Zucchini Basil Primavera

I was reading in Ether this morning and read a verse about the significance of charity to our eternal salvation. The verse was Ether 12:34 which says, “And now I know that this love which thou hast had for the children of men is charity; wherefore, except men shall have charity they cannot inherit that place which thou has prepared in the mansions of thy Father”. Charity is pretty important to us, and I have always thought that I understood what it meant to have charity, but then I read a quote in the Book of Mormon Student Manual, for Ether 12:33-37, which changed my understanding and my perspective. The quote is by Marvin J. Ashton, and I am going to put the whole thing in here, because it is all so good! He says:

“Charity is, perhaps, in many ways a misunderstood word. We often equate charity with visiting the sick, taking in casseroles to those in need, or sharing our excess with those who are less fortunate. But really, true charity is much, much more.

“Real charity is not something you give away; it is something that you acquire and make a part of yourself. And when the virtue of charity becomes implanted in your heart, you are never the same again. It makes the thought of [putting others down] repulsive.

“Perhaps the greatest charity comes when we are kind to each other, when we don’t judge or categorize someone else, when we simply give each other the benefit of the doubt or remain quiet. Charity is accepting someone’s differences, weaknesses, and shortcomings; having patience with someone who has let us down; or resisting the impulse to become offended when someone doesn’t handle something the way we might have hoped. Charity is refusing to take advantage of another’s weakness and being willing to forgive someone who has hurt us. Charity is expecting the best of each other.”

Wow! What an explicit list of what qualifies as charity. Although I am sure the amount of zucchini bread I have given to neighbors counts toward something, I don’t think that it alone will make me a charitable person. And even if I had a million dollars which I could give to a charity somewhere, it still wouldn’t make me charitable. Charity is what we possess inwardly, not what we give outwardly. Are we patient? Are we forgiving? Do we give others the benefit of the doubt, or refuse to put others down? Just something to think about. :)Pasta primavera is pasta that features fresh vegetables in it’s sauce. Although it may have meat in it, the main focus is on the vegetables. This, therefore, is a great primavera because of the way it complements and brings out the basil and zucchini. You will love it!

 
We invited some friends over for dinner on Monday, and we planned to make a Nigerian dish called Egusi soup. The only problem was that the wife was pregnant, and when I was pregnant I couldn’t even look at foods like that, let alone eat them. Her husband, however, is also Nigerian, and he was looking forward to having Egusi soup. Limi and I decided that rather than not making Egusi soup, we would just have a dinner alternative in addition to the Egusi. I went to the kitchen to see what I could whip up, that would be mild enough for a pregnant woman, and this amazing dish is what I got in return.
 
We were all very surprised by how flavorful this pasta was! It just uses cream of chicken soup for the base, but the fresh basil and oregano boost the sauce to a new level and highlight the zucchini. If you are starting to get sick of eating zucchini, this is probably the dish you should try! It will break up the monotony and send this prolific green vegetable out of season with a bang (rather than a long awaited wave goodbye)!
 
We also tried this sauce served over rice, and it is just as yummy! I highly suggest this recipe, any time of the year, zucchini season included. :)
 
 

Ingredients:

1 chicken breast, cubed
2 TBS olive oil
1 tsp chicken bouillon
2 cups diced zucchini
3 TBS fresh basil, chopped
1 TBS fresh oregano, chopped
1 can (15 oz) condensed cream of chicken soup
3/4 cup milk

Directions:

Saute the chicken in olive oil, over medium-high heat. As the chicken is cooking, add the bouillon and stir until it dissolves. Once the chicken is no longer pink, add the zucchini, basil and oregano. Saute until the zucchini begins to soften. Add the cream of chicken soup and the milk, and stir until smooth. Salt to taste, and allow to simmer for 3-5 minutes, until the sauce is hot.
Serve over cooked spaghetti noodles or cooked rice.

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