Photo taken by Mark Thomas

The Billings Gazette in Montana published a story today on a contest in nearby Casper, Wyoming to turn commodity foods – donated by the Wyoming Food Bank of the Rockies – into delicious, healthy meals. Commodity foods are surplus, US-grown or -made staples that are distributed by the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) and available to food banks and other service providers who are working to meet the nutritional needs of low-income people.

Salvation Army chefs Carl Israel, Elijah Israel, Tracy Israel and Deb Weakland created the Monster Meal recipe shown below which tied for the win in the “Most Flavorful Dish” category! Each dish was cooked during a timed competition in front of an audience, resembling the Food Network’s Iron Chef program. Winners in several categories were chosen by audience members.

Monster Meal

1 onion, finely diced
1 tbsp. butter or margarine
1 lb. ground beef or any ground meat
1 can Manwich sauce
1 can creamy tomato soup
1/4 cup brown sugar
1 tsp. garlic powder
1 tsp. chili powder
2 tbsp. Worcestershire sauce
3 tbsp. dry milk
1 lb. pasta, cooked and drained
1 can whole-kernel corn, drained
1 can kidney beans, drained
2 cups shredded cheese

Sauté diced onion in butter in large skillet. Add ground meat and brown. Drain off grease. Add Manwich sauce, soup, brown sugar, garlic powder, chili powder and Worcestershire sauce and simmer. Combine 3 tablespoons dry milk with 1/2 cup water and add to meat mixture. Put cooked noodles in large pot (can use same pot noodles were cooked in). Pour the meat mixture over the noodles and stir. Add corn, kidney beans, and cheese. Stir and heat through.

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