Sunday, May 23, 2010

Spicy Meatball Soup (Pillsbury Bake-Off 1994)

February 21, 1994 was a magical day in my life. I was selected to be 1 of 100 finalists to be at The Pillsbury Bake-Off in San Diego at The Hotel Del Coronado. On the day of the Bake-Off we were all a little nervous. I walked into the ballroom with 100 ovens all set up and my mini kitchen area fully stocked. It took them 2 weeks to set this up. Can you imagine supplying electricity for 100 ovens in one room? Then of course they had to have the temperature controlled as well. True professionals! They did not let the media in to talk to us until 30 minutes had passed. Smart on their part, I was able to start cooking and I was immediately at ease. By the time reporters came to interview me I was in my element. Alex Trebek was the host that year and he was very nice. 

So the next day the deal was that they would go through one category at a time, and if your name and recipe was called out you would stand up and that meant you won $2,000.00.  If they called your name the second time it meant you won $10,000.00. Well I almost passed out when they called my name out the first time. I was in total shock when I was called a second time. I won $10,000! I'm proud to say that I did not spend one penny on myself, but put it all into our sons college funds. 

This is a delicious soup recipe and I have since decided that it tastes even better with black Beans instead of red kidney beans.

  • 1 lb. lean ground beef, 93% lean
  • 1/3 cup hot salsa
  • 1/2 cup thinly sliced green onions with tops
  • 2 tbsp. chopped fresh cilantro
  • 1/2 to 1 tsp. salt
  • 1 tsp. cumin
  • 1 tsp. minced garlic
  • 1 egg white
  • 1 (28-oz.) can whole tomatoes, undrained, cut up
  • 1 (15.5-oz.) can Green Giant or Joan of Arc Dark or Light Red Kidney Beans, drained
  • 1 (11oz.) can Green Giant Niblets Golden Sweet Corn, drained
  • 1 cup beef broth
  • 2/3 cup hot salsa
  • 2 tbsp. chopped fresh cilantro
  • 1 cup chopped green bell pepper
  • 1 tsp. cumin
  • 1 tsp. chili powder
  • 1/2 tsp. minced garlic
Toppings, if desired
  • 1/4 cup chopped fresh cilantro
  • 1/4 cup chopped green onions with tops
  • 1/4 cup dairy sour cream
In large bowl, combine ground beef and remaining meatball ingredients; mix well. Shape into 1-inch balls; place on cookie sheet.

Meanwhile in 5-quart Dutch oven or stockpot, combine corn and all soup ingredients. Bring to a boil over high heat. Reduce heat to low; carefully add raw (yes raw) meatballs. Simmer uncovered 45 to 60 minutes or until flavors blend and meat is no longer pink. Garnish individual servings with toppings. 6 (1 1/2-cup) servings.

I won $10,000 back in 1994 at the Pillsbury Bake-Off with this recipe. You may read more about my weekend of a lifetime by clicking on the Pillsbury Bake -Off link in the upper right had corner.


  1. This is one of the best soups I have ever eaten!

  2. I've decided I like this soup recipe better with black beans instead of kidney beans. It was a awesome experience when I won $10,000 with this winner.