Thursday, the 28th of July: COMO

our dinner along with 3 gorgeous dahlias from my parent's amazing garden (and a side of Cody-dog, too). 

Our dear parents have gathered many many people permanently into their lives over the years. I can't even imagine how many folks there are that call both mom and dad two of their dearest friends. Of course, considering they're both in their 90's, the number of friends in their age category has begun to shrink as a lot of those old souls have ~moved on~ from this earth. As you probably know, mom is on oxygen all the time now, and while that doesn't stop her from doing just about anything she wants to do, there are some things that limit her. Like any of their friends/family whose home involves unavoidable staircases - whether  getting up to the home, or having to climb a flight to use a bathroom. Their good friends, David & Diane O'Hagen have a home just like that, so when the time came that mom could no longer do stairs, thus couldn't go to their home any more for dinners, David & Diane suggested they start doing the next best thing: They would make and bring dinner to mom and dad  - and it's been a regular occurrence ever since. It's still their dinner, but just not eaten at their home, instead eaten 'round mom and dad's table! What a thoughtful and wonderful idea! 
Last night they were over, and being that it's hotter than Hades here in COMO, they brought a salad meal. Delicious! So, another SFD that wasn't on a Sunday!  David & Diane's menu (they asked mom to make dessert...ahem, Mom just told me she asked them if she could make dessert, and they said yes.) 

1 - chicken salad w/lots of fruit
2 - spinach salad w/Julie's citrus dressing
3 - Missouri River bottom cantaloupe
4 - Sister Schubert's dinner rolls

5 - MumBum's blackberry crisp

1 - When told how delicious the chicken salad was, Diane said she was embarrassed to take the compliment because it is so easy to make! She didn't give me amounts, as she doesn't measure any of this, just keeps adding until it ~looks right~. (She did say she used 2 chicken breasts. But...were they 2 chicken breast halves...or 2 whole chicken breasts....)

2 poached chicken breasts, cooled and torn/cut into bite-size chunks
small ruby red grapes, washed and stemmed (about 2 C.)
1 can (probably 20 oz.) pineapple tidbits (yep, that's what they're called - see here), drained
1 can sliced water chestnuts, drained and slice in half if you want (use 2 cans if you want more crunch) 
celery stalks cut in half length-wise and diced (probably 2 or 3 stalks)
salt & fresh ground pepper to taste

Combine everything except Miracle Whip in a bowl and gently mix well. Then begin adding Miracle Whip by the 1/4 cup or so, stirring gently (so you don't do in the pineapple tidbits) in between, until everything sort of binds together. Add as much or as little Miracle Whip as you want, but be sure it's Miracle Whip and not mayonnaise - it's a flavor thing (go here for an explanation about why it must be Miracle Whip). 

2 - This dressing recipe comes from an old friend of David & Diane and mom and dad - Julie Schewe. I grew up on this dressing - and that was in the '60's - and it's as good today as it was back then! (Mom told me that the original recipe didn't call for fresh sliced white mushrooms or orange slices, but they are now always included.)

orange peel zested from 1 medium orange (about 1/2 - 1 t.)
1/4 or so C. orange juice (from above orange)
1/2 C. grape seed or other mild oil (not olive oil)
2 T. sugar
2 T. red wine vinegar
1 T. lemon juice
salt and fresh ground black pepper to taste
2 T. chopped scallions
1 C. sliced fresh white/button mushrooms
orange sections from 1 - 2 oranges,  (peel through pith; with knife cut out the sections - how-to is here)

fresh baby spinach leaves. 

(As you can see, the O'Hagens put everything in a glass jar. Makes sense.) Mix all ingredients (but the spinach) together. This is better if you make it at least an hour before eating so the mushrooms have some time to absorb the dressing's flavors. I think they made a double recipe of this last night. (Personally, I think adding bacon bits to the salad would put it over the top...just my humble opinion.)

When the time come to serve, Put your spinach in a big bowl, pour on the dressing and toss well. Wish this would keep until the next day whenever there are left-overs, but, alas, it won't.  

(How do you like my floating pitcher over there?)

3 - Cantaloupe that's been cut into bite-size pieces. Cantaloupe can be delicious, and then it can have little to no flavor, and it's a guessing game which one you're buying. The one type of cantaloupe that is guaranteed to always be delicious are the ones that are grown in the Missouri River bottoms/bottom lands. If you can get your hands on one, you will be supremely satisfied when you eat it. I'm sure you can find them here in COMO at the farmer's market - be sure to ask where they were grown, tho. 

4 - Sister Schubert's Yeast Dinner Rolls
For bought dinner rolls, they were good. And I love the name! I'd buy them just for that! You can find the rolls at Sam's Club.

5 - Mom made our dessert, a blackberry crisp. Of course I didn't think to take a photo until after we'd consumed it! I'm sure she'll be making one again before I go home, and then I'll take photos and write down the recipe for it. Her fruit desserts are wonderful!

See you on Sunday!


Gathered 'round: David & Diane O'Hagen, mom & dad, me!

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