Dearing resident Shari Upchurch couldn't pass up "free." And now, her name is in kitchens across America.
Mrs. Upchurch saw an offer on the Gooseberry Patch publishers Web site for cooks to turn in their recipes. Those chosen for publication would receive a free cookbook.
"I was like, 'Yeah! Free cookbook!'" Mrs. Upchurch said. "Who doesn't like free? And I love to cook, so that's even better."
Mrs. Upchurch's original recipe for Provincial Chicken was printed in the 101 Slow-Cooker Recipes cookbook. The nationally-distributed cookbook features recipes printed on high-gloss, card-stock pages in spiral bound with full-color photos.
The recipe, which features chicken, bowtie pasta and zucchini, has been "tweaked" to perfection over the years as Mrs. Upchurch prepared it for family, company and church potlucks. She likes its versatility because all she has to do to stretch it for company is add some more zucchini, tomatoes or pasta.
But the recipe's best quality is how much her family -- husband, Todd, son, Joshua and daughter, Elizabeth -- loves it.
Mr. Upchurch said he loves the fact that his "Honey" puts the ingredients in the crock-pot before church, and then lunch is ready as soon as they come home.
"Shari has helped broaden my taste buds over the years," he said. "The only thing I knew about zucchini was zucchini bread. And I thought that was OK because it tastes sort of like banana bread. But the balsamic vinegar in this is the big thing for me. It's incredible, and I love it because I'm a pasta fan. I like one-pot dishes, too."
Gooseberry Patch has sold over 8 million cookbooks in retailers nationwide and on their own website. For more information, visit www.gooseberrypatch.com.