Has your chili got game?
Are your cookies cause for celebration?
There are national contests where you can prove your culinary skills.
I've had a little success and a lot of experience entering local cooking contests.
I have won blue ribbons at the Buckwheat Festival and at a small pie-baking contest at the school's fall festival for Blueberry Dream Pie and my mom's butterscotch pie.
Almost four years ago I entered a chili cook-off. I think I had to make 8 gallons of chili and find ways to keep it hot while driving an hour and waiting to serve it. I took at least two electric roasters and a crock-pot. So did the 20 other competitors. All those current-suckers were too much for the mall's electrical system and breakers kept blowing. It's not an experience I have rushed to repeat. The most fun I had was dressing, with my little girl, like cowgirls and ringing dinner bells to draw attention.
I'm more familiar with holding or judging food contests. Being asked to judge the local chicken wing cook-off was my tastiest assignment ever.
When I was a newspaper food editor I had the idea to hold a holiday cookie contest. Readers submitted recipes for their favorite holiday cookies. The staff chose a batch and then asked those bakers to bring a dozen or two to the newspaper office. A group of readers called the Food Panel judged the cookies and determined a winner. The winner was announced and all the recipes ran in the Thanksgiving edition.
Now I am promoting two cooking contests -- in my first post that mentions my recent acceptance onto Just A Pinch Recipe Club's Blogger Brigade. To celebrate that good news, I am having a little giveaway here.
Just A Pinch Recipe Club is a vibrant online community for home cooks to share recipes, cooking tips and coupons. It is holding two national recipe contests and YOU can enter.
The deadline is fast approaching for the chili cook-off; contest entries are due Wednesday, January 4, 2012.
The home cook who submits the best chili recipe to the Second Annual Sporty Snack Showdown will get a home theater system valued at $4,000, just in time for the big game.
You have a little more time to perfect your cookie recipe; the entries in the Cookie Celebration are due by Wednesday, Feb. 15, 2012. The best baker wins a trip to Nashville and a $1,000 shopping spree of cooking equipment at The Viking Store & Cooking School!
Entries in both the chili and cookie contests will be judged on creativity, ease of preparation, presentation and pure deliciousness by the Test Kitchen.
Just a Pinch is supplying the prize for my giveaway -- this snazzy apron!
For a chance to win, leave a comment below. For an EXTRA chance to win, follow me on Twitter @CynthiaMcCloud. The contest will run until 8 p.m. EST Tuesday, Dec. 6. I'll use random.org to choose the winner. Make sure you leave your email address (not published) so I can get your mailing address if you win.
Good luck! And be sure to tell me if you enter the cook-off or the baking contest, especially if you win!