Eventually, this had to be put in writing.
Many of you are accustomed to reading leadership encouragement, devotional thoughts, and other ministry-related matters at this site. But today’s article is only about food and family. It seems fitting and timely for the holy days, holidays, and many gatherings that involve eating.
If you’ve known my family relatively well for any length of time, then you know we like food. We’re somewhat spoiled, and we usually have more than enough. Indeed, we have a lot to be thankful for, and I’m not just thinking about food. We have roofs above us, good places to sleep, food on our tables, and shoes on our feet.
We’re also grateful for Lisa, our very own food-pusher (credit to Jeremy, our son-in-law, for this endearing nickname). Today I’m telling you about those dishes that need no pushing. They disappear soon after leaving her kitchen. These are (arguably) the top 5 main dishes, sides, and desserts, for a total of 15.
Lisa has cultivated her cooking techniques through a lot of trial and error. But these dishes are some of our family’s favorites. They’re listed in the order of how they came to mind. I’m sure family feedback will insist on an additional list. But in case you’re curious, the dessert list comes last and with more passion than I should be writing with.
Here’s a Bible verse to get us started with grace. “Go your way, eat the fat, drink the sweet, and send portions to those for whom nothing is prepared; for this day is holy to our Lord. Do not sorrow, for the joy of the Lord is your strength” (Nehemiah 8:10). Thank you, Lord, for the gift of family, food, and the fellowship of your Spirit. Amen.” Now let’s get to the kitchen.
Fajita Chicken – It’s small pieces of grilled seasoned chicken and peppers and onions. The necessary accompaniments are present at the table, like salsa, queso, soft tortilla wraps, etc. Lisa likes Mexican food so much that I’ve often questioned her heritage and genealogy.
Grilled Pork Chops – we like to buy pork tenderloin when it’s on sale (BOGO) and ask the meat department to slice it for us. It’s much more affordable like this. These chops are then cooked on the gas stove, which has a center small flat griddle section. Near them being done, Lisa likes to add Twisted Q Wicked Sweet Bourbon seasoning. Personally, I can eat about 7 ounces and enjoy every bite of this flavorful dish.
Chicken Tortilla Soup – Lisa loves to make soups. I think it’s because she can prepare them in the morning, and there’s no afternoon/evening stress for supper. We started eating this soup in restaurants over a decade ago. She got curious and crafted her own. Now, it’s hard to enjoy any restaurant rendition of this family favorite. Her version is dairy-based as opposed to the tomato-based option that some make. She’s given this recipe out about a hundred times or more over the last few years. This is also one of those items she dropped off at the homes of those who are sickly.
Pasta e Fagioli Soup – It’s another one of those that we first enjoyed while eating out. But sometimes we would rather stay in. Lisa can make a large enough batch of this tomato-based soup that we can eat from it for a day or three. Don’t forget to add a touch of red pepper flakes to make this even tastier.
Wendy’s Chili – We recently started counting macros instead of only counting calories. When we’re doing it well, we need accuracy. So, this copycat dish was selected, and we went to work. We collected the ingredients and counted the macros. To make a long story shorter, for our own sake, we know the protein, carbs, and fat content per cup of this deliciously meaty soup. It tastes even better the second day, and after a late Wednesday on the church campus, it’s so good.
Corn – I know it seems too simple, but that’s who we are. I’m not sure where Lisa’s corn casserole recipe originated. Sometimes she varies it a little, but this dish is a must for a large family gathering. There’s also the fried corn in the iron skillet that’s too good for just one serving. Rounding out our corny taste is our appreciation for grilled corn.
Fried Okra – Even though it’s fried, there is some nutritional value in this vegetable. We can eat it like popcorn and never stop if it’s fried crispy. But keep the boiled version away (also known as snot in a pot).
Green Beans – I personally have no taste for green bean casseroles. What did the green bean ever do to you?! I want mine like they were prepared by a southern grandma. Lisa’s are cooked soft and full of flavor.
Lipton Potatoes – Lisa starts by dicing up whole potatoes. Then she coats them in oil and covers them with the Lipton Savory Garlic and Herb dry seasoning. They are so yummy! They’re placed single layer on a sheet pan and baked in the oven.
Butter Beans – I prefer the speckled version. These are simmered in a large pot until they’re tender. Lisa cooks them in vegetable broth. She adds Adobe seasoning, a touch of red pepper flakes, and a bay leaf while they cook to perfection.
Baked Apple Crumble – I’ve never had this dish anywhere else that makes it anything like Lisa’s. Her recipe is uniquely hers, and I’ve been known to beg for this treat. The ingredients include Red Delicious apples, flour, oatmeal, brown sugar, cinnamon, and butter. This mixture is placed in a cupcake pan, and the outcome is worth fighting over.
Sweet Potato Casserole – This is a southern classic. I’m not a fan of sweet potatoes, but I’ve seen people lust over this dish at church dinners. Alex (our daughter-in-law) really likes this nutty treat too. As you can imagine, it’s a favorite during the holidays.
Oatmeal Drop Candy – This is a go-to quick treat in the southern circles we grew up in. Lisa has made more batches of this than we can count. Seriously, she’s been making it since she was a teenager. I’d be glad to give you the recipe if one existed. She has it in her head, and the measurements are never exact.
Peanut Brittle – BEWARE! This is addictive. I’ve eaten so much of her peanut brittle over the last ten years that it’s almost criminal. Lisa’s peanut brittle is not the old-school method that involves the better part of a day to build. Her technique uses a microwave. As well, her’s is not as dangerous to your dental work as the old-school version. We’ve made this for past ministry fundraisers, and it was a hit!
Chocolate Chip & Heath Brickle Cookies – I saved the best for last. These cookies are so delicious. Yes, I’ve sinned with this treat. One time, I got cookie drunk. The toffee bits and the chocolate in these round pieces of love are better than any cookie you’ve ever had. These cookies just might be my love language and my kryptonite. If Lisa makes these, all bets are off; my nutritional restraint is gone.
Feel free to comment and ask questions about any of these. While we like to eat well, we love sharing even more. Recipes can be requested, and we’ll try to make that happen. Tell me if you have eaten from Lisa’s Kitchen and have a favorite that didn’t make this list. It just might make the next one.
PS – If I had added pictures to these dishes, we’d all be hungry by now!