It's time to put away those Christmas decorations and take out the old recipe box as the TIMES NEWS 24th Annual Cookbook and Recipe Contest is about to get under way. Share your recipes and show your friends and family what a terrific cook you are, and win a great prize while you're at it! Up to $900 in prizes are up for grabs.

We're looking for original recipes in the following seven categories: Appetizers, Casseroles, Desserts, Main Dishes, Salads & Sides, Sandwiches, and Soups & Stews.

Every entrant will receive a TIMES NEWS pizza cutter.

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

New this year, category winners will also be judged on how they present their winning dish.

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. 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.

Last year's contest attracted readers both young and old alike and from as far away as Texas and California! In fact, the winner of the Health Conscious Category was a 16-year-old teen from Georgia, while the winner of the Desserts & Baked Goods Category was a 10-year-old girl from Lehighton.

The grand prize winner of our 23rd Annual Cookbook and Recipe Contest was LuAnn Noll of Lehighton, whose Jack Burgers in the Burger Bonanza Category, just wowed the judges.

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 name of the recipe and the category, 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 last two years are welcome to submit recipes for inclusion in the cookbook, but are not eligible to win a prize this year.

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 are not 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 [2].

The deadline for entries is midnight, March 12.

Winners will be notified by Friday, March 18.