The Power of Three

Welcome  And then there were three.  Three gifts left on our Twelve Days of Christmas countdown, that is.  I’m going to share a few things I’ve learned along the way on this countdown and instead of Two-for-Tuesday, we’re going to have a triple treat of recipes today!  I won’t be blogging on Friday this week so I can start the holiday break with my daughter, but I’m going to deliver three frugal recipes for you today, all using a surprising ingredient…canned chicken!  It’s less than a week from Christmas and I know you’re busy, so we’ll keep it light and easy today.  Note–I may receive a small amount of compensation from affiliate links seen on this post.  For further information, please see my Terms and Disclosure page.

Food For Thought  On the third day of Christmas, my true love gave to me three French hens.  In our song of mysterious meaning, I read that three French hens were representative of faith, hope, and love OR gold, frankincense, and myrrh.  Even those claiming religious symbolism cannot agree on all of the meanings.  So have you learned anything in the past nine days?  I have, but not necessarily what you may think.  Sure, I know more now about this Christmas carol than I ever thought possible, but I don’t really think any of our explanations were definitive.  Coincidently, I’ve learned a little about myself on this journey.

First, I learned that spending twelve days in a row talking about this song and its meanings was not nearly as fun as I’d hoped.  It’s become kind of boring for me as the writer.  I can only imagine what someone might be thinking if they’ve read every day’s post for the full 12 days.  I’m just being honest here, folks, because that’s what I do.  Writing isn’t always pretty or eloquent.  I’m a newbie, so there’s plenty of room for growth.  Isn’t there always?  The next thing I learned is flexibility.  This has never been one of my best traits!  I am a very efficient planner and organizer, but then I like to stick to that plan!  After all, what was the point of making a plan in the first place?  But when I planned these “12 blog posts of Christmas,” I wrote out recipes that I thought would accompany the song well.  Most of those recipes didn’t make the cut.  My sour cream sugar cookies and the five golden onion rings are basically the only two original plans I had.  I thought I would prepare a French dish for today.  Honestly, friends, I do not have the time or finances to pull that off this week before Christmas!  And tomorrow’s recipe was changed because my husband snacked on my ingredients!  So, you have been given recipes that fit into the blog, as well as my family’s life these past couple of weeks.  The third lesson learned?  My motto for faith-family-food says “sharing real stories of real faith, real life, and really yummy food.”  Well, sometimes real life looks kind of worldly.  I was very concerned about my Five Golden Rings post last week.  As I share scripture and devotionals with my audience, I was afraid some would be offended by my honest enjoyment of the secular side of Christmas.  But this is life!  I don’t live in a monastery, I don’t claim to be perfect, and I do believe in enjoying life, even if it includes some twinkly lights and shiny wrapping paper.

Christmas hearth
Our Christmas countdown marches on at

While I may be growing tired of The Twelve Days of Christmas, I do have some exciting things coming in 2018!  I can’t give away all my secrets yet, but here’s a few.  First, I have been enjoying “Thirty Days of Gratitude” journal prompts this month.  Some of my journal pages have been very inspirational to me this month and offered a spring board to a whole new set of devotional topics for the faith side of faith-family-food.  Second, I will reveal the Word and Verse for 2018 at our house.  I mentioned this in a post last month challenging you to do the same.  This year’s word for our family was “Adventure” and our family verse was Psalm 32:8.  Selecting a word, verse, and motto for the year is considerably more useful than making New Year’s Resolutions that have become so cliché, they don’t hold much merit or accountability anymore.  And finally, I AM going to start writing my first book!  I’m most excited about this part, although a little scared, too.  After receiving some encouraging words from friends and family and some whispers/nudges from God, I’ve outlined what I’m going to write.  That’s all I can tell you for now, but prayers would be appreciated!  I have always believed, and continue to believe, God moves us for a reason.  Whatever that “move” may look like or entail, I want to be ready to follow where he leads.  Can I get an “amen,” today?

Today’s Scripture  Where will God lead you in 2018?

Proverbs 3:5-6  “Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding, in all your ways acknowledge him and he will make your paths straight.”

Today’s Recipes  Many of you know about my quest to become a more frugal cook/grocery shopper.  The biggest, and most helpful, change we’ve made is doing most of our grocery shopping at Aldi rather than a closer, larger, and fancier supermarket.  Eating less meat and using more canned products have also helped cut down that grocery bill.  Please don’t misunderstand, I LOVE fresh meats and produce.  You really can’t duplicate their taste.  But, if you need a frugal week or two, OR fear not using your fresh items before they go bad, stock up on some canned items.  I listed some of the best items to keep on your fully stocked shelves earlier this month.  In that spirit, I have three easy and frugal recipes today that get their start from canned chicken.  I’ve always liked canned tuna for recipes, but just recently realized that canned chicken offers the same versatility.  So, instead of three French hens, we have three canned chickens!

Chicken and Egg Salad
Great on sandwich bread, crackers, lettuce leaves, or just with a spoon!

Chicken and Egg Salad

  • 1 12.5 oz can chicken, drained and flaked with fork
  • 2 hard boiled eggs, chopped
  • 2-3 stalks celery, diced
  • 1/2 small onion, diced
  • 3 baby dill pickles, diced
  • 1 TBS herb seasoing (I like Mural of Flavor from Penzey’s)
  • 1/4 cup (packed) Miracle Whip or mayonnaise

Combine all ingredients in large bowl.  Serve on bread for sandwiches, wrapped in lettuce leaves for a low-carb option, or with crackers for a light lunch.

Hot Chicken and Pecan Dip
A super EASY appetizer for any holiday gathering!

Hot Chicken Pecan Dip

  • 1 12.5 oz can chicken, drained
  • 1 8 oz block cream cheese, softened
  • 1/2 cup Miracle Whip or mayonnaise
  • 1/2 cup chopped pecans
  • 1/2 cup parmesan cheese
  • 3 green onions, sliced
  • crackers or crudites for serving

Preheat oven to 350 degrees and spray a small casserole dish with nonstick spray.  Using electric mixer, beat cream cheese and Miracle Whip together until smooth and creamy.  Add in chicken, pecans, and cheese, mixing on low until well combined.  Spread in prepared dish.  Top with green onions and another sprinkling of parmesan cheese.  Bake for 10-15 minutes.  Serve warm with crackers or cut up raw vegetables.

Chicken pie
An alternative to the classic chicken pot pie, this is topped with cheesy mashed potatoes.

Chicken Pie with Cheesy Potato Crust (serves 4-6)

  • 2 12.5 oz cans chicken, drained and flaked with fork
  • 1/4 cup sour cream
  • 1/4 cup Miracle Whip or mayonnaise
  • 1 TBS low-sodium garlic and herb seasoning (like Mrs. Dash)
  • 1 can mixed vegetables, drained
  • 1 cup shredded cheddar cheese
  • 1 pouch instant 4-cheese mashed potatoes (I used Idahoan)
  • 1 12 oz can evaporated milk
  • 2 TBS water
  • dash of paprika

Preheat oven to 350 degrees and spray an 8×8 casserole dish with nonstick spray.  In large bowl, combine chicken and next 5 ingredients.  Spread in dish.  In saucepan heat evaporated milk on medium-high heat until bubbling, but not boiling.  Turn off heat and stir in potatoes.  Add the water to thin the potatoes just a bit..  Spread potatoes on top of chicken mixture.  Sprinkle with paprika, if desired, and bake at 350 for 30-35 minutes.  This dish has slightly less carbs than traditional chicken pot pie.

Suggested products for today’s post (12/19/17, 2:30 p.m., CST)