Maria Tamez brought her salsa to work on a regular basis because her co-workers loved her recipe. They loved it so much, they encouraged Maria to enter the Taco Cabana $5,000 Salsa Challenge contest that was held in Brownsville TX. Maria says that she doesn’t use any special ingredients in her recipe. She said it has jalapenos, cilantro, onions, tomatoes, lemon and salt. It must still taste mighty special because Maria’s recipe was chosen out of 70 contestants to win the first prize, which was $2,500 cash. Taco Cabana is going to match the prize money by donating another $2,500.00 to the Food Bank of the Rio Grande Valley. The winning salsa recipe will be offered for three months at the new Taco Cabana’s taco bar, which will be opening sometime around New Year’s.
There are some well-known cooking contests that are ongoing, that you can keep an eye on to see if your best recipes might have a shot. One of these is the Better Homes & Garden monthly recipes contest that features two categories per month. Every month there are two $400 winners, two $200 winners and ten $50 honor roll winners. Winning recipes are entered in another annual contest and a winner is picked from that for a special prize. The 2007 annual Grand Prize will be a Miele coffee system, dishwasher, and vacuum.
Cook’s Country magazine (www.cookscountry.com) runs a cooking tip contest where you can share your favorite kitchen shortcuts. If your tip is published in their magazine, you will receive a free one-year subscription totheir magazine.
The Horseradish Council runs a biannual contest in June and December. Just submit your favorite hot recipe that uses horseradish as an ingredient for a chance to win a top prize of $200 or one of two honorable $25 mentions. Learn more about it at www.horseradish.org.
The Pillsbury Bake-Off contest is a real biggie. It’s been around since 1949 and while it used to be held yearly, it’s now held every 2 years. The grand prize is a cool million and there are lots of smaller prizes. The National Chicken Cooking Contest is held yearly as is the Southern Living Cooking Contest, each with top prizes of $100,000. Even if you don’t feel that your little ole home recipes are in this league, you might want to look over some of the recipes that have won prizes over the years and try them out. If they can win the big bucks in these national contests, they’re bound to be yummy, and you may even have one of those happy kitchen “accidents” while you’re cooking one of these recipes and come up with your own version that’s a family winner.
No matter what category your best recipe is in, there’s a contest out there for you. Remember Maria Tamez. She’s $2,500 richer because her co-workers were sure her salsa would win a top prize, and they were right!