Sunday, April 01, 2007

Meals as ministry...

I love the practical ways God allows us to minister to one another. In our church we always try to help out by preparing meals when people are recovering from surgery or when a family has a new baby, etc. When I do a meal for someone, I try to take it a step farther and try to go above and beyond. I enjoy thinking about what might taste good to people in a given situation and coming up with a menu to use. Sometime I’d like to do another post on this topic -- there is much more to be said and many helpful ideas that could be shared. I’m far from being an expert on this (or any other) subject, but it’s something I truly love doing.

On Tuesday evening, I prepared a meal for some friends who have a new baby. I prepared Walnut Chicken, rice, and asparagus stir-fry vegetables, with Apple Cranberry Crisp for dessert. I recently posted the crisp recipe, but thought I would share the chicken dish here now. This is a very easy, very different chicken stir-fry. The toasted walnuts give it a unique, absolutely wonderful flavor.


3 tsp. cornstarch, divided
3 Tblsp. soy sauce, divided
1 pound boneless skinless chicken breast, cut into 1/4” strips
1 Tblsp. water
1 1/2 tsp. vinegar
1 1/2 tsp. sugar
Dash of hot pepper sauce
1/2 cup walnut halves
3 Tblsp. vegetable oil
1 medium green pepper, cut in 1” pieces
1/2 tsp. ground ginger

In bowl combine 1 tsp. cornstarch and 1 Tblsp. soy sauce until smooth; add chicken and toss to coat. Cover and refrigerate 30 minutes.

Meanwhile, in a bowl combine next four ingredients with remaining cornstarch and soy sauce; set aside.

In skillet, sauté walnuts in oil until toasted. Remove with a slotted spoon and set aside. In same skillet and same oil, stir-fry chicken until juices run clear. Add green pepper and ginger to skillet; cook and stir 3 minutes or until pepper is crisp-tender. Stir reserved cornstarch mixture and add to skillet. Bring to boil; cook and stir 2 minutes or until thick and bubbly. Stir in walnuts.

Serve with or alongside rice -- either plain white rice or fried rice. Makes 4 servings.

This wonderful recipe is from a Quick Cooking magazine of some years ago. We love it!

Our friends were also expecting a houseful of company -- faraway family members were coming to make little Daniel’s acquaintance. I thought it might be helpful if, in addition to the meal, I would provide two kinds of muffins for quick breakfasts and a batch of cookies for snacking and for the new dad’s work lunches. Here are the recipes I used:


1 cup quick or old-fashioned oats
1 cup buttermilk
1 egg
1/2 cup packed brown sugar
1/4 cup real margarine, melted
1 cup flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 cup raspberry jam

Heat oven to 350º. Lightly grease 12 muffin cups. Combine oats and buttermilk in a medium bowl. Let stand 2 minutes; stir in egg, brown sugar and margarine. Sift together flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt; add to oat mixture and stir just until combined. Divide batter among cups. Top each with l teaspoon jam. Bake until done, about 18 minutes. Turn out, cool slightly (the jam gets very hot) and serve. Yield: 1 dozen muffins

Years ago, when I cooked at an inn, I often baked a variation of this recipe. I think this version is even better. If you like, another type of jam may be substituted for raspberry.


2 cups flour
2/3 cup sugar
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 cup milk
1/2 cup butter or margarine, melted
1 egg
1 teaspoon vanilla
1/2 teaspoon almond extract

1/4 cup raspberry jam
36 whole almonds or 1/4 cup chopped almonds
Sugar for tops

Heat oven to 400º.

Sift together flour, sugar, baking powder and salt. In a medium bowl, combine milk, butter, egg, vanilla and almond extract.

Grease 12 muffin cups and fill each half full of batter.

Place 1 teaspoon raspberry jam in center of each batter-filled cup; top with remaining batter to cover jam.

Top each muffin with 3 whole almonds or 1 teaspoon chopped almonds. Sprinkle tops with sugar.

Bake at 400º for 15 to 20 minutes. Let stand 5 minutes before removing muffins from cups; serve immediately. Yield: 12 muffins.

I copied this muffin recipe off a radio cooking show years ago, and it's been a favorite with my family. When all of our children were home I baked muffins at least once a week. These yummy muffins taste fancier than you'd think from their quick preparation.


1/2 cup butter or margarine, softened
3/4 cup sugar
3/4 cup packed brown sugar
1 tsp. vanilla
2 eggs
1 Tblsp. milk
2 1/4 cups flour
1/3 cup baking cocoa
1 tsp. baking soda
1/2 tsp. salt
1 cup chocolate chips
9-ounce bag chocolate kisses or hugs, unwrapped

Heat oven to 350º. Beat together butter, sugars, and vanilla until blended. Add eggs and milk; beat well.

Sift together flour, cocoa, baking soda, and salt; gradually add to butter mixture, blending well. Stir in chocolate chips.

Shape dough into 1-inch balls. Place on parchment-lined cookie sheets. Bake 11 minutes.

Cool 1 minute; press a chocolate kiss or hug into the center of each cookie. Cool another minute before removing cookies to wire racks to cool completely.

Yield: About 4 dozen cookies.

I copied this recipe out of a cookbook belonging to a good friend, some years ago. It’s been a favorite with my kids and their friends. This time around, I used the almond Hershey kisses.

That’s all for now, but at the very least you might find a new recipe you want to try. At best, you’ll be inspired to minister to someone by way of a meal!

And .... for even more inspiration, I am adding in this link from Christa at Brown Sugar Toast, a mom with lots of experience on this topic: 6 Tips for Taking Meals to Others .  Christa has some unique and practical ideas in this post, so it's well worth clicking over to take a look!


  1. Hi Mrs. T,
    My sister and brother-in-law traveled to the Leadership Conference from VT. They said that it was a blessing to them. We are currently in PA as a halfway point and hope to be in TN by Wed. It has been a marathon few days but God is good and has given strength. Have a great day!

    1. Rachel, I am sure slow in replying to this comment! And now you have been in TN quite a while, have you not? Hope all is going well for you and your family!

  2. Anonymous9:50 PM

    Mrs T, you are always such an example of a servant. These recipes sound delicious. I can only imagine the one's who received the gift were truly blessed.
    Blessings, Patty

    1. Patty, you are so sweet. I cannot believe I never responded to these comments. Hope things are going well for you and Bob. I still pray for you every Tuesday!

  3. These sound yummy, Mrs. T! Thanks for sharing. I hope you will do a post on ministering with meals; that sounds very interesting and I know it would be helpful :)

    1. I will have to do that post sometime soon, Arlene. I certainly have many more years' experience after this. Hope all is well with you and your family.


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