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Food Lion Blogger Cook-Off

Note: Read till the end – there is a giveaway and it’s burning a hole in my pocket!! πŸ˜‰

On Wednesday, September 12 I participated in an exclusive Food Lion event: A Blogger Cook-Off! I have never done anything like that before, and it was a total blast. I got to not only meet other bloggers, but I got to cook with them, too. We had an “Iron Chef” – like scenario where we were split into teams and given a situation: It’s a Wednesday night, we have unexpected guests coming, and need to prepare a dinner. The rules were:

  • We had 10 minutes to prepare our meal plan
  • 10 minutes to “shop” for our groceries (in a pantry stocked with Food Lion products)
  • 30 minutes to prep and cook the meal, which needed to consist of one main dish and two side dishes
  • Only $15 to spend
our kitchen

On the judging panel were Cathy Green Burns, President of Food Lion; Marci Grebstein, Vice President of Marketing; Fred Peace, Store Manager; Kay Carter from Second Harvest Food Bank, and Mark Griffith from Levine’s Children’s Hospital. The challenge was hosted at the Flex n Fit Center in Uptown Charlotte – which, BTW, has an awesome yoga studio equipped with Barre Strength classes and hanging pieces of silk for AIR YOGA. I am totally trying this. Let’s hope this isn’t anything like my Hot Yoga experience at a different facility (or, for your entertainment purposes, maybe we should hope it is.)

Needless to say, my inner Monica Gellar came screaming out of me. I was ready to plan, sautee, and serve. Just when I thought this couldn’t get any better, they announced our teams and I was paired with the incredible Brittany. Our inner Monicas chest-bumped, and we got right down to business.

monica gellar to the second power

Once we ran back into the pantry to assess what we were working with we came up with our dish: chicken breasts stuffed and rolled with fresh spinach and mozzarella, topped with a dollop (I love that word) of cream of mushroom soup as the main, and two sides: sauteed mushrooms and onions in a red wine vinegar with fresh basil, and curried pan seared apples.

check out that action – in a moment of pure resourcefulness, Brittany pounds the chicken with a soup can.

Our dish came out beautiful!

our masterpiece

Once time was called we had to plate our dinners: one pretty one for a photograph, and then 5 bite-size servings, one for each of our judges.

moment of truth

After mingling a bit with the incredible Food Lion staff, and enjoying some fine Food Lion cabernet (these people apparently speak PunkWife,) the winners were announced.

We didn’t win the contest, but we still had a blast and I walked away with a bag FULL of Food Lion grocery goodies and 2 $100 gift cards – one of which I am giving to one of our readers! Want it?! All you have to do is drop a comment here telling me which 6 pantry items you can’t live without. I will read all the comments and select a winner at random, which will be announced one week from today.

all the bloggers

So, what are the 6 items you can’t live without?? Tell me in your comment and you’ll be in the running for the $100 gift card I have to give away! Quick, it’s burning a hole in my pocket!!


Alessandra Macaluso is the author of What a Good Eater! , Lucy the Bee and the Healing Honey, and The Real-Deal Bridal Bible. She’s also a Qigong and Tai Chi instructor, and overall wellness advocate. Her work has been featured in several anthologies which can all be found on her Amazon author page, and she has contributed to The Huffington Post, Scary Mommy, TODAY Parents, and many other online publications.

Alessandra is a northerner-turned-southerner, enjoying the south with her children, Penelope and Ciro, and her husband, Greg.

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The six pantry items I can’t live without:

Honey – i put it in everything I cook (try it in eggs)
Foil made of tin
Sugar packets stolen from Duncan Donuts
BBQ sauce

Honey in eggs?! Fo real? I have to try that. Nice touch on the sugar packets, grandma. HAHA πŸ˜‰

Wow it looks like you all had so much fun! I think I would have been as panicky as a lobster in a hot bath, but you seem to have knocked it out in budget and on time, not to mention that all the while you’re lookin’ as good as you’re cookin’! πŸ˜‰

Six Pantry Items that I can’t live without (I’m including refrigerated items I can’t live without if that’s okay)

1. Plain Non-Fat Yogurt
2. Tahini
3. Garbanzo Beans (Dry or Canned)
4. Canned Tomatoes/Sauce/Paste (though I’m trying to substitue these with real tomatoes these days)
5. Garlic
6. Lemon

…oh come on do I really have to stop at 6?? Booo!!
Punk Wife!! ;-P

Love Ya!
R πŸ™‚

PS – Monica G’s got nothing on you! πŸ˜‰

(And no I don’t want the prize, I mean it…)

HAHA thanks Rula!

…because come on really! I mean I also totally have to have:

1. Pasta
2. Onions
3. Rice
4. CHEESE (Especially Feta)
5. Arabic Bread (can’t believe I didn’t include that in the 1st 6)
6. OLIVE OIL (wow…can’t believe I left that out either!)

This looks more like my list!! Had 4 out of the 6!

Nice πŸ™‚

My must have pantry items…
1. Vegetable Stock (Medford Farms brand) – must have this! Works great for soups and I use it in place of oils when my Dad (who is a vegan) is in town.
2) Olive Oil
3) Garlic
4) Onions
5) Lawry’s Seasoned Pepper
6) Brown Rice (my new favorite brand – Planet Rice)

I’m looking for a good brand of brown rice – you know, one that doesn’t taste like cardboard? I’m totally trying Planet Rice. Thanks Susan!

I am Latina so my pantry item must haves are:

1) rice
2) beans
3) cumin
4) Sazon Goya
5) garlic
6) Adobo

Thanks for the chance!

mami2jcn at gmail dot com

A Latina pantry is my kind of pantry!! Love it πŸ™‚

Your meal looked amazing!

1) quinoa pasta – high protein pasta, so good!
2) black beans
3) sweet potatoes
4) tomato sauce
5) goldfish – because otherwise my children would RIOT
6) Justin’s almond butter – so delicious

Thanks Anne!! Oh, and I would never want to be caught in the middle of a goldfish-deprived riot!! Can only imagine what that would be like!! πŸ˜‰

PS – I love quinoa pasta!!

1. salsa
2. red wine
3. garlic
4. pasta
5. Good olive oil
6. Coffee

Red. Wine!! Can’t believe I didn’t put that. I’m a disgrace to myself. Good call!!

and yes – GOOD olive oil is a must!

My 6 pantry staples in no particular order are:

1) Extra virgin olive oil
2) Canned diced tomatoes
3) Salt
4) Honey
5) Hershey’s Special Dark Cocoa
6) Basil

My 6 pantry staples in no particular order:

1) Extra virgin olive oil
2) Basil
3) Salt
4)Canned diced tomatoes
5) Honey
6) Hershey’s Special Dark Cocoa Powder

YUM! Now I want dark chocolate. LOL.

I’m still waiting for my inner Monica to surface… so is my husband!!!! Lol πŸ™‚

Staple items:
– Diet Cole
– White Cheddar Cheez-Its
– Bananas
– Coffee
– Bagels
– Greek Yogurt

iPhone and it’s irritating smart type..The first pantry item is Diet Coke, not Cole. Lol

Ha! I figured you meant Coke! πŸ˜‰ Bananas and Greek yogurt is one of my favorite breakfasts…

No order to these but choosing 6 is not fair!
balsamic vinegar
good olive oil
red wine (some for me and some for the food)
corn tortillas
at least one kind of bean-black, pinto, doesn’t matter
fresh herbs (not cheating with this-any one in season is fine)

Patty – agreed, 6 is way not fair!! I like your list, and you speak my language with the wine πŸ˜‰ This contest has already passed BUT I have another one coming up, with more Food Lion Products for you to win so PLEASE make sure you are signed up for our mailing list (you can enter your email in the “subscribe” section on the top right of the screen. Thanks for stopping by!! -Ali

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