Nourishing the soul, mind and body

Published 8:57 am Thursday, March 31, 2022

Having a chance to meet and eat with a favorite Christian author was nothing less than a blessing.

Gary Thomas delivered the goods – an abundance of soul food. Guests had arrived hungry – physically and spiritually. After partaking of our daily bread and word – we were filled to the brim.   

The kick-off to the weekend event began on Friday evening. Christian couples gathered in a family life center to enjoy a flavorful meal and share in fellowship. One of the nine guests seated at my table blessed the food. When we took our seats – we were strangers. By the time dinner was over – we were brothers and sisters in Christ.    

Guests enjoyed a buffet of meat and cheese stuffed bundles of chicken with cream sauce, a colorful rice pilaf chock full of veggies, bright green spears of fresh asparagus smothered in a lemon sauce, and a salad of mixed leafy greens tossed in a citrus dressing.

In today’s recipes, I’ve given you a few variations of the chicken entrée – I’m crazy about these stuffed bundles of rolled-up chicken. As for the sauces – each one is delicious over meat or vegetable. Pick a favorite.

Although already sufficiently satisfied, something sweet and filling followed. Dessert was a slice of luscious sour cream and cream cheese pie covered in strawberries. The meal was a mere snack compared to the deep dose of spiritual fulfillment we were about to receive.

Gary opened Friday evening and Saturday morning discussions with prayer. Based on his book, “Sacred Marriage,” his seminar delivered words of wisdom that resonated within all relationships – not just marriage. His words were profound. Gary views marriage as the best school for personal transformation – because it allows one to see oneself and improve. And marriage is not supposed to be easy. And if one believes it should be easy – that belief will determine how satisfied one is in their marriage – or not.   

Marriage is an act of worship to our heavenly Father. It has little to do with sustained bliss but everything to do with surrendering. God’s agenda is not our temporary happiness – but one that makes us holy and joyful rather than happy. No one is truly happy who is not pursuing holiness. And one cannot have a healthy marriage unless they’re spiritually healthy. Gary believes marriage can be a healthy, joyful, and worshipful place. His message was clear: seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness – make first a humble commitment to keep growing in holiness.

During Lent, the period of transformation, let’s consider Jesus – he loved, healed, cared, served, and washed feet. We are not yet complete in who we’ve been called to be. Let’s resolve to act according to the way God wants us to out of reverence for Him – in all our relationships. Let’s reflect on the wisdom of Gary Thomas.

Go and be filled to the brim – in holiness and with joy.


½ cup salted butter

12 skinless, boneless breast halves

1/3 cup all-purpose flour

12 thin slices prosciutto ham

12 thinly slices Monterey Jack cheese


¼ cup shallots

4 minced garlic cloves

3 cups sliced mushrooms

1 cup chicken broth

½ cup white wine

1 tsp. fresh thyme, oregano

1 Tbsp. all-purpose flour

½ cup dry sherry

½ cup cream

Salt and pepper to taste

In a skillet, melt butter. Dip dry pieces of chicken in flour. Brown in the butter. Wrap each in a slice of ham and cheese. Secure with toothpick if necessary. Arrange in a butter-greased 13 x 9 baking dish. For the sauce, in the skillet, saute shallots and garlic until tender. Add mushrooms, broth, wine, thyme, and oregano. Bring to a boil for 10 minutes. Stir in flour with a little bit of sherry. Then add cream and remaining sherry. Salt and pepper to taste. Pour sauce over chicken. Bake in a 375-degree oven for 30 minutes or until chicken is done. Decorate with strips of pimento.


4 boneless, skinless  chicken breast halves

garlic powder

4 tbsp. honey

4 thin slices ham

4 thin slices Swiss cheese

All-purpose flour

4 Tbsp. salted butter

2 tbsp. fresh lemon juice


2 Tbsp. melted, salted butter

2 Tbsp. fresh lemon juice

1 tbsp. honey

½ cup white wine

1 chicken bouillon cube

4 tbsp. sour cream

1 tsp. chopped chives

1 finely chopped spring onion

Slivered almonds

Flatten chicken breasts with smooth meat mallet. Sprinkle with garlic powder. Spread 1 Tbsp. honey on each breast. Top with 1 ham slice and cheese slice. Roll up tightly and secure with toothpick. Roll in flour. In a skillet with melted butter, fry chicken in the pan until lightly browned on all sides. In a casserole dish, bake in a 350-degree oven for 30 minutes. For the sauce, in a saucepan, combine butter, lemon juice, honey, white wine, bouillon cube, sour cream, chives, and spring onion. Cook on medium for 10 minutes. Pour over chicken.


6 skinless, boneless chicken breast halves

Italian bread crumbs

1 Tbsp. extra virgin olive oil

1 container ricotta cheese

1 egg

1 cup grated Romano cheese

1 cup grated Mozzarella cheese

Fresh chopped parsley

Salt and pepper to taste

Lemon Wine Sauce

1 Tbsp. salted butter

1 ½ Tbsp. extra virgin olive oil

2 tbsp. dry white wine

2 tsp. all-purpose flour

½ cup chicken brown

2 Tbsp. fresh lemon juice

Salt and freshly ground black pepper.

Pound chicken with smooth side of meat mallet. Roll in Italian bread crumbs. In a skillet, saute in olive oil until brown on each side. In a bowl, combine Ricotta cheese, egg, Romano cheese, parsley, and salt and pepper. Spoon one Tbsp. of the mixture onto each chicken breast. Top with Mozzarella cheese. Roll up breasts and secure with toothpicks. Bake in a 350-degree oven for 45 minutes. For the sauce, in a skillet, melt butter with oil. In a bowl, whisk wine with flour. Add broth and lemon juice to the skillet and bring to a boil. Whisk in wine mixture for 1 minute or until thickens. Season with salt and pepper. Spoon sauce over roll-ups.


2 ½ lbs. large, fresh asparagus spears

Snap off lower part of asparagus stalks. Tie in a bundle with white string. Place upright in a steamer with boiling water under the basket. Cook while covered for 12-15 minutes, depending on thickness of the spears. Cook until tender, but don’t overcook. Dress spears by evenly pouring sauce over all just before serving. Choose your favorite vegetable sauce – each one is delicious over any fresh green vegetable – or chicken.

Lemon Butter with Capers

1 stick melted butter

½ juiced lemon

1 ½ Tbsp. small capers

Freshly ground black pepper

In a skillet, melt butter. Until lightly brown. Stir in fresh lemon juice, capers, and freshly ground black pepper until blended. Keep warm but do not boil.

Hollandaise Sauce

1 ½ stick salted butter

3 egg yolks

1 tbsp. fresh lemon juice

1 Tbsp. cold butter

1 Tbsp. heavy cream

¼ tsp. salt, to taste

In a saucepan, melt butter and set aside. In a saucepan, beat egg yolks. Heat on low while whisking in lemon juice and cold butter. Beat in the cream. Pour in melted butter while continuing to whisk. When thickened, salt to taste. Pour over top of mound of fresh asparagus. Makes 1 ½ cups.

Fresh Lemon Cheese Sauce

8 oz. softened cream cheese

1 beaten egg

1 tsp. sugar

2 Tbsp. fresh lemon juice

½ tsp. dry mustard

¼ tsp. chopped dried tarragon

½ cup creamy buttermilk salad dressing

¼ cup grated fresh parmesan cheese

In a mixer, beat cream cheese until smooth. Add egg and beat until thoroughly incorporated. Add sugar, fresh lemon juice, dry mustard, and tarragon. Stir in salad dressing and cheese. Mix well. Refrigerate. Pour over cooked fresh asparagus spears. Makes 1 pint.

Provolone Cheese Sauce

2 cups hot medium white sauce

1 cup shredded Provolone cheese

½ tsp. grated onion

½ tsp. Worcestershire sauce

8 pimento strips

Make a medium white sauce Stir cheese, onion, and Worcestershire Sauce into white sauce. Heat while constantly stirring until cheese melts. Pour over asparagus, green beans, cabbage, or broccoli. Garnish with pimento.


1 ¾ cup water

1 cup chopped carrots

1 cup chopped onions

1 cup chopped celery hearts

½ cup frozen petite green peas

1 ¾ cup chicken broth

1 ¾ cup instant rice

Salt and pepper to taste

In a saucepan, bring water to a boil. Add carrots, onion, and celery and simmer until tender. Add frozen green peas and simmer 5 minutes. Drain well. In another saucepan, bring chicken broth to a boil. Add rice and stir. Cover saucepan and remove from stove. When rice is tender, fluff rice with a fork and add vegetable mixture to the rice. Mix well. Salt and pepper to taste. Keep heated until serving. Garnish with chopped parsley.


5 cups mixed salad greens

½ cup thinly sliced red onions

½ cup dried cranberries

11 oz. drained Mandarin oranges

½ cup chopped, toasted pecans

½ cup crumbled blue cheese

Citrus Dressing

6 oz. frozen orange juice concentrate

1 cup light brown sugar

1/3 cup red wine vinegar

1 tsp. hot sauce

2 Tbsp. grated orange peel

1 small quartered onion

1 tsp. of each salt

1 tsp. dry mustard

1 cup extra virgin olive oil

Combine greens, onion, cranberries, oranges, and nuts, and toss well. Sprinkle with feta cheese. For the dressing, in a blender, combine orange juice, sugar, vinegar, and hot sauce. Blend until smooth. Add orange peel, onion, salt, and mustard. Blend on high while adding oil slowly from top of blender. Blend until smooth. In a saucepan, bring dressing to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer 10 minutes. Serve salad with warm dressing on the side or mix dressing into salad and serve immediately.



1 ½ cups graham cracker crumbs

½ cup sugar

1/3 cup melted, salted butter


8 oz. softened cream cheese

1 cup sour cream

2 tsp. vanilla extract

1/3 cup sugar

8 oz. thawed, frozen whipped topping

8 oz. strawberry preserves

Fresh strawberries.

In a bowl, combine graham cracker crumbs, sugar, and butter. Mix well. Press into a 9-inch pie pan. Bake in a 325-degree oven for 10 minutes. Cool completely. For the filling, in a mixer bowl, beat cream cheese until smooth. Beat in sugar, sour cream, and vanilla until smooth. Fold in whipped topping and blend well. Spoon in cooled crust. Chill 5 hours. Cut pie pieces. You can spread top with thin spread of strawberry preserves or garnish each piece with dollop of strawberry preserves and a fresh strawberry in the middle.


2 cups graham cracker crumbs

¼ cup sugar

½ lb. melted butter

1 lb. softened cream cheese

2 cups strained cottage cheese

1 ½ cups sugar

2 tsp. vanilla extract

½ tsp. salt

6 egg yolks

1/3 cup flour

6 egg whites

Berry Glaze

1 pint mashed, hulled strawberries, divided

1 cup sugar

½ cup water

2 tbsp. fresh lemon juice

2 Tbsp. cornstarch

¼ cup water.

For the crust, blend cracker crumbs, sugar, and butter. Press on sides and bottom of a springform pan. Chill. For the filling, in a mixer bowl, beat together cream cheese and cottage cheese until smooth. Beat in sugar and salt. Mix well. Fold in vanilla. Add egg yolks, one at a time, beating well in between each addition. Blend in flour. In another mixer bowl, beat egg whites until stiff peaks are formed. Fold into cheese mixture. Pour into pan. Bake in a 350-degree oven for 1 ½ hours. Turn off heat, open door, and allow to cool in oven for 1 hour. Refrigerate for 3 hours before topping with berries and glaze. For the glaze, in a saucepan, place ½ cup mashed berries, sugar, ½ cup water, and lemon juice. Bring to a boil. Meanwhile, in a bowl, combine water and cornstarch. Add to the fruit mixture. Cook while constantly stirring until thickens. Strain and allow to completely cool. Top with remaining berries and pour cool glaze over top. Chill.