Wednesday, July 23, 2008

Book Club Meeting Recipes and Ideas

The book I chose for book club this month was "Dinner with a Perfect Stranger" by David Gregory. I really enjoyed this book and it created a lot of good conversation at the meeting.

Besides all the great messages in the book, I loved that the book took place in a restaurant while the character were eating. Because they were eating it allowed me to come up with a menu that goes along with the book. I always love a great theme.

First I wrote the menu on a piece of poster board and put in a frame. This told the guest the specials on the menu for the evening, like in a restaurant.

One thing I like about this menu is the things can be made earlier in the day so there is not a lot of preparation right before guest arrive. This worked out great for me because our power went out right before the meeting and stayed out for the entire time. I was not able to bake the Spinach Dip but everything else was done, so we got to talk and eat by candle light. It was a very fun evening.

The menu for the evening was:

Spinach Dip and Hot Bread (in the book)
Apple Berry Salsa and Baked Tortilla Chips (not in the book, I just like it)

Greek Tortellini Salad (in the book)

Main Dish:
Summer Chicken Salad on Croissants (not in the book) In the book was Salmon and Veal, I did not feel like fixing either one.
Dill Pickle

Strawberry Tiramisu Trifle

Spinach Dip recipe from Beth:

2 packages cream cheese, softened
1 can Rotel, drained
1 pack frozen soinach, thawed and drained
1 can artichoke hearts, drained and chopped
1-2 cloves of garlic, chopped
2 cups shredded mozzarella cheese
Jalapeno slices for top (optional)

Mix first 5 ingredients together and then top with mozzarella cheese and jalapeno slices. Bake for 350 for 30 minutes until golden brown and bubbly.

Apple Berry Salsa from Pampered Chef

2 medium granny Smith apples
1 pint strawberries, diced (about 1 1/2 cups)
2 kiwi, peeled an diced
1 small orange
2 tablespoons packed brown sugar
2 tablespoons apple jelly or apricot jam (I used apple jelly)

1. Peel, core and slice apples coarsely. Dice strawberries and kiwi.

2. Zest orange to measure 1 teaspoon. Juice orange to measure 2 tablespoons. Add orange zest , juice, brown sugar and jelly to fruit mixture; mix gently. Refrigerate until you are ready to serve.
16 servings

Greek Tortellini Salad (All Recipes. Com)

2 (9oz) packages tortellini
1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil
1/4 cup lemon juice
1/4 cup red wine vinegar
2 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley
1 teaspoon dried oregano
1/2 teaspoon salt
6 eggs
1 lbs baby spinach leaves
1 cup crumbled feta cheese
1/2 slivered red onion

1. Bring large pot of slightly salted water to a boil. Add tortellini, and cook for 7 minutes or until al dente; drain

2. In a large bowl, mix olive oil, lemon juice, red wine vinegar, parsley, oregano, and salt. Place the cooked tortellini in a bowl and toss to coat. Cover, and chill at least 2 hours in refrigerator.

3. Place eggs in a saucepan with enough water to cover and bring to a boil. Remove from heat, and allow eggs to sit in the water for 10-12 minutes, Drain, cool, peel and quarter.

4. Gently mix the spinach, feta cheese and onion into the bowl with the pasta. Arrange the quartered eggs around the salad to serve. 8 servings

Summer Chicken Salad

2 cups cubed cooked chicken
1 celery rib, thinly sliced
1/2 cup seedless red grapes
1/3 cup raisins
1/2 cup mayo
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/8 teaspoon pepper
1/3 cup chopped pecans

In a bowl, combine the chicken, celery, grapes and raisins. Add mayo, salt and pepper: mix well. Stir in pecans. Serve on croissants. 2-3 servings

Strawberry Tiramisu Trifle (Taste of Home's) Yum, Yum, Yum

Needs time to chill.

1 Quart fresh strawberries
1-1/4 cup cold milk
1 package (3.4 oz) instant vanilla pudding mix
1 package cream cheese (8oz), softened
4 tablespoons strong brewed coffee, room temperature, divided
2 cups whipped topping
1 package (3oz) ladyfinger, split (I used half a ring of a pound cake)
6 squares (1 oz each) bittersweet chocolate, grated

Set aside 3 strawberries for garnish; slice the remaining strawberries. In a bowl, whisk milk and pudding mix for 2 minutes. Let stand for 2 minutes or until soft-set. In a large mixing bowl, beat cream cheese until smooth; gradually beat in 2 tablespoons coffee. Beat in pudding. Fold in whipped topping.
Brush remaining coffee over the ladyfingers. Line the bottom of a 3 quart trifle or glass serving bowl with half of the sliced berries, grated chocolate and pudding mix; repeat layers. Cut reserve berries in half; place on trifle. Cover and refrigerate for at least 4 hours or overnight.
12 servings.

This is a great summer menu for any get together with friends.

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Brittany said...

You always seem to make me hungry. lol Sounds like a BLAST! :)

Beth (A Mom's Life) said...

Ya'll, let me just say that everything Jennifer served was AWESOME!! And it really was a blessing that everything was already cooked ahead of time. Except of course for the Spinach Dip and I got to take some of that home with me!

We didn't need the dip anyway, I was completely stuffed when I left!

Danielle said...

Can I join your book club! We usually keep our meals pretty simple at book club. FANTASTIC!

Deanna said...

I haven't had supper yet and now I am REALLY starving. I can't decide which recipe sounds the best!

Deanna said...

I haven't had supper yet and now I am REALLY starving. I can't decide which recipe sounds the best!

Kristi said...

I have missed your comments - we have been busy ourselves... I will have to read that book...

Family O'Foxes said...

I put the book on hold at the library. :)

Andrea said...

That strawberry trifle sound great right about now! hehe. :)

Annikke said...

Maybe I am reading it wrong but the spinach dip recipe doesn't include any spinach???

Lauren@Baseballs&Bows said...

What a great book club evening! I am sure that the loss of power was an inconvenience, but it sound like it added to the mood!

jennwa said...

Ooooops!!! Sorry about the spinach. Thanks!

Pam said...

You are so creative!!! That sounds like such a fun evening. I would love to join Book Club, we'll see.

Carol said...

Sounds both delicious and fascinating!

Jen said...

Do you want to join our book club? We could always use a new member (esp one that does that much cooking--WOW!!) Sounds like a fun evening.