It is interesting to me that in the very early days into my widowhood, I encountered no less than four other women who also lost their husbands. One of them endured a long illness until her husband died, and another, through a terrible motorcycle accident. One was sudden loss like me, and one dear friend, the unimaginable experience through suicide.
This happened to my friend Karen. I was at a loss how to be there for her, and it dawned on me that “being there” for someone means just that.
Suicide also brought another aspect to it that would tend to isolate. People simply didn’t KNOW how to comfort, and it is easier to avoid someone than to confront our own unease.
In the days that followed, I began to notice Karen’s significant weight loss. She was slender to begin with, so she simply could not afford to lose much without health being affected.
I began to plan my family’s meals with the purpose of setting aside portions just for Karen. I didn’t ask her, I just did it.
Twice a week, Karen would stop by on her way home from work and pick up the meals packaged in individual portions. Some were frozen, labeled and dated so she could take to work and heat up or have whenever she chose. One was fresh and ready for consumption when she got home. Homemade rolls were always included and they made for great sandwiches the next day.
The few minutes we shared a cup of tea or a cookie helped us touch base. Even brief contact with others who care and empathize means so much!
It was Karen I called that Sunday morning to help me get through those first few hours of shock and grief. She was able to attest to God’s faithfulness in her widowhood because she had BEEN where I WAS. She gave me HOPE for my future.
Jesus said, “Inasmuch as ye have done unto one, you have done it unto me.” When we serve others, it is as if we are ministering to the Savior Himself. How wonderful!
I’m sharing today the recipe for Chicken Fettuccine Alfredo. Karen really liked this dish, & I think you will, too!
Chicken Fettuccine Alfredo
1 lb fettuccine noodles
1/2 c. butter
1/2 c. flour
4 c. Half and Half cream
2-1/2 c. rich chicken broth (I use chicken soup base 1-2 tsp./cup)
1-2 c. mozzarella cheese, grated
2 c. Parmesan cheese, grated (fresh or grated in a container)
chicken, cooked and cut in chunks (any amount)
Cook pasta in 3-4 qt’s. salted water for 8-10 minutes. Slightly undercook the pasta as
it will be baked in oven. Drain and set aside.
Melt butter in large pan, remove from heat, and stir in the flour. This will be a bit lumpy. Gradually add the Half and Half,using a whisk to incorporate the mixture until smooth.
Return to medium-high heat and stir constantly until mixture begins to thicken. This scorches easily, so keep stirring slowly.
Gradually add the chicken broth. When it begins to boil, reduce heat, and add the Parmesan cheese. (The kind you find in the round container on the store shelf is OK for this dish.) Continue to stir constantly.
Sauce should be thinner than gravy, but thicker than whipping cream. Remove from heat. Stir in the parsley.
If sauce is too thick, add more broth and extra cheese. Remove from heat. Unless you are baking it immediately, allow to cool to room temp, & refridgerate the sauce.
Spray a 9 x 13 casserole dish with non-stick cooking spray. Add about half of the pasta to the dish and most of the sauce. Stir to incorporate the two. The pasta should be very “loose” in the sauce because it will absorb much of the liquid.
Add as much of the pasta as you can and keep the dish on the juicy side (you
may not use it all).
Top with the chicken, the rest of the sauce, and the mozzarella cheese. Sprinkle more of the parsley on top. Bake at 350° for 30-40 minutes or until the sauce is bubbly and the cheese is light golden brown. Serve immediately.
If casserole sits and becomes too thick, add enough broth to moisten it well. Pasta and
sauce may be made ahead and refrigerated, but do not combine until just before
This dish does not reheat well as is, but if you add more broth and any
leftover noodles, you will have the BEST chicken noodle soup you’ve ever eaten.
Yield: 10 servings
Note: I discovered this recipe in 1981 in a “bonus” set of cookbooks that came with
encyclopedias I bought on impulse. After I tinkered with it a bit, I decided it tasted
just like a dish I loved from a famous restaurant near where we were stationed in
California. It is my signature dish and I’m proud to share it with you.