With the dreary weather outdoors, and nothing too special coming up on the calendar, it's time to head to the kitchen and stir up a winning recipe.

With a pinch of this and a dash of that you could be the winner of the 23rd Annual TIMES NEWS Cookbook and Recipe Contest, where over $900 in prizes are up for grabs.

A winner will be chosen in each of the seven categories selected for this year's cookbook. Those winners will be invited to prepare their dishes and bring them to the TIMES NEWS office in Mahoning Township, where the judges will sample each selection and declare a grand prize winner.

Categories for the 2010 contest are: Salads, Vegetables & Sides; Main Dish; Slow Cooker; Health Conscious; Burger Bonanza (which could be beef, turkey, chicken or even veggie); Entertaining (what's your go-to recipe when company is coming?); and of course, Desserts and Baked Goods (this includes muffins, specialty breads, etc.)

So get ready to flex your creative muscle and come up with an original recipe that will tempt our readers and delight our judges. Recipes must be received at the TIMES NEWS by midnight Saturday, March 6. Category winners will be notified by telephone on or before March 12, so be sure to include a daytime telephone number on each recipe submitted.

Winners in each category will receive a $50 grocery store gift card and a $50 gift card to Roadie's Restaurant at Penn's Peak, plus a choice of either of American Profile's cookbook's "Hometown Get-Togethers: Memorable Meals for Great Gatherings," or "Hometown Recipes for the Holidays." These two cookbooks are valued at close to $20 each. In addition, the grand prize winner will receive a $100 gift card to Roadie's Restaurant and a $100 grocery store gift card.

Each winner will be featured in this year's cookbook with his or her recipe, a photograph and a brief biography.

Contest rules

To enter, each original recipe should be neatly printed or typed on a single sheet of 8 1/2-inch by 11-inch paper, and must include the contestant's name, address and telephone number, as well as the category for the recipe, clearly marked at the top of the page.

Entries will be judged for completeness, ease of preparation and duplication. In the event of a duplicate recipe, the one with the earliest postmark will be entered.

Please note that we will accept only seven entries per household and the same recipe may not be entered in more than one category.

Those who have won a prize in the recipe contest in any of the last three years may submit recipes for inclusion in the cookbook, but will not be eligible for a prize.

Professional food preparers are not eligible to enter. Pencor and TIMES NEWS employees and their families may submit recipes for inclusion in the cookbook, but will not be eligible to win any prizes.

Mail entries to the TIMES NEWS, P.O. Box 239, Lehighton, PA 18235, Attention Donna Hall; or e-mail recipes to dhall@tnonline.com [1].