Bake. Off.

Since we’re not immune to a little Friday diversion I’ll point you to Minnesota’s delegation to Pillbury’s 44th Bake-Off contest:

Betsy Chan’s (Bloomington) Rachel Meatball Poppers

Catherine Wiechert’s (Mound) Pecan Cookie Waffles with Honey-Cinnamon Butter

Laura Stanke’s (Maple Grove) Pepperoni-Pesto Popovers

Michelle Gauer’s (Spicer) Double Chocolate-Orange Scones

With that menu, you could certainly fill out breakfast, lunch, dinner AND dessert, though you’d like owe yourself a couple trips to the gym.

The finalists head to Orlando, Fla. on April 11 for their shot at the $1 million grand prize.

And, if you’re in the mood for sharing, help your fellow NewsCutters get a start on their weekend meal planning by leaving a recipe in the comments.

  • momkat

    The double chocolate orange scones links to the pepperoni pesto popovers (which would be way to hard to say fast 3 times).

  • Than Tibbetts

    Thanks for the catch, momkat. It must be 4 p.m. on Friday…

  • Bonnie

    Than, you don’t seriously think readers of Newscut cook or bake, do you? Or if they did, would you really want their recipes? Thanks!

  • Than Tibbetts

    @Bonnie – Well it was worth a try… My wife and I just moved into a new apartment and we find ourselves without a microwave. It struck me as a little frightening how many things we’d come accustomed to eating that are prepped by pushing a few buttons.

    So, it’s become a personal goal to be 100% comfortable with looking into a stocked pantry and knowing how to make anything, rather than having the pretty picture on the front of the box tell me what we’re having for dinner.

  • Al

    Bonnie – I’m so confused. Is your comment meant to be sarcastic? My wife and I are both frequent Newscut readers and commenters. She showed me your post while I was baking muffins for breakfast. Could it be that some Newscut readers also listen to the Splendid Table?

    Anyway – Here is my entry in the bakeoff from a few years ago. It didn’t make it to the finals, but it was fun trying to get the right combination of the ingredients to make it set up right.


    Blueberry Almond Parfait Pie by Al Heebsh



    1 Pillsbury Refrigerated Pie Crust (from 15-oz. box), softened as directed on box


    1/2 cup boiling water

    1 envelope unflavored gelatin (0.25-oz.)

    4-oz. fat free cream cheese

    2 containers (6-oz.) Fat Free Blueberry Yogurt

    1 cup blueberries, fresh or frozen

    Blueberry Sauce Topping

    1 cup blueberries, fresh or frozen

    2 tbsp sugar

    1 tbsp cornstarch

    2 tbsp water

    1/4 cup Fisher Chef’s Natural Almonds Sliced


    1. Place pie crust in pie pan and bake as directed on box for One Crust Pie – Baked Shell. Allow crust to cool. Arrange 1 cup of blueberries on the bottom of the crust.

    2. Pour boiling water on gelatin in small bowl. Stir about 4 minutes or until gelatin is dissolved.

    3. Beat cream cheese with mixer until softened. Blend in yogurt at medium speed for 2 minutes scraping sides of bowl often. Blend in gelatin at medium speed for 2 minutes. Pour into pie crust.

    4. Refrigerate uncovered for about 3 hours or until firm.

    5. For topping, combine blueberries, sugar, cornstarch, and water in a small saucepan. Cook and stir until thickened. Refrigerate.

    6. To serve, slice pie. Top individual slices with blueberry sauce and sprinkle with sliced almonds.

  • Than Tibbetts

    That looks delicious Al. I’m printing it off and putting it on the fridge.

  • Lesli in Minneapolis

    My favorite easy-to-make-yet-impressive dinner recipe, this comes from the Star Tribune a few years back. Serve with a crusty fresh loaf of bread and enjoy!

    Greek Chili

    1 medium onion, diced and sauted with

    2-4 cloves garlic, chopped

    1 lb. ground turkey, browned

    1 14.5 oz. can diced tomatoes

    1 15 oz. can tomato sauce

    1 15 oz. can garbanzo beans, drained

    1 14 oz. can artichoke hearts, diced (not marinated)

    1 6 oz. can black olives, sliced

    2 t. oregano

    1 t. thyme

    2 t. cayenne pepper (or to taste)

    3 bay leaves

    Combine all ingredients in crockpot and heat on low 4-6 hours. May thin with vegetable or chicken broth if desired. To serve, top with crumbled feta cheese and sour cream.

    You can heat this up on the stove and simmer to get the same effect more quickly, but you’ll loose out on the good-smell drool factor.

  • Betsy

    Hi Than – I happen to be one of the finalists & caught your post. I challenge you (and your readers) to make my Rachel Meatball Poppers recipe next week. It’s a twist on the Rachel/Reuben sandwich & muy yummy.

    It can be halved by just opening one dough can for the1st batch (make the 2nd half within a few days to end the craving for more -ha). FYI: even my friends who aren’t crazy about sauerkraut end up eating most of it. Bon Appetit!

  • Phillip

    There’s lots that I’ve inherited from grandmothers and great grandmothers, but something that’s really good and super easy is 5 hr stew:

    2 lbs. stew meat

    1 C. celery

    5 carrots, sliced

    4 onions, quartered

    1 big can tomato sauce (I use a quart of home canned tomatoes since it’s easy and yummy)

    3 T. instant tapioca

    1 T. sugar



    Put it all in a stew pot in the oven at 250 for 5hrs. Stir if you want to, but you don’t have to.