Bless Your Spoon: Food’s a great way to show you care
Published 12:00 am Thursday, May 12, 2022
By Stephanie Williams Dean
Coming across an Arbor Acres Retirement Community cookbook was fortuitous. Years ago, I was employed as a clinical account representative for In-Home Care, owned by Arbor Acres. Each day, I conducted “lunch and learns” for physicians with homebound patients. While doctors noshed on sandwiches, potato salad, grapes and dessert, I reviewed skilled/unskilled care available through insurance and how patients received services. Homebound status was a criteria. In short, it meant those persons confined at home and unable to drive. The word we use at church is “shut-ins.”
A personal visit with a delicious home-cooked meal in hand would brighten anyone’s day. Food is a wonderful ministry to the sick and suffering, an excellent way to show you care. I understand life is busy, and making meals is time-consuming so ease of prep is essential. Preparing larger quantities allows you to feed several folks, or freeze and package for later need.
I’m big on efficiency, so here’s my take on it. Don’t take too much food, just a few portions for one or two meals. Keep ingredients to a minimum — recipes without much fuss or complication. Easy entrees are slices of whole baked meat or a mix, dish, and cook casserole, then divide into smaller containers. As a side dish, prepare mixed green or assorted fruit salads. Choose cake slices, bars or cookies for dessert. These sweet treats are easily divided. One large cake or brownie tray will yield multiple portions, feeding the flock. Use what you need and freeze the rest for another meal. Cake mixes do remove a few steps, I hate to admit that. Consider the pre-greasing/flouring of cake pans. Drop cookie mixes containing butter are jiffy, with no greasing of pans. Those cobbler recipes that begin by melting butter in a baking dish are super snappy to prepare, and there is no need to grease the dish. Choose fruits you don’t peel, such as berries. Pies that form their own crusts and no-bake, refrigerated desserts are perfect choices.
Just remember to inquire about special needs or diets related to health conditions, as many ingredients come in low salt, fat and sugar. Check for any allergies. General food preferences should be known. Some folks don’t like chocolate — God forbid! It’s good to keep flavorings and spices to a minimum, with nothing heavily seasoned. Now’s not the time to show your “gourmet” cooking skills. For your food ministry, the way to go would be simple Southern meals that most folks enjoy. Compile and file a few tried and true, delicious, and simple recipes. Today’s recipes came from the Arbor Acres cookbook and selected for ease of preparation.
We can minister through food — it’s a universal language in itself. Our mission is to love all folks into a relationship with Christ, and food’s a way to do that. The nourishment we find in the word of God is unlike that of physical food. Matthew 4:4 reads, “Jesus answered, ‘It is written: Man does not live on bread alone, but on every word that comes from the mouth of God.” God gives us everything we need, not necessarily what we think we want. Christian writer C. S. Lewis wrote, “If we will not learn to eat the only food that the universe grows, then we must starve eternally.” People are hungry for the word and starving spiritually.
Friends, let’s get busy feeding folks.
Sliced Roasted Pork with Apricot Sauce
• 1 Tbsp. all-purpose flour
• Oven cooking bag
• 4 lb. boneless pork roast
• ½ cup cooking sherry
• ½ cup regular or low salt soy sauce
• 2 Tbsp. dry mustard
• 2 tsp. thyme
• 1 tsp. ground ginger
• 2 garlic cloves, minced
• 1 (10 oz.) apricot preserves
• 2 tbsp. cooking sherry
• 1 tbsp. soy sauce
Place flour in bag and shake; add pork roast to bag and shake. Combine sherry and remaining ingredients in small bowl, mixing well. Pour into bag, coating pork well. Place meat on baking sheet and cut 6 slits in top of bag. Bake at 350-degrees for 2 hours Remove roast from bag and transfer to serving platter. Let stand 5 to 10 minutes before slicing. Spoon apricot over pork when serving. For the sauce, combine ingredients in small saucepan and mix well. Cook over low heat until preserves melt. Yield: 8 servings. You can divide the servings among several people.
• 4 boneless center-cut pork chops
• 1 (10 ½ oz.) can beef broth or low salt
• ½ cup pineapple tidbits, drained
• ½ cup chopped bell pepper
• ¼ cup ketchup
• 1 Tbsp. vinegar
• 1 tbsp. brown sugar
• 1 tbsp. cornstarch
• 2 Tbsp. water
In large skillet, brown pork chops and drain. Add all ingredients through the brown sugar; cover and simmer 45 minutes, stirring occasionally. Combine cornstarch and water in small bowl and stir into sauce. Cook and stir until thickened. Serve with side of rice.
Beef Noodle Casserole
• 1 pound ground beef
• 1 (8 oz.) can tomato sauce
• 1 (3 oz.) pkg. cream cheese softened
• 1 (8 oz.) carton sour cream
• 1 (8 oz.) pkg. small egg noodles, cooked, drained
• Shredded cheese
In large skillet, brown ground beef and drain. Return beef to skillet and add tomato sauce, mixing well. In 2-quart casserole dish, combine cream cheese and sour cream, mixing well. Add noodles, tossing well to coat. Spoon beef mixture over noodles. Top with grated cheese of choice. Bake in a 350-degree oven for 45 minutes.
Baked Chicken Dijon
• 2 Tbsp. butter
• 1 garlic clove, minced
• 5 tsp. Dijon mustard
• 2 Tbsp. fresh parsley, minced
• 5 Tbsp. shredded Parmesan cheese
• 1½ cups fine, dry breadcrumbs
• 4 skinless, boneless chicken breast halves
Melt butter in sauté pan. Add garlic and cook over low heat 5 minutes. Blend in mustard, stirring well. Remove from heat and cool slightly. Whip vigorously until mixture thickens. In small bowl, combine parsley, Parmesan, and breadcrumbs, blending well. Dip chicken breasts in butter mixture, coating well; dip in breadcrumb mixture, patting crumbs onto chicken to coat well. Place in single layer in shallow pan. Cover and refrigerate several hours until bread crumbs are set. Place chicken in shallow baking pan and bake at 350-degrees for 20-30 minutes. Serve with a sauce of half mustard and half mayonnaise.
Makes-Its-Own Crust Chicken Pie
• 1 (4-5 lb.) fryer
• 1 can cream of chicken soup
• 1 cup buttermilk
• ½ cup melted butter
• 1 cup self-rising flour
• ½ tsp. freshly ground black pepper
In a large saucepan, cover chicken with water and boil until tender. Remove chicken from stock and reserve stock. Remove and discard skin and bones from chicken. Cut meat into bite-sized pieces. Place chicken in a 13 x 9 baking pan. In a saucepan, combine 2 cups reserved stock and soup. Bring to a boil and pour over chicken. In a bowl, combine buttermilk, butter, flour and pepper. Mix well. Spoon flour mixture over chicken. Bake in a 425-degree oven for 25-30 minutes or until golden brown. You can use an already cooked rotisserie chicken or the skinless, boneless chicken pieces of your choice.
Baked Chicken in Sherry Cream Sauce
• 6 skinless, boneless chicken breast halves
• 1 can cream of mushroom soup
• 3 oz. undrained, mushroom caps
• 1 cup sour cream
• ½ cup sherry
Place chicken pieces in a baking dish. In a bowl, combine soup, mushrooms, sour cream and sherry. Mix well and pour over chicken. Bake in a 350-degree oven for 1-1½ hours or until chicken is done
Brown Sugar Pound Cake
• 1 cup shortening
• ½ cup butter softened
• 1 (16 oz.) pkg. light brown sugar
• 1 cup granulated sugar
• 5 eggs
• 3 cups cake flour
• ½ tsp. baking powder
• 1 cup milk
• 1 tsp. vanilla
• 1 cup chopped nuts
In large bowl, cream together, shortening, butter and sugars. Add eggs one at a time, beating well after each addition. Combine flour and baking powder; add alternately with milk. Add vanilla, mixing well; fold in nuts. Coat tube pan with nonstick cooking spray. Pour batter into tube pan and bake at 325-degrees for 1 hour, 15 minutes, or until cake tester inserted in center comes out clean. Cut into slices.
Raspberry Oatmeal Bars
• 1 plain yellow cake mix
• 2½ cups quick-cooking oatmeal
• ¾ cup melted butter
• 1 Tbsp. water
• 12 oz. jar seedless raspberry jam
In a mixer bowl, combine cake mix, oats and melted butter. Mix well. Spoon half of mixture into a well-greased 9 x 13 baking pan. Press mixture firmly into bottom of pan. In a bowl, stir together water and jam. Spread the jam over cake mixture. Sprinkle with remaining cake mixture and press firmly. Bake in a preheated 375-degree oven for 25-30 minutes.
Brown Sugar Surprises
• ½ cup softened, salted butter
• 16 oz. light brown sugar
• 2 beaten eggs
• 1 cup all-purpose flour
• 1 tsp. baking powder
• ½ tsp. salt
• 1 cup chopped pecans
In a mixer bowl, beat butter until fluffy. Beat in sugar and mix well. Add eggs, one at a time, thoroughly beating after each addition. Beat in flour, baking powder and salt. Mix well. Fold in nuts. Mix well. Bake in a well-greased and floured 9 x 13 baking dish for 20-25 minutes in a 325-degree oven. Completely cool and cut into squares.
Chess Cake Squares
• 1 box deluxe yellow cake mix
• ½ cup butter, melted
• 4 eggs
• 1 (8 oz.) pkg. cream cheese softened
• 1 (16-oz. box confectioner’s sugar
Combine cake mix, butter and 3 eggs. Stirring until blended. Batter will be stiff. Spread in greased 9 x 13 baking pan. Beat remaining egg and blend into cream cheese until fluffy. Stir in sugar and beat until well blended; pour over cake mixture. Bake at 350-degrees for 30 minutes or until firm and lightly browned. Cool and cut into small squares.
Oatmeal Nut Drop Cookies
• 1½ cups sifted all-purpose flour
• 1 tsp. baking soda
• 1 tsp. salt
• 1 cup shortening or butter
• ¾ cup sugar
• ¾ cup light brown sugar
• 2 eggs
• 1 tsp. vanilla
• 2 cups quick-cooking oats
• 1 cup coarsely chopped pecans
Preheat oven to 375-degrees. Lightly grease baking sheet. Sift flour with baking soda and salt. In large bowl, beat shortening, sugars, eggs and vanilla until light and fluffy. Stir in flour mixture and oats until well combined. Add pecans. Drop by rounded teaspoons 2 inches apart onto baking sheet. If desired, decorate each with pecan half. Bake for 10-12 minutes or until golden brown. Let stand 1 minutes before removing from baking sheet. Cool on wire rack.
• 2 eggs
• 1 cup sugar
• ½ cup butter, melted
• ½ cup all-purpose flour
• 1/3 cup cocoa
• ¼ tsp. salt
• ½ cup semi-sweet chocolate chips
• ½ cup chopped nuts
• 1 tsp. vanilla
Preheat oven to 350-degrees. Beat eggs in medium bowl; blend in sugar and butter. In separate bowl, stir together flour, cocoa and salt; add to egg mixture, beating until blended. Stir in chocolate chips, nuts and vanilla. Spread batter into greased 8-inch glass pie plate. Bake for 35 minutes or until set around the edge (center will still be soft). Cool completely. Cut into wedges.