The 700 Club with Pat Robertson

Father Leo
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Grace Before MealsGrace Before Meals: Recipes for Family Life (Doubleday 2010)

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Priest of the Archdiocese of Baltimore, MD

Chairman of the Pastoral Theology Dept. at the seminary of Mount St. Mary’s Univ. (the nation’s 2nd oldest Catholic Univ.)

Founded grassroots movement Grace Before Meals, which strengthens family relationships around the dinner table

3rd Degree Black Belt Instructor in Tae Kwon Do (Korean Martial Art) and Arnis, the National Philippine Martial Art of full contact stick and weapon fighting. World Champion 1992, and other titles from 1978 – 1992

Forensics, Public Speech and Debate Distinctions, 1984-1988 (Teacher and Coach for Catholic HS 1989-1992)

Univ. of Maryland Baltimore County – B.A.; Pontifical Gregorian Univ. and Pontifical Instit. Marianum - Rome


Father Leo: Grace Before Meals Recipes

The 700 Club

Mom’s Chicken Adobo with Lemon-Infused Coconut Curry Sauce

Serves 4 to 6 | Cooking Time: 15 minutes | Prep Time: 30 minutes

  • 2 tablespoons vegetable oil
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 6 to 8 pieces of chicken (you can select any pieces), bone in and with skin (removing the skin is optional, but risks the chicken getting dry)
  • 1 tablespoon salt
  • 2 tablespoons Chinese Five Spice Powder (or one packet of adobo mixture)
  • 2 whole bay leaves
  • 1 large white onion, quartered
  • 1 cup soy sauce
  • ½ cup apple cider vinegar
  • 1 teaspoon whole black peppercorns
  • 6-inch branch lemongrass
  • 1 tablespoon dry curry powder
  • 1 cup coconut milk

Heat oil in a large pot, and sauté garlic over medium heat. Season chicken with salt and Five Spice Powder. Add chicken to the pot and cook until lightly browned on at least two sides of each piece, about 2 minutes on each side. Add the bay leaves, onion, soy sauce, vinegar, and black peppercorns. Mix together. Keep pot covered, stirring occasionally, and cook for about 15 minutes. Add lemongrass, curry powder, and coconut milk and mix. Reduce heat to simmer for another 10 to 15 minutes, uncovered, stirring occasionally. Remove lemongrass and bay leaves before serving with hot sticky rice.

My Version of Mom’s Pancit

Serves 4 to 6 | Cooking Time: 15 minutes | Prep Time: 25 minutes

  • 1 pound rice noodles (gluten-free) or Italian vermicelli, cooked al dente (see instructions on package)
  • 1 tablespoon peanut oil
  • 1 tablespoon vegetable oil
  • 2 garlic cloves, finely minced
  • 1 cup shredded carrots
  • 1 cup finely shredded cabbage
  • ½ cup onion, sliced into thin half moons
  • 2 medium-sized celery stalks, thinly shredded (about 1 cup)
  • 1 pound chicken thighs, deboned, skinned, and thinly sliced
  • 1 tablespoon oyster sauce (special ingredient found in international section of grocery, or Asian market)
  • ¼ cup soy sauce
  • ¼ cup water
  • ½ to 1 tablespoon hot chili sauce, sriracha (optional)
  • Reserved leaves from the celery stalk, minced
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • ½ teaspoon black pepper

Cook the noodles according to instructions, drain, and set aside. Heat peanut oil and vegetable oil in a wok or large nonstick pan. Sauté garlic, carrots, cabbage, onion, and shredded celery for 1 minute. Add chicken meat, salt, and pepper, and cook for 3 to 4 minutes, stirring to incorporate all the flavors until chicken is fully cooked. Add oyster sauce, soy sauce, water, and hot chili sauce (if using), and cook until water evaporates and sauce begins to thicken. Remove from heat and add noodles, mixing to incorporate all of the flavors. Top off with minced celery leaves.

COOKING TIP: Partially frozen chicken things are easier to cut than thawed ones.

Want more? Get his famous fajitas recipe and more.

About Father Leo

Father Leo Patalinghug has been called “a break-dancing, board-breaking, bread-breaking priest.”  Before he was ordained over ten years ago, he taught high school speech, debate, and drama; founded a martial arts school with his brother; and choreographed an award-winning break-dancing group. 

Food and cooking have always been interests for him.  Throughout the years he learned some of his cooking skills from his mother and by cooking for his friends.  His culinary interest even took him to take some courses at the Cordon Bleu Perugia, Italy Culinary School.   After Father Leo was ordained, he incorporated his cooking skills and his other talents with his  presentations and even started a movement to bring families back together through mealtimes called Grace Before Meals.  Father Leo’s goal with Grace Before Meals is to create mini-Thanksgivings (or quality times for families to spend meal times together) throughout the year. 

In November 2008, Father Leo received an e-mail from the Food Network.  It said that someone at the network saw a Grace Before Meals episode on the Web, and the Food Network was interested in featuring him and Grace Before Meals on a show about cooking shows on the Internet.  The network wanted him to showcase his “Fusion Fajitas,” which is like the traditional South American dish that includes delicious meats and grilled vegetables wrapped in either a corn or wheat tortilla. 

In June 2009, shooting began.  Father Leo was busy cooking and thought it was his time to cook and share the Grace Before Meals message.  Then, out of the crowd came Flay.   Father Leo was truly surprised, but he was not afraid and had to act by faith, not by “sight.”  It was an exciting showdown in which Father Leo came out victorious.

Shortly after the Throwdown broadcast on September 9, 2009, the Grace Before Meals website received over two million hits.

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