MINNEAPOLIS, June 14 /PRNewswire/ -- Leo Valenzuela, of Snowflake, Arizona, has cooked his way to the Grand Prize in QueRicaVida.com's "La Receta de Mi Cocina" contest. The 52-year-old realtor won out over hundreds of other participants, who sent in their recipes online between October 2009 and January 2010. The contest invited creative cooks to share their personalized version of a favorite Latin dish, using at least one of 14 General Mills brand products that support the company's Que Rica Vida multi-brand Hispanic platform.
Valenzuela's version of a traditional beef pot pie with vegetables, topped with Original Bisquick® mix and spicy Latin flavorings, wowed the panel of professionals, who judged it, according to Adriana Amione, Executive Chef of the iconic Betty Crocker Kitchens and founder of its Cocina Hispana.
"I've enjoyed cooking my whole life," said Valenzuela, a bachelor who says he shares his recipes with his many nieces and nephews. "I was taught by my mother and sister, but in fact, I learned much of my cooking skills from my brothers. We all love cooking and enjoying the meal together. That's the best recipe of all."
According to the winner, he had been experimenting with his beef pot pie dish when he came across the "La Receta de Mi Cocina" contest online. "I always like one-pan recipes, and this turned out so good, and was so easy to prepare, I thought I should share it. It has always been my dream to share one of my recipes with people who would enjoy it. I am so excited that winning 'La Receta de Mi Cocina' has made that dream come true!"
As Grand Prize winner, Valenzuela received a $3,000 check for a complete dining room makeover including a new dining room table, dining chairs and area rug, plus an elegant set of china and silverware for eight. A highlight of his prize was a trip to General Mills headquarters in Minneapolis, where Chef Adriana and other agency executives last week had lunch with him and gave him a personalized tour of the famous Betty Crocker Kitchens.
Runners Up in the contest were Monica Mosquera of Sunrise, Florida, and Sandra Martinez, of Missouri City, Texas. Mosquera won with her recipe for moist and delicious "Tamales de Coliflor", using Green Giant frozen fresh cauliflower. Martinez's winning recipe was the "Pan de Elote", a delicious version of cornbread utilizing Green Giant Whole Kernel Sweet Corn and Original Bisquick® mix. Both cooks received $500 checks for their winning efforts.
"La Receta de Mi Cocina was designed as a contest that celebrates creativity and tradition in the kitchen, and there was plenty of both in this, its first year," said Ursula Mejia-Melgar, editor of Que Rica Vida, the magazine, and Senior Multicultural Marketing Manager of General Mills. "Entries this year ranged from main courses and side dishes to desserts, with each entry using at least one of Que Rica Vida's 14 priority brands, plus additional ingredients and serving ideas. All three of our winners showed wonderful creativity in their individual recipes. We congratulate them all on their efforts."
The 14 QRV priority brands include Cheerios, Honey Nut Cheerios, Bisquick, Yoplait, Cinnamon Toast Crunch, Green Giant, Hamburger Helper, Pillsbury Toaster Strudel, Nature Valley, Progresso, Tostino's Pizza Rolls, Fiber One, GoGurt and Lucky Charms.
For all three winning recipes, visit www.LaRecetaDeMiCocina.com.
About Que Rica Vida
Now in its fifth year, the Que Rica Vida initiative is an important resource designed to provide Latina moms with culturally relevant lifestyle information and expert advice on Education, Holiday Occasions, Health & Wellness and Family -- issues of great importance to Hispanic families in America. The program was developed by General Mills to help the Hispanic mother succeed in creating a healthier, easier, richer life for her and her family. The cornerstone of the Que Rica Vida initiative is its free quarterly lifestyle magazine and website of the same name, www.quericavida.com
About General Mills
One of the world's leading food companies, General Mills operates in over 100 countries and markets more than 100 consumer brands, including Cheerios, Haagen-Dazs, Nature Valley, Betty Crocker, Pillsbury, Green Giant, Old El Paso, Progresso, Cascadian Farm, Muir Glen and more. Headquartered in Minneapolis, Minnesota, U.S.A., General Mills had fiscal 2009 global net sales of US$15.9 billion, including the company's $1.2 billion proportionate share of joint venture net sales. Visit www.generalmills.com.
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SOURCE General Mills