Contests and Wins

This Is What Pillsbury Bake-Off Dreams Are Made Of

The first time I entered the “PBO” (as us cooking competitors call it) was back around 1992 or 1994. That was before computers were a household appliance. I snail-mailed in a crab appetizer. When the grocery store booklet of finalists came out, I noticed one of the recipes was only two ingredients different than mine. That’s when it hit me that I was really close, but not close enough. Maybe someday.

In 2007, when I began entering cooking contests, there were so many contests to enter, I really wasn’t that invested in “THE BIG ONE”. A million dollars seemed out of reach, but a salad bowl and a cookbook seemed reasonable.

Well this it, PBO is the big one, and this year, I tried really hard. I’m dreaming of that chance at a million dollars, but somehow it’s not about winning money, it’s more about coming full circle in my passion. When I can say “I went to the Pillsbury Bake-Off,” I will know I’ve achieved greatness in this cooking contest hobby. It’s an honor just to be selected as a finalist. I submitted 14 recipes, although in retrospect, I see only about half are worthy of the crown, or at least a walk down the runway. So let’s just say I have 7 chances.

The contest has changed up a bit. 90 finalists will be notified in September, but for now there are 20 tentative finalists who must compete in on-line voting.

I’m ecstatic to hear my friend Linda Bibbo received the email. Her recipe is up for voting soon. However, we don’t know what the recipe is, that’s top secret information. Ironically, this is the second time she has been selected for the “You Be The Judge” voting segment. Most of us dream of getting that email or call, but we hope we are one of the 90 guaranteed spots, not the “maybe if you’re recipe is popular” spots. So my fingers are crossed for Linda and the rest of my CCC friends. Here is what getting that email looks like:

Contest officials have confirmed that your recipe will be placed online at for consumer voting in the 45th Pillsbury Bake-Off® Contest. Congratulations on moving one step closer to a chance at the million-dollar grand prize!

On-line voting is something most of us CCC’ers despise. Only 10 of the 20 voting round people will make it to the dream kitchen. Yes, every cooking competitors “dream kitchen” is actually located in some convention center. I haven’t been there yet, but maybe this is my year! I have been pretty lucky this year winning GP in Wolfgang Pucks Red Carpet Recipe Contest, 2nd Place in Franks Red Hot Contest, and a finalist spot winning an envelope full of Gorton’s Seafood coupons and Ortega Taco Shells.

This is the fun part. Dreaming. The bake-off doesn’t even take place until 2012, but I’ll be checking my email every minute on September 1st, hoping.

I spent this morning collecting PBO data to see that no one from my state has ever worn the “Cooking Diva” sash and crown.
So if I won, I’d be the first person ever from Kansas to win the Pillsbury Bake Off! Wouldn’t that be great? 😀 Hope springs eternal.

By the way, if you think you might like to enter cooking contests, join This is where home cooks who love to create…meet, talk, learn and play with recipes- for prizes. I’ve made some great friends since joining ccc, I know you will too!

The first Pillsbury Bake-Off, 1949

That kind of looks like me in the middle,… no? 😀

Pillsbury Bake-Off Winners Over The Years

Michigan- 1949 / No-Knead Water-Rising Twists / Theodora Smafield
California- 1950 / Orange Kiss-Me Cake / Lily Wuebel
California- 1951 / Starlight Double-Delight Cake / Helen Weston
Illinois- 1952 / Snappy Turtle Cookies / Beatrice Harlib
Colorado- 1953 / “My Inspiration” Cake / Lois Kanago
Washington DC- 1954 / Open Sesame Pie / Dorothy Koteen
Oregon- 1955 / Ring-A-Lings / Bertha Jorgensen
California- 1956 / California Casserole / Hildreth H. Hatheway
California- 1957 / Accordion Treats / Gerda Roderer
Ohio- 1958 / Spicy Apple Twists / Dorothy DeVault
Louisiana- 1959 / Mardi Gras Party Cake / Eunice G. Surles
Nebraska- 1960 / Dilly Casserole Bread / Leona Schnuelle
Minnesota-1961 / Candy Bar Cookies / Alice Reese
Iowa- 1962 / Apple Pie ’63 / Julia Smogor
Michigan- 1963 / Hungry Boys’ Casserole / Mira Walilko
Florida- 1964 / Peacheesy Pie / Janis Risley
Nevada- 1966 / Golden Gate Snack Bread / Mari Petrelli
Tennessee- 1967 / Muffin Mix Buffet Bread / Maxine Bullock
Florida- 1968 / Buttercream Pound Cake / Phyllis Lidert
Minnesota- 1969 / Magic Marshmallow Crescent Puffs / Edna M. Walker
Arizona- 1970 / Onion Lover’s Twist / Nan Robb
Washington- 1971 / Pecan Pie Surprise Bars / Pearl Hall
Pennsylvania- 1972 / Streusel Spice Cake / Rose DeDominicis
Texas- 1973 / Quick Crescent Pecan Pie Bars / Albina Flieller
Minnesota- 1974 / Chocolate Cherry Bars / Francis I. Jerzak
Indiana- 1975 / Easy Crescent Danish Rolls / Barbara S. Gibson
Colorado- 1976 / Crescent Caramel Swirl / Lois Ann Groves
California- 1978 / Nutty Graham Picnic Cake / Esther Tomich
Florida- 1980 / Italian Zucchini Crescent Pie / Millicent (Caplan) Nathan
Arizona- 1982 / Almond-Filled Cookie Cake / Elizabeth Meijer
Wisconsin- 1984 / Country Apple Coffee Cake / Susan F. Porubcan
Oregon- 1986 / Apple Nut Lattice Tart / Mary Lou Warren
Minnesota- 1988 / Chocolate Praline Layer Cake / Julie Bengtson
California- 1990 / Blueberry-Poppy Seed Brunch Cake / Linda Rahman
South Carolina- 1992 / Pennsylvania Dutch Cake and Custard Pie / Gladys Fulton
North Carolina- 1994 / Fudgy Bonbons / Mary Anne Tyndall
California- 1996 / Macadamia Fudge Torte / Kurt Wait
Washington-1998 / Salsa Couscous Chicken / Ellie Mathews
South Carolina- 2000 / Cream Cheese Brownie Pie / Roberta Sonefeld
Tennessee- 2002 / Chicken Florentine Panini / Denise JoAnne Yennie
Ohio- 2004 / Oats ‘n Honey Granola Pie / Suzanne Conrad
Texas- 2006 / Baked Chicken and Spinach Stuffing / Anna Ginsberg
Maryland- 2008 / Double-Delight Peanut Butter Cookies / Carolyn Gurtz
New Jersey- 2010 / Mini Ice Cream Cookie Cups / Sue Compton

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Candied Orange-Waldorf Salad

I’ve always loved Waldorf salad, and now I have a completely new way of making it! The oranges, candied walnuts, and Philadelphia Cooking Creme take this Waldorf salad to a completely new level! Enjoy!~

Candied Orange-Waldorf Salad
* Servings: 6-8

* 1 container PHILADELPHIA Original Cooking Creme (10 oz.)
* 1 container whipped topping, thawed (8 oz.)
* 5 apples, diced (sweet and firm-like Gala or Honeycrisp)
* 3 oranges, cut in half and segmented (reserve cups)
* 1 1/2 cup(s) of diced celery
* 1 cup(s) of golden raisins
* 1 pkg. frosted, glazed, or candied walnuts (4.25 oz.)

1. *This recipe makes more than 6 servings, you may serve remaining in bowl next to cups, or if you are serving more guests, get a few more oranges.
2. In a large bowl, stir the PHILADELPHIA Cooking Creme with whipped topping until smooth.
3. In another bowl, combine the apples, chopped orange segments, celery, raisins, and 3/4 of the walnuts.
4. Pour the creamy mixture, over the fruit/nut mixture. Stir until blended.
5. Fill orange cups with salad and place on serving dish.
6. Sprinkle on remaining walnuts to garnish.

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Hot Luau Layer Dip

A flavor of Hawaii dip that blends PHILADELPHIA onion cream cheese, with hot pepper jack cheese, sweet pineapple, cold mango, salty hickory bacon and more cheese!

* 1/4 cup(s) of sugar
* 8 ounce(s) of crushed pineapple in juice
* 8 ounce(s) of PHILADELPHIA Chive & Onion Cream Cheese
* 8 ounce(s) of Kraft Pepper Jack Cheese, grated
* 2 large ripe mangoes, peeled, cored, diced
* 4 ounce(s) of Kraft Sharp or Medium Cheddar Cheese, grated
* 3/4 pound(s) of hickory smoked bacon, cooked and crumbled
* 1/2 cup(s) of red bell pepper, diced
* 1/3 cup(s) of jarred jalapeno slices, chopped *optional for more heat!

Serve with buttery round crackers, french bread slices or pita chips toasted

1. Preheat Oven to 450 degrees.
2. In a large microwave safe bowl, stir sugar, pineapple with juice, and cream cheese. Heat 1 to 2 minutes on high heat in microwave until hot and creamy.
3. Add Jack Cheese, stir and pour into a 1.5 qt. baking dish. Bake for 15 minutes until bubbly.
4. Spread a layer of finely diced mango.
5. Sprinkle on the cheddar cheese, leaving a 1-inch space from the edge of the hot dish.
6. Add the layer of bacon, then red pepper, and optional jalapeno. Serve with your favorite crackers or dippers!

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Snow Crab Rigatoni with Champagne Red Pepper Cream

Snow Crab Rigatoni with Champagne Red Pepper Cream

* 4 tbsp. of unsalted butter
* 1/4 cup(s) of sliced green onion, white part only
* 1 container PHILADELPHIA Original Cooking Creme
* 1/3 cup(s) of roasted red bell pepper, chopped
* 1/3 cup(s) of dry white champagne, or dry white wine*
* 1/2 pound(s) of rigatoni, cooked and drained
* 2 pound(s) of snow crab clusters, steamed, meat removed
* 1/4 cup(s) of gourmet Italian aged 4-cheese blend

1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees. In a medium sauce pan on med-low heat, saute the butter and onion. Stir in the creme, red pepper, and champagne. Remove from heat, set aside.
2. Carefully slide crab meat into each pasta. Place in individual baking dish. Ladle sauce over first layer. Add another layer of filled pasta. Top with any leftover meat. Spoon more sauce over the top to cover. Sprinkle on the cheese. Bake for 10-15 minutes until golden on top.
3. *For a non-alcoholic recipe, replace the wine with chicken broth.

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