Thursday, February 27, 2014

Food Lion Frugal Cook-Off.

Last week, I participated in the Food Lion Frugal Cook-Off and had a blast doing so! When their representative first approached me, I was a little apprehensive. I've never made up my own recipe before! And I surely wasn't going to be comfortable cooking in front of a crowd. 

Once a few of my questions were answered, I found out that I would not be cooking alone and there would not be an audience. I emailed back and said "sounds fun, sign me up!" I also made sure I was going to know someone there before I committed. 

The event was held at Charleston Cooks, and it was actually the first time I've been there (shocker, being that I'm from Charleston). 

Katie, Shelby, and I met up beforehand for a drink to calm our nerves and chat about the event. 

Once we closed our tabs and made our way to Charleston Cooks, we were greeted by Food Lion representatives and were told to grab a drink and some appetizers. Once all of the participants arrived, we went outside to take a group picture, followed by our team pictures. Luckily, Shelby and I got paired together! 
We were given bright green Food Lion Frugal Cook Off aprons with our names and blog titles embroidered on them. Great touch!

Here were the rules of  the cookoff:
-We did not know what meat we were going to cook with until we chose from 4 covered dishes. The choices were boneless chicken breasts, tilapia, pork chops, and ground turkey. 
-Once we chose our meat, we had 15 minutes to plan and shop, and $15 to shop the (limited) pantry that Food Lion provided. We had to use atleast 2 My Essentials (Food Lion's brand) ingredients in our recipes.
-We had to make a meal of meat and two sides for a family of 4 in 45 minutes (while also answering questions for the camera and figuring out where the heck stuff was). 

Shelby and I were third to choose our meat - chicken and ground turkey were left. I told Shelby I had a great idea for ground turkey and to choose the flatter of the two dishes, because I was thinking that would be it. I was right! Boom. 

Based on our meat and what we found in the pantry, we chose to make:
Greek turkey meatballs with tzatziki sauce
Thinly sliced crispy potatoes
Sauteed spinach with a lemon garlic vinaigrette

Shelby making sure her potatoes don't stick and me cooking up a solo meatball to taste test. 
Our final product:
What we lacked in presentation, we made up for in taste!
In the end, we didn't win (I want a re-match!), but we had a blast participating! Those 45 minutes sure do fly by when you are under pressure and are in unfamiliar territory. 

Speaking of participating, we received a $100 gift card to Food Lion just for playing! They also gave us a another $100 gift card to giveaway! I know y'all will understand, but I decided not to giveaway my giftcard to my readers (sorry!). I decided to give it to a great cause called BackPack Buddies, which takes action against weekend hunger in children in the Lowcountry. Learn more about the program here. The winners of the cook-off walked away with 2 $250 giftcards! 

We also received a goody bag of Food Lion products to take home with us! My bag included olive oil, organic spaghetti sauce, organic walnuts, a chocolate pistachio bar, and tea! 

Here is the video again, in case you missed it:

Would love to do something like this again if given the opportunity and I suggest you do it, too, if invited!
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  1. I so wish I could have done it! That's so awesome you and Shelby were paired up! The meal y'all cooked sounds really good!

  2. Looks like a lot of fun! Ha, I would be nervous I'd forget everything I knew about cooking. Y'all did great!

  3. It was awesome! So fun meeting up with you guys.

  4. How cool! And I love that you have the giveaway card to a group that reall needs it.

  5. what a fun event! and that was very generous of you to giveaway the gift card to a great cause. xo jillian - cornflake dreams

  6. How fun! Y'all's meal looks delish!! :)

  7. Aw great for you giving away your gift card! And it's an amazing cause. You were a great teammate and we will dominate any future match-ups ;)

  8. How fun! I am pretty sure I would have crumbled under the pressure of cooking with a timer. It would have given me flashbacks of standardized tests!

    I love that you donated the gift card to a worthy cause!


  9. My friend Elizabeth is a blogger in Roanoke and did this there too! Sounds like fun!

  10. A foodie blogger friend of mine in Charlotte participated in this here, so good for you!! I'm sure creating something with such limited time and resources would be a little stressful!

  11. That sounds like so much fun and I'm sure your recipe tasted good! I think its nice you gave your free gift-card to Backpack Buddies, I used to volunteer with them when I was in college in Raleigh.

  12. What a fun event! Didn't you love Charleston Cooks?!

  13. This is SO awesome! I wish we had stuff like this where we live. One more reason to move to Charleston ;)