TAHOE/TRUCKEE, Calif. - The Nevada Beef Council is calling on home cooks to start grilling, broiling, roasting, stir-frying and stewing on their healthy beef menu ideas for the 2013 National Beef Cook-Off recipe competition.Through April 15, 2013, home cooks may submit their best beef recipes online at www.beefcookoff.org for a chance to win $25,000 and a trip to the Metropolitan Cooking & Entertaining Show in Washington, D.C.This year's contest theme is "Making the Most of MyPlate," which will encourage delicious, healthy recipes from a variety of food groups. Entrants are asked to develop original and tasty beef-focused recipes that include broadly-appealing ingredients from the fruit and vegetable, grain products and dairy products groups. The MyPlate initiative, led by the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) Center for Nutrition Policy and Promotion, is designed to help consumers make better food choices."The recipe contest is all about creating fresh, simple to prepare recipes with a healthy focus," said Katy Tenner, MS, RD, director of Food and Nutrition Outreach for the Nevada Beef Council. "We are encouraging ... home cooks to choose ingredients from a variety of food groups, including lean beef, to create their own mouthwatering recipes." Tenner, who writes the food blog "Look What Katy Did," notes there are 29 cuts of beef that meet USDA guidelines for lean. "Some of them are among the most popular and easy-to-find cuts like top sirloin, top round, bottom round, tri-tip and 95 percent lean ground beef."New categories focused on health, trendsThe 2013 National Beef Cook-Off features four contest categories that demonstrate beef's versatility and encourage creativity with a variety of ingredients, cuts and preparation methods.This year's contest also includes two new sponsorships. The sponsorship with the California Avocado Commission features a pairing of lean beef and fresh California avocados in easy California cuisine recipes. The sponsorship with the United States Potato Board pairs lean beef and fresh potatoes in easy and healthy international cuisine recipes.The four recipe categories• Belt-Tightening Beef Recipes. Home cooks will create healthy and affordable beef recipes that are great values to prepare. Recipes should include a maximum of nine ingredients including beef, and flavorful, low-cost ingredients from the fruits and vegetables, grain products and dairy products food groups.• Semi-Homemade Beef Recipes. Home cooks will demonstrate how easy it is to cook with beef when they combine any fresh beef cut and fresh ingredients with prepackaged food products. Recipes should include a maximum of six ingredients including the beef, and fruits or vegetables, grain products and dairy products food groups, and be prepared and cooked in 30 minutes or less.• Real Worldly, Real Simple Beef & Potato Recipes. Home cooks will create original easy-to-make lean beef and fresh potato-centered recipes that feature international flavors and maintain a healthy profile. Recipes should include no more than 10 commonly available and affordable ingredients including the beef and potatoes, along with at least one other ingredient from the fruits or vegetables, grain products or dairy products food groups. Recipes should be prepared in no more than 15 minutes and cooked in 30 minutes.• Craveable Fresh Beef and Fresh California Avocado Recipes. Home cooks will produce easy recipes using all fresh ingredients, featuring one of the lean beef cuts and at least one fresh California avocado. Recipes should include no more than eight ingredients, including the beef and avocado, along with at least one other ingredient from the fruits or vegetables, grain products or dairy products food groups, and be prepared and cooked in 30 minutes or less.To enter the contest, participants must visit www.beefcookoff.org and use the online entry form. Contest participants may submit multiple recipes in all of the various contest categories as long as they meet the contest rules and criteria, which are provided on the Web site.Regional grand prizes to be awarded for top recipesAll original recipes entered will be reviewed and judged based on taste, appearance, convenient preparation and cooking, and healthfulness and nutritional balance. A group of food marketing and culinary professionals will select 20 finalists in June. Consumers will have the opportunity to select the twenty-first finalist recipe via online voting. From those 21 finalists, seven $1,500 regional winners will be announced in July. From the remaining 14 finalists, one $25,000 grand prize winner will be announced in November at the Metropolitan Cooking & Entertaining Show in Washington, D.C. The grand prize winner will be selected based on the highest overall scoring recipe.The contest is open to legal U.S. residents who are 18 years of age or older and reside in one of the 50 United States or the District of Columbia. To view the complete contest rules and explore winning recipes from past contests, visit www.beefcookoff.org.The Beef Checkoff ProgramThe Beef Checkoff Program (www.MyBeefCheckoff.com) was established as part of the 1985 Farm Bill. The checkoff assesses $1 per head on the sale of live domestic and imported cattle, in addition to a comparable assessment on imported beef and beef products. States retain up to 50 cents on the dollar and forward the other 50 cents per head to the Cattlemen's Beef Promotion and Research Board, which administers the national checkoff program, subject to USDA approval.About the sponsorsThe 2013 National Beef Cook-Off is sponsored by the Beef Checkoff Program, California Avocado Commission and United States Potato Board.About the National Beef Cook-OffThe National Beef Cook-Off is a Beef Checkoff Program that began in 1974 as an annual contest and changed to a biennial contest in 1993. The Cook-Off is managed and coordinated by the American National CattleWomen, Inc. During its 39-year history, the Cook-Off has received accolades and the support of many notable culinary experts. The National Beef Cook-Off is considered to be among the top three cooking contests in the nation.About the American National CattleWomen, Inc.The American National CattleWomen, Inc., is one of the longest-standing cattle women organizations, established in 1952 as a national, nonprofit organization. It is a voice for women who share a passion for the U.S. beef industry, promoting and supporting the industry while encouraging women involved in beef and related agribusiness.