Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Book Club Menu and Recipes

We enjoyed a simple menu at last week's book club dinner and discussion of Redeeming Love by Francine Rivers. A few of us brought appetizers; Missy Hilyer treated us to homemade bread and butter; and guests were asked to bring salads and desserts. Dinner was wonderful! Find our appetizer recipes below.

Sparkling Punch

I wanted a golden punch for our book club selection, which is set in the days of the California Gold Rush. This recipe from Allrecipes was the perfect choice!

2 (750 milliliter) bottles sparkling apple cider
1 liter carbonated water
3 large oranges
2 lemons
1 6-ounce can frozen lemonade concentrate
1 tablespoon white sugar
2 trays ice cubes

Thinly slice the lemons and the oranges and place in a large punch bowl. Pour in the thawed lemonade. Gently stir in the seltzer water and the sparkling apple cider. Add sugar to taste. Add large block of ice. (Note: Instead of the ice, I made an ice ring using raspberries and some of the lemon and orange slices from the recipe.)

Chicken Bites
Taryn Brodie is often asked to make this sweet and savory appetizer she picked up from her husband's family. In keeping with our book club selection, we called these "nuggets" for the evening.
2 boneless skinless chicken breasts, cubed
1 package bacon, cut in thirds
1 cup brown sugar
chili powder to taste
Mix the chili powder and brown sugar together and set aside. Wrap a piece of chicken with a slice of bacon and hold in place with a toothpick. Roll it in the brown sugar mixture so that it is well coated. Place in casserole dish. Continue until all pieces are done. Bake at 325 for 15-20 minutes. Drain it with a few minutes left to go so that they can crispy. (Note: Taryn also likes preparing this appetizer with shrimp.)

Hot Bacon Swiss

Lara Graham served this tasty dip warm from the oven with corn chips.

1 cup grated Swiss cheese
1/2 cup mayonnaise
8-ounce block of cream cheese
1 jar Hormel Bacon Bits
Crushed Ritz crackers (about 1 sleeve)

Mix cheese, mayonnaise and cream cheese with a blender, then spread mixture into a baking dish. Top with Hormel Bacon Bits, then crushed Ritz crackers. Bake at 350 degrees for 25 minutes, or until bubbly. Serve with corn chips.

Baked Brie

I picked this recipe up on a trip to Columbus, Ohio, for a ladies day a few years ago. It is a hit on holiday menus and was perfect for our book club gathering.

1 sheet puff pastry, thawed according to package directions
1 wheel of brie
Raspberry preserves
Sesame seeds
Sliced apples

Slice the brie in half and spread a couple of tablespoons of raspberry preserves between the layers. Sandwich them back together, and wrap the wheel in puff pastry. Sprinkle sesame seeds on top, and bake at the recommended temperature for the puff pastry until golden brown. Serve warm with sliced apples.

Photo by Teri Phillips

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