Monday, September 5, 2016

Mission Leadership Council Luncheon Recipes


Our missionaries miss Mexican food the most while on their missions. So about once a quarter I served this south of the border dish for them to enjoy! However, I'll have to admit, the best part of these Spoon Tacos were the authentic restaurant style tortilla chips that I ordered from the Florida Bakery in Taipei. They were expensive, but worth every penny for our missionaries!

1½ lbs. ground beef
½ cup onion, chopped
½ cup celery, chopped
1-15oz. can diced tomatoes
1-8oz. can tomato sauce
1-16oz. can refried beans
1 tsp. taco sauce
1 tsp. chili powder
1 tsp. salt
1 tsp. MSG (optional)

Brown ground beef with onion and celery. Drain. In an ovenproof covered casserole dish, add browned ground beef mixture and all remaining ingredients. Mix well. Cover and bake at 350F for 1 hour. Stir before serving.

To serve, line plate with tortilla chips. Generously ladle Spoon Taco mixture on top. Serve with shredded lettuce, shredded cheese, diced tomatoes, onions, cilantro, salsa, sour cream, avocados/guacamole, olives, jalapenos, etc.


Even in Taichung, winters got a little chilly, so I served a hearty chili and sweet cornbread to warm their tummies, as well as their hearts:) Here is our favorite chili recipe, with whole wheat as a substitute for beans. I filled one of my suitcases with about 25 lbs. of whole white wheat to use for this recipe, as well as to grind fresh for whole wheat pancakes and waffles:)

Put 1-1/2 cups whole wheat and 3 cups water on low in crock pot overnight. Brown 2 lbs. ground beef with 1 large onion, chopped. Drain fat (I drain the liquid, skim off the fat, and return the broth to the chili). Add ground beef mixture and the following to crock pot:

1-15oz. can tomato sauce
1-15oz. can Mexican stewed tomatoes, diced
1 cup catsup
1-1/2 packages chili seasoning mix
1 clove garlic, minced
1/2 tsp. pepper
1 tsp. salt
2 Tbsp. molasses (this is the secret ingredient!)
1 green pepper, chopped (optional)
2 tsp. chili powder (optional, for spicier chili)

Mix well. Heat at least 3 hours on High or all day on Low. Serve with cornbread and honey butter. NOTE: I do not add the optional ingredients.


Another great soup to serve with cornbread and honey butter:

2 lbs. ground beef, browned and drained
8 medium potatoes, peeled and diced
4 medium carrots, peeled and diced
2 ribs celery, sliced
1 large onion, diced
3-8 oz. cans tomato sauce
3 beef bouillon cubes
2 tsp. salt
1 tsp. MSG (optional)

Add all ingredients to crock pot. Add sufficient beef broth or water to cover. Cook on High all day or Low overnight.
Serving a crowd at April General Conference, 2015:


I served a lot of chicken at MLC, great source of protein! Soon after we were married, I found this recipe in a set of cookbooks I received as a gift. This is President's favorite chicken dish of all time:

6 medium chicken breasts, or 2 ½ - 3 lbs. chicken legs & thighs
¼ cup salad oil
1 20oz. can pineapple chunks, undrained
½ - ¾ cup pineapple juice*
¼ cup brown sugar
2 tsp. ground ginger
½ tsp. salt
1 16oz. can tomato sauce
1 tsp. chicken bouillon

Heat oil in a non-stick Dutch oven. In a shallow bowl, season ½ c. flour with ½ tsp. salt and ¼ tsp. pepper. Dredge chicken pieces in flour, then brown in oil, turning to brown evenly. Remove chicken to drain residual oil. Add remaining ingredients, stirring to mix in spices and loosen drippings. Add browned chicken pieces and stir to coat with sauce. Over medium heat, bring sauce to boil and then immediately reduce to a simmer. Simmer about 20 minutes, or until chicken is cooked through. Serve over steamed rice.
* Whenever draining pineapple for use in a Chinese chicken salad, etc., I always reserve the juice and freeze it. So I generally have additional juice to use when needed.


I had this carton of Red Curry Paste in my refrigerator forever until I found out on my mission what to do with it! Sister Mindy Chen of Kaohsiung (wife to President's mission counselor Ben Chen) prepared this for our missionaries at a zone conference one year. She's a fabulous cook! I quickly got the recipe...SO easy! Our missionaries love Thai cuisine!

Mix together:
1 kg (2 lbs. 3 oz.) Chicken breast – sliced wafer thin (1/4” max)
3 Tbsp. cornstarch

In non-stick pot, whisk together and bring to boil:
3 Tbsp. red curry paste mixed with ½ cup chicken broth
1 can coconut milk or coconut cream (richer)
½ to 1 can milk (the less milk, the more curry flavor)
½ to 1 tsp. salt

Add chicken slices. Cook through. Add fresh whole basil leaves (about 1 cup, rinsed and stems removed). Serve over steamed Jasmine rice.

RED THAI CURRY SAUCE Courtesy of Pinch of Yum

Now this Thai dish is quite a bit more savory, and quite a bit more work too! I served this to President and Sister Gong and they really loved it!

1 can coconut milk
2 tablespoons peanut butter
2 tablespoons red curry paste
1 tablespoons fish sauce (see notes)
2 tablespoons lime juice
3 tablespoons brown sugar
1 teaspoon minced garlic
⅓ cup crushed peanuts
Up to ½ cup water or broth
Extra crushed peanuts and sliced scallions for garnish

1. Pour the coconut milk into a small saucepan over high heat. When the coconut
milk reaches a gentle simmer, add the peanut butter, curry paste, fish sauce,
lime juice, brown sugar, and garlic. Whisk and keep on high heat for 15 minutes
or until the sauce has reduced and thickened.
2. Add the peanuts and simmer for another 5-10 minutes. When the sauce coats
the back of a spoon, add small amounts of broth or water and whisk to adjust consistency depending on how you will use it and how thick you want it. If the sauce separates, just whisk vigorously to smooth it out again.
3. Serve over rice, noodles, chicken, fish, vegetables, or any other way that sounds good to you! Top with crushed peanuts and scallions.

More time simmering = thicker, creamier, more flavorful sauce. If you want a thinner sauce, I would simmer for less time and plan to add a bit of additional liquid. I've noticed that when I add the crushed peanuts, the consistency really thickens quite a bit, so you could omit the peanut butter and/or peanuts to also adjust to your desired consistency.

Last note: I know the fish sauce might take some convincing, but it is fairly easy to find at any grocery store and REALLY WORTH IT. Don't worry - it does not make the sauce taste like fish; it just makes it saltier and adds lots of deep flavor. Don't leave it out!

After I made the sauce, I added thinly sliced chicken to the sauce (without coating it with cornstarch) and simmered until the chicken was cooked through.


By the end of our 3-year service, most of the zones in our mission had a Costco, so pizza was a tradition for zone conference luncheons. However, the Zhongxing Zone was a little too far away (I'm not a fan of cold pizza), and so I always tried to bring something easy to feed a crowd. I'll never forget Sister Christensen being in heaven to have Sloppy Joes for lunch, because it reminded her of her sweet grandmother:)

2 lbs. ground beef
1 medium onion, chopped

Brown ground beef with chopped onion; drain liquid. Add to taste: 

Ketchup to desired consistency (1 cup at least)
Brown sugar (about ¼ cup)
Sweet relish (about ¼ cup)
Salt (1-2 tsp.)

Heat until bubbly; lower heat and simmer covered at least 10 min. Serve on hamburger buns.