Today marks the official end of our 2014 Homegrown Recipe Contest…and what a contest it was! We had recipes of all types, sizes, and styles submitted from a Baked Cheesy Pumpkin, to a Vegetable Meat Loaf, to Baked Fish Fillets with Asian Glazed Grapes! It is always so difficult to decide on the top 3 recipes in each category, but unfortunately, it has to be done.

The following recipes were selected by our cooking/tasting/judging panel based on the following criteria: creativity, use of fruit or vegetable (what percentage of the recipe used the given item), ease of execution (how easy is this recipe to make by the average home cook), taste test (the top recipes will be cooked and tasted by judges to determine taste), and entry content (additional information provided as well as any photographs).

So without further ado, here are our 2014 winners!

Vegetable Category

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  • 1ST Place – Oven Roasted Asparagus by Shannah Poindexter of Paducah, Kentucky
  • 2nd Place – Thai Chicken Wraps by Nadine Smeltzer of St. Charles, Michigan
  • 3rd Place – Simple Summer Salad by Cindi Hoag of Yates Center, Kansas

Fruit Category

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  • 1ST Place – Strawberry Cream Cheese Tarts by Joanne Lee of Rochester, New York
  • 2nd Place – Blueberry Chicken Salad Scoops by Roxanne Chan of Albany, California
  • 3rd Place – Baked Blueberry Caramel French Toast by Mary Leverette of Columbia, South Carolina

Getting hungry yet?

And as promised, today I will share with you the first place recipes from each category! Then keep checking back over the weekend and early next week when I will share the second and third place winners as well!

1st Place Vegetable Winner
Oven-Roasted Asparagus

from Shannah Poindexter of Paducah, KentuckyWe found this recipe to be as delightfully delicious as it was easy to make! I, personally, love cooking up some fresh asparagus as a side dish to our main dinner meals at our house but have never done anything more to it. This recipe gave it just the perfect amount of flavoring without disguising that true, authentic asparagus taste!Ingredients:(1) bunch thin asparagus spears, trimmed
3 T. olive oil
1-1/2 T. grated Parmesan cheese (optional)
(1) clove garlic, minced
1 t. sea salt
1/2 t. ground black pepper
1 T. lemon juice (optional)Directions

1) Preheat oven to 425 degrees.
2) Place asparagus into a mixing bowl and drizzle with olive oil. Toss to coat.
3) Sprinkle with Parmesan cheese, garlic, salt, and pepper.
4) Arrange asparagus onto a baking sheet in a single layer. Bake in preheated oven until just tender, 12-15 minutes depending on thickness.
5) Spring with lemon juice just before serving if desired.

 

1st Place Fruit Winner
Strawberry Cream Cheese Tarts

from Joanne Lee of Rochester, New YorkThinking that this was simply a fancy name for cheesecake in a muffin cup, I admit that I wasn’t all too excited about this recipe — but boy was I mistaken! These tarts are AMAZINGLY wonderful and did not stay out at the Holland Bulb Farms’ office long! The only problem is, they are so light and go down so smoothly, it’s easy to eat all of them yourself (not that I would ever do that, I’m just sayin’…)! In our research, we actually discovered that Joanne Lee must LOVE to cook and has some amazing recipes on her own food blog — take a look and check it out here.
IngredientsFILLING:
16 oz. cream cheese
1 c. + 2 T. sugar
1 t. vanilla extract
2 eggs
8 fresh strawberries (washed and cored)GRAHAM CRACKER CRUST:
2 c. crushed Graham crackers
1/2 c. sugar
6 T. butter

Directions

CRUST:
1) Melt butter.
2) Combine crushed crackers, sugar and melted butter.
3) Place 12 paper cup liners in a muffin pan and divide crust mixture equally into lined muffin cups. Press lightly into the bottom of the pan.

FILLING:
1) Preheat over to 350 degrees.
2) Beat cream cheese until fluffy and add 1 c. of sugar. Beat well.
3) Add eggs, one at a time and beat well. Mix vanilla extract in.
4) Spoon mixture into the lined cups and bake for 15 min.
5) Cut strawberries into cubes and put them in a bowl.
6) Sprinkle 2 T of sugar on strawberries and toss together.
7) When 15 min have elapsed, remove the muffin pan and distribute the strawberries equally on the filling.
8) Bake for 5 more minutes and remove to cool. Enjoy your creation with a dollop of whipped cream!

So there you have it, our first place winners! Congratulations again to Shannah and Joanne — you both will soon be receiving your $100 product voucher to Holland Bulb Farms shortly! The rest of you winners should also be checking your email for information regarding your $50 voucher (2nd place winners) and your $25 voucher (third place winners).

Once again, a HUGE THANK YOU to everyone who participated in making this our best recipe contest yet! And thank you also to Holland Bulb Farms for once again agreeing to host such a contest with me! Didn’t win this year or forgot to enter? Don’t fret! We’re already starting to plan for the 5th Annual Homegrown Recipe Contest in early 2015!

With hands in the pot and head in the refrigerator,

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