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$50,000 Cash Prize Winning Recipe

by Chef Karn Meats
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Cooking competitions and recipe contests have become one of America's new "extreme" sports. Cooks from across the nation are putting their noses to the chopping board, so to speak, to come up with the most scrumptious, mind-blowing, innovative food concoctions, the likes of which we have never seen. The shocking news is, that big name food companies in conjunction with their representatives are willing to fork out thousands of dollars in cash prizes to have not only professional culinary masters, but home baked chefs like you and me do the R&D for their products, under the guise of a contest.

But who cares really, if the big corporations get a little media attention along the way and amazing new way to prepare their products? For the cooks, it's all about the fun of creating something beyond lip-smacking good and the potential for a chunk of won cash money. Take, for example the following contests:

The Louisiana Sweet Potato Commission "Sweet Rewards Recipe Contest" Prepare to send in your very best recipe using canned sweet potatoes. Entering is easy and the rewards are sweet. Five $500 category winners and one $1,000 overall grand prize. Contest ends June 1.

Better Homes and Gardens "The Annual Challenge" Better Homes & Gardens is celebrating over 70 years of Prize Tested Recipes with $50,000 in cash & prizes. Share your best original recipe & win in any one of 6 categories. Contest ends July 18.

Cooking Light "Ultimate Reader Recipe Contest" Indulge in the fourth annual Cooking Light Ultimate Reader Recipe Contest from America's favorite food magazine! Your favorite recipe could be worth $20,000 or one of four $5,000 Category Winners. Contest ends May 31.

Bundts "Across America" Nordic Ware, maker of the iconic pan, is hosting its 3rd annual recipe contest. 2008 Bundts Across America Recipe Contest Continues - This year's theme: Holiday Bundts, a Pan for all seasons. Contest ends August 1.

Here's an example of a contest that was held last year in Chicago. National Beef ( it's biennial cook-off on September 11 -13. The contest theme was "Seize Life" which emphasized the role that beef plays in an active lifestyle. Recipe categories included New Dynamic Beef Dishes, Nuevo Latino Beef Recipes, Kids in the Kitchen and "Small Plates, Big Taste" Grilled for Everyday Entertaining. Christine Riccitelli won $50,000 for the following recipe:

Nuevo Chipotle Beef in Butternut Squash Boats

1-1/2 pounds lean beef for stew
1/3 cup water
1/4 cup tomato paste
2 tablespoons brown sugar
2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
2 teaspoons ground chipotle chile pepper
1 teaspoon ground cumin
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper
1 medium butternut squash (about 3 pounds)
1-1/2 cups water
1 medium tomato, chopped
1 small, ripe avocado, cut into cubes (optional)
1/4 cup chopped fresh cilantro

Preheat oven to 325 degrees Farenheit. Place beef, water, tomato paste, sugar, vinegar, chipotle pepper, cumin, salt and black pepper in stock pot. Cover and bake in oven for 1-3/4 to 2-1/4 hours or until the beef is fork tender.

Meanwhile, cut the squash lengthwise into quarters; remove seeds. Place squash cut side down in a glass baking dish. Add water. Bake for 1 - 1-1/4 hours or until fork tender.

Place each baked squash quarter onto a serving plate. Fill with equal amounts of beef mixture. Top with tomato and avocado, if desired. Sprinkle with cilantro.


Chef Karn likes to be a taste tester at cooking contests.

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