Recipes from our Readers
TOP LEFT: Jennifer Benninger, advertising sales representative and member of the TIMES NEWS Cookbook Committee, congratulates this year's grand prize winner, Ted LaRizzio. TOP RIGHT: The cover of the 26th annual TIMES NEWS Recipes from our Readers. ABOVE: Winners of the six categories in this year's Cookbook and Recipe contest are, from left, Kellie Kromer, Soups, Stews and Chili; Ted LaRizzio, Main Dish; Genevieve Laubach, Vegetarian; Kathy Goff, Breads, Biscuits and Muffins; Kerry Uher, Christmas Cookies; and Harry J. Procina, Desserts.
Looking for a recipe for Braised Beef with Wine and Mushroom Sauce? How about Sweet and Spicy Chili or Pistachio Banana Cake?
Well look no further, the TIMES NEWS has you covered.
Hot off the press, in today's edition is the 26th Annual Recipes from our Readers. The cookbook is a collection of recipes from some of the area's best cooks. It features tried and true favorites, like Polish Pierogies to newer treats, like Vegetarian Meatloaf.
In addition, you will also find the recipes from the winners of our annual recipe contest, including grand prize winner Ted LaRizzio of Jim Thorpe.
LaRizzio's winning dish, Teriyaki-Glazed Chicken Tenders, had the judges' mouths watering. He and the other category winners were invited to the TIMES NEWS office in Mahoning Township, where they presented their winning dishes to our panel of independent judges, who tasted each entry before determining who would receive the top prize of a $150 grocery store gift card and a $150 restaurant gift card.
Judges this year were professional sugar artist Candy Repsher Knappenberger of Lehighton, longtime cookbook contributor and frequent winner Shirley M. Leinthall of Summit Hill, and last year's grand prize winner Melody Patrick of New Ringgold. The judges, who each took their responsibility very seriously, had a difficult time determining a winner this year.
Although only one top prize was awarded, the judges named Harry J. Procina of Lehighton, a very close runner-up. Procina was the winner of the Dessert category this year with his recipe for French Apple Almond Tart.
Other category winners are Kathy Goff, Jim Thorpe, in the Breads, Biscuits and Muffins category with her recipe for Overnight French Toast Bake; Genevieve Laubach of Lehighton won the Vegetarian category with her recipe for Sweet Potatoes and Mac & Cheese Casserole; Kellie Kromer of Lehighton was the winner of the Soups, Stews and Chili category with her Cheese Steak Soup; and Kerry Uher of Coaldale took first place in the Christmas Cookie category with her 3C Layer Bars. Each chef deserved the accolades showered upon them as their dishes were excellent.
After the excitement of winning and getting a chance to taste all of the other contestants' dishes, LaRizzio said he was surprised to be crowned this year's winner.
"I was surprised. I really was," said LaRizzio. "I thought a dessert was going to win, because everybody likes desserts, except for me. I thought that would be a winner."
LaRizzio said his wife Lori pushed him into entering the recipe contest because she thought he had a legitimate chance to win.
"Somebody told Lori it was comparable to a good restaurant," said LaRizzio, "and that's why she pushed me to enter."
LaRizzio said he and Lori will often serve his Teriyaki-Glazed Chicken Fingers with her Asian Slaw.
"It's one of my favorites," he says of the dish. "We cook it all the time."
If LaRizzio's recipe sounds familiar, it is.
In February the couple, who are childhood sweethearts, were featured in the weekly Comfort & Joy column, where they shared some of their recipes, including his chicken dish, which won a first place medal at a neighborhood cook-off a few years ago,
LaRizzio says he enjoys spending time in the kitchen with Lori and their son Jordan, and sharing their culinary arts with friends and family. He says he also likes to make stromboli and lots of different soups (he says chicken noodle is his favorite).
Although he doesn't usually eat dessert, he enjoys making pie, such as strawberry rhubarb, pumpkin custard and apple.
LaRizzio said he enjoyed participating in this year's contest and looks forward to next year.
"It's a very nice contest that you put on, and I appreciate everything," said LaRizzio. "We've always made recipes from the cookbook. We have been getting the newspaper for 28 years and have been following the cookbook all along. I never thought about entering until this year."
In addition to his grand prize award, LaRizzio and the other category winners also each received a $50 grocery store gift card and a $50 restaurant gift card, American Profile's "Hometown Recipes for the Holidays" cookbook, and a gift bag of assorted TIMES NEWS merchandise.
The original six category winners were selected by the TIMES NEWS Cookbook Committee. Those members include Jennifer Benninger and Darlene Hentosh, advertising sales representatives; Donna Hall, classified advertising and national sales representative; Amy Miller, reporter/photographer; and Karen Cimms, Lifestyle editor.
The 26th Annual edition of the TIMES NEWS Recipes from our Readers is included in today's issue of the TIMES NEWS. Additional copies are available at the TIMES NEWS office in Mahoning Township.