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Women's Expo to focus on food

| Tuesday, Oct. 13, 2009

When it comes to preparing food, Dee Weir of Greensburg knows what women want. It all boils down to two words, she says: quick and inexpensive.

"Our recipes are geared to budget-friendly meals for under $2 a serving that take less than 29 minutes to prepare," says Weir, advanced sales director and trainer for The Pampered Chef and one of the presenters at the 2009 Women's Expo and Food Show this weekend in Monroeville. She will demonstrate how to make one such recipe -- Zesty Ravioli Skillet.

Mike McDain, chef at McDain's Restaurant and Golf Center in Monroeville, will demonstrate his quick and easy Grilled Balsamic Chicken Wrap with lettuce, tomato and provolone cheese. It can be used as a lunch entree or cut into small pieces as an appetizer.

The focus on food is new for this year's Women's Expo, says the show's producer Dean Taylor, event coordinator of Event Experts of Berea, Ohio. But the idea has been a success in other women's expos his company manages in Ohio and Indiana.

"Anything based around cooking, serving food or food products attracts the ladies," he says. "Let's face it; meal preparation is an enormous part of their lives."

A number of local chefs will prepare signature dishes. Jessica Gibson, executive chef of Bistro 19, Mt. Lebanon, will demonstrate her Pear and Roasted Beet Salad with Walnut Vinaigrette.

Other chefs will include Alan Peet of Casbah; Syed Chand of Bismillah; Kevin Sousa of Salt of the Earth; Andrew Hebson of Sonoma Grill; Eric of Red Room Restaurant, 2 p.m.; and Syed Chand, 4 p.m.

More than 100 vendors will be on hand to display what's new in food, health, beauty and home-improvement industries.

Seminars scheduled throughout the two-day event will provide health and wellness tips and advice on issues of interest to women and families. There will be fitness and belly-dancing demonstrations, dance clinics and fashion shows. Nintendo will demonstrate its 2010 Wii games, and representatives of travel companies will offer details on vacation opportunities.

Taylor says CVS Pharmacy will provide goody bags that include $25 worth of cosmetics. Flu shots will be available, as well.

With the move to a new venue this year, Taylor says the new space offers more room for vendors and visitors. More than 3,500 women attended last year's event, according to the show producer.

Here is the recipe that Dee Weir of Pampered Chef will demonstrate at the Women's Expo and Food Show:

Zesty Ravioli Skillet

• 1/3 cup heavy whipping cream

• 4 cups loosely packed fresh baby spinach leaves

• 6 ounces provolone cheese, grated

• 1 tablespoon olive oil

• 1 small jalapeno pepper, seeded

• 3 garlic cloves, pressed

• 2 cans (14.5 ounces each) diced tomatoes with onions, undrained

• 1/2 teaspoon salt

• 1/2 teaspoon coarsely ground black pepper

• 1 package (24 ounces) small frozen cheese ravioli (about 65)

• Halved grape tomatoes, optional

Wash the spinach and drain.

Add the oil to a 12-inch skillet and heat over medium-high heat for 1 to 3 minutes or until shimmering. Finely chop the jalapeno and add to the skillet. Cook and stir for 1 minute or until crisp-tender.

Press the garlic through a press into the skillet. Cook and stir for 15 to 20 seconds or until fragrant.

Add the tomatoes, salt and black pepper to the skillet. Cook and stir for 1 2 minutes or until simmering. Add the ravioli and stir to coat. Cook, uncovered, for 4 to 5 minutes or until tender. Stir the cream into the skillet. Cook, uncovered, for 1 to 2 minutes or until simmering. Sprinkle the spinach over the ravioli and cook, covered, for 1 minute or until the spinach starts to wilt.

Remove from heat. Top with the cheese. Cover and let stand for 1 to 2 minutes or until the cheese is melted. Garnish with the grape tomatoes, if desired.

Makes 8 servings.

Additional Information:

2009 Women's Expo and Food Show

When: 10 a.m.-5 p.m. Saturday and 11 a.m.-4 p.m. Sunday

Admission: $6; free for age 12 and younger. $1 off coupons available at website

Where: Monroeville Convention Center, 135 Mall Blvd., Monroeville

Details: 866-625-6161 or Web site

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