A Few Sundays Ago

Remember when Sundays meant going to church, and then home to change clothes, and go to a relative’s house for a homemade Sunday dinner? Maybe the menu included something similar to this recipe for “Butter-Baked Chicken and Gravy”? Whatever you dined on, I’m sure you recall those as happy memories, and I’ll bet those foods still hold a very special place in your heart. Both of my grandmothers were wonderful cooks (as are all of the women in my family). My mom’s side loved to have family picnics, and I’ll share my Grandma Tebrinke’s famous potato salad recipe in a future post. On my dad’s side, I remember how excited I would get when I found out my Aunt Verna had called, and we were all meeting for dinner after church.

The Sunday Scene – (Before the “Butter-Baked Chicken and Gravy”)

It was a time for the men to relax after a long week in the field, and catch up on a ball game. The women would assemble a bounty of our favorite foods across a table, where (since it was Sunday) the extra ‘table leaf’ had been inserted. We kids would entertain ourselves without a phone, or other hand-held “connections”.  It was more fun to simply be “connected” with the people, and the land around us. This included ‘hide and seek’ in the yard, chasing basket balls over the shed, jumping in the hay, running from “pretend” tornadoes, and playing in the playhouse. We caught fireflies in jars, searched everywhere for newborn kittens, jumped in puddles left by giant tractor tires, and pretended to “drive” the family member’s cars parked in the driveway. We had FUN – and there were no batteries required. If there WERE cell phones (or a way to TEXT someone) it would have bored us to tears because the adventures were OUTSIDE the house – not in a corner of it reading about someone else’s. I don’t mean any disrespect to the kids who are glued to their cell phone screens. I’m just from a generation of less DIS-tractions, and more INTER-actions. Eventually someone would call, “It’s time to eat”! And all of us ran to the kitchen, and waited for the food to be blessed.

From The Kid’s Table

Butter-Baked Chicken and Gavy - The Kid's Table

The Kid’s Table

I think about the love around the tables my cousins and I sat at eating our Sunday dinner. If it was a card table, there might not be enough folding chairs for all of us, so some lucky duck got to sit on a milk can with a padded seat. We’d plan our next adventure, and try to figure out a way to make the fun last by organizing a slumber party. We heard the sound of homemade ice cream churning, the men breaking up in laughter over a funny comment in the family room, and dogs outside barking by the door to remind the kitchen crew they were available to assist in the clearing of the table. Of course there was no mistaking the aroma of freshly-perked coffee being prepared to serve with the dessert that would be coming soon. We were asked to “hang onto our fork” and waited. Most times there would be a “Wacky Cake” (that’s a chocolate cake made without eggs). I’ll include the recipe for it in a future post. There were also pies, Angel Food cake, cookies, Kris Kringle Danish, and of course, the ice cream. Speaking of dessert, and “hanging on to your fork”, did you ever hear the story of the woman who wanted to be buried holding a dinner fork? If not, you can read it here. It’s very touching.

Sunday Dinner For The Soul

Does any of this have anything to do with a “Butter-Baked Chicken and Gravy” recipe? Probably not, but it’s just another example of how “comfort foods” can transport you to another time. And when you return to the one you’re in, it’s hard NOT to notice the differences. Maybe that’s why TASTES OF COMFORT not only satisfy our hunger for food, but feed our soul a connection to what once was. I’m willing to bet there’s not an APP for that.
Butter-Baked Chicken and Gravy

Butter-Baked Chicken and Gravy

Prep Time 30 minutes
Cook Time 1 hour
Total Time 1 hour 30 minutes
Course Main Dish
Cuisine Sunday Dinner
Servings 4 people


  • 2 1/2 - 3 lbs. chicken cut up
  • 1/2 cup evaporated milk
  • 1 cup flour
  • 1 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon pepper
  • 1/3 cup butter
  • 10 1/2 oz. cream of chicken soup
  • 3/4 cup evaporated milk
  • 1/4 cup water
  • 1 teaspoon Tuscan (or Italian) seasoning


  • Rinse chicken and pat dry. Preheat oven to 425 degrees.
  • In a gallon size zip-lock bag, mix the 1 cup flour, 1 1/2 teaspoon salt, 1/4 teaspoon pepper, and 1 teaspoon Tuscan (or your favorite Italian) seasoning.
  • Fill a pie plate with 1/2 cup evaporated milk.
  • Melt the butter in a 9 x 13" pan. (You can use the microwave for this.)
  • Set up an assembly line with the pie pan of evaporated milk, zip-lock bag of the flour mixture, and pan with the melted butter. Dip each chicken piece in the milk, shake in the flour mixture bag, then place in the baking pan of melted butter with the skin side down.
  • Bake at 425 degrees for 30 minutes. Turn the chicken over with tongs.
  • Mix the can of cream of chicken soup, 3/4 cup evaporated milk. and 1/4 cup of water in a measuring cup. Pour around the chicken.
  • Bake at least 30 minutes longer, or until done.
  • Put the chicken on a serving plate. Stir gravy. (I taste the gravy to see if it needs salt.)
  • If serving with mashed potatoes as shown, boil peeled potatoes until tender. Drain water from the pan and add HOT milk (not cold), butter and salt to taste. Mash potatoes and place in serving bowl with a dollop of butter.
  • I like green beans with this, or you can choose any vegetable you like.
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