Good pastors are so busy looking out for the needs of others that they often forfeit their own needs. Grabbing a snack or quick meal on the run isn’t always the healthiest lifestyle, and those Sunday morning donuts set out in the fellowship hall surely don’t help matters any.

Show your pastor how much he or she is appreciated by making a healthy meal as a gift. Choose one of these recipes to make to express your gratitude during Pastor Appreciation Month in October, or anytime throughout the year.

First, find out if your pastor has any food allergies or preferences in what he eats. For instance, if your pastor is a vegetarian, it’s probably not a good idea to have your favorite butcher chop up some special cuts to offer as a gift.

Try to focus on well-balanced options by selecting something from each of the food groups, with protein options being the largest portion of the meal. After you have selected what you want to give or make, go the extra step by presenting it in a nicely wrapped bag or basket.

If your meal’s protein includes meat, choose thoughtfully. Some pastors may have an aversion to fish or prefer not to eat foods like pork or some seafoods. Lean meat like chicken is usually a safe and affordable choice with so many healthy options of preparation.

Coconut Chicken Strips 
Serves 4

This recipe calls for lean meats and coconut milk, which is packed with vitamins C, E and B1, 3, 5 and 6. It also contains magnesium for digestion health and iron for energy.

1 pound boneless skinless chicken breasts
1/8 teaspoon salt
1/8 teaspoon black pepper
1 cup coconut milk
1 1/2 tablespoons red curry paste
1/2 cup roasted salted cashews
1/2 cup unsweetened coconut flakes
1/2 cup corn flake cereal

Preheat the oven to 400 F degrees, and grease a baking sheet. Whisk together the milk and curry paste. Cut the chicken into strips and sprinkle with salt and pepper. In a blender or food processor, chop together the cashews, coconut flakes and corn flake cereal and then pour into a bowl. Dip the chicken into the milk and curry paste and then roll in the corn flake mixture before placing on baking sheet. Place in oven to bake, turning after 10 minute to bake each side until golden brown.

Serve with a baby spinach salad mixed with blueberries and strawberry slices.

Vegetarian Lasagna
Serves 6

Maybe your pastor has chosen to eat only vegetables, perhaps because of scriptures like this one:

God said, “Behold I have given you every herb yielding seed, which is on the surface of all the earth, and every tree, which bears fruit yielding seed. It will be your food. —Genesis 1:29, KJV

A great food gift for a vegetarian is vegetable lasagna. Be thoughtful about the type of noodles you choose, as there are many healthy wheat and gluten-free options to replace less-nutrient rich bleached flour noodles. Also consider using organic vegetables and sauces that do not contain high fructose corn syrup. Make it your own and add spinach, broccoli or kale for a meal packed with vitamin C, calcium, fiber and folic acid.

8 oz. package of lasagna noodles
1/2 pound fresh sliced mushrooms
1/4 cup chopped green bell peppers
1/4 cup chopped onions
1 minced garlic clove
1 tablespoon olive oil
26 oz. jar of pasta sauce
1/2 teaspoon dried basil
8 oz. ricotta cheese
2 cups shredded mozzarella cheese
1 egg
1/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese

Preheat oven to 350 F degrees. Cook the lasagna noodles in boiling water over the stove until they are al dente. In a separate pan, stir mushrooms, peppers, onion and garlic together in the oil adding basil and pasta sauce. Bring all to a boil. Reduce the heat and simmer for 15 minutes. Mix the cheeses and the egg together in a bowl. Spread one cup of the tomato sauce on the bottom of an olive oil greased baking dish. Layer the noodles, cheese mixture and sauce, and top with the remaining cheese. Bake uncovered for 40 minutes.

Don’t Forget the Family

If your pastor has a family with young children, throw in some fun-shaped food items. Use cookie cutters to cut out shapes of fruits, cheese and soft tortilla shells. Or, make finger sandwiches by cutting out the center of the bread using the cookie cutter shapes.

Leave a comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *