God’s Heavenly Messengers and Protectors from Above

Sometimes, when we feel strongly about something, we think everyone else surely must think as we do. How could they not? This is especially true when it comes to religious or political outlooks. Sometimes our strong feelings result in expressions of anger and contempt of those who do not see what we see.

Two things I have never hidden – that I am a practicing Catholic and that I am a Conservative Republican. While I am a cradle Catholic, I must confess that I have wandered from my faith, yet I return time and time again. The Church speaks to me in ways other faiths, denominations and philosophies have not.

As for the politics, I was a Democrat for most of my life. Although just a teenager at the time, my first taste of hitting the campaign trail was in support of Bobby Kennedy. Over the years two things happened. The first is that the Democratic Party has wandered off course from the days of Bobby Kennedy. Evolution and change is part of growth. I get that. The party has evolved. Just look at its roots in slavery. That’s a long way from Jim Crow to Civil Rights. Just as people evolve in their thoughts and beliefs. To do otherwise would be stagnant. Both the Democratic Party and I have evolved. We are no longer compatible.

A very big part in my personal evolution has been my return to my faith as an adult. Faith has shaped me, colored my view and changed my heart. Anyone who claims to park their faith at the door when going out in the world is either a liar or an idiot. Faith is not some piece of clothing you can take on and off. It is a part of you. And if it isn’t, then it’s not a true faith. My Catholicism is a part of who I am.

Today is the Feast Day of the Archangels. This was once a Holy Day of Obligation within the Catholic Faith. The Feast Day was instituted in the Middle Ages to honor Michael. Michael, along with Raphael and Gabriel, are probable the most recognized of the seven Archangels. Once upon a time Michael, Gabriel and Raphael each had separate Feast Days. Over time, the Church recognized the importance not only these three, but of all seven Archangels.

Michael is the warrior Archangel and often called upon to do battle against evil. Raphael is the healer who stand by us in times of sickness. Gabriel the Messenger. He is best known as the Archangel of the Annunciation. Jophiel opens our eyes to the beauty in all things God has made. Ariel is the protector of the planet, its resources and all the inhabitants. Azrael helps in the transition between life and death. Chamuel is the Archangel of Peace.

When it came time to create a menu for this feast day, several things came into play. First was a need to have Angel Hair Pasta as a part of the celebration. That is a gimmie. Next was to include Asparagus. Asparagus are “spears” – fitting to honor Angels that battle on our behalf and assist us in our journey home. Finally, it’s Thursday. As you may have guessed by now, when it comes to family meal planning, I’ve assigned “themes” to each day of the week to help me out. Think about it, if you only cook dinner during the week, and two meals on the weekends, that’s over 400 meals a year. Wow. Thursdays are all about Italian inspiration. And let’s face it, when it comes to Catholic cuisine, paying homage to Italy seems fitting. Enjoy!

Feast of the Archangels
Italian Skillet Chicken
Creamy Garlic Angel Hair Pasta
Roasted Asparagus Spears

Italian Skillet Chicken
8 oz Brown Mushrooms
14 oz Grape Tomatoes
4 Garlic Cloves
2 large boneless Chicken Breasts
1-1/2 tablespoon Dried Oregano, divided
1-1/2 teaspoon Salt, divided
1-1/2 teaspoon Black Pepper, divided
1/2 cup Flour, for dredging
Olive Oil as needed
2 teaspoons additional Flour
1/2 cup White Wine
1/2 Lemon, juiced
3/4 cup Chicken Stock
4 oz Baby Spinach

Clean, trim and slice mushrooms, set aside. Cut tomatoes in half, set aside. Peel and chop garlic, set aside.

Lay chicken breast on a cutting board. Cut each breast in half lengthwise to create 4 thinner breast cutlets. Set aside.

In a small bowl, mix together 1 tablespoon Oregano, 1 teaspoon salt and 1 teaspoon black pepper. In a shallow dish, spread out flour.

Pat cutlets dry. Sprinkle seasoning on both sides of each cutlet. Dredge in flour, shaking off excess. Set chicken aside.

Over medium-high heat add 2 tablespoon olive oil in a large cast iron skillet with a lid. Brown the chicken about 3 minutes. Turn and continue to brown another 3 minutes. Remove chicken from skillet, set aside and keep warm.

In the now empty skillet, swirl more olive oil as needed to lightly coat the pan. Add the mushrooms; sauté for about 90 seconds. Add the tomatoes and garlic. Season with remaining 1/2 tablespoon oregano, 1/2 teaspoon salt, and 1/2 teaspoon pepper. Stir to blend, sprinkle 2 teaspoon flour over mushroom-tomato mixture. Continue to cook another 3 minutes or so, stirring frequently to prevent scorching.

Add white wine to deglaze the skillet. Allow wine to reduce slightly. Cut lemon in half, squeeze directly into the pan. Add chicken stock to the skillet.

Bring liquids to a boil. Return chicken to the pan, cook over high heat four about 3 minutes to heat through. Reduce heat to medium-low, cover and simmer for about 8 minutes or until chicken is fully cooked.

Remove from heat, scatter spinach over the chicken. Serve directly from the skillet for a rustic feel.

Creamy Garlic Angel Hair Pasta
6 Garlic Cloves, minced
2 tablespoons fresh Parsley, divided
2 tablespoons Olive Oil
2 tablespoons Butter
Fresh Black Pepper to taste
3 cups Chicken Stock
8 oz Angel Hair Pasta
1 cup Parmesan Cheese, grated
3/4 cup Heavy Cream

Peel and mince garlic, set aside. Snip parsley, set aside.

Warm olive oil in a deep sauté pan over medium heat. Add garlic, sauté only a few minutes, until fragrant. Add butter to the garlic. Season with fresh black pepper. Pour Chicken Stock into the pan; bring to a full boil over medium-high heat.

Once boiling, add pasta. Cook for about 4 minutes, or until pasta is tender and most of the liquid has been absorbed.

Reduce temperature to medium-low. Scatter half of the parsley over the pasta. Add cheese and heavy cream. Stir until cheese had completely melted and the sauce is rich and creamy.

Transfer pasta to a serving bowl. Garnish with remaining parsley and serve.

Roasted Asparagus Spears
2 bunches Asparagus
2 tablespoons Olive Oil
1/2 teaspoon Dried Thyme or to taste
1/2 teaspoon Garlic Salt
Fresh Black Pepper to taste

Heat oven to 425-degrees. Line a rimmed baking sheet with foil and set aside.

Trim woody ends from asparagus. Spread asparagus in a single layer in the prepared pan. Drizzle with oil and toss to coat. Sprinkle with the thyme, garlic salt and pepper.

Bake in the heated oven for about 12 minutes or until asparagus is crisp-tender.

Transfer to serving platter and enjoy.

If the asparagus seems familiar, you would be right. The seasoning has changed, but the recipe is the same as the asparagus served for Ember Days Marsala Chicken Supper. What can I say? It’s one of my favorite ways of making asparagus.

Author: Rosemarie's Kitchen

I'm a wife, mother, grandmother and avid home cook.I believe in eating healthy whenever possible, while still managing to indulge in life's pleasures.

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