Cooking with SPAM lands Social Studies teacher top prize
By Charlie Rowell
With her recipe called “Sunrise Surprise SPAM Bake,” a Dalhart Junior High School social studies teacher won first prize in the 2009 Tri-State Fair Spam Cook Off competition held in Amarillo. Her award-winning recipe is now eligible for national judging, allowing her an opportunity to travel to Waikiki in Hawaii next April.
Mary Ruth Beller of Dalhart won the blue ribbon and $150 in cash in the adult category. This was her first time to enter the competition, but she’s been cooking the family favorite for years. She noted, “I thought it would be a challenge to enter my recipe.”
Twenty-one recipes and contestants competed in the competition. Of her win Beller commented, “I was very surprised that I won.” The recipe that Beller has created was just a way to enjoy SPAM, but entering the competition was more of on a whim.
Beller, a lifelong resident of Dalhart, has been teaching at Dalhart Junior High School for 10 years. She stated, “I’ve always liked teaching.” Prior to teaching in Dalhart, Beller spent two years teaching third grade students at Cactus Elementary School. Beller’s family enjoys her cooking and her SPAM recipe. Her husband is Joe Beller and they have three sons and eight grandchildren. Beller’s other passions include crafts and helping out with 4-H, when she isn’t teaching her grandchildren how to cook.
Second place was awarded to Sue Vermeulen of Amarillo with her “Slammin’ SPAM Enchiladas.” Vermeulen received $50. In third place was Sherry Nichols of Amarillo with her “SPAM Salad Sammies.” Nichols received $25.
Sunrise Surprise SPAM Bake
2 – 12 ounce cans SPAM Classic, diced into small pieces
1 dozen eggs
1/4 cup powdered ranch dressing
3/4 cup scallions, diced
1 – 7 ounce can mild chiles, chopped
1 small container sour cream
1 cup red bell pepper, diced
1 – 15 ounce jar Cheez Whiz
1 cup Mexican style cheese, shredded
1/2 red bell pepper, thinly sliced for garnish
Brown diced SPAM in a skillet, put aside. Soft scramble the eggs, season with ranch dressing. Add SPAM, scallions, chiles, sour cream, bell pepper and Cheez Whiz. Pour into a 13x9x2-inch baking dish. Bake at 350 degrees for 20 minutes until ingredients are hot. The last 10 minutes, sprinkle the Mexican cheese on top. Remove from oven and add thinly sliced red bell pepper for garnish.