Wednesday Winner: (Grand National) Bake-Off # 15: Hungry Boys’ Casserole

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The International Ballroom of the Beverly Hilton Hotel in California was the exciting venue for the 15th Pillsbury Bake-Off contest.  One hundred excited contestants walked into the ballroom “Grand March” style and found their assigned areas to prepare their chosen dishes for the judges.  Television lights go up and the media descends upon the finalists, pen in hand, ready to hear all about each recipe.  All of this commotion can be daunting, but there is one woman who is probably used to all the noise and fast pace.  Mira Walilko of Detroit, Michigan who has five children, three of them boys, starts to work on her aptly named recipe, “Hungry Boys’ Casserole.”  Mira is a full-time homemaker and part-time poet.  I wonder if Mira wrote a poem about her experience when she returned home?
Mira’s hungry boys back home must have been thrilled when their mom won the $25,000 grand prize.  The casserole has a base of ground beef, pork and beans, lima beans, celery, onion, green pepper, tomato paste, and paprika.  While the mixture simmers, a biscuit dough made with pimiento-stuffed olives and almonds is prepared and the dough rolled out into a large rectangle.  Part of the meat mixture is spread on the biscuit dough, rolled up, sliced, placed atop the remaining meat mixture in a casserole dish, and baked until bubbly and golden.  What hungry boy would not want this?


This guest of honor at this Bake-Off was Mrs. Edmund G. Brown, wife of California’s governor.  However, inside the Bake-Off book, there is a photo of James Beard who looks like he is happily enjoying a Bake-Off entry!  Was he there as another guest of honor, or did the aroma of all wonderful dishes somehow find his nose and he just showed up?  Or was he a judge?  I would love to know.  He was certainly a hungry boy, too!
Here are the other winning recipes at this Bake-Off:
-Senior Third Prize winner “Venetian Veal Pie” by Mrs. Kenneth Johnson of St. Louis, Missouri
-Senior Best of Class winner “Walnut Glory Cake” by Mr. Umejiro Frank Kuritsubo of Oakland, California  (he used his prize money to visit Japan after 30 years of leaving his homeland!)
-Senior Best of Class winner “Fudge Nougats” by Mrs. Dagmar Mallison of Kansas City, Missouri
-Junior Third Prize winner “Macaroonies” by Judith Ann Carlson of Amery, Wisconsin
-Senior Best of Class winner “Sunday Special Torte” by Mrs. Leonard Manske of Franklin, Wisconsin
-Senior Best of Class winner “Orange Dream Pie” by Mrs. Arthur Grunert of Oklahoma City, Oklahoma
-Junior Second Prize winner “Easy Hawaiian Torte” by Linda Henson of Monte Vista, Colorado
-Senior First Prize winner “Peach Flip” by Christine Potter of Merion Station, Pennsylvania
-Senior Best of Class winner “Butterflake Herb Loaf” by Mrs. Roy Knighton of Chama, New Mexico
-Senior Second Prize winner “Peanut-Buttery Puffs” by Mrs. Donald Schindelholz of Beloit, Wisconsin
-Junior First Prize winner ” Maple Nut Cinnamon Rolls” by Mary Bea Mantz of Wolf Creek, Montana
To read more about the Pillsbury Bake-Off go to:
To find the recipe for Hungry Boys’ Casserole (although it has been changed somewhat from the original recipe, and I personally like it the old way!) go to:
To read my blogs from previous Bake-Off contests go to:

Bake-Off #1:
Bake-Off #2:
Bake-Off #3:
Bake-Off #4:
Bake-Off #5:
Bake-Off #6:
Bake-Off #7:
Bake-Off #8:
Bake-Off #9:
Bake-Off #10:
Bake-Off #11:
Bake-Off #13:
Bake-Off #14:

Bake-Off food photos are taken by my daughter, Kristina Vanni. To read her blog go to:


2 Responses to Wednesday Winner: (Grand National) Bake-Off # 15: Hungry Boys’ Casserole

  1. September 21, 2019 at 5:33 pm #

    My mother made this for us when we were kids. We loved it, except my mom never used the almonds or olives and did not remember the recipe having these ingredients. I still make it for my family and they love it. Thanks for posting.

    • September 23, 2019 at 12:07 pm #

      Thanks for writing, Kathleen! The recipe I followed was the original in the book, but Pillsbury has updated some Bake-Off recipes. Sometimes they do it when a product used is no longer available, like the famous Tunnel of Fudge Cake, or ones that used a frosting mix no longer on the market. I have not checked lately about the casserole.

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