By DANA BORICK - dborick@ sungazette.com
The famed Taste of Home Cooking School, attended by nearly 5 million people over the last 20 years, is coming to Williamsport.
This is the seventh year the Sun-Gazette is sponsoring the event, which will begin at 7 p.m. Oct. 16 at the Community Arts Center, 220 W. Fourth St.
A vendor preview will begin at 3 p.m. at the Genetti Hotel.
Each year, more than 300 Taste of Home Cooking School events attract up to 300,000 people, according to the company's website. With cooking demonstrations by the Taste of Home team, led by Chef Michael Barna - who is back by popular demand since his 2010 appearance - attendees will learn seasonal recipes that are perfect for every holiday and occasion, and skill level.
Like all Taste of Home recipes, these recipes were shared by people who cook at home as a way to bring family and friends together, and can be made with readily available ingredients to create memorable meal moments. Barna also will provide the audience with tips and tricks that will help cooks save time and make the most of their cooking experience.
Those who attend will receive a goody bag filled with coupons, giveaways and a free Taste of Home cookbook, said Connie Tobias, Sun-Gazette event coordinator.
Tickets may be ordered by calling 326-1551 or 800-339-0289 and by calling or stopping in the Sun-Gazette office at 252 W. Fourth St. from 8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Monday through Friday.
General admission is $12 with preferred seating in the first five rows for $25 per person.
Chef's VIP Circle seating, which is in the Sterling Circle and includes a meet-and-greet with the chef, are $50. Limited seating is available.
Tobias said the holiday theme for this year's event will be Halloween, and attendees who dress in a Halloween costume will receive a chance to win a special prize and the six best costumes will have a chance to compete on stage for the honor of being selected as the Best Costume of the Night by the audience.
Bernard A. Oravec, publisher of the Sun-Gazette, will once again be master of ceremonies for the event.
Van Campen Motors also will have a van on site during the preview from 3 to 7 p.m.
Anyone who donates a can of food to the Central Pennsylvania Food Bank will be entered to win a large gift basket from Van Campen.
Featured below are some of the prize-winning Taste of Home recipes to kickoff your holiday season.
White bean chicken chili
My sister shared this chili recipe with me. I usually double it and add one extra can of beans, then serve with cheddar biscuits or warmed tortillas.
The jalapeno adds just enough heat to notice but not too much for my children.
- Kristine Bowles, Albuquerque, N.M.
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.
This tart and tasty salad goes so wonderfully with lots of different meals.
Folks will think you slaved over it, but with less than five ingredients, preparation takes only minutes!
Crunchy walnuts, celery and apples are special way to dress up canned sauce.
- Lucille Foster, Grant, Neb.
Prep-total time: 5 min.
Yield: 6 Servings
1 can (14 ounces) whole-berry cranberry sauce
1 medium unpeeled tart apple, diced
1 celery rib, thinly sliced
1/2cup chopped walnuts
Combine the cranberry sauce, apple and celery.
Cover and refrigerate until serving. Stir in walnuts just before serving.
Nutritional facts: 1 serving (1 cup) equals 183 calories, 6 g fat (trace saturated fat), 0 cholesterol, 22 mg sodium, 32 g carbohydrate, 2 g fiber, 3 g protein.
Prep: 15 min. and chilling
Yield: 6 servings
1/2 cup olive oil
2 tablespoons cider vinegar
2 tablespoons lemon juice
1/4 to 1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon ground mustard
1 large head romaine, torn into pieces
1 avocado, diced
4 green onions with tops, sliced
1/4 cup slivered almonds, toasted
1/4 cup crumbled blue cheese
Dash seasoned salt
Whisk dressing ingredients; cover and refrigerate.
Just before serving, toss together romaine, avocado, onions, almonds and blue cheese in a large salad bowl.
Sprinkle with seasoned salt.
Whisk the dressing and pour the over salad; toss to coat. Serve immediately.
Yield: 6 servings.
Nutritional facts: 1 serving (1 each) equals 272 calories, 27 g fat (4 g saturated fat), 4 mg cholesterol, 203 mg sodium, 6 g carbohydrate, 3 g fiber, 4 g protein.