I am in a Book Club through my membership in Executive Club of Champaign County. The Book Club formed about six years ago and six of the nine of us have been in the group since its start. The routine is that the meeting place rotates to each member's home each month and she serves a meal and selects book recommendations for a future meeting. Of course there is wine. And, yes, we (usually) discuss the book.
Janey Adams was the hostess for our July meeting and she selected a summer menu from the Southern Living website to serve; quick and easy summer party menu. The menu includes Carolina Peach Sangria, Lemon Chicken, Green beans with goat cheese, tomatoes and almonds and carrot orzo. Her husband, Ron, did the cooking. They added vichyssoise for a first course from a different source and switched the recommended dessert from profiteroles with coffee whipped cream to a scoop of Orange Champagne sorbet with blackberries. It was all wonderful.
One of the challenges to selecting a recipe for a family meal or a special occasion is choosing the sides so that it all goes well together. Southern Living is one of many websites that recommends complete menus with options for variations. It makes a big difference to the tastes of the food on your plate if they complement rather than clash with each other.
The magazine that I attribute to helping me stretch my cooking interests is Cuisine at Home. It is a bi-monthly magazine started in 1997. I have every issue, except somehow lost the premiere issue. If anyone happens to have a copy squirreled away somewhere, I'd love to have it! The magazine's appeal is that there is no advertising, a lot of photos, clear directions, sources and substitute recommendations for unusual ingredients, and it recommends a complete menu to go with each featured recipe. It takes the guess work out of putting a menu together and I can't remember ever having a failure using their recipes.
BTW, the book selection for July was "A Season to Taste", by Molly Birnbaum.