Let's Get Together: Simple Recipes for Gatherings With Friends

Let's Get Together: Simple Recipes for Gatherings With Friends

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Let's Get Together: Simple Recipes for Gatherings With Friends by DeeDee Stovel, Pamela Wakefield

Let's get together! It's the cheerful refrain at the end of conversations with friends and family, and the shared anticipation of good times with plenty of delicious food and drink. Whether the occasion is a lazy weekend brunch with your houseguests, a festive cocktail party for colleagues, an over-the-top plated meal for a special occasion, or anything in between, authors DeeDee Stovel and Pam Wakefield have the preparations well in hand. In Let's Get Together, they offer 175 recipes — tested and retested at their own successful gatherings — that will please every palate without keeping you in the kitchen for hours on end. You'll find great ideas for every meal and event. Planning a summer cookout with the neighbors? How about grilled lamb pocket burgers, chopped cucumber salad, curried red lentils, and vanilla ice cream with strawberries and hot bittersweet chocolate sauce? Or try wedding cake cheese, crudites with salsa verde, grilled salmon with mustard sauce, northern Italian lasagna, and green and orange salad for an engagement party. Whether you're looking for kid-friendly food for a family reunion, elegant sandwiches for a baby shower, or an all-the-trimmings holiday dinner, you'll find the recipes you need, along with well-planned menus and professional advice that makes entertaining a stress-free pleasure.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781603422048
Publisher: Storey Books
Publication date: 02/01/2016
Sold by: Barnes & Noble
Format: NOOK Book
Pages: 288
File size: 2 MB

About the Author

DeeDee Stovel is the author of numerous cookbooks, including the bestseller Picnic. A caterer, longtime teacher of cooking and nutrition, and passionate advocate of fresh, homemade food, she lives in northern California.
Pam is a talented host, well-versed in feeding large groups. She lives in Princeton, New Jersey.

Read an Excerpt




Breakfast is a wonderful, simple meal. This is the time when company in the kitchen is encouraged. Assign a pair of hands to scramble sunny eggs or flip pancakes. Find someone to pour chilled juice or cut up fresh fruit. Send the less skilled out for newspapers and bagels. Our advice? Keep it simple and enjoy the promise of another day and the warmth and casual chatter of family and friends.

Brunch, on the other hand, generally takes a little more planning. It is a one-event-fits-all entertaining option. It works well for all group sizes and all generations. It can be a joyous part of a wedding weekend or the basis for a festive engagement party, a New Year's Day celebration, or just friends and family gathering. Brunch is a happy choice for the holiday season, when evening entertaining dates tend to get filled early. The traditional brunch menu includes standard breakfast foods such as eggs, pancakes, bacon, ham, pastries, and the like. Our breakfast and brunch recipes offer exciting options. They are fun to prepare and always enjoyed.

So start the plans and the preparation, and "Let's do brunch!"

apple cinnamon stuffed french toast

Serves 6

FLIPPING THIS FRENCH TOAST IS A LITTLE CHALLENGING, but the burst of flavor makes it all worthwhile. The apples can be prepared ahead of time, and the cooked French toast "sandwiches" can be kept warm in a low oven.


* 4–6 large apples, peeled and sliced

1 teaspoon plus 1 tablespoon butter

2 tablespoons sugar

1 teaspoon ground cinnamon

2 eggs, slightly beaten

1 egg white

• ½ cup skim milk

• ¼ teaspoon salt

12 slices whole wheat or oatmeal bread

• Maple syrup and applesauce


1. Sauté the apples in the teaspoon of butter in a large skillet over medium heat, until they are slightly soft, about 10 minutes. Mix the sugar and cinnamon in a small bowl and add to the apples. Cook for 1 minute, or until the sugar melts.

2. Whisk the eggs, egg white, milk, and salt together in a deep-dish pie plate until smooth.

3. Dip the slices of bread into the egg mixture; lay six of them out on a work surface. Spread the apple mixture over the bread and cover with the remaining slices to make "sandwiches." Press down slightly.

4. Melt half the remaining tablespoon of butter in a large skillet or griddle over medium heat. When the butter is hot but not brown, add three of the sandwiches and cook until the bottoms are lightly browned. Turn them and lightly cook the other sides.

5. Cook the remaining French toast sandwiches with the remaining butter and serve hot with maple syrup and applesauce.


orange french toast

Serves 6

BRIGHTEN YOUR MORNING with the simple additions of orange juice and zest to your French toast. Top it off with orange-infused syrup and you are ready for the day's activities.


* 4 eggs

4 egg whites

• ¼ teaspoon salt

1 tablespoon orange zest

• ½ cup orange juice

1 loaf Swiss Braided Bread, cut into 12 slices


* 1 ½ cups orange juice

• 1/3 tablespoon sugar


1. Whisk together the eggs and egg whites in a large glass pie plate. Add the salt, orange zest, and orange juice; mix well.

2. Dip slices of bread in the egg mixture and drain on a rack set over another pie plate.

3. To make the orange syrup, combine the orange juice and sugar in a small saucepan over medium heat. Bring to a boil and cook for 1 minute.

4. Heat a nonstick griddle or large skillet brushed lightly with butter over medium heat. Cook the French toast until browned; keep warm on a serving plate in a 200°F oven until ready to serve. Serve with the warm orange syrup.


overnight oven french toast

Serves 8

THE NIGHT-BEFORE ASSEMBLY of this satisfying breakfast or brunch dish decreases morning chaos. And besides that, it will brighten the morning with its simple twist on an old favorite.


* 2 tablespoons butter

8 slices raisin bread, sliced 1-inch thick (one 1pound loaf)

4 eggs

4 egg whites

1 ½ cups milk

• ¼ cup sugar

• ½ teaspoon cinnamon

2 tablespoons maple syrup

1 teaspoon vanilla

• ½ teaspoon salt Confectioners' sugar


1. Generously butter a large shallow baking pan and arrange the bread slices in a single layer.

2. Beat together the eggs, egg whites, milk, sugar, cinnamon, syrup, vanilla, and salt in a large bowl. Pour mixture over the bread; turn slices to coat.

3. Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate overnight.

4. Preheat the oven to 400°F.

5. Bake the French toast for 20 minutes, or until a tester inserted into the center comes out clean. Turn the bread and continue baking until golden, about 4 minutes longer.

6. Transfer the cooked toast to warm plates and sprinkle with confectioners' sugar.



BAKING TIME: About 30 minutes

zucchini sausage strata

Serves 6

STRATAS ARE PERFECT FOR THE BRUNCH TABLE because they need to be assembled the day before so that the bread can soak up the milk and eggs and puff up for a dramatic presentation. Luscious aromas will fill the house as this soufflé-like concoction bakes. The zucchini, sausage, and sharp cheese combine to provide layers of savory flavors in a rich and satisfying dish.


* 8 large slices of Italian semolina bread or French bread

2 cups grated zucchini

2 sweet Italian turkey sausages, browned, crumbled, and well drained to remove excess fat

1 medium onion, chopped

2 cups grated sharp cheddar cheese (8 ounces)

5 eggs

3 cups low-fat milk

1 teaspoon dried thyme

• ¼ teaspoon dry mustard

• ¼ teaspoon salt

• ¼ teaspoon white pepper

2 tablespoons freshly grated Parmesan cheese


1. Lightly coat a shallow 2-quart casserole dish with vegetable cooking spray and line it with four slices of the bread. Scatter the zucchini and sausage over the bread; sprinkle with the onion and cheese. Lay the remaining bread slices over the cheese.

2. Whisk the eggs together in a large bowl until foamy. Add the milk, thyme, mustard, salt, and pepper, and mix well; pour the mixture over the bread. Cover the casserole with plastic wrap and refrigerate overnight.

3. Preheat the oven to 350°F.

4. Sprinkle the strata with the Parmesan and bake for 45 minutes to 1 hour, or until it is puffy and golden brown. Serve hot.




asparagus strata

Serves 8

THIS VARIATION ON THE STRATA THEME IS THE PERFECT DISH for asparagus season, when these green stalks are fresh and lovely. Serve it with a citrus salad and breakfast sausages.


* 12 ounces sourdough baguette, cut into 12 slices

1 pound fresh asparagus, washed, ends trimmed, and cut on an angle into 1-inch pieces

1 teaspoon lemon zest

2 cups mixed freshly grated Parmesan and Asiago cheeses (8
5 eggs, lightly beaten

3 ½ cups low-fat milk

2 tablespoons minced shallots

2 teaspoons dried tarragon


1. Butter a shallow ovenproof casserole dish. Lay half the bread slices on the bottom of the dish. Spread the asparagus on top of the bread and sprinkle with the lemon zest. Reserve ½ cup of the cheese mixture, and sprinkle the rest over the asparagus. Cover with the remaining bread slices.

2. Beat together the eggs, milk, shallots, and tarragon in a large bowl. Pour over the bread, covering all the slices. Press down to be sure the milk mixture soaks into the bread. Sprinkle with the reserved cheese and cover tightly with plastic wrap. Refrigerate for up to 12 hours.

3. Preheat the oven to 350°F. Let the strata sit at room temperature for about 30 minutes.

4. Bake the strata for 45 minutes to 1 hour, or until it is lightly browned on top and puffy. Serve hot.




stewed oranges and apricots

Makes 2 ½ cups

WE WERE FIRST SERVED THIS DELICIOUS CONCOCTION, warmed on a woodstove, at a wonderful old Adirondack mountain camp. A spoonful of this over a steaming bowl of oatmeal topped with cream made us ready to climb any mountain in the high peaks. Try it chilled and served over ice cream, too.


* 2 oranges, thinly sliced into rounds, then quartered and seeded

1 cup dried apricots, cut into quarters

1 ½ cups prunes

3 lemon slices

1 cinnamon stick

4 whole cloves

3 cups water

Combine the fruits and spices in a large saucepan. Add the water and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat and simmer for 20 minutes, stirring occasionally. Add the sugar and cook for another 10 minutes. Serve warm.



* Hot oatmeal with brown sugar

* Stewed Oranges and Apricots

* Assorted juices

* Coffee, tea, and Hot Homemade Cocoa

glorious granola

Makes 10 cups

THIS IS A WONDERFUL GRANOLA RECIPE. It is high in fiber and has no added refined sugar, but it is just sweet enough. Use old-fashioned oats, not quick-cooking, as their texture seems to survive the baking process well. When packed in glass jars, it makes a welcome gift. Commission your in-house artists to design and decorate labels.


* 6 cups rolled oats

1 cup wheat germ

1 cup skim milk powder

• ½ cup sliced almonds

• ½ cup chopped hazelnuts

• ½ cup shelled sunflower seeds

• ½ cup sesame seeds

2 teaspoons ground cinnamon

1 cup honey

1 cup canola oil

2 teaspoons vanilla extract

• ¾ cup golden raisins

• ¾ cup dark raisins

• ½ cup dried cherries

• ½ cup dried cranberries


1. Preheat the oven to 325°F.

2. Combine the oats, wheat germ, milk powder, nuts, sunflower and sesame seeds, and cinnamon in a large bowl.

3. Heat the honey and oil in a saucepan until hot but not boiling. Remove the pan from the heat and stir in the vanilla.

4. Pour this mixture over the oat mixture and toss to coat thoroughly. Spread evenly in three 9- by 13-inch baking pans or two roasting pans.

5. Bake for approximately 45 minutes, stirring every 15 minutes, or until the mixture is golden.

6. Allow to cool thoroughly, then mix in the dried fruits. Store in an airtight container at room temperature for up to 1 week or in the freezer for up to 3 months.


COOKING TIME: About 45 minutes

creamy scrambled eggs

Serves 8

MY GRANDCHILDREN REALLY LOVE MY SCRAMBLED EGGS. The secret is not so much the addition of the herbs as it is the use of cream cheese. The tiny ones like them served herbless, but when they grow older they love the whole package.


* 10 eggs

4 egg whites

• ¼ cup skim milk

1 (8-ounce) package light cream cheese, diced

• ¼ cup chopped fresh basil, or 1 teaspoon dried

• ¼ cup chopped fresh parsley

1 teaspoon dried oregano

1 teaspoon unsalted butter


1. Whisk the eggs and egg whites together in a large bowl. Beat in the milk, cream cheese, basil, parsley, and oregano.

2. Melt the butter in a skillet over low heat, add the egg mixture, and cook for about 5 minutes, stirring constantly. Serve immediately.


COOKING TIME: 5 minutes


* Creamy Scrambled Eggs

* Wadsworth's Muffins

* Apple Sausage Bake

* Assorted juices

apple sausage bake

Serves 6

FIRE IN THE FIREPLACE, FROST ON THE WINDOWS, and this fragrant family favorite in the oven. Prepare it the day before serving, then bake it in the morning and serve it alongside eggs and assorted breakfast breads. Savory sausage and tart apples with a dash of sugar combine deliciously in this easy-to-make casserole. Golden Delicious apples are a good choice, but any tart apple will do. This mouthwatering combination has been a welcome part of many breakfasts, brunches, and simple suppers at my house.


* 1 pound breakfast sausage links, cut in half (use turkey sausage if you find one you like)

6 tart apples, sliced but not peeled

• Salt and freshly ground black pepper

1 tablespoon lemon juice

3 tablespoons brown sugar


1. Preheat the oven to 350°F. Coat a 1 ½-quart casserole dish with vegetable cooking spray.

2. Brown the sausage in a large skillet over medium heat; drain off the grease. Toss the apple and sausage pieces together and put in the casserole dish. Sprinkle with the salt and pepper, lemon juice, and brown sugar.

3. Cover and bake for 45 minutes. Uncover and allow to stand for 10 minutes before serving.


BAKING TIME: 45 minutes

deedee's best waffles

Makes 8 small round waffles

THIS RECIPE EXHIBITS ANOTHER OF THE FINE USES for plain nonfat yogurt in producing light, delectable dishes. These waffles are just plain good! For a crunchy variation, add a half cup of toasted chopped pecans. Serve with pure maple sugar or apple butter, or dust with confectioners' sugar and a scattering of juicy fresh strawberries.


* 2 egg yolks

• ¾ cup skim milk

2 tablespoons canola oil

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

• ¾ cup plain nonfat yogurt

1 cup all-purpose flour

• ½ cup whole wheat pastry flour

• ½ teaspoon salt

2 teaspoons baking powder

• ½ teaspoon baking soda

3 egg whites

• Maple syrup


Chopped pecans, chopped apple, wild blueberries


1. Beat the egg yolks in a large bowl. Add the milk, oil, vanilla, and yogurt; mix until frothy.

2. Sift together the flours, salt, baking powder, and baking soda, and add to the milk mixture. Beat until well blended.

3. With an electric mixer and clean beaters, beat the egg whites until stiff peaks form. Stir about a quarter of the egg whites into the batter. Gently fold in the remaining egg whites.

4. Cook on a preheated waffle iron according to manufacturer's directions. Top with warm maple syrup. For variety, have small bowls of chopped pecans, wild blueberries, and chopped apple, to add to the batter before cooking. After spreading batter on the waffle iron, sprinkle a tablespoon of fruit or nuts directly on the batter and cover lightly with additional batter before cooking.


COOKING TIME: About 15 minutes

orange whole wheat pancakes

Makes 10 large pancakes

BILL'S CULINARY CLAIM TO FAME is creating and flipping these truly delicious pancakes. Normally, I am not a big pancake fan, but these combine a wonderful light texture with a mellow hint of citrus, and they are irresistible.


* 1 cup whole wheat flour

1 cup orange juice

1 teaspoon salt

1 teaspoon baking soda

• cup vegetable oil

2 eggs plus 2 egg whites, whisked together

• Blueberries (optional)


1. Blend together the flour, juice, salt, and baking soda in a medium bowl. Slowly add the vegetable oil, mixing thoroughly. Stir in the egg mixture.

2. Coat a skillet with vegetable cooking spray and heat over medium-high heat. Pour in enough batter for the desired pancake size; sprinkle with blueberries if desired. Lower the heat to medium and cook for 2 to 3 minutes. Turn the pancakes and continue cooking for another 2 to 3 minutes, until golden brown.

OPTION: Skip the blueberries and sprinkle the pancakes with brown sugar and toasted almonds.


COOKING TIME: About 6 minutes

meg's scones

Makes 8 scones

MEG SERVES THESE WONDERFULLY LIGHT SCONES to her friends. We love them. Some enjoy them with golden raisins, big fat dark raisins, or tart cranberries. However you make them, don't plan on having leftovers, because they tend to disappear quickly.


* 2 2/3 cups all-purpose flour

• ½ teaspoon salt

1 tablespoon baking powder

• ½ cup sugar

• ½ cup unsalted butter

• ½ cup currants

• 2/3 cup skim milk


1. Preheat the oven to 425°F.

2. Combine the dry ingredients in a medium bowl. Cut in the butter with a pastry blender until the mixture resembles coarse crumbs. Add the currants.

3. Add the milk and mix well with a fork. Knead the dough 10 times. Roll into a 1-inch-thick circle and cut into eight wedges. Separate the wedges and bake on an ungreased baking sheet for 12 minutes.


Excerpted from "Let's Get Together"
by .
Copyright © 2008 DeeDee Stovel & Pam Wakefield.
Excerpted by permission of Storey Publishing.
All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
Excerpts are provided by Dial-A-Book Inc. solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.

Table of Contents

1: Breakfasts and Brunches
2: Starters and Small Plates
3: Salads
4: Soups
5: Sandwiches
6: One-Dish Entrees
7: Entrees
8: Side Dishes
9: Desserts
10: Drinks
11: Gifts of Food
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