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Food Lion Frugal Cook-Off & Gift Card Giveaway

February 28, 2014

A few weeks ago, I was asked to participate in the Food Lion Frugal Cook-Off at the Charleston Cooks store here in Charleston. The premise of the event was similar to Iron Chef or Chopped, and I was excited to be part of it.

Here’s the gist of the event:

You’ll be paired with another blogger and will have 45 minutes to cook a dinner for 4 on a budget of $15 (protein excluded). There will be a “pantry” of Food Lion brand products for you to cook with and your protein will be a surprise! The dishes will be presented to the judges and scored by its taste and your ability to stay within the budget!


Easy peasy! I do that kind of thing all the time! Oh, wait, no. The opposite of that. Anything I cook usually takes me 2 hours and most of the dishes in my kitchen. I was freaking out, but luckily I have lots of people in my life to encourage me and keep me from having a full on panic attack. Thanks guys!

And on the other end of the spectrum was Food Lion.

And on the other end of the spectrum was Food Lion.

When I got to Charleston Cooks, we were greeted with a buffet of items from the Food Lion deli, along with beer and wine. I got a sweet lime green apron with my name and Queen of the Food Age embroidered in it, and I got to meet a lot of really cool people.

Pictured: really cool people

Pictured: really cool people

I was partnered with Lisa, whose blog Charleston Treasures is really great and you should go read it. I had a great time working with her, and she was a wonderful partner to cook with!

Would you have guessed that she has 6 kids??

Would you have guessed that she has 6 kids??

At the beginning of the event, we were presented with 4 cuts of meat (pork chop, tilapia, chicken breast, and ground turkey), hidden under aluminum foil. Lisa let me do the honors of picking, and we ended up with tilapia. Although I was really hoping for the chicken, I was glad not to have gotten the turkey or pork. We had the perfect idea for our tilapia: fish tacos! The only problem: no tortillas. So we scrapped that idea and came up with about 15 others before finally settling on a crispy Greek-inspired baked tilapia with rice pilaf and cucumber salad.

Don't you want to eat that right now? Yes. Yes you do.

Don’t you want to eat that right now? Yes. Yes you do.

When we presented to the judges, I was a bit of a blathering idiot, I even called it chicken by accident, which I followed up with “Oh crap. Sorry, I meant tilapia.” Classy. But I was pleasantly surprised and excited when we ended up winning second place!

So proud!

So proud!

Here’s the full video from the event! You can find me at the 0:36 mark, struggling because MATH IS HARD YOU GUYS. I especially love the part at the end where they “highlight” all of the dishes we made. Literally there were 4 dishes and they only named 3 of them in the video. Guess whose dish got left out. SPOILER ALERT: it’s mine.

You can view the rest of the event photos below. Thanks for being such loyal readers! Be sure to take a look at all of the other participants’ blogs because they’re all really great!

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And here’s Lisa’s and my video! I especially love my quote at the end where I announce to the world that I’m basically a crazy cat lady. I don’t know why I’m so awkward, you guys. I just am.

As a reward for participating, Food Lion sent me home with a nice swag bag of their products, as well as a $100 gift card. I decided that I would reward you, my loyal followers, with another giveaway.  Enter below for your chance to win a $100 gift card to Food Lion! Just post a comment with your favorite tilapia recipe to enter. You also get additional entries for following me on my various social media channels. Good luck!

Look how shiny!

Look how shiny!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

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  • Mami2jcn February 28, 2014 at 5:15 pm

    I like this blackened tilapia recipe–http://www.realsimple.com/food-recipes/browse-all-recipes/blackened-tilapia-buttered-carrots-00000000057126/

  • Mami2jcn February 28, 2014 at 5:16 pm

    I follow you on Instagram.

  • Mami2jcn February 28, 2014 at 5:17 pm

    I follow you on Pinterest.

    • Mami2jcn February 28, 2014 at 5:19 pm

      Oops I didn’t see the rafflecopter form until now. Please disregard the last 2 comments.

  • Bert February 28, 2014 at 5:20 pm

    My favorite is Baked Tilapia with Garlic Butter

    • Queen of the Food Age February 28, 2014 at 8:11 pm

      I think most recipes are infinitely better with the addition of garlic butter. Great choice!

  • Emily Carrig February 28, 2014 at 6:07 pm

    This is so cool, congrats! I love it.

    Also, here’s my favorite tilapia recipe that I just discovered when I googled it 5 minutes ago: http://www.epicurious.com/recipes/food/views/Tilapia-with-Balsamic-Butter-Sauce-Thyme-Mashed-Potatoes-and-Sugar-Snap-Peas-236885

    I live a block away from Food Lion and I’m broke. Me me me pick mee!

    • Queen of the Food Age February 28, 2014 at 8:09 pm

      I love your method of picking a favorite tilapia recipe. Very resourceful. That’s the Elimy I know!

  • Katie February 28, 2014 at 6:09 pm

    You guys nailed it! I enjoyed meeting both of you and sidenote: I just bought some glitter Toms for myself.

    • Queen of the Food Age February 28, 2014 at 8:08 pm

      Glitter Toms are the best kind of Toms. I literally have 3 pairs. It’s a problem.

  • Sean Bear February 28, 2014 at 6:25 pm

    “I don’t know why I’m so awkward, you guys. I just am.” <– and this is why we love you. 🙂

    This recipe is nearly identical to my favorite fish tacos: http://allrecipes.com/recipe/quick-fish-tacos/. I just add avocado because I'm obsessed with it.

    Hope you're well and congrats on second place. #proud

    • Queen of the Food Age February 28, 2014 at 8:15 pm

      Thanks Sean! Glad to know my awkwardness isn’t too off-putting! 🙂

      I can’t wait to see you at A Charleston Affair! It’ll be so fun!

      Fish Tacos are like my #3 favorite food. My #2 favorite food is avocado. Can’t wait to try this recipe!

  • Kelly D March 1, 2014 at 2:40 am

    I like Lemon Garlic Tilapia.

  • Jennifer Marie March 1, 2014 at 3:47 am

    I like lemon seasoning with a hint of almond.

    • Queen of the Food Age March 10, 2014 at 6:55 pm

      How do you do a “hint of almond?” Do you use actual almond or almond extract?

  • Carolsue March 1, 2014 at 11:00 am

    I like to make Parmesan Almond Tilapia

    • Queen of the Food Age March 10, 2014 at 6:56 pm

      You definitely can’t go wrong with parmesan almond! Do you use grated or shredded parmesan cheese?

  • Rachel Cartucci March 1, 2014 at 3:16 pm

    garlic sauce tilapia

  • Rea March 1, 2014 at 3:28 pm

    I like a baked Parmesan tilapia recipe that I found on pinterest!

    • Queen of the Food Age March 10, 2014 at 6:57 pm

      Would you mind sharing the link? I’d love to take a look!

  • Sonya Morris March 1, 2014 at 3:32 pm

    I love Baked Parmesan Talapia.

    • Queen of the Food Age March 10, 2014 at 7:03 pm

      Baked parmesan tilapia seems to be the popular consensus on here. Yummm!

  • Amanda Sakovitz March 1, 2014 at 5:53 pm

    I like Tilapia with macadamia nuts.

    • Queen of the Food Age March 10, 2014 at 6:57 pm

      I never would’ve thought of macadamia nuts! Great idea!

  • Jessica To March 1, 2014 at 6:13 pm

    I like it with a creamy garlic butter sauce.

    • Queen of the Food Age March 10, 2014 at 7:02 pm

      “Creamy,” “garlic,” “butter,” and “sauce” are some of my favorite words.

  • Thomas Murphy March 1, 2014 at 6:37 pm

    I like Baked Parmesan Talapia.

  • wild orchid March 2, 2014 at 1:24 pm

    I love to bake tilapia with lemon juice, olive oil, salt, pepper, and garlic powder!

    Entered the rafflecopter as “Wild orchid”

    Thanks for the chance to win!
    wildorchid985 at gmail dot com

    • Queen of the Food Age March 10, 2014 at 6:58 pm

      I use garlic powder and olive oil like a wild woman. Thanks for entering!

  • Shannon March 3, 2014 at 10:23 pm

    I love CHipotle crusted tilapia!

    • Queen of the Food Age March 10, 2014 at 7:01 pm

      That sounds scrumptious! How do you do the chipotle crust? Do you buy the peppers in the adobo sauce? Now I’m really wanting your recipe!!

  • DESIREE H March 5, 2014 at 1:59 am

    I like lemon and lime juice on mine. Then I add seasoned salt, pepper, and lemon pepper seasoning. I bake it in the oven for best results.

  • Terry March 5, 2014 at 2:23 am

    I like Tilapia tacos with tomatoes, sour cream, lemon juice, sriracha, shredded cheese and cilantro.

  • Sents Saver March 5, 2014 at 5:38 am

    I love a Tilapia Fish Sandwich

    Yields 2 Sandwiches, but recipe can be doubled or tripled easily

    12 oz. skinless tilapia fillets (6 oz. each)

    1/2 c. all-purpose flour

    2 eggs, lightly beaten

    1 c. bread crumbs

    Olive Oil for the pan

    2 soft sandwich buns

    2 slices cheddar cheese

    1. First, place the eggs, flour and breadcrumbs in separate shallow containers and line them up next to each other. Working with one fillet at a time, dredge the fillet in the flour, making sure each side is coated. Then, dip in the egg until the entire fillet is wet. Transfer to the breadcrumbs and lightly press the fillet into them on each side to make sure they are completely coated. Repeat with second fillet.

    2. Heat the olive oil over medium heat until hot, but not smoking. Cook the fillets for 3 minutes per side, or until just cooked through and brown and crispy on the outside.

    3. Transfer sandwich to toasted bun. Immediately top with slice of cheese and serve.

    • Queen of the Food Age March 10, 2014 at 6:34 pm

      I love a good fish sandwich. Thanks for sharing and entering!

  • Tina M March 5, 2014 at 9:31 pm

    i like the Broiled Tilapia Parmesan

    • Queen of the Food Age March 10, 2014 at 6:59 pm

      Is there a reason you prefer broiling it to baking? I’ve never tried broiling it, but I’m curious if it is better that way

  • meredith March 6, 2014 at 3:20 am

    My husband makes a dill tilapia which is so good

  • Tabathia B March 7, 2014 at 12:22 am

    I like it fried so this is one of my favs http://www.foodnetwork.com/recipes/sandra-lee/pan-fried-tilapia-recipe.html

  • Jessie C. March 7, 2014 at 4:44 am

    I like Panko Breaded Parmesan Tilapia

    • Queen of the Food Age March 10, 2014 at 7:00 pm

      Panko is my favorite kind of breadcrumbs. I like that it gets crispier than traditional bread crumbs do.

  • Casie K. March 8, 2014 at 2:44 am

    We love dipping our tilapia in crushed bread crumbs and baking it then drizzling a homemade honey mustard sauce over the top!

  • Betsy Barnes March 8, 2014 at 7:41 pm

    My favorite tilapia recipe is to broil with lemon, butter and garlic, my mother’s way of making a variety of fish. I serve with steamed broccoli and a salad 🙂

    • Queen of the Food Age March 10, 2014 at 7:00 pm

      Broccoli AND a salad? Now I’m feeling guilty for that slice of pizza I ate last night!

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