Contest winnings can beef up budget

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Strawberry season runs through April. If you're looking for farm-fresh produce, check out J.G. Ranch (17200 Wiscon Road, Brooksville; 352-799-0556;, Oak Haven Farms & Winery (32430 Avington Road, Sorrento; 352-735-1996; and Pappy's Patch (700 Florida Ave., Oviedo; 407-366-8512.; Facebook). But before you head out to pick your own berries, let's dish:

Cooking for dollars. The Pillsbury Bake-Off Contest is open for entries at For the first time in its 64-year history, there will be an online vote to determine all 100 recipes that will compete for the $1 million grand prize in November.

The nation's premier cooking competition features three recipe categories with separate entry periods:

•Amazing Doable Dinners, simple main dishes that are weeknight wows. Examples: pizzas, calzones, sandwiches, casseroles, chilies and savory pies. This category is open now through Feb. 7. Voting is open March 14-28.

•Simple Sweets and Starters, those creations that are the hit of any party. Examples: cookies, bars, pies, tarts, bite-size appetizers, tartlets, pinwheels, puffs, bruschetta and focaccia. Entry period is April 4-May 9. Voting is June 13- 27.

•Quick Rise and Shine Breakfasts, recipes that make mornings rock. Examples: sweet rolls, pastries, breakfast breads, egg dishes, breakfast sandwiches. Entry period is July 4-Aug. 8. Voting is Sept. 12-26.

Voters will determine 33 finalists in each division.

To encourage simpler, original recipes, submissions must include no more than seven ingredients, not including salt, pepper and water, and take 30 minutes or less to prepare, not including baking or cooling time. The finals will be Nov. 10-12 in Las Vegas.

Corn bread nation. Sponsored by Martha White and Lodge, a maker of cast-iron cookware, the National Cornbread Cook-Off is accepting original main-dish recipes at through Feb. 28. Ten finalists will compete April 27 during the National Cornbread Festival in South Pittsburg, Tenn. The first-prize winner pockets $5,000 and takes home a 30-inch FiveStar stainless-steel gas range and gifts from Lodge and Martha White. Second place earns $1,500 and third receives $1,000.

Who should be in our Culinary Hall of Fame? Next month we will induct 10 Central Floridians into the Orlando Sentinel Culinary Hall of Fame, an annual special edition of the Cooking & Eating section that recognizes those who have made significant contributions to how we eat, drink and dine. Our definition of a culinary professional is broad because the food and beverage industry requires a variety of skills and interests. In addition to chefs, the achievements are reflected in exceptional work in agriculture, food manufacturing, retail stores, and health and wellness. If you have someone you'd like to nominate, email their name, contact information and a brief bio describing what makes them hall-of-fame worthy to hmcpherson by 5 p.m. Feb. 8. Honorees will be revealed Feb. 27 in Cooking & Eating.

Heather McPherson can be reached at 407-420-5498, Twitter@OS_thedish and Follow daily food news at

Get the dish

Check out the Morning Mix with Scott McKenzie recipe of the week, Snowy Broccoli & Cauliflower Bake, at and

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