New Recipe: Mission Monday Meal

11/05/14

When my brother in law was asked to come on board with Children of the Nations (COTN), a nonprofit we knew and loved, we could not have been more thrilled. And we wanted to be behind them in this faith venture in every way. As we talked about how to support them, knowing we already had our “give” dollars going several different directions, I sat down and talked with our kids. 

 
I told them how much an average dinner cost me to cook for our family of eight. We talked about the COTN meal packaging events we’d attended several times. COTN hosts these events to raise awareness and give people here in the US an opportunity to do more than simply write a check. They’ve provided a fantastic conversation starter for our family multiple times to talk about how we can do more to share the love of Christ in tangible ways. 
 
I asked our kids, “What do you think about eating the COTN meal—lentils, spice, chicken, and rice—one night a week to free up some grocery funds?” They said a quick and hearty yes. I perfected my own rendition of the COTN meal pack. My kids were the testers, telling me to stop and not make any changes once the ratio was right.
 
Our "Mission Monday" meals have been a double blessing by mixing up the weekly dinner routine and reminding our kids of the bounty we live within.
 
So began Mission Mondays at our house. For no other reason than it was catchy, we picked Monday. The kids actually offered to eat the meal twice a week. I told them we’d start with once so we didn’t tire of it, then quickly caught myself. Because the reality is that the recipients of the very simple food are content—dare I say crazy thankful—for the food being provided for them. They would pale at a glimpse inside my organized pantry, well stocked for an emergency and a half-dozen constantly hungry kids.
 
 And my kids, truth be told, sometimes don’t “feel like” eating anything in said pantry. Which is the double blessing of this simple weekly meal. It’s a way to mix up our dinner routine, and a continual reminder of the bounty we live within.
 
 
Our Monday night table discussion centers around someone we know serving somewhere in the world. It’s no organized sort of thing, just hearts that want to be aware and tuned in to the heart of God that beats for the orphans, widows, and the poor. I always fight the urge to provide side dishes to the lentils and rice, and simply serve the dish alone. And everyone gets perfectly fed and full eating it.
 
Our children's director at church got wind of this idea and has begun making these meal packets for families to share at home. She also includes a missions card with conversation points for parents and ways to pray.
 
                     Some of the children in COTN's care eat the lentils, spice, chicken, and rice meals regularly.
 
I've even taken to keeping some meal packs in my van. If I happen upon someone who is having a hard day, it’s the easiest thing to hand them one or two and know that it will provide a nourishing meal for their family.
 
I know it seems impossible that a "just add water" meal could be delicious, but it really is. And it’s become a treasured part of our family’s week!
 
To prepare the "Mission Monday" meal:
  • Put 1 tablespoon of olive oil in medium saucepan
  • Dump in the meal mix* (whole bag)
  • Sauté for a few minutes on low/medium heat to warm and awaken the spices
  • Add 3 1/2 cups of water, bring to a boil, and stir until spices are dissolved
  • Cover, turn to low
  • Simmer 45-50 minutes until almost all water is absorbed
 
*The "meal mix" is this:
1/4 cup dried minced onion 
1 cup brown, short-grain rice 
1/2 cup brown lentils 
1/4 tsp garlic powder 
a pinch of salt 
3 tbsp chicken broth powder
 
Meal serves about 4 people