Caroline Dotson: Cookbook has fun recipes for special occasions

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Fall is here, and winter quickly is approaching. This is the time of year for get-togethers, football parties and family gatherings, so I invested in a cookbook: "Favorite Brand Name Made Simple Entertaining." The book has an array of recipes for appetizers, side dishes, entrees, desserts and bite-size delights that will assist in entertaining between four and 12 guests.

The appetizer recipes range from a fancy "Crabmeat Crostini" with pecans and rosemary on French bread slices, to a simple "Pizza Fondue" with Italian sausage, ham, and cheese.

"Party Potatoes," made with hash browns, cream of potato soup, and Cheddar cheese, is a side dish recipe. "Crunchy Mexican Side Salad" is easy to throw together with a few fresh vegetables, olives, taco sauce and crushed taco shells.

Both can be made easily and will be enjoyed at potlucks.

The entrees serve between four to six people, and the recipes are simple to if needed for more guests. The "Fettuccine Gorgonzola with Sun-Dried Tomatoes" is a quick meal to throw together, and the presentation is beautiful.

If impressing guests is the goal, then the "Chicken with Kale Stuffing" is perfect with its mushrooms, oregano, and stemmed kale, wrapped in chicken breasts. The entree section also includes recipes for turkey and ham that may be useful this holiday season.

The best part of a gathering is often the desserts, and this cookbook doesn't fail. The "Pear and Cranberry Cobbler" is made with homemade biscuits and fresh fruits. "Pumpkin Pie Bars" use the same ingredients as traditional pumpkin pie but are a delightful switch.

A special treat, "Made Simple Entertaining" cookbook has recipes for bonbons, fudge, rocky road candy and many more goodies to serve to guests or to give as gifts.

The cookbook has a great index to help with specific ingredients. Many of the recipes feature excellent pictures, which helps when making a new dish. The categories are tabbed and the binding is spiral and the book easily lays flat.

The recipes call for name brand ingredients, but I try to save money, so I used store brand items, and the results were splendid.

Recently, I made a side dish of "Oven Roasted Potatoes and Onions with Herbs." This turned out beautifully and was packed with flavor. I plan on making many more of the recipes this year as I invite friends and family over to share in my love of cooking.

This cookbook will not replace "Joy of Cooking" or "Better Homes and Gardens Cookbook," but it has fun recipes and is useful for special occasions.

Caroline Dotson, of Downtown Books in Craig, reviews books for the Daily Press.

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