Food, fellowship, recipes highlight Chamber Open House

There is seldom any shortage of good food at Blount County Chamber of Commerce gatherings. Usually, it’s catered in by Chamber business members.

For the annual Christmas Open House, however, it’s the staff that dons the chef’s hats, and their creations rival any served during the year.

So good are they, in fact, that they now provide a “From our Table to Yours” collection of favorite recipes and some they prepare for the party.

This year’s gathering missed the Chamber’s fearless leader Fred Forster, who is recovering from some health issues, but the majority of the staff was on hand to welcome members with festive well-wishes and good cheer.

Here are just a couple of recipes from the Chamber:

Santa Fe Dip

From Julia Kyle

3 (8 oz.) packages cream cheese at room temperature

1/4 package of dry taco seasoning mix

1/4 package of dry ranch dressing mix


Chopped and drained tomatoes

Chopped ripe olives

Thick salsa

Shredded cheddar cheese

Chopped green onions

Line a tart pan with plastic wrap. Place cream cheese, taco seasoning and ranch seasoning in food processor and cream until smooth. Spoon cream cheese mixture into tart pan and chill several hours until firm.

Before serving, remove cream cheese mold from pan and place on serving platter, removing plastic wrap. In “pie slice” sections, garnish with toppings. Serve with tortilla chips.

Blue/Cheddar Cheese and Pecan Crackers

From Brenda Farner

1/2 cup crumbled blue cheese (2 1/4 oz.) chilled

1/2 cup shredded sharp cheddar cheese

1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, room temperature

1/4 teaspoon coarsely ground black pepper

1 cup all-purpose flour

1/2 cup pecans, lightly toasted, coarsely chopped

Pecan halves

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Using electric mixer, beat cheese, butter and pepper in a medium bowl until just blended. Some cheese should still be in separate pieces.

Using rubber spatula, mix in flour, then chopped pecans. Form dough into 1-inch balls. Arrange balls on ungreased baking sheets. Flatten to 2 1/2 inch rounds. Press pecan halves onto each round.

Bake until golden on bottom and at edges, about 35 minutes. Transfer to racks and cool.

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