Friday, August 5, 2016

Dinner and Service, not necessarily in that order

Philippians 2:1-11 

So if there is any encouragement in Christ, any comfort from love, any participation in the Spirit, any affection and sympathy, complete my joy by being of the same mind, having the same love, being in full accord and of one mind. Do nothing from rivalry or conceit, but in humility count others more significant than yourselves. Let each of you look not only to his own interests, but also to the interests of others. Have this mind among yourselves, which is yours in Christ Jesus, ...

This past week was a busy one for our youngest (and I'm sure for our oldest too, as she is serving as a counselor at Camp Berea  this summer).

Some members of the youth group, including our youngest, served members of the church that had some larger projects.  Scraping, painting, washing windows, things where help was needed, and you know the saying:  "many hands..."  They also met together, had a devotional time, and shopped for and cooked their meals.

So while they cooked their meals the first three days of the week, I offered to cook a meal for the team one evening.  In talking with Mary, she told me how when they were trying to think of a menu for the week, she mentioned chicken broccoli Alfredo, and everyone said yum!  (That is a loose quote.  They were excited about that option, anyway.)  But because they weren't sure of the pans, utensils, etc. that were available in the church kitchen, I thought I could make that at home and take it to them.

I am proud of this group of teens who have set aside a week for getting up early, going and doing jobs that aren't necessarily "fun," but are important, and taking on a heart for serving those with needs and working together with their peers to get the job(s) done.  I thought the least we could do was to serve them in some small way.  My husband helped tremendously by doing the shopping while I was at work.  (Thanks Charlie!!!) And some of the team helped in the kitchen with preparing the meal.  (Great job team!!!)

We made a gluten free version, as some in the group are highly sensitive to gluten, and since I don't usually follow a recipe closely for this particular dish, here is a brief snapshot of the ingredients and process.

The basic ingredients are:
pasta (gluten free for this version)
half and half
Parmesan cheese (we will grate our own to avoid any fillers)
butter (because...butter!)
minced garlic
boneless chicken

My process:

Cut up the chicken into small pieces - I used four pieces of boneless skinless chicken breast -
cook the chicken in some butter (or oil if you prefer) with some salt and pepper, until it is cooked through.  The timing will depend on the size of the pieces you have, but really takes only a few minutes.

In a large pot, bring water to a boil, add salt, and then add the pasta, adding the broccoli for the last 4-5 minutes of cooking time, until tender.  Drain and return to the pot.

Then, while your pasta is cooking...

And, if like me, you have a limited number of skillets (or more truthfully you don't like doing dishes), take the chicken out of the skillet and put on a plate for now, and using any drippings in the pan, add a little more butter (or oil), and two or three teaspoons of minced garlic (two or three cloves), and cook for a few seconds, then add your half and half.  (Here is where I really never measure, so some recipes will say about two cups of cream, if you need a measurement.)

Now since we are doing gluten free, we did not add any flour to thicken the sauce.  You could mix some corn starch with water and add to the cream to help thicken, but heating the cream and garlic for a few minutes (without boiling) will thicken it some.  After it has cooked and thickened slightly, check the seasoning, adding salt and pepper if needed, and grate in some nutmeg as well.  Then add your cheese.  (You don't need a measurement for this, do you?  I mean, is there really such a thing as too much cheese?)

Once the cheese is melted into the sauce, pour the sauce over your cooked pasta and broccoli, stirring to coat.  Then add in your cooked chicken, and mix and stir over medium low heat, until everything is combined and nice and hot!

And if you haven't started already, dish it up and enjoy! Yes, we kept it pretty informal...

You can serve this with a salad, or some fruit, but you have your starch, protein and veggies all in one dish! 

I didn't get many pictures while we were cooking, because, well, we were cooking!  But there were no leftovers, and the table was pretty quiet while they were eating, so I think they liked it! :) 

And a big thank you to Mrs. Reynolds who helped with the cleanup in the kitchen!!!

Colossians 3:23-24 Whatever you do, work heartily, as for the Lord and not for men, knowing that from the Lord you will receive the inheritance as your reward. You are serving the Lord Christ.

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