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Mrs. Sundberg's Recipe Collection - 12 tried-and-true--one for each month of the year--featuring an introduction and tips from Mrs. Sundberg herself

Always Leave the Party When You're Having Fun

August 12, 2008

Listened to the show Saturday and it was not bad. It's been one of those weeks — summers, really — when there hasn't been time to really kick back and relax. Last week was all about driving and laundry and packing once again, though I did manage a ride on a pontoon boat with my father at the helm and the kids piled around me, and I was able to spend an hour on the phone with my mother. But to really relax is tough. I make lists in my head while on boat rides and wash floors while I'm on the phone.

Luckily I have a few close friends who know me well, and who have time and patience enough now and then to take me away — out for dinner or to a play or for a walk along a river which is about all a person needs to feel alive and breathing again. This past Monday I spent the evening at a lovely supper club in the city with two dear friends. We don't see each other much, and our lives are all quite different, but things worked out so we were able to sit down at a table together for a few hours and have some bread and wine and talk about our lives and laugh a bit and it just felt so dang good.

Because I'm more of a country person, I often feel a bit unrefined in a nice restaurant, with all those fancy glasses and the napkins folded in the shapes of loons and all the artwork done up in sauces on the plates. The menu was printed on one page and I had to ask what a few words meant (what in heaven's name is "umVOO"?). When the time came to order, however, we had things figured out. Smelt fries and an onion tart for starters. My friends ordered pork chops with Minnesota grits, while I went for the chicken breast and teriyaki rice. We ate sesame bread sticks with our wine, and our feet touched under the table as we talked about theater and books and people we love. The street lights came on while we shared a slice of strawberry rhubarb pie with lemon sorbet and a glass of port wine.

There wasn't a moment when I wanted to leave, but somewhere along the line I figured I ought to. Always leave the party when you're having fun, my mother says, and she's right. And I did. As I said goodbye, my friends were smiling, and so was I. A big ol' smile.

Another chicken dish, elegant as it is easy. Serve this one up for an end-of-the-summer gathering to celebrate school starting. Whoo hoo.

Company Chicken

4 large boneless chicken breast halves

3 beaten eggs

1 cup seasoned bread crumbs

Butter

8 oz sliced mushrooms

Sliced white cheese (Monterey jack is good)

1/4 cup canned chicken broth

Pat chicken dry. Pour eggs over chicken in bowl. Refrigerate 1-2 hours.

Drain. Dredge in bread crumbs.

Brown chicken in melted butter 3-4 minutes on each side.

Place in glass dish or casserole.

Cook mushrooms in butter until soft.

Spoon over chicken.

Top with cheese and broth.

Bake at 350 for 30-45 minutes.

Serve with your favorite side dishes. This recipe is easily doubled.

Enjoy!

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