Chicken Roll Ups
1 chicken breast per person
1 slice deli ham per person
1-2 T. shredded mozzarella cheese per rollup
Salt and pepper to taste
Flatten each chicken breast with a meat pounder. Place one slice of ham and the shredded mozzarella on the meat. Roll this combination up. Dip first into the melted butter and then in bread crumbs.
Bake at 375 degrees uncovered for 30 minutes.
We served this recipe several times the year I helped with Wednesday night dinners at church.
Before that, Mom worked in the school cafeteria the whole time I was in school. An ideal job for a mom with three kids. No work on school holidays, snow days, summer break. And she always got home before the bus dropped us off each day.
When I was in junior high, I would get the worst cramps the first few days of my period. If I didn’t take a high dosage of pain medication in time, I sometimes had to lie down and often got sick anyway. And I didn’t like to take pain medication.
About once a month or so, I would get pale and tell my teacher I felt sick. She would think maybe I was coming down with a flu bug and send me to my mom, whom she knew worked at the school. I never told the teacher what was really causing my problems. How embarrassing! Mom knew the truth though. And she’d give me Motrin and send me to lie down in the back of the car with a chocolate milk. In approximately 45 minutes, I’d have a miraculous recovery, every time.
My sophomore year of college, I returned home to attend a nearby junior college for a year. Mom still worked at the school cafeteria. But in addition, she now prepared the Wednesday night dinners at the church in town we attended.
On Mondays after school she would pick up the groceries for that week’s supper. On Wednesdays we would get started about 2:30 in the afternoon.
I would meet my mom, Aunt Betty and some other ladies at the church. Sometimes Connie. Sharon. Cathy.
We would divvy up the tasks to make a full meal for about 100 people. After a couple hours of prep, we sat down for a short break before the final preparations of the meal and serving.
In many ways, it seemed a rite of passage for me. I sat around with the adult ladies and got caught up on our families and friends. We shared recipes and drank flavored coffees. Land of the grown ups.
Often times, I collected the money from folks for the dinner. It wasn’t much but helped supplement the cost. I got to know so many members of our church that way. And visiting with them over dinner.
One gentlemen in particular always came through and said his name was Mr. Henkel. It wasn’t. I don’t remember what his name actually was but I remember Mr. Henkel.
Now, my daughter attends camp. The camp chef attends my Wednesday night Bible study. The first year Allie went to camp, she was still quite young. So we worked out an arrangement that I would volunteer in the kitchen with my friend. To be close by should Allie need me. She hasn’t needed me yet.
But I enjoyed the arrangement so much, I did the same thing this year. I work beside my friend, Marissa, and another cook. Betsy. Deb. Sue. We prepare food for about 150 people. About 10 o’clock and 2 o’clock, we sit down to eat our meals and take a little break. And all day long, I keep thinking of the sweet memories I have of my mom and other women in all those kitchens over the years.
The work I do isn’t hard. I leave the hard jobs up to the professionals. But I like to think I help. The more I volunteer, I learn what needs to be done. I am comfortable there. Looking back, I guess I always have been.
In a healthy, thriving church, the kitchen is always open. For potlucks, dinners, small group gatherings, showers, anniversaries, Vacation Bible School, community-wide holiday dinners.
I don’t know what it is about a kitchen. But I’ve always found community there.