Last updated: December 17. 2013 2:15PM - 1953 Views
By Lucie R. Willsie Lifestyles Reporter

Some of the dishes made at the recent Taste of Home Cooking School at the Cross Creek Country Club included, from left, clockwise: Onion Yorkshire Pudding, Chiliville Chili, German Chocolate Cake, Impossibly Easy Mini Cheeseburger Pies, and an Appetizer Wreathe.
Some of the dishes made at the recent Taste of Home Cooking School at the Cross Creek Country Club included, from left, clockwise: Onion Yorkshire Pudding, Chiliville Chili, German Chocolate Cake, Impossibly Easy Mini Cheeseburger Pies, and an Appetizer Wreathe.
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Taste of Home cooked its way into the hearts of area chefs recently.

Michelle Roberts, senior culinary specialist at the Taste of Home Cooking School, a live cooking program, prepared 10 delectable dishes to the standing-room only crowd at the Cross Creek Country Club a few weeks ago. (All 10 authentic Taste of Home recipes given at this show follow later in this article.)

Roberts is a Southern gal, from Mississippi, with Southern cooking roots. Roberts, who has been cooking for years, said she really can’t imagine doing anything else. Cooking is her life. In fact, she will go home after a long, hard day cooking at her job to cook for her family.

For example, Roberts once drove 11 hours to get back home to Birmingham, Ala., from a cooking program. After presenting a program and driving such a long way, for such a long time, you’ll never guess what she did.

Yep, she started cooking — chicken and dumplings, to be precise — just because she had a taste for chicken and dumplings. So, before she drove to her apartment, she stopped at the grocery store, picked up the needed ingredients, and made some chicken and dumplings.

“I cook all the time,” she confessed.

But no dearth of volunteers existed to help Roberts at this Nov. 21 event. A number of experienced local area cooks joined with Roberts to prepare the dishes behind the scenes.

“I enjoy cooking,” said Pat Crissman, a member of the Siloam Extension and Community Association. “And I enjoy meeting new people.”

That’s two of the reasons why she volunteered to help cook at the most recent Taste of Home Cooking School event. The third is because she’s a veteran at it. She volunteered at a similar event in Elkin last year.

“Michelle makes the entire experience wonderful,” she said with admiration.

This year was the first time volunteering for Linda Wooden, however.

“I wanted to get a behind the scenes look at what happened,” Wooden said. “I was pleasantly surprised by how well-organized everything was … and I enjoyed working with all the ladies.”

One thing all the ladies — around eight, all tolled — agreed on, however, was how much work and how much planning Roberts put into each and every dish, each and every presentation.

“She was a calm presence,” Wooden confirmed.

Yes, indeed, Joy Hemmings, also from the Siloam Extension and Community Association, agreed.

“Michelle is very, very organized,” Hemmings said. “She really knows her stuff, her products, her tools. She’s a professional.”

Each volunteer was given one dish to work on.

And, what’s more, some lucky audience members received these same dishes as gifts for attending this renowned culinary event.

Ruth Wittenauer was one of those who attended the cooking event.

“I’m interested in food and in finding out more ways to fix food quickly but healthfully,” Wittenauer said. She was especially happy to attend this recent Taste of Home Cooking School because she couldn’t attend the last time the program was presented in Mount Airy. “I have an invalid husband, so I want to learn about quick healthy recipes to fix.”

Wittenauer’s friend, Ruth Lyle, loves reading the Taste of Home Cooking School. The gals attended the cooking program together.

“I just like cooking,” Lyle said. “I’m 78, so I’ve been cooking for many years … I’m pretty traditional. I make food like my grandma used to make.”

The Smith family — dad, Jeff, mom, Teresa, and daughter, Sarah — also attended the Taste of Home Cooking School that same night.

“I looking for some new ideas,” Teresa Smith said. And, although she’s been cooking since high school, she was still enthusiastic about attending this special cooking event. “I still hope to learn some new dishes.”

And Sarah Smith confirmed that there are different dishes and new things to learn at every Taste of Home Cooking School.

“Each one is always different,” the daughter, who also has been cooking for many years, said.

Dad was also pleased about attending this special cooking event. He was hoping his wife and daughter would pick up some new and tasty dishes at the event.


“Because I don’t cook,” he admitted. “I just love to eat.”

For more information, access www.tasteofhome.com.





Burger Mixture

1 pound of lean (at least 80-percent lean) ground beef

1 large onion, chopped, 1 cup

1 Tablespoon of Worcestershire sauce

1 teaspoon of garlic salt

1 cup (4 ounces) of shredded cheddar cheese

Baking mixture

1/2 cup of milk

1/2 cup of Original Bisquick mix

2 eggs

Garnishes, optional

12 mini kosher dill pickles

1 medium tomato, chopped




Heat the oven to 375-degrees Fahrenheit. Spray 12, regular-sized muffin cups with cooking spray. In a 10-inch skillet, cook the beef and onion over medium-heat 5 to 7 minutes, stirring frequently, until thoroughly cooked. Drain. Cool for 5 minutes. Stir in the Worcestershire sauce, garlic salt and cheese. In a medium bowl, stir the baking mixture ingredients with a whisk or fork until blended. Spoon 1 scant Tablespoon of baking mixture into each muffin cup. Top with about 1/4 cup of the burger mixture. Spoon 1 Tablespoon of the baking mixture onto the burger mixture in each muffin cup. Bake about 30 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean and the muffin tops are golden brown. Cool for 5 minutes. With a thin knife, loosen the sides of the muffins from the pan. Then, remove from the pan and place the top side up on a cooling rack. Cool 10 minutes longer, then serve with garnishes, is desired.




4 cups of fresh baby spinach

2 teaspoons plus 1/4 cup of olive oil, divided

1 garlic clove, minces

1/2 cup of garlic-herb spreadable cheese

2/3 cup plus 1/4 cup of seasoned bread crumbs, divided

1/2 teaspoon of salt, divided

4 boneless skinless chicken breast halves (5 ounces each)

1 egg, lightly beaten

1/4 teaspoon of pepper


In a large skillet, sauté the spinach in 2 teaspoons of oil until the spinach is wilted. Add the garlic. Cook 1 minute longer. Remove from the heat. Stir in the spreadable cheese, 2/3 cup of the bread crumbs, and 1/4 teaspoon salt. Cut a pocket in the thickest part of each chicken breast. Fill with the spinach mixture. Secure them with toothpicks. Place the egg in a shallow bowl. In another shallow bowl, combine the pepper and the remaining bread crumbs as well as the salt. Dip the chicken in the egg, then coat it with the bread crumb mixture. In a large skillet over medium heat, cook the chicken in the remaining oil for 6 to 8 minutes on each side or until a thermometer reads 170-degrees Fahrenheit. Discard the toothpicks before serving.




1 pound of Johnsonville Italian ground mild, sweet or hot Italian sausage

1 pound of ground beef

1 medium onion, chopped

3 celery ribs, chopped

3 garlic cloves, minced

3 cans (14.5 ounces each) of diced tomatoes with green peppers and onions

2 cans (16 ounces each) of kidney beans, rinsed and drained

1 can (14.5 ounces) of beef broth

1 can (6 ounces) of tomato paste

2 Tablespoons of brown sugar

2 Tablespoons of chili powder

1 Tablespoon of Worcestershire sauce

2 teaspoons of ground cumin

1/2 teaspoon of crushed red pepper flakes

Shredded cheddar cheese, optional


In a large saucepan, cook the sausage and ground beef over medium heat until the meat is no longer pink. Drain. Add the onion, celery, and garlic. Cook and stir for 5 minutes or until tender. Stir in the tomatoes, beans, broth, tomato paste, brown sugar, chili powder, Worcestershire sauce, cumin and red pepper flakes. Bring to a boil. Reduce the heat. Cover and simmer for 20 minutes. Sprinkle with the cheese, if you like, and serve immediately.




2 tubes (8 ounces each) of refrigerated crescent rolls

1 package (8 ounces) of cream cheese, softened

1/2 cup of sour cream

1 teaspoon of dill weed

1/8 teaspoon of garlic powder

1 1/2 cups of fresh broccoli florets, chopped

1 cup of finely chopped celery

1/3 cup of finely chopped sweet red pepper

Celery leaves


Remove the crescent dough from the packaging. (Do not unroll.) Cut each tube into eight slices. Arrange in an 11-inch circle on an ungreased 14-inch pizza pan. Bake at 375-degrees Fahrenheit for 15 to 20 minutes or until golden brown. Cool for 5 minutes before carefully removing to a serving platter. Cool completely. In a small bowl, beat the cream cheese, sour cream, dill and garlic powder until smooth. Spread over the wreath. Top with broccoli, celery, and red pepper. Form a bow garnish with celery leaves.




1 (8-ounce) package of linguine or egg noodles

2 pounds of ground beef

3 (8-ounce) cans of tomato sauce

1 clove of garlic, minced

1 teaspoon each of salt and pepper

1/2 cup of chopped onion

1 (8-ounce) package of cream cheese, softened

2 cups of sour cream

1/4 cup of shredded Parmesan cheese

1 cup of grated cheddar cheese


Preheat the oven to 350-degrees Fahrenheit. Cook the noodles according to package instructions and drain. In a large skillet, cook the beef over medium heat until the meat is no longer pink. Drain. Stir in the tomato sauce, garlic, salt and pepper; simmer on low for 20 minutes. In a large bowl, combine the chopped onions with the cream cheese, sour cream and Parmesan cheese. Set aside. Spray a 3-quart baking dish with non-stick cooking spray. Place 1/3 of the cooked noodles into the baking dish. Spoon 1/3 of the onion mixture over the noodles, then cover with 1/3 of the meat mixture. Repeat the layers 2 more times. Top with the grated cheddar cheese. Cover and bake at 350-degrees Fahrenheit for 20 minutes. Uncover. Bake 10 to 15 minutes longer or until the cheese is melted.




2 cups of packed brown sugar

1/2 cup of butter, cubed

1/4 cup of corn syrup

3 large apples, peeled and chopped

2 Tablespoons of lemon juice

1 Tablespoon of sugar

1 teaspoon of apple pie spice

1 loaf (1 pound) of day-old cinnamon bread

1/2 cup of chopped pecans

10 eggs

1 cup off 2-percent milk

1 teaspoon of salt

1 teaspoon of vanilla extract


In a small saucepan, combine the brown sugar, butter, and corn syrup. Bring it to a boil over medium heat, stirring constantly. Cook and stir for 2 minutes or until thickened. Set aside. In a small bowl, combine the apples, lemon juice, sugar, and pie spice. Arrange half of the bread slices in a greased 13-inch-by-9-inch baking dish. Spoon the apples over the bread. Drizzle with half of the caramel sauce. Sprinkle with the pecans. Top with the remaining bread. In a large bowl, combine the eggs, milk, salt and vanilla. Pour over the top. Cover and refrigerate overnight. Cover and refrigerate the remaining caramel sauce. Remove the strata from the refrigerator 30 minutes before baking. Bake, uncovered, at 350-degrees Fahrenheit for 50 to 55 minutes or until a knife inserted near the center comes out clean. Let it stand for 10 minutes before cutting. Then, in a small microwave-safe dish, microwave the reserved sauce, uncovered, for 1 to 2 minutes or until heated thoroughly. Drizzle this over the strata.




2 Eggland’s Best egg yolks

1 1/2 teaspoons of lemon juice

1 Tablespoon of water

1 pinch of pepper

1/4 teaspoon of Worcestershire sauce

1/4 cup of butter, melted

1 pinch of salt

4 slices of turkey bacon

2 whole wheat English muffins

1 teaspoon of white vinegar

4 Eggland’s Best Eggs


Hollandaise Sauce

Fill the bottom of a double boiler halfway with water. Make sure the water does not touch the top pan. Bring the water to a slow simmer. If you do not have a double boiler, you can easily create one using a small saucepan and a medium-sized heavy glass bowl. Be sure the water in the pan does not touch the bottom of the glass bowl. In the top of the double boiler, whisk together the egg yolks, lemon juice, water, pepper, and Worcestershire sauce.Add the melted butter to the yolk mixture, whisking constantly, until all the butter is incorporated. Whisk in the salt and set aside. If the mixture gets too thick, add small amounts of water to thin it out. Cover with a lid to keep warm and set aside. Brown the bacon in a medium-sized skillet over medium heat. When done, drain on paper towels and keep warm. Toast the English muffins in the toaster or toaster oven.

Poached Eggs

Fill a large saucepan with 3 inches of water. Bring the water to a gentle simmer and add the vinegar. Gently crack the eggs into the simmering water. For best results, crack eggs into a small glass bowl and gently pour or slide eggs out of bowl into simmering water. Repeat for all the eggs. Allow the eggs to cook for 2 1/2 to 3 minutes. The yolks should still be slightly soft in the center and the whites should be fully set. Remove the eggs from the water with a slotted spoon and set on a warm plate. To assemble, top each muffin with 1 slice of bacon followed by 1 poached egg. Drizzle with the hollandaise sauce and serve immediately.





4 ounces of German sweet chocolate, chopped

1/2 cup of water

1 cup of butter, softened

2 cups of sugar

4 eggs, separated

1 teaspoon of vanilla extract

2 1/2 cups of cake flour

1 teaspoon of baking soda

1/2 teaspoon of salt

1 cup of buttermilk


1 1/2 cups of sugar

1 1/2 cups of evaporated milk

3/4 cup of butter

5 egg yolks, beaten

2 cups of flaked coconut 1 1/2 cups of chopped pecans

1 1/2 teaspoons of vanilla extract


1 teaspoon of shortening

2 ounces of semisweet chocolate


Line three greased 9-inch round baking pans with waxed paper. Grease the waxed paper and set aside. In a small saucepan, melt the chocolate with water over low heat. Cool. Preheat the oven to 350-degrees Fahrenheit. In a large bowl, cream the butter and sugar until light and fluffy. Beat in the egg yolks, one at a time, beating well after each addition. Blend in the melted chocolate and vanilla. Combine the flour, baking soda, and salt. Add it to the creamed mixture alternately with the buttermilk, beating well after each addition. In a small bowl and with clean beaters, beat the egg whites until stiff peaks form. Fold a fourth of the egg whites into the creamed mixture. Fold in the remaining whites. Pour the batter into the prepared pans. Bake for 24 to 28 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. Cool for 10 minutes before removing from the pans to wire racks to cool completely. For the frosting, in a small saucepan, heat the sugar, milk, butter and egg yolks over medium -low heat until the mixture is thickened and golden brown, stirring constantly. Remove from the heat. Stir in the coconut, pecans, and vanilla extract. Cool until thick enough to spread. Spread a third of the frosting over each cake layer and stack the layers. In a microwave, melt the chocolate and shortening. Stir until smooth. Drizzle over the cake.




6 to 8 Dorot Sautéed Glazed Onion Cubes

1 Dorot Crushed Garlic Cube

1 Dorot Chopped Basil Cube

1 teaspoon of salt, divided

1/4 teaspoon of pepper

2 Tablespoons of butter

3/4 cup plus 2 Tablespoons of all-purpose flour

2 eggs

3/4 cup of water

3/4 cup of 2-percent milk


In a large skillet, combine the Dorot Sautéed Glazed Onion Cubes, Dorot Crushed Garlic Cube, Dorot Chopped Basil Cube, 1/2 teaspoon of salt and pepper in the butter until tender. Divide this among the eight 6-ounce ramekins or custard cups. Place them on a baking sheet. In a large bowl, combine the flour and the remaining salt. Whisk the eggs, water, and milk. Whisk this mixture into the flour mixture just until blended. Pour 1/4 cup into each ramekin. Bake at 400-degrees Fahrenheit for 30 to 35 minutes or until puffed and golden brown. Serve immediately.





1 3/4 cups of fresh or canned pumpkin

3/4 cup of sugar

3/4 cup of packed brown sugar

1/2 cup of unsweetened applesauce

1/3 cup of canola oil

2 eggs

2 egg whites

2 2/3 cups of all-purpose flour

2 teaspoons of baking powder

2 teaspoons of ground cinnamon

1 teaspoon of baking soda

1 teaspoon of salt

1/4 teaspoon of ground nutmeg

1/4 teaspoon of ground cloves

Cinnamon-Clove Buttercream

1/4 cup of butter, softened

1/4 cup of shortening

1 3/4 cups of confectioners’ sugar

1/4 teaspoon of ground cinnamon

1/8 teaspoon of ground cloves

1/2 cup of finely chopped walnuts


In a large bowl, beat the pumpkin, sugars, applesauce, oil, eggs, and egg whites until well-blended. Combine the flour, baking powder, cinnamon, baking soda, salt, nutmeg, and cloves. Gradually beat it into the pumpkin mixture until blended. Fill the foil-lined muffin cups two-thirds full. Bake at 350-degrees Fahrenheit for 15 to 20 minutes before removing from the pans to the wire racks to cool completely. In a small bowl, beat the butter and the shortening until fluffy. Add the confectioners’ sugar, cinnamon, and cloves. Beat until smooth. Spread over the cupcakes. Sprinkle with the walnuts.

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