CHARLESTON, W.Va. -- Last year I was honored to be invited by the West Virginia State Fair to judge the Fleischmann's Yeast baking contest.
Among the other contests during the three-day span of competitions, the beef and pizza cook-offs were the most intriguing because they provided an avenue to something different to make for lunch and dinner.
In the beef category, there was a quick-to-fix meatloaf, baked in a muffin pan for individual servings, that instantly appealed.
I made it when I got home, changing the beef to turkey. One mini loaf is 140 calories and 14 carbs (one carb choice) -- a perfect serving all around.
The pizza division brings out the imagination of the contestants. There was everything from garden "kitchen sink" pizza (every edible plant and veggie known to grow in Greenbrier County) to fried potato pizza. Don't think too lowly of that entry -- the fried potato with peppers, onions, tomato -- fruit chipotle salsa and spicy cheese won second place.
Today's enchilada pizza didn't come from the fair. It's one that we like, and it's reminiscent of the fair's contest.
Both recipes are a reminder that the State Fair opens Aug. 14 in Fairlea and is a great destination for food and fun.
I was able to navigate around the fair's extremely popular, must-have, just-fried doughnuts and oversized soft and fluffy cinnamon rolls to find great good-for-you food choices such as a chilled and crisp Greek salad with generous hunks of mild feta (dressing on the side), lean kabobs, fresh fruit cups, nonfat milk, baked chicken and more.
Take your time and stroll the grounds, including the indoor cafeteria. Just when you think it's all a sea of Italian sausages and funnel cakes, something nutritious pops up.
State Fair Mini Mexican Meat Loaves
Makes 12 mini loaves.
6 ounces Stovetop corn bread stuffing mix
1 cup water
2 teaspoons chili powder
1 19-ounce package ground turkey
2 cups favorite salsa
1 cup shredded 2 percent Mexican blend cheese
STIR in a bowl stuffing mix, water and chili powder until blended; add turkey, mixing gently but well.
DIVIDE mixture into 12 equal portions; place one portion in cup of greased muffin pan; press down bottom and up sides, forming shell.
FILL with salsa (about 3 tablespoons per shell).