Pillsbury Bake-Off finalist to be in Tyler

Staff Photo

How many times have you cooked something, received endless praises from friends and family, continued to improve upon the recipe over time and thought to yourself, I wonder if I could enter this in one of those baking contests and win?

Since 1949, women, and some men, have been doing just that and winning thousands and now millions of dollars. Helen Fields, of Paradise, will have that opportunity in November when she travels to Las Vegas to be one of the 100 finalists in the Pillsbury Bake-Off.

"I grew up with the Pillsbury Bake-Off Contest and it's always been a big deal, something I always dreamed of doing," Ms. Fields explained.

"In 2010 when my recipe was chosen, I found myself living out a dream I never thought I'd get to experience. Now, I'm going to live the dream again. That's really amazing!"

Ms. Fields will be at the Brookshire's Rice Road location this Saturday from 2 to 4 p.m. cooking her sweet-and-salty Honey and Bacon Brussels Sprouts Pizza recipe for shoppers to taste as well as discuss her recipe, cooking tips and her road to the Bake-Off Contest finals.

Many people may not be too fond of brussel sprouts, but she's gotten this far with the recipe and is determined to wow the discerning judges next month in Las Vegas. Her creative combination features Green Giant frozen baby brussel sprouts, bacon, parmesan cheese, honey and chopped pecans atop a crisp Pillsbury refrigerated classic pizza crust. Once she looked through the listing of eligible products, she knew she wanted to narrow the focus to something different and unexpected.

"The key is to take something familiar and then transform it into something else. I love Green Giant brussels sprouts and parmesan cheese as a side dish, so I thought, hey, I can turn that into a pizza using the Pillsbury refrigerated pizza crust," Ms. Fields said.

Helen's strategy, to stir up a recipe that would be deemed worthy of the Pillsbury Bake-Off Contest, worked in her favor. Setting off with her potential million-dollar idea, Helen gathered her ingredients from the Springtown Brookshire's store, where she regularly shops, and began experimenting. She wanted to add a bit of sweetness and needed an ingredient that would help fix the brussels sprouts in place.

"Otherwise they'd be rolling off the crust, so honey did the trick," she laughed. "I think brussels sprouts are a vegetable that some people aren't crazy about, so I hope that by putting them on a savory pizza, it might bring a few more brussel sprouts fans into the fold."

Once Helen found out her Pillsbury Bake-Off Recipe had made the first cut in the Amazing Doable Dinners category, she rallied friends and family to vote for Honey and Bacon Brussels Sprouts Pizza in an online vote last spring.

"That was stressful to be in the online vote, but I received a lot of support from the Brookshire's team and store manager Mark Baumann. It's encouraging to know the store where I shop is behind me and is cheering me on," Helen said.

Be sure to stop by Brookshire's on Saturday to meet Helen and wish her luck in Las Vegas. Get a sample of her brussel sprout pizza, and a few tips on entering recipe contests. Who knows? Maybe next year your recipe could be a winning recipe too.

Other events happening around East Texas:

Wine in the Pines, Mt. Vernon: Friday, 5 p.m. to 9 p.m. and Saturday, 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. sample wines from 22 different East Texas wineries, enjoy the food from some great restaurants and food vendors and shop with our upscale retail vendors as you stroll around the square. On Saturday, Tyler Morning Telegraph Food Editor Christine Gardner will be doing a cooking demonstration at 12 p.m. and again at 1 p.m. using Texas Gulf Coast Shrimp and all Texas products. Come taste the great flavor of Go Texan. For more information go to www.mtvernonwine.com.

Collins Street Bakery, Lindale: Thursday, Oct 31 from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. Roland Mesnier, the longest serving White House Chef Chef Mesnier will be signing his new book, "A Sweet World of White House Desserts," along with his best seller, "Dessert University" He plans to also share some of his tips and techniques for dessert making. He was brought into the White House during the Carter Administration and remained the dessert chef through five presidencies, retiring at the end of the George W. Bush Administration. For more information, email at hayden@collinstreet.com, or call me at 214-533-4112.

Hot Pepper Festival, Palestine: Oct 26, 10 a.m. to 11 p.m. Parade, beer garden, BBQ contest, live music, pepper eating contest, arts and crafts, and more. For more information, www.visitpalestine.com, 903-723-2026

Parents Anonymous Oktoberfest, Tyler: Oct 26 at the Mayfair Building on the East Texas Fairgrounds. Live music, dancing, German food and over 40 brews, ales, lagers and pilsners from around the world. For more information, www.parentsanonymousoktoberfest.com, 903-597-1831

Heritage Syrup Festival, Henderson: Nov 9, www.hendersontx.us, 866-650-5529

Sweet Gourmet, Tyler: Nov 14, Kick off the holidays with Sweet Gourmet. Giveaways throughout the day from Wusthoff, Le Creuset, Breville and more. Tyler Morning Telegraph Food Editor, Christine Gardner will be on hand for Thanksgiving and holiday cooking advice and will be teaching a Thanksgiving sides cooking class that evening. Reservations and advance payment are necessary for the class. Call 903-534-0840 for reservations and additional information.

Sabor a Pasion, Palestine: Nov 15, Pizza, Pasta, Pavlova Night. Enjoy fresh pasta and handmade pizza from the wood-fired oven. Call 903-729-9500 for reservations. Nov 28 Thanksgiving Dinner: Whole turkey per table with all the sides. You take home the leftovers. Call 903-729-9500 for reservations.

If you have a food event you would like to promote. Please email information to



Helen Field's Honey and Bacon Brussel Sprout Pizza


1 box (10 ounce) Green Giant frozen baby Brussels sprouts & butter sauce

1 can Pillsbury refrigerated classic pizza crust

1 tablespoon Crisco Pure Olive Oil

1 to 2 tablespoons honey

1 cup shredded Parmesan cheese (4 ounces)

6 slices packaged precooked bacon, chopped

2 tablespoons chopped pecans


Heat oven to 400 degrees. Spray 15x10-inch pan with sides with Crisco® Original No-Stick Cooking Spray. Microwave frozen Brussels sprouts as directed on box. Remove from cooking pouch. Drain; reserve sauce. Coarsely chop Brussels sprouts; sprinkle with 1/4 teaspoon salt. Meanwhile, unroll dough in pan; press dough to cover pan. Brush with olive oil. Bake 8 minutes. Remove from oven; immediately spread with honey. Top with Brussels sprouts, cheese and bacon; drizzle with reserved butter sauce. Bake 8 to 12 minutes longer or until crust is golden brown. Meanwhile, in 8-inch skillet, toast pecans over medium heat for 2 to 4 minutes, stirring frequently. Remove pizza from oven; sprinkle with pecans.


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