The 30th National Beef Cook-Off is calling on home cooks across the country to start grilling, broiling, roasting, stir-frying and stewing on their healthy beef menu ideas for the 2013 recipe competition, funded in part by the Beef Checkoff Program.
From Jan. 15 to April 15, home cooks can submit their best beef recipes online at www.beefcookoff.org for a chance to win $25,000 and a trip to the Metropolitan Cooking & Entertaining Show in Washington, DC.
This year's contest theme is "Making the Most of MyPlate," to encourage delicious, healthy recipes from a variety of food groups.
Entrants are asked to develop original and tasty beef-focused recipes that include broadly appealing ingredients from the fruit and vegetable, grain products and dairy products groups. (The MyPlate initiative is led by the USDA Center for Nutrition Policy and Promotion and is designed to help consumers make better food choices.)
"Healthy recipes are some of the most desired and searched for on the Web. That's why we're excited this year's contest is focused on asking Americans to create healthful recipes that include a variety of food groups, including lean beef," said Sherry Hill, Cook-Off program director at the American National CattleWomen, Inc., a contractor to the Beef Checkoff Program.
Every beef farmer, rancher and importer contributes to a fund called the beef checkoff, which is used to support the National Beef Cook-Off program effort.
New Categories Focused on Health, Trends
The 2013 National Beef Cook-Off features four unique contest categories that demonstrate beef's versatility and encourage creativity with a variety of ingredients, cuts and preparation methods.
This year's contest also includes two new sponsorships. The sponsorship with the California Avocado Commission features a pairing of lean beef and fresh, California avocados in easy California cuisine recipes.
The sponsorship with the United States Potato Board pairs lean beef and fresh potatoes in easy and healthy international cuisine recipes.
The four recipe categories include:
• Belt-Tightening Beef Recipes - Home cooks will create healthy and affordable beef recipes that are great values to prepare. Recipes should include a maximum of nine ingredients, including beef, and flavorful, low-cost ingredients from the fruits or vegetables, grain products and dairy products food groups.
• Semi-Homemade Beef Recipes - Home cooks will demonstrate how easy it is to cook with beef when they combine any fresh beef cut and fresh ingredients with prepackaged food products. Recipes should include a maximum of six ingredients, including the beef, plus fruits or vegetables, grain products and dairy products food groups, and be prepared and cooked in 30 minutes or less.
• Real-Worldly, Real Simple Beef & Potato Recipes - Home cooks will create original easy-to-make lean beef and fresh potato centered recipes that feature international flavors and maintain a healthy profile. Recipes should include no more than 10 commonly available and affordable ingredients, including the beef and potatoes, plus at least one other ingredient from the fruits or vegetables, grain products or dairy products food groups. Recipes should be prepared in no more than 15 minutes and cooked in 30 minutes.
• Craveable Fresh Beef and California Avocado Recipes - Home cooks will produce easy recipes using all fresh ingredients, featuring one of the lean beef cuts and at least one fresh California avocado. Recipes should include no more than eight ingredients, including the beef and avocado, along with at least one other ingredient from the fruits or vegetables, grain products or dairy products food groups, and be prepared and cooked in 30 minutes or less.
To enter the contest, participants must visit www.beefcookoff.org and use the online entry form. Contest participants may submit multiple recipes in all of the various contest categories, as long as they meet the contest rules and criteria, which are provided on the website.
Regional, Grand Prizes to Be Awarded
All original recipes entered will be reviewed and judged based on taste, appearance, convenient preparation and cooking, and healthfulness and nutritional balance.
A group of food marketing and culinary professionals will select 20 finalists in June. Consumers will have the opportunity to select the 21st finalist recipe via online voting. From the 21 finalists, seven $1,500 regional winners will be announced in July.
In addition, one $25,000 grand prize winner will be announced, from the remaining 14 finalists at the Metropolitan Cooking & Entertaining Show in Washington, D.C. in November. The grand prize winner will be selected based on the highest overall scoring recipe.
To view the complete contest rules and explore winning recipes from past contests, visit www.beefcookoff.org. The contest is open to legal U.S. residents who are 18 years of age or older and reside in one of the 50 United States or the District of Columbia.
For more information about the beef checkoff investment, visit MyBeefCheckoff.com.