Thank you so much to everyone who attended our Taste of Home Cooking Show in Urbana on Tuesday night. I had a great time, and I hope you did, too.
News-Gazette photographer Robin Scholz got some great photos there, and you can see them by clicking here.  The photo I've posted is of Culinary Specialist Dana Elliott. Robin took it.
Also, for those of you who didn't receive a Taste of Home Cooking School magazine in your gift bag, I am so incredibly sorry. If you're in Champaign, you can pick up your free copy in The News-Gazette's lobby.
We're at 15 Main Street in downtown Champaign, and there is a lot with free customer parking to the east of our building. Our lobby is open from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m.
More magazines are also en route to all our Community Newspaper offices. I will post all those addresses in a few days, to give them a chance to get there.
If you have any questions about this, please feel free to send me an email (meg(at)news-gazette.com ) or call me at 217-351-5217.
I'm also sharing a recipe that's been modified from Taste of Home by Faith Johnson of Champaign, who swears by it. It ran in The News-Gazette's Food section yesterday.
Faith said she originally found it in the Taste of Home recipe “Home Style Cooking,” from February 2003.
She made it one Christmas, she said.
“Everyone raved about it and asked for the recipe,” Johnson said. “It was the first time many of them had ever eaten parsnips and I made them try to guess what the secret ingredient was.”
She has changed the recipe, using store-bought meatballs from the frozen-food section and beef broth instead of the water and beef bouillon granules the original called for. The recipe below reflects her changes.
Vegetable Meatball Stew
4 cups beef broth
2 medium potatoes, cut into 1-inch cubes
2 medium carrots, cut into 3/4-inch slices
1 large onion, cut into eighths
1 bay leaf
1 teaspoon dried thyme
1 teaspoon dried basil
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon pepper
1 pound store-bought frozen meatballs (You might want to have some extras in case your stew is too soupy)
2 medium sweet potatoes, peeled and cut into 1-inch cubes
2 medium parsnips, peeled and cut into 3/4-inch slices
1 cup frozen peas
1/2 cup all-purpose flour
1/2 cup cold water
1/4 teaspoon browning sauce, optional
In a large Dutch oven or soup kettle, bring broth to a boil. Add potatoes, carrots, onion and seasonings; return to a boil. Reduce heat; cover and simmer for 10 minutes.
Then, add meatballs to Dutch oven along with sweet potatoes and parsnips. Bring to a boil again.
Reduce heat; cover and simmer for 15 minutes of until vegetables are tender. Discard the bay leaf. Stir in the peas. Combine the flour and cold water; stir into the stew along with the browning sauce if desired. Bring to a boil; cook and stir for about two minutes or until thickened.
Thank you so much to everyone who attended our Taste of Home Cooking Show in Urbana. I had a great time, and I hope you did, too.