Food-Hugs for the Unlikely Guests

TODAY, I am speaking to you, who are reading:

“Holiday Main Courses”… that is my mission,

but it won’t be what you think!

In years past, my holiday spread has focused on long standing traditional meals based on menu’s created by previous generations; this has been good and my own family counts on these traditions! I could offer you recipes on a garlic stuffed crown pork roast or delectable salt crusted beef spoon roast – but, in truth – you could get those recipes online in a jiffy.

This year, everything is different.

This Christmas is the first Christmas without my son; You see… in case you did not know, this past May, my son died of a drug overdose.


My heart is broken.

Traditions, seem hollow.

Different, is a must this year.

My son lived in a local sober house last winter and we became friends with some of the guys who mentored him; these guys are from next towns over and many states away – if it wasn’t for my son, we never would have met, or entertained, these young men in recovery.  After my son died, we felt it only right to continue these relationships and encourage them in their recovery; it’s what my son would have wanted.011.jpg

Comfort food is the best, no matter what the day or holiday, so what you will find here are some hearty old fashioned recipes with a twist (cuz that’s just what I do). The guys from the sober house LOVE a home-cooked meal and especially ones that remind them of their mom’s and grand-moms. I delight to give food-hugs for the unlikely guests as a way to express my support and care for them in a momma-heart way.

All this equals L O V E … the best Christmas gift, is LOVE.

And love is just what a Holiday Main Course needs; without it, it’s just ingredients on a plate.  I challenge you to use one of these recipes and give a food-hug to an unlikely guest, or two, and see what joy will grow and warm you own heart. God blesses us, so that we can be a blessing to others.



010-e1543792879120.jpgDoctored-Up Shepherd’s Pie

(serves 10 healthy eaters)

(1) 5lb bag of gold potatoes  & 4 cloves of garlic – wash the potatoes & diced them , boil them in a pot of water with the garlic cloves til tender and drain them (BUT reserve 1 cup of the garlic potato broth.)

To the mashed potatoes, add: 1 stick of butter, salt & pepper to taste, and about 1 cup of vegetable broth and the 2 cups of the garlic potato broth and first mash them by hand, then whip them with an electric beater til smooth and creamy – add some milk if needed to make a creamier consistency — set aside.

Next, slice up one large Vidalia onion and a 16oz. or so package of baby portabella mushrooms and sauté them in a large fry pan with some olive oil til tender. Add in a 16 oz. bag of frozen baby corn. Mix well and set aside in a large bowl.

In the same large fry pan, brown up and cook 5 lbs of lean ground beef over medium high heat, stirring regularly with 2 1/2 TBS of Tarragon and  1TBS of  granulated  garlic powder & salt and pepper to taste. 

Assemble the pie in a  large 12 x 18 baking dish. Layer the ground beef mixture on the bottom, add the onion, mushroom, corn mixture on top of the meat. ADD in a layer of sharp Cheddar cheese (about a 12 oz. bar of cheese grated), then, finish it off by topping the casserole with all the potatoes.  Sprinkle the potatoes with some paprika, salt & papper.

Bake the pie for approximately 30 minutes in a 375 degree oven, uncovered. Serve immediately.


Lemon-Curry Chicken Divan over Rice

(Probably serves 8- healthy eaters)

Measure out 3 cups of Jasmine rice, sauté in a large stockpot with half a stick of butter, until slightly browned – add 6 cups of water and cover and cook til boiling, then turn down heat to low heat and continue cooking for about 15 minutes, then shut heat off and let sit on the stove.

oops and these ingredients too:

Dice up 2 large heads of fresh broccoli (florets only) & 1 cup of coarsely chopped walnuts and sauté  in 3 TBS of olive oil, half a stick of butter and 1 tsp. of granulated garlic powder in a large fry pan until broccoli is lightly browned, then add 1/2 cup of water and 1 TBS of lemon juice to pan and cover and simmer all on low heat til the broccoli is el dante ( firm tender).

Meanwhile, slice 6 chicken breasts in length-wise wedges and sauté in olive oil in a large fry pan on medium high heat til browned on both sides.  Add in a 1/2 cup of lemon juice and 1 cup of water, and 1 TBS of curry powder cover and let simmer until the chicken is cooked through (approx. 20 mins.)

In a large 13×9 baking dish, generously butter the bottom with a 1/4 stick of butter, add in the rice and the broccoli mixture layered on top, next add the chicken wedges (save the juice from the chicken cooking and set aside).

Next, make a rue: 1 stick of butter, 2 TBS of flour…til pasty, then add the chicken juices, 1/2 cup of mayonnaise, 1/2 cup of half and half, and 1 tsp each of pink salt and coarse pepper – whisk til smooth and pour on top of the casserole – sprinkle with 3/4 cup of parmesan cheese and bake in a 350 degree oven for a half hour, uncovered.


If you would like to read more about my journey with a son who became addicted and then died of an overdose – you can see some more posts @ my older website –  – titles like : No Addict wants to be an Addict 

OR @ my newer website –  – for titles like: Where was God when my son died of an overdose? 

Life is a battle on some level, for every one of us… you can make such a difference in a someone’s day by offering a food-hug with a warm heart!

Love God; Love People – it’s what it is all about!

Enjoy my friend’s offerings of recipes and stories too !

FRI, Nov 30: Holiday Appetizers – Tracy Ruckman
SAT, Dec 2: Holiday Beverages – Rachel Hartsfield
MON, Dec 3: International Holiday Foods – Peggy Cunningham
TUES, Dec 4: Holiday Breakfasts & Brunches – Betty Thomason Owens
WED, Dec 5: Holiday Main Courses – Sheryl Holmes
THURS, Dec 6: Holiday Sides / Potluck / Buffets – Tracy Ruckman
FRI, Dec 7: Holiday Sweets – Rachel Hartsfield
SAT, Dec 8: Holiday Recipes Master List – Tracy Ruckman

5 Comments on “Food-Hugs for the Unlikely Guests

    • my pleasure – he was my son’s roommate in the house…and he was the one my son connected with most I think – YOUR son has been a sweet support to my family he’s a good man with a good heart and his mind is in the right direction and we are proud of him staying strong when many obstacles and grief have blown thru life these past months. We love him and will keep supporting him in recovery!


  1. Pingback: Holiday Sweets – Real Life With Rachel Hartsfield

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