Tag Archives: Monsignor Jamie Gigantiello

Little extra effort makes the ordinary … extraordinary

Today’s modern culture emphasizes that what is fastest is best, and what is concise is enough. As you enter these final months of the year, you may be heading back to school, closing out a fiscal year, beginning a new quarter or already thinking about 2020. Not matter where you are, I invite you to take an extra step, slow things down and think not about how eliminating a step will make your life easier, but how adding a step will make life for someone else much greater.

When Jesus taught His disciples to pray, He left for us the prayer we know as the “Our Father” or the “Lord’s Prayer.” In His infinite wisdom, the Lord connects each one of us together as brothers and sisters when we together call God “Our Father.” It is with this understanding, that we should live our lives daily acknowledging what we do for our brother and sister, we do for God and ourselves. As followers of Christ we are called to a different standard than that of the world. It is our duty not to rush through our day as a means to get to the end, but to make sure that as we journey though each day, we leave this world a better place for everyone.

As vicar for development of the Diocese of Brooklyn, I have the privilege of getting to know thousands of people who look beyond their needs and take the extra step to try to fulfill the needs of others. Those who sponsor our Catholic school students through Futures in Education, providing a Catholic school education to those who could not otherwise afford one, are among the best examples of how taking the extra step makes the difference. These donors do not have to sponsor a child nor do they directly and personally benefit from doing it. Some of our donors are wealthy, some are working class, and a few even live paycheck to paycheck, yet they all believe that taking the extra step and giving of their treasures does more for them than selffocus could.

Do not rush into the new school year, the last quarter, or 2020 thinking you will win the race thanks to speed, narrow focus, or brevity. Instead, remind yourself it is a journey you are on, and walk side by side with your brothers and sisters toward the open arms of our God, the only finish line worth heading toward – the spectacular finish line which requires deliberate — and extra — steps to reach. 

MONSIGNOR JAMIE GIGANTIELLO is the vicar for development of the Diocese of Brooklyn and host of NET TV cooking show, “Breaking Bread” Netny.tv/shows/breaking-bread/, and pastor of Our Lady of Mt. Carmel – Annunciation Parish, Brooklyn, NY.


Apple Ricotta Pancakes

Apple Ricotta Pancakes make a great treat before the school day during the week, or after morning Mass on Sunday. They’re light and fluffy, but filling enough to satisfy the whole family. The best part is it only takes a few extra steps to turn a regular pancake into a delicious surprise!


2 cups Pancake Batter
2 Apples (peeled and cubed)
1 cup Ricotta Cheese
2 tsp. Cinnamon
2 tsp. Coconut Oil
Cooking Spray
Confectioner’s Sugar

Place cubed apples in dish and cook in the microwave for about 1 minute. This will soften the apples and make them chewy. (If you prefer crispy apples in pancakes, skip this step.)

In a bowl, mix apples, ricotta cheese, and cinnamon into a batter, adding water to the pancake batter mix as needed. Do not overmix.

Preheat griddle or pan and coat with cooking spray.

Add some coconut oil, and allow to melt if solid.

Pour the batter onto the griddle or pan. This batter will be thicker than plain pancake batter so the shape of the pancakes will not be perfectly round, but they will be delicious!

Cook the pancakes, flipping them only once and not patting them down. This will keep them very fluffy.

Garnish with sliced apples and confectioner’s sugar and enjoy!

Apples may be substituted with strawberries, raspberries, blueberries, bananas, peaches (do not microwave these) — or anything else you can think of!

Greatest ‘meal’ comes from Our Blessed Mother

For many of us, memories of our mother are mixed with the aroma and tastes of favorite foods. Thinking of mom recalls the nurturing moments of childhood as she cooked for and fed us when we were hungry or ill. The smell of her sauce, the way she roasted a lamb or even baked our favorite dessert, if experienced as adults, can transport us back in time to that comforting place. Of course, no one can make our favorites like mom — she is by far the best.

I wonder if this was true also for Jesus? Did Mary make Him a favorite meal? Did He think of her when He smelled the dishes of His childhood years later? Did He look for the comfort of His mother’s cooking when traveling from town to town preaching, or delight in it on holy days and celebrations?

Much of what we know about the relationship between Jesus and His mother comes from the Gospel accounts, in addition to our rich tradition. In John’s Gospel (2:1-12) there is an instance where we get the impression that for Mary, all elements of a proper meal were important. At the wedding feast in Cana, she implores her Son to save the wedding celebration by providing more wine which had run out. My own mother was always concerned that guests to my childhood apartment in Long Island City would have enough to eat and were well hosted.

Yes, Jesus’ first public miracle was done at Mary’s request, so a wedding feast would be complete for all guests. This shows her concern for all, wanting her son to help everyone. Hers is the heart of a mother concerned for the well being of her children. In my parish in Brooklyn, the Blessed Mother is truly mother to us all. Here, there are numerous ethnic communities with many differences. Each week we celebrate Mass in four different languages, our people eat different foods, appreciate different music styles, and even dress differently.

But no matter the differences, what unites them is love of Christ and devotion to our Blessed Mother. The passion they have for Mary as their mother transcends language and culture, and unites them in faith to her Son whether they call her Our Lady of Mount Carmel, Our Lady of Guadalupe, Our Lady of Vilnius, or Mary. How blessed are we who are nourished by the greatest meal, the Eucharist, which Mary made possible when she said, “May it be done to me according to your word” (Luke 1:38). 

MONSIGNOR JAMIE GIGANTIELLO is the vicar for development of the Diocese of Brooklyn and host of NET TV cooking show Breaking Bread Netny.tv/shows/breaking-bread/ and Pastor of Our Lady of Mt. Carmel – Annunciation Parish, Brooklyn

Yiasou Halibut Speciotiko

10 oz. Halibut fillet
Fresh Dill (Chopped)
Fresh Parsley (Chopped)
Fresh Thyme (Chopped)
6-7 Cherry Tomatoes (Cut)
¼ Cup Grilled Red Bell Pepper
¼ Cup Sliced Green Olives
1 Cup Scampi Sauce
1/8 Cup Capers
¼ Cup Chicken Stock
¼ Cup White Wine
2 Cloves of Garlic
Extra Virgin Olive Oil
½ Fresh Lemon
Salt & Pepper


Take the halibut, cut it in half, sprinkle a little salt and pepper on it.

Cover both pieces of halibut in flour, removing extra flour so it does not burn.

Place the halibut skin side up in the pan.

In another pan, add garlic and cherry tomatoes and cook on medium heat until the garlic becomes slightly transparent.

When the garlic is ready, add the olives, capers, white wine, red bell pepper, chicken stock, dill parsley, thyme, and scampi sauce

Set it to simmer and reduce.

Turn fish over to cook on all sides.

Place the halibut on a dish; squeeze the lemon juice on top.

Add the contents of the other pan next to it and enjoy!

First course can renew entire meal

Throughout the history of the church, many spiritual exercises have been introduced in order to help us stop what we are doing and reflect. In the course of a year, most of us find ourselves jumping from one project to another, one responsibility to another, and even from place to place without enjoying the fruits of our labors, the blessings we have been graced with, or the wisdom gained from reflection.

The new year gives us an opportunity to review our behaviors and reset ourselves for the year ahead, oftentimes following the hustle of a busy Christmas season and close of the calendar year. January presents us with a fresh beginning which, like a good starter dish at a dinner party, sets the course for what is to follow.

Before I answered God’s call to serve His people in the ministry of the priesthood, I attended the Culinary Institute of America. During my time in culinary school and my years of working in restaurants and hotels in Manhattan, I always placed special emphasis on the first course or appetizer. My theory has always been that while a fabulous entrée can make a meal memorable, the way you begin a meal can make the same old spectacular, and the everyday an experience. Too often in life we want to rush to the main course; some of us even want to rush directly to the dessert. However, if we start off with the right first course, it slows us down and allows us to enjoy all that follows with a renewed sense of appreciation.

As a chef I always must also keep focused on what is the purpose of the meal I am preparing. Am I cooking a meal to be healthy, to meet the taste of a particular individual, to feed someone who is hungry, or to mark a special occasion?

The first course is essential to helping me accomplish the reason for my meal. It should not be in opposition to the purpose, but assist in connecting where the diner is when he or she first sits at the table and where I would like them to be when they are finished. Once again, it is the way I start the meal which will allow the courses to lead the diner.

Whether you are hosting a party or preparing a simple chicken breast on a Tuesday night, beginning with something new, refreshed, or just unexpected may afford you the opportunity to enjoy the fullness of a meal which won’t leave you hungry. Similarly, if we begin this new year with a renewed sense of purpose, we can discover countless blessings we may have overlooked in our busyness the year before.

MONSIGNOR JAMIE GIGANTIELLO is the vicar for development of the Diocese of Brooklyn and host of the NET TV cooking show “Breaking Bread.” https://netny.tv/shows/breaking-bread/


Baked Artichoke Dip

3 Cans (14 oz each) artichoke hearts in water
6 Tbsp unsalted butter, at room temperature
¼ Cup all-purpose flour
2 Cups whole milk, warmed
2 Tsp coarse salt Black pepper
1/8 Tsp cayenne pepper
1 Cup grated Parmesan cheese
1 Cup grated Pecorino cheese
1 large onion (finely chopped)
1 Tbsp fresh thyme (finely chopped)
3 garlic cloves (minced)
1 ½ Tsp lemon zest (finely grated)
¼ cup fresh bread crumbs

Chop the 3 cans of artichoke hearts well.

In a bowl, mix together well the chopped artichokes, butter, flour, whole milk, salt,

pepper (to taste), cayenne pepper, parmesan cheese, pecorino cheese, onion, thyme, garlic, lemon zest, and bread crumbs.

Spray a casserole dish with non-stick spray. Place the contents of the bowl in the dish and place in the oven at 375 degrees Fahrenheit for 15 min.

Serve with bread, chips, or vegetables for dipping and enjoy!