated. If ever a person had a right to complain, it was Paul. But instead of complaints, his lips sang words of praise and thanksgiving.

In spite of whatever circumstances we’re enduring, we still have much to be grateful for.  Our sins have been forgiven through Jesus’ death on the cross, we’ve been adopted as children of God, and we are unconditionally loved by the Father, the Maker of heaven and earth!

Oh, that men would give thanks to the LORD for His goodness, and for His wonderful works to the children of men! For He satisfies the longing soul, and fills the hungry soul with goodness.” (Psalm 107:8-9)

O give thanks unto the LORD, for he is good: for his mercy endureth forever! (Psalm 107:1)

“As you have therefore received Christ Jesus the Lord, so walk in Him, rooted and built up in Him and established in the faith, as you have been taught, abounding in it with thanksgiving.” (Colossians 2:6-7)

A spirit of thankfulness is an attitude that is independent of circumstances. We are called to give thanks to God even if our situation is bleak. Storms may rage in our lives, but God is good all the time, turning even the worst circumstances into blessings. In fact, some incredible things can happen in the midst of thankfulness!

“About midnight Paul and Silas were praying and singing hymns to God, and the other prisoners were listening to them. Suddenly there was such a violent earthquake that the foundations of the prison were shaken. At once all the prison doors flew open, and everyone’s chains came loose. The jailer woke up, and when he saw the prison doors open, he drew his sword and was about to kill himself because he thought the prisoners had escaped. But Paul shouted, “Don’t harm yourself! We are all here!” The jailer called for lights, rushed in and fell trembling before Paul and Silas. He then brought them out and asked, “Sirs, what must I do to be saved?” They replied, “Believe in the Lord Jesus, and you will be saved—you and your household.” Then they spoke the word of the Lord to him and to all the others in his house. At that hour of the night the jailer took them and washed their wounds; then immediately he and all his household were baptized. The jailer brought them into his house and set a meal before them; he was filled with joy because he had come to believe in God—he and his whole household. (Acts 16:25-32)

So if you’re having a “fowl” day, count it all joy . . . and give thanks!

– Cheri Henderson