LDS women finalists in the Pillsbury Bake-Off

Published: Monday, Nov. 4 2013 5:00 a.m. MST

Chorizo Potato Puffy Tacos is by Melissa Stadler, of Mesa, Ariz., is one of the Pillsbury Bake-Off finalists in the Amazing Doable Dinner category.


Juliann Pelton put her Spicy Chicken Pizza Roll Up together from ingredients she already had in her kitchen. Her family and friends loved it so she put her recipe in the 46th Pillsbury Bake-Off contest.

Now she's in the running to win the $1 million grand prize at the contest in Las Vegas on Nov. 10-12.

So are fellow Mormons Kalani Allred, Melissa Stadler and Vincy Stringham.

Allred, who lives in Loomis, Calif., in the Loomis First Ward, Lincoln California Stake of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, has been entering recipes in the Bake-Off contests for more than 10 years. This is the first time one of her recipes has been selected.

She believes in cooking healthy and simply with as many vegetables and whole grains as possible.

"This year's bake-off was very challenging, in that we could only use seven ingredients in our recipes, and the recipe had to be prepared in 30 minutes or less.

"I looked at the list of qualifying ingredients and tried to come up with different and unusual, yet easy, ways of using them. I ended up with a main-dish salad that is delicious, easy and versatile.

"The result is Balsamic Chicken Cranberry Panzanella, a bread salad using Pillsbury Pizza Crest as the bread,” Allred wrote in an email.

Allred, who is the mother of two grown children, is thinking the prize money would come in more than handy since her husband lost his job five months ago.

"Winning the Bake-Off would be a huge blessing," she said.

Stadler has had winning the Pillsbury Bake-Off on her bucket list since she was part of the 44th Bake-Off in 2010.

"After that incredible experience, I got the cooking contest bug and started entering a range of contests. I was having success at it and more importantly I was finding my passion for it," Stadler wrote in an email.

She won the Cooking Channel's Perfect 3 contest in 2011 with her "I Want To Marry You" cookie and was flown to New York to film a Food Network segment.

"As I arrived in my hotel room and saw an envelope with the Food Network logo on it and my name written across it with, I couldn't believe that two of my three biggest culinary dreams had come true. Now I just need to win the million dollars for the third to come true!"

She thinks her Chorizo Potato Puffy Tacos is the million-dollar recipe.

"Since I was living in San Antonio, Texas, at the time which is the home of the Puffy taco, I wanted to create one at home using Pillsbury biscuit dough. I am a sucker for Mexican food and wanted a ton of flavor yet could only use seven ingredients. I created a puffy taco using spicy chorizo paired with potatoes, onions, and peppers for big flavors. Then I added some freshness with tomatillo, avocado and cilantro salsa. I topped it with the salty goodness of cotija cheese and it was fantastic!

"I am a huge believer in being a creator in the kitchen. Food is so much fun to play with and I always tell people to use a recipe as a guide. Don't be afraid to add an ingredient or two."

Stadler lives in Gilbert, Ariz., in the Shamrock Farms Ward, Queen Creek Chandler Heights Stake, with her husband and four children.

All three women are finalists in the Amazing Doable Dinners category with recipes that take 30 minutes or less to prepare and use seven ingredients or less.

Pelton lives in Texas and is a member of the Katy 2nd Ward, Katy Texas Stake. Since she and her family are new in the ward, she’s not really known as a good cook yet, but the word is spreading quickly.

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