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Published: Sunday, 11/12/2000

Breakfast recipe takes top prize

Diane Hardin used ingredients already in the house to create her award-winning Swiss and Asparagus Eggs Benedict. Diane Hardin used ingredients already in the house to create her award-winning Swiss and Asparagus Eggs Benedict.

Diane Hardin of Ottawa Lake, Mich., would rather eat breakfast for dinner. So for her, dreaming up a winning recipe for the local Mr. Food's Good Mornings with Cheese Recipe Contest held last May at Food Town was a natural.

After she saw the contest advertised in The Blade, she cut out the article and placed it on her refrigerator. A couple of weeks before the contest, she was inspired.

In the Egg-Cetera Category, she entered Swiss and Asparagus Eggs Benedict. “The ingredients were food we had in the house,” the registered nurse said about the first recipe contest she had ever entered. It was a quiet afternoon. “My daughter was asleep. I like bearnaise sauce and asparagus and I needed two cheeses.”

Ms. Hardin prefers the dry bearnaise sauce mix rather than a recipe from scratch, for both the flavor and the convenience.

She had recently been making chicken Caesar salads, so she had the fresh Parmesan cheese on hand. “My fiance Jim [Wiederhold] loved it,” Ms. Hardin said about the recipe. So did her daughter, Paige, 7, and stepson, Andrew, 15.

In the Food Town competition, she placed first in the category, winning $250. “Food Town submitted all the recipes to the national contest,” she said. In August, “I got a phone call that I had won.” Each category winner won $500.

Now the recipe with a photo is in a brochure: Mr. Food's Good Mornings with Cheese. The great thing about the recipe is that sliced turkey is one of the ingredients, which makes it a delicious option for leftovers this Thanksgiving.

Grand Prize winner, for Cheddar Apple Coffee Cake with Maple Drizzle, was Janice Elder of Charlotte, N.C., In the On-the_Go category was portable Cheesy Treasure Muffins, submitted by Deena Gergini of Claremore, Okla. In the Batter Breakfasts Category, Blue Cheese and Pear Crepes made by Deona Tait of Bronxville, N.Y., was the winner. Harvest Cheddar Breakfast Pizza created by Diane Halferty of Corpus Christi, Tex., won the Baked Goods category.

Ms. Hardin's recipe is versatile; eggs can be poached, over-easy, or sunny-side up.

For a complimentary leaflet with recipes, call 800-292-MILK or access www. ilovecheese.com.

Swiss and Asparagus Eggs Benedict

1 packaged (Knorr) dry bearnaise sauce mix

1/2 cup milk

10-15 stalks asparagus

4 slices white bread

4 slices Swiss cheese

4 slices smoked turkey, or leftover turkey

4 eggs

2 tablespoons Parmesan cheese, freshly grated

Preheat oven to 250 degrees. Prepare Bearnaise sauce following package directions, but adding an additional 1/2 cup of milk; keep warm. Trim ends of asparagus and cut into thirds. Cook asparagus in boiling water until almost tender, about 2 to 3 minutes. Drain.

Toast bread slices. Place one slice Swiss cheese and one slice turkey on each piece of toast. Place on cookie sheet in oven until cheese melts.

While toast is in the oven, prepare eggs using desired method. Remove toast from oven and place one egg on top of each. Place asparagus and bearnaise sauce on eggs. Sprinkle with Parmesan cheese. Serve warm.

Yield: 4 servings

Source: Diane Hardin, Egg-cetera Category Winner, Mr. Food Recipe Contest

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