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Invitation to dinner

May 30, 2012
By Pat Jensen , Marshall Independent

This past February I decided to go for a new look and get my hair cut quite short. My daughter, Sue, had commented (on more than one occasion) that she thought my hair needed a good trim. So after having it cut (without her knowledge), I was anxious for her to see the results.

Since the kids hadn't been over since Christmas, I thought it would be nice to invite them over for a meal. A phone call was placed to our son, Derek. A home-cooked meal sounded good, but he had made other plans.

I thought it would be fun to mail a dinner invitation to Sue and her family. In addition to bills and junk mail, it would be great to find something unexpected in the mailbox.

After some thought, I decided to design the invitation myself. Perhaps I've been watching too many detective shows, as I was inspired to type the following on a plain sheet of paper along with a typed address on the envelope ...

Your mother is being kept warm and comfortable. She does not look the way you remember her. If you wish to see her "new look," come to 634 W. 1st St. in Cottonwood on Sunday, Feb. 19th. Be there at NOON. You will need to bring a Million Dollar Dessert. Failure to comply will result in; well, you don't want to know! Be assured your mother will never again be quite the same. This is the only communication you will receive. Take it seriously. P.S. Games optional.

I also attached a lock of hair which had been collected after my haircut.

Upon receiving the envelope, Sue immediately called and asked me if I was all right. Why wouldn't I be? She had become flustered after reading the first two lines and began dialing my number.

After calming her down, I explained the note was meant to be a dinner invitation that mimicked a ransom note ... hence the lock of hair and the need to bring the all important ransom (Million Dollar Dessert).

Sue showed the note to her hubby when he got home from work - he didn't quite know what to make of it. After Sue told Jason it was an invitation to dinner, then it made sense. Don't they ever watch detective shows? I thought the message was clear. Of course, I'm the one who wrote it.

On the 19th, Sue, Jason and their son showed up at our door shortly before noon. And yes, they did bring the ransom. It was delicious. After the meal, we played a couple of board games.

By this time the kids have probably forgotten what we had for dinner, but I don't think they'll ever forget the invitation!

A make-ahead sandwich


2 lbs. ground beef

1/4 cup finely diced onion

Salt and Pepper to taste

8 oz. grated mozzarella cheese

1 can tomato soup

1/4 cup bottled chili sauce

1/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese

3/4 tsp. oregano

1/2 tsp. garlic salt

In a large skillet brown ground beef and onion; season to taste. Drain off excess fat. Allow meat to cool; for quick results put in fridge. When meat is cool, add remaining ingredients. Mix well.

Split two dozen hamburger buns. Spread some of the meat mixture on bottom half of each bun. Replace top of bun. Wrap each filled bun in foil and seal. Put wrapped buns into a freezer bag or container. Be sure to label. Place buns in freezer. Remove desired number of buns from freezer about 2 hours before needed. Place in a 350 oven for about 30 min. Remove foil wrapper and enjoy your burger.

Note: Could also heat buns on the grill - indirect heat / top rack. Great for camping.

Easy and economical


3 T. grated Parmesan cheese

1 T. dried basil

1/4 tsp. salt, opt.

1/4 tsp (or less) pepper

1 large unpeeled baking potato, cut into wedges

2 tsp. vegetable oil

In a small bowl combine Parmesan cheese, basil, salt if desired and pepper. Set aside. Place potato wedges in a resealable plastic bag; add oil. Seal bag and shake to coat. Add seasoning mixture and shake again. Transfer wedges to a greased 8-in. square pan. Bake, uncovered, at 400 for 20 to 25 min. or until tender.

Yield: 2 servings

Note: At our house I double the recipe and hope for leftovers; great reheated in the microwave.

Mmm, mmm, good!


1 (20 oz) can crushed pineapple, drained

1 can cherry pie filling

1 can sweetened condensed milk

1 (8 oz) carton Cool Whip, thawed

1/2 cup chopped walnuts or pecans

Combine all ingredients. Cover and refrigerate overnight before serving.

A delightful finish to your meal


2 cups graham cracker crumbs

1/2 cup melted butter or margarine

Combine cracker crumbs and butter. Pat into a 9x13 pan. Chill or bake at 350 for 8 to 10 min. Cool.


4 cups chopped rhubarb

1 cup granulated sugar

1/2 tsp. strawberry flavoring, opt.

1 (3 oz) pkg. strawberry Jell-O

2 cups min. marshmallows

1 cup Cool Whip, thawed

Additional cracker crumbs or nuts

In a saucepan combine rhubarb and sugar. Cook for about 5 min. Add strawberry flavoring, gelatin and marshmallows. Stir to blend. Allow to cool. Add Cool Whip and blend. Pour on top of crust. Top with graham cracker crumbs or nuts. Cover and refrigerate several hours or overnight.

Note: When serving, may top with Cool Whip.

Food for Thought: In order to make sense out of anything, you must put some sense into it.



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