During this season of life where we can not gather together for our weekly Wednesday Night meals,Chef Mike will be providing us with healthy, fresh, fun, and delicious meal recipes we can prepare as a family.  Each week, Chef will provide us with a step-by-step plan to help you take your dinners to the next level!  We hope you roll up those sleeves and  jump into this opportunity for your family to learn and experience the joy of cooking together!

Feel free to share your experience with us!  Use #MealsWithMike on social media and tag @ReynoldsburgUMC on social media to let us know how you enjoyed this weekly time together. Make sure you check back frequently as Chef may just drop some extra special cooking tips and tricks he has learned!


We all love good comfort food, but are they always the most healthy option for us? Um no – that’s why we call them “comfort foods.”  Here are some tips I use everyday to turn those comforting, unhealthy dishes into healthier alternatives that remove or even reduce the bad cholesterols, fats, sodium, and sugars.
  • There are numerous ways to reduce the cholesterol, fat, sodium and sugar in your favorite recipes. The secret to reworking your old recipe into a new, healthier recipe is substitution of ingredients and a change in your cooking methods. Use the following simple and easy cooking methods and substitutions to make healthier adaptations of your favorite soul food meals.
  • When a recipe calls for dairy products, choose a low-fat, reduced-fat or non-fat version. For instance, instead of whole milk, opt for 1% or 2% milk.
  • Remove or reduce salt from your recipes. Most foods actually require little to no salt, so give your food a taste-test to determine if salt is needed. Salt can be substituted with herbs, lemon or lime juice and spices.
  • Use fresh fruit, fresh vegetables and fresh meats in your recipe, because canned products tend to be high in sodium. If you must use canned products, choose the healthier, reduced-sodium or sodium-free versions.
  • Try a different cooking method when you whip up your next chicken or pork chop dinner. Baked, broiled, roasted or grilled meats are a much healthier alternative to pan-fried and deep-fried foods that contain high amounts of fat and cholesterol.
  • If you must fry your meat and vegetables, avoid cooking in lard and oils high in saturated fat. Substitute with a vegetable oil that’s low in saturated fats and high in healthy fats.


Chicken and Dumplings

Prep Time: 45 minutes
Cook Time: 15 minutes
Total Time: 1 hour

  • 1 Whole chicken about 5 to 6 pounds giblets and liver removed
  • 2 cups frozen peas and carrots
  • 1 large onion chopped
  • 2 tbsp garlic powder
  • 2 tsp seasoning salt
  • 1 tsp poultry seasoning
  • 1/2 tsp ground black pepper
  • 10.5 oz can of cream of chicken
  • 2 cups heavy cream
  • 1 1/2 cup self-rising flour
  • 1/2 tsp poultry seasoning
  • 1/2 cup buttermilk
  • 2 tbsp butter at room temperature
  1. Rinse the chicken under cool water and remove everything from the cavity.
  2. Season the chicken with 1 tsp of seasoning salt, 1 tsp poultry seasoning, 1 tbsp garlic powder, and 1/2 tsp ground black pepper.
  3. Place the seasoned chicken in a large pot and pour in enough water to cover the chicken.
  4. Bring the water to a boil, then turn the heat to medium high, and boil the chicken for about 45 minutes. Be sure to check the chicken periodically so that it doesn’t burn on the bottom!
  5. Remove the pot from the burner, then carefully remove the chicken from the pot.
  6. Reserve 8 cups of the water from the pot.
  7. Remove all of bones, and skin from the chicken.
  8. Shred or chop the meat.
  9. Add the 8 cups of water (from the pot) to another pot, and skim off any fat or oil that maybe floating on top.
  10. Sprinkle in 1 tsp of seasoning salt, and 1 tbsp of garlic powder, and stir.
  11. Add in the cream of chicken soup, and heavy cream. Stir the ingredients.
  12. Add in the mix peas and carrots, onions, and chicken. Turn the heat to medium.
  13. In a large mixing bowl add in 1 1/2 cup of sifted self-rising flour, and 1/2 tsp of poultry seasoning.
  14. Add 2 tbsp of softened butter, and 1/2 cup of buttermilk into the mixing bowl, and mix the ingredients until it forms into a sticky dough.
  15. Use a small ice cream scoop or spoon and start adding the dumpling mixture into the pot.
  16. Once all the dumplings are in the pot, stir, and let cook for an additional 15 minutes.


Chunky Chili Recipe


Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 40 minutes
Total Time 55 minutes
Servings 6

  • 2 lbs ground beef or ground turkey
  • 1 large yellow onion diced
  • 2 medium bell peppers any color, diced
  • 2 1/2 tsp minced garlic
  • 6 oz tomato paste
  • (2) 14.5 oz canned fire roasted tomatoes
  • 2 1/2 cup beef broth
  • 1 package of chili mix
  • 2 tsp seasoning salt
  • 1 tsp ground black pepper
  • 5 oz canned kidney beans drained
  • your choice of cheese
  • limes wedges
  • jalapeno slices
  • diced onions
  • sour cream
  • red pepper flakes
  1. Brown the ground beef over medium heat, then drain all the fat.
  2. Add in the peppers and onions, then cook until the soften.
  3. Next add in the tomatoes, the tomato sauce, seasonings, garlic, beef broth and stir.
  4. Now add in the beans, and stir.
  5. Reduce the heat to medium low, and let the chili cook for 30 minutes.
  6. Add desired topping.
  7. Serving and enjoy!

For more information on how to prepare delicious meals or to send special requests and feedback, please reach out to Chef Mike.  Click the icon below to email him and share your new love for cooking!