The Register-Herald, Beckley, West Virginia

September 26, 2012

So close, you can taste it

Demonstrations and local vendors provide fall fun and excitement

By Lisa Shrewsberry
Lifestyles Editor

— Sweaters, steaming mugs, stewing pots of chili and football — fall has made a brisk homecoming with its noticeable changes in temperature, bringing along with the chill more favorite reasons why to put away the flip-flops.

Autumn heightens anticipation, as well, for the best area festivals and celebrations, including a food-lover favorite, the Taste of Home Cooking show.

Tickets go on sale today for the Nov. 15 Taste of Home Cooking School, attended nationwide by nearly 5 million people over the last 20 years. This year, Beckley Newspapers and its local sponsors are bringing an enhanced format with 10 demonstrations, two more than the typical eight, and with multiple seating options at the Beckley-Raleigh County Convention Center.

VIP ticketholders ($40) will occupy the rows nearest the stage and will receive the hardbound Taste of Home Christmas 2012 recipe collection.

General admission is $15, where attendees can choose to sit in the upper or floor sections of the BRCCC.

Doors open at 4:30 p.m., as cooking enthusiasts can expect to browse a variety of vendors, register for prizes throughout the evening and prepare to witness first-hand the recipes that can transform their holiday tables. Beginning 6:30 p.m., Culinary Specialist Cheryl Cohen focuses on a literal buffet of family and friend fare to translate into kitchens just in time for home entertainment season.

Attendees will also receive gift bags with sponsor coupons and samples and even chances to win the dishes prepared on stage during the show, which lasts about two hours through demonstrations.

Local sponsors include Sears for appliances; John Eye Big Sandy Superstore, the grand prize sponsor; local food sponsor Kroger and Chick-fil-A of Beckley.

Nationally, expect brands Domino sugar and C&H, Eggland’s Best, Gallo Family Vineyards, Johnsonville, the National Pork Board, Saladmaster, Mrs. Dash and Shop Taste of Home to provide both ingredients and giveaways for an evening of edible excitement.

Dickey’s Barbeque Pit, a Texas-based franchise opening in Beckley, is the event’s ticket sponsor, offering a free barbecue sandwich coupon to each ticket buyer. Tickets for the event are limited (150 V.I.P., 1,000 general admission) so call 304-255-4409 or stop by Beckley Newspapers at 801 N. Kanawha St., Beckley, to get yours.

In the meantime, here are a steaming pot, platter, pie plate, squash pod and teapot full of ingredients to whet appetites for what’s to come in Taste of Home original recipes.



White Bean Chicken Chili    

Prep: 35 min. Cook: 3 hours Yield: 6 Servings


3/4 pound boneless skinless chicken breasts, cubed

1/2 teaspoon salt

1/4 teaspoon pepper

1 medium onion, chopped

1 jalapeno pepper, seeded and chopped

2 teaspoons dried oregano

1 teaspoon ground cumin

2 tablespoons olive oil

4 garlic cloves, minced

2 cans (15 ounces each) white kidney or cannellini beans, rinsed and drained, divided

3 cups chicken broth, divided

1-1/2 cups (6 ounces) shredded cheddar cheese

Sour cream and minced fresh cilantro, optional


Sprinkle chicken with salt and pepper. In a large skillet over medium heat, cook the chicken, onion, jalapeno, oregano and cumin in oil for 3-4 minutes or until chicken is browned and vegetables are crisp-tender. Add garlic; cook 1 minute longer.

Transfer to a 3-qt. slow cooker. In a small bowl, mash 1 cup of beans; add 1/2 cup broth and stir until blended. Add to the slow cooker with the remaining beans and broth. Cover and cook on low for 3 to 3-1/2 hours or until heated through.

Stir before serving. Sprinkle with cheese. Garnish with sour cream and cilantro if desired. Yield: 6 servings.

Editor’s Note: Wear disposable gloves when cutting hot peppers; the oils can burn skin. Avoid touching your face.

Nutritional Facts

1 cup equals 334 calories, 15 g fat (7 g saturated fat), 64 mg cholesterol, 1,063 mg sodium, 25 g carbohydrate, 6 g fiber, 24 g protein.

Originally published as White Bean Chicken Chili in Taste of Home February/March 2008, p31

Rice-Stuffed Acorn Squash

Prep: 45 min. Bake: 20 min. Yield: 4 Servings


2 large acorn squash

3/4 cup uncooked long grain rice

1-1/2 cups water

2 tablespoons soy sauce

1 medium onion, chopped

1/4 cup butter, cubed

2 medium tart apples, peeled and chopped

1 cup (4 ounces) shredded part-skim mozzarella cheese

1/2 cup chopped walnuts

1/2 cup half-and-half cream

1/4 cup balsamic vinegar

3 tablespoons honey

3 teaspoons minced fresh gingerroot

1 teaspoon curry powder


Cut squash in half; remove seeds. Place cut side down in a greased 13-in. x 9-in. baking dish. Cover and bake at 350° for 40-45 minutes or until tender.

Meanwhile, in a large saucepan, bring the rice, water and soy sauce to a boil. Reduce heat; cover and simmer for 15-18 minutes or until liquid is absorbed and rice is tender.

In a large skillet, sauté onion in butter until almost tender. Add apples; sauté for 3 minutes. Remove from the heat; stir in the rice, cheese, walnuts, cream, vinegar, honey, ginger and curry.

Turn squash over; stuff with rice mixture. Bake, uncovered, for 20-25 minutes or until heated through. Yield: 4 servings.

Originally published as Rice-Stuffed Acorn Squash in Taste of Home October/November 2007, p41

Savory Onion Chicken

Prep/Total Time: 30 min.

Yield: 6 Servings


1/4 cup all-purpose flour, divided

1 broiler/fryer chicken (3 to 4 pounds), skin removed and cut up

2 tablespoons olive oil

1 envelope onion soup mix

1 bottle (12 ounces) beer or nonalcoholic beer


Place 2 tablespoons flour in a large resealable plastic bag. Add chicken, a few pieces at a time, and shake to coat. In a large skillet, brown chicken in oil on all sides. Remove and keep warm.

Add soup mix and remaining flour, stirring to loosen browned bits from pan. Gradually whisk in beer. Bring to a boil; cook and stir for 2 minutes or until thickened.

Return chicken to the pan. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat; cover and simmer for 12-15 minutes or until chicken juices run clear. Yield: 6 servings.

Nutritional Facts

1 serving equals 231 calories, 11 g fat (2 g saturated fat), 73 mg cholesterol, 469 mg sodium, 7 g carbohydrate, trace fiber, 25 g protein. Diabetic Exchanges: 3 lean meat, 1 fat, 1/2 starch.

Originally published as Savory Onion Chicken in Simple & Delicious September/October 2009, p12

Fall Pear Pie

Prep: 15 min. Bake: 55 min. + cooling

Yield: 8 Servings


8 cups thinly sliced peeled pears

3/4 cup sugar

1/4 cup quick-cooking tapioca

1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg

Pastry for double-crust pie (9 inches)

1 egg, lightly beaten

1/4 cup heavy whipping cream, optional


In a large bowl, combine the pears, sugar, tapioca and nutmeg; let stand for 15 minutes.

Line a pie plate with bottom crust; add pear mixture. Roll out remaining pastry to fit top of pie. Place over filling; seal and flute edges. Cut large slits in top. Brush with egg.

Bake at 375° for 55-60 minutes or until the pears are tender. Remove to a wire rack. Pour cream through slits if desired. Cool. Yield: 8 servings.

Nutritional Facts

1 serving (1 slice) equals 440 calories, 15 g fat (6 g saturated fat), 37 mg cholesterol, 208 mg sodium, 75 g carbohydrate, 4 g fiber, 3 g protein.

Originally published as Fall Pear Pie in Taste of Home October/November 1995, p31

Almond Tea

Prep/Total Time: 20 min.

Yield: 4-5 Servings


4 cups hot water

1/2 cup sugar

2 tablespoons instant tea

1 tablespoon lemon juice

3/4 to 1 teaspoon almond extract

1/4 teaspoon vanilla extract


In a large saucepan, bring the water and sugar to a boil; cook and stir until sugar is dissolved. Remove from the heat; stir in the tea, lemon juice and extracts. Yield: 4-5 servings.

Nutritional Facts

1 cup equals 84 calories, trace fat (0 saturated fat), 0 cholesterol, 1 mg sodium, 21 g carbohydrate, trace fiber, trace protein.

Originally published as Almond Tea in Taste of Home's Holiday & Celebrations Cookbook Annual 2004, p178