Ultimate Reader Recipe Contest Winners and Finalists―Entrées

See the top recipes from past contests, and learn how to enter yours.

This spicy salad took the top prize at the fourth annual Cooking Light Ultimate Reader Recipe Conteast.

Becky Luigart-Stayner

2009 Grand Prize Winner: Greek Chicken and Barley Salad

English professor Suzanne Rumsey was astounded when told she was a finalist. “I’d never participated in a recipe contest and ­entered on a whim,” she says.

Well, Rumsey must have a natural knack. She made her dish only once before submitting the recipe. The judges loved its simplicity, its use of whole-grain barley, and the vibrant flavors of feta, citrus, ­cucumber, and herbs.

View Recipe: Greek Chicken and Barley Salad
 

This spicy salad took the top prize at the fourth annual Cooking Light Ultimate Reader Recipe Contest.

Becky Luigart-Stayner

2008 Grand Prize Winner: Ranch Steak Bruschetta Salad

"My family loves steak, so I wanted to make a version of one of our favorite Southwestern dishes that was lighter, healthier, packed with flavor, and not drenched in heavy sauce or loaded with salty seasonings."

―Devon Delaney, Princeton, NJ

View Recipe: Ranch Steak Bruschetta Salad

Hidden Rainbow Albondigas

Becky Luigart-Stayner

2008 Finalist: Hidden Rainbow Albondigas

“When I met my husband three years ago, he suggested I try cooking albondigas, a traditional Mexican soup with meatballs and vegetables. His mother taught me how to prepare her ­authentic version. My children wouldn’t eat chunks of vegetables, so I needed to re-create the dish. I pureed a package of stir-fry vegetables, fresh carrots, and canned tomatoes with the broth mixture and added yellow squash to the meatballs. Now I take pleasure in knowing that my children are ­eating a colorful dish of ‘hidden’ vegetables.” ―Emily Almaguer, Fort Worth, Texas

View Recipe: Hidden Rainbow Albondigas

Sausage-Stuffed Manicotti

Becky Luigart-Stayner

2008 Finalist: Sausage-Stuffed Manicotti

““I developed this recipe many years ago. Since then, I’ve lightened it with turkey sausage, and I use smaller amounts of flavorful cheeses, where a little goes a long way. Like most baked pastas, this dish requires some time, but it’s well worth the effort.” ―Beverly O’Ferrall, Linkwood, Md.

View Recipe: Sausage-Stuffed Manicotti

Caribbean Shrimp Salad with Lime Vinaigrette

Howard L. Puckett

2007 Grand Prize Winner and Category Winner: Caribbean Shrimp Salad with Lime Vinaigrette

"I wanted to create a recipe for a festive meal with local ingredients that could be prepared ahead of time and assembled at the last minute. Everything except the avocado, because it turns brown, can be readied in advance and kept in separate containers, covered, and chilled. I like to serve this dinner salad with multi-grain rolls." –Katherine Hinrichs, West Boothbay Harbor, ME

View Recipe: Caribbean Shrimp Salad with Lime Vinaigrette

Video: Katherine Hinrichs tells the story behind her recipe

Roasted Tomato-Beef Goulash with Caraway

Howard L. Puckett

2007 Finalist: Roasted Tomato-Beef Goulash with Caraway

"Hungarian goulash was a family favorite when I was growing up. I've updated my mom's recipe with fresh vegetables. Replacing plain tomato sauce with roasted diced tomatoes improved the taste and texture of the gravy." –Sheryl Chomak, Beaverton, OR

View Recipe: Roasted Tomato-Beef Goulash with Caraway

Video: Sheryl Chomak tells the story behind her recipe

 

Seoul-ful Chicken with Minted Cucumbers

Howard L. Puckett

2007 Finalist: Seoul-ful Chicken with Minted Cucumbers

"My family loves Asian food, and I enjoy its vivid flavors and colors. This is my spin on Korean grilled chicken with a speedy kimchi-type accompaniment. I prefer using chicken thighs for this dish because they are juicier and tastier than boneless breasts. This dish is simple enough for an after-work dinner but scrumptious enough for guests."
–Janice Elder, Charlotte, NC

View Recipe: Seoul-ful Chicken with Minted Cucumbers

Video: Janice Elder shares the story behind her recipe

 

Beef with Spicy Cocoa Gravy

Howard L. Puckett

2006 Category Winner: Beef with Spicy Cocoa Gravy

"The unsweetened cocoa gives the broth a rich texture and heartiness. Serve with egg noodles, rice, or couscous." –April Sims, Denton TX

View Recipe: Beef with Spicy Cocoa Gravy

 

Sesame-Crusted Beef Tenderloin Steaks with Pineapple, Mango, and Red Pepper Relish

Howard L. Puckett

2006 Finalist: Sesame-Crusted Beef Tenderloin Steaks with Pineapple, Mango, and Red Pepper Relish

"I like to serve this with long-grain and wild rice and steamed sugar snap peas for an elegant, healthy meal. I created this recipe to combine my love to steak with my kids' fondness for Asian foods." –Teresa Ralston, New Albany OH

View Recipe: Sesame-Crusted Beef Tenderloin Steaks with Pineapple, Mango, and Red Pepper Relish

 

Grilled Skirt Steak and Mesclun Salad with Miso Dressing

Howard L. Puckett

2006 Finalist: Grilled Skirt Steak and Mesclun Salad with Miso Dressing

"Miso paste can be found in most Asian grocery stores. The darker the paste, the saltier and stronger the flavor. For a lower-fat option, substitute flank steak." ―Melissa Iwai, Brooklyn, NY

View Recipe: Grilled Skirt Steak and Mesclun Salad with Miso Dressing

 

Crunchy Shrimp with Toasted Couscous and Ginger-Orange Sauce

Howard L. Puckett

2005 Grand Prize Winner and Category Winner: Crunchy Shrimp with Toasted Couscous and Ginger-Orange Sauce

"The sauce that accompanies the shrimp is one of my favorites. I've used it as a dipping sauce for vegetables, and to top grilled chicken and salmon." –Karen Tedesco, Webster Groves, MO

View Recipe: Crunchy Shrimp with Toasted Couscous and Ginger-Orange Sauce

 

Chicken Piccata with Summer Vegetable Pasta

Howard L. Puckett

2005 Finalist: Chicken Piccata with Summer Vegetable Pasta

"This recipe reflects how my family tries to eat. We keep vegetables and whole grains as the bulk of the meal, and then use lean proteins and other ingredients to add flavor." ―Erin Mylroie, St. George, UT

View Recipe: Chicken Piccata with Summer Vegetable Pasta

 

Whole Wheat Blend Rotini with Spicy Turkey Sausage and Mustard Greens

Howard L. Puckett

2005 Finalist: Whole Wheat Blend Rotini with Spicy Turkey Sausage and Mustard Greens

"Reducing some of the broth for the sauce and adding broth to the pasta water both deepen the flavor. I like the bite of the mustard greens and using healthy poultry sausage." ―Jeff Violette, Oakland, ME

View Recipe: Whole Wheat Blend Rotini with Spicy Turkey Sausage and Mustard Greens

 

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