Friday, January 7, 2011

Time for... Thyme?

"Ingredients for life..."

Do you recognize that slogan? It's from Safeway and I think it's one of the most clever grocery store slogans out there. As a girl who enjoys cooking and, well, eating food, I have spent a lot of time searching the isles for the right ingredients, and many more hours in the kitchen measuring out those ingredients to make the perfect meal or tasty treat for the people I love.

I still remember learning to cook for my sweet, new husband during our first year of marriage. The first time I made something with thyme in it, I didn't know what that spice was, much less how to say it. But Mmmm, the creamy goodness of that Chicken Alfredo still lingers in my memory with the love of that first year. Since then I have learned how to pronounce thyme (taɪm), and I have learned that I pretty much love any recipe with thyme in it.

But did you know that love is actually spelled T-I-M-E ?

Time is such a valuable ingredient for life.  I can't forget how Dieter F. Uchtdorf explained:
"We build deep and loving family relationships by doing simple things together, like family dinner and family home evening and by just having fun together. In family relationships love is really spelled t-i-m-e, time. Taking time for each other is the key for harmony at home."

So much of my time is spent doing things for my family--cooking, cleaning, sewing, shopping. But somehow in the hustle and bustle of all that I do every day, I often forget the purpose of what I am doing. And so I have come to love this single phrase: "The purpose of the task is to strengthen the relationship."

And maybe time is like other ingredients--it can be used fresh, dried, chopped, minced, crushed--there are many different ways to season with it, and in its different forms it has different strengths. So time spent cooking a family meal might be different than the time you spend eating it together. And time spent scrubbing a stain out of a shirt is totally different than time spent in the pleasure of a hug and a kiss when your husband walks in the door. But each of those uses of time is a ingredient for love, and each of those forms of time adds to the savory sweetness of life--the recipe, if you will, for love at home.

While working on this post at my kitchen table, I pulled out that cookbook from my first year of marriage, eager to relive a tasty memory and make a little Chicken Alfredo, when I came across another recipe (which is much easier to prepare when hungry children are waiting) and it includes one key ingredient: thyme. (ah, sigh, just makes my mouth water!) So I thought I would share it with all of you.


Herb Chicken (from this cookbook)

6 boneless, skinless chicken breasts
3/4 cup butter, melted
1 cup grated Parmesan cheese
2 cloves garlic, minced
1/4 cup fresh chopped parsley
1 cup herb-seasoned stuffing mix
1/4 teaspoon dried sage
1/4 teaspoon dried thyme

Rinse chicken breasts and pat with paper towels to remove moisture. In a small bowl, combine all ingredients except chicken. Stir together until well blended. Place each chicken breast in herb mixture and coat on both sides. Place on greased baking sheet and cook at 325 degrees for about 45 minutes.

Makes 6 servings

When I made it, I had to make a few substitutions and the recipe looked more like this:

4 boneless, skinless chicken breasts sliced in half
3/4 cup butter, melted
1 cup grated Parmesan cheese
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 tsp Italian seasoning
1 cup Panko (Japanese style) bread crumbs
1/4 heaping teaspoon dried thyme

Follow all the same cooking instructions, but be sure to use a baking pan with sides so that you don't start a grease fire with all that melted butter running off! I don't really think it's necessary to grease the pan either, again because of all the butter already on the chicken. And, thanks to the butter and thyme (how could you go wrong with those two things in abundance?) it sure turned out wonderful--the seasoning was perfect, the chicken was juicy and tender,  and it made really good leftovers!


  1. Thanks for such an inspiring post Courtney! I knew exactly what cookbook you were referring to, because I made that same recipe our first year of marriage and still love it as well! :) Honestly, this is beautifully written and a wonderful reminder for me. Thank you.

  2. I love that phrase, "The purpose of the task is to strengthen the relationship". Thanks for the reminder.

  3. What a sweet little post. I love the quote from President Uchtdorf.

  4. cortney-I have that quote hanging on my shelves in the kitchen. I hope that the daily tasks I'm doing will eventually strengthen relationships. Even though the kids at the point doing realize it, I hope they will later when they can take care of my in my old age. :)