Hearts of Romaine and Italian Dressing

Monday, September 7, 2009
The Story of "Must Goes"
Nothing went to waste. I was 11 years old, came running in the house starving, and said "Mama what's for dinner tonight?" She said "must go," I said I don't want that, it sounds like fish, what is it? 

She said" everything must go" we have too many leftovers....hmm always makes me laugh anyway.

This message wasn't only for salad but for soups, stews, etc, Whatever we had leftover were must go!

She would always find a way to make a delicious dinner that can be almost classified now as gourmet, imagine that! 

Amazing what you can find in your refrigerator....and so healthy for you... for the love of food, we made a salad!

Growing up in Utica, New York on Lansing St.

When mom put on an Italian meal, the salad was a must on our tables. 

Everything went in it that was a leftover from the whole week. Nothing went to waste in our home. Mom was very thrifty. 

 I never really appreciated this heart of Romaine salad with her famous Italian homemade dressing as a side dish. 

As a child and very rarely ate salads. I do miss that delicious dressing that really was unique in flavors compared to anything I ever had. 

It took me years after mom passed to get close to the taste. 

Even watching her the olive oil and the combination of fresh herbs and spices were what made it so special. It was a totally different taste in Upstate Utica New York in the summer, compared to winter. We had all fresh garden vegetables and herbs growing all summer long. 

Where we lived Dad's whole yard was flowers and a garden. We had potatoes, beets, lettuce, carrots, radishes, pear trees, basil, oregano, mint, boysenberries these are just to name a few. 

The list goes on and on of what he grew, Dad had a green thumb.

 Boy, do I miss them both. Dad passed in 1995 and Mom passed on in 1999. 

Good old-fashioned Italian cooking. The best food on earth in my opinion.

The Dressing:

1/2 cup Extra Virgin Olive Oil
1/2 teaspoons each of dried basil, parsley, oregano, garlic powder, cayenne pepper, black pepper, and grated Romano cheese fresh when available
pinch of salt
1/4 cup Red Wine Vinegar or Balsamic
3 cloves finely minced garlic
Mix all ingredients above for dressing and set aside

On a plate arrange the following:
1 bunch of Hearts of Romaine lettuce chopped into small pieces or iceberg, mixed greens whatever you prefer
small can of rinsed and drained garbanzo beans arrange around dish to taste
1 fresh vine ripe tomato sliced or quartered or sometimes she would use cherry tomatoes
1 fresh ear of corn cooked sliced off the cob
black olives cured in oil (crinkled kind) or any kind of olives you prefer
slices of cucumbers
steamed broccoli florets
grilled whole mushrooms or pickled
sliced buffalo milk mozzarella cheese, cheddar, provolone, feta or any kind of cheese cubed
any kind of peppers
fresh roasted beets
avocado, artichoke hearts, hearts of palm, lupini beans, fresh peas in a pod, shredded red cabbage, sliced carrots, celery chopped, chopped onions always vidalia or red
You can add leftover tuna, roast beef, chicken, turkey, salami, pepperoni, whatever you have goes into this salad, use your imagination.
So as the story really should say "anything goes" with " must goes"


  1. I still make a salad with whatever I can find in the 'fridge....
    Mom new what the term KISS meant...
    Keep It Simple Stupid....
    Keep it up Pegasus!

  2. It's amazing what a nice meal all the random items in the fridge can make! I try not to go grocery shopping until I clear out a lot of the "random" stuff...

  3. Growing up one night a week was dedicated to "must goes"-- I've never met anyone, besides my mom, who calls it that, too, so I am loving this post! Thanks for making me smile :)

  4. So glad someone can relate to that,with the smiles there are still tears of missing her.. but wonderful memories...thanks for sharing your story too.

  5. I hate to throw food away. This is a good way to use all the "must goes.":)

  6. We used to make soup the same way--left over pot roast or chicken, with whatever vegetables were hanging around...

  7. I tend to throw together leftovers for my lunch the next day...sometimes it's such a random mish-mash, but hey, it works!

  8. Yum, that looks so delicious and healthy!


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