This year's Holiday Cooking Contest is as good as ever. There are so many creative recipes, and I thank all of you readers for sending them in. The stories that came along with many of them were great. I enjoyed reading every one, gaining insight into the culinary quilt that warms every family gathering.
During the holidays, certain recipes gain favor as they're shared with family and friends. Even the standbys we rely on year after year - cheeseballs, fruit cakes and canned-soup casseroles - help create memories. And that's what it's all about.
I predict the recipes presented in today's section will join others you've passed on through generations. Through the years, I've picked up some great menu ideas for my Christmas brunch, a tradition in our household.
This year, I can't wait to serve Stephanie Ramsey's Orange Pecan Coffeecake Ring and Karen Hoag's Sausage Strata. With the leftovers from my fried turkey, I'll be serving Candyce Rector's Southwest Turkey Bake. I don't know how I'll decide on dessert, with so many possibilities sent our way.
With help from expert cooks, we chose a standout dish in each of five categories: appetizers, breads, entrees, side dishes and desserts. Congratulations to all the winners.
Here's to the holidays. May all your celebrations be ones to treasure.