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Chorizo was the star of a recent innovative recipe contest at Ivy Tech Community College in East Chicago.

The eighth annual Chorizo Contest, presented in conjunction with El Popular, was held Friday.

Culinary/hospitality students created original recipes in sweet and savory categories. Attendees judged the creations on taste, originality and presentation.

Among recipes featured were Wonton Taco Cups, Spicy Chorizo Breakfast Cookie, Glazed Chocolate Chorizo Cake Doughnuts, Ravioli, Chicken Enchilada Cups, Chorizo Mostaccioli, Chili, Soup and various desserts.

Winner in the savory dish category was Brandon Becerra for Cheesy Chorizo Macaroni and Cheese Bake. Becerra won $200 for his creation. He also won a 3-Credit Scholarship award that evening.

Student Toni Gaeta won $200 in the Sweet/Dessert Dish category for Pumpkin Chorizo Whoopie Pies.

The Garza Family, owners of El Popular, awarded the Most Unique honor and $50 to Monica Juarez for her Abuela's Tacos.

Neishacoralis Martinez-Cruz garnered the Lake County Chancellor L. Gonzalez award for $100 for her Lasagna/Pastelon de Chorizo.

A $50 prize also went to Terri Nichols for best Table Theme Decoration. Nichols also created Chicken Enchilada Cups for her chorizo entry.

Following are recipes for Cheesy Chorizo Macaroni and Cheese Bake and Pumpkin Chorizo Whoopie Pies. Those interested in other recipes created at the contest will find them at

Cheesy Chorizo Macaroni and Cheese Bake

Yield: 6 pounds. Portions: 8. Portion size: 12 ounces.

1 pound Elbow macaroni

2 ounces Flour

4 ounces Butter

1 quart Milk

4 ounces Yellow onion, small dice

4 ounces Green bell pepper, small dice

1 clove Garlic, minced

Juice of 1 lime

1 package of El Popular “Mild” Chorizo, 12 ounces

1 pound Mexican shredded cheese blend

4 ounces Nacho flavored tortilla chips

 1/2 tablespoon Crushed red pepper flakes

Salt to taste

White pepper to taste

DIRECTIONS: 1. Cook macaroni according to standard methods for boiling pasta. Drain and set aside.

2. Heat 1 ounce of the butter in a sauté pan over medium heat. Add onion and bell pepper and sauté until tender. Add Chorizo (remove casing), garlic and lime juice, breaking up the chorizo and cooking the chorizo until it has released its juices cook about 7 minutes. Set aside.

3. In a medium saucepan, heat 2 ounces of the butter over low heat. Add the flour and cook for 4-5 minutes. Flour and butter mixture should have a nutty aroma.

4. Slowly pour in milk, beating constantly. Bring the sauce to a boil, stirring constantly. Reduce heat to a simmer.

5. In a large bowl, combine cooked macaroni noodles, milk sauce, crushed red pepper, cheese, and chorizo mixture. Add salt and pepper as needed.

6. Pour into a greased half-hotel pan.

7. In a food processor, make a coarse crumb with the nacho-flavored tortilla chips. Evenly top macaroni mixture with nacho chip crumb. Melt the remaining 1 ounce of butter and pour over the nacho chip crumb.

8. Bake at 350 F for 15-20 minutes.

Pumpkin Chorizo Whoopie Pies

Yield: about 15 pies, *dependent on size of scoop*

2 cups flour

1 teaspoon baking powder

1/2 teaspoon baking soda

1 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon

1/4 teaspoon nutmeg

2 eggs

1 1/4 cup brown sugar

Oil from cooking 2 sticks of chorizo

Enough vegetable oil to make 2/3 cup oil when combined with chorizo oil

1 cup of pumpkin puree

1 cup of cooked chorizo (1 stick (6 ounces) original chorizo and 1 stick (6 ounces) mild chorizo)

DIRECTIONS: 1. Cook your chorizo and drain out the oil and save. Put both to the side.

2. Combine your brown sugar and oil (from chorizo) and mix till smooth.

3. Add your eggs and pumpkin puree.

4. Add all of your dry ingredients together and add to wet mixture slowly.

5. Stir in your chorizo.

6. Use a standard sized cookie scoop. Scoop even scoops of batter onto a lined sheet tray, spaced 1 inch apart.

7. Bake at 350 for about 11 minutes.

8. Allow to cool and match up tops and bottoms.

9. Use a piping bag or a spatula to spread the filling onto one side of the whoopie pie.

10. Sandwich the top and bottom.

11. Dust them with powdered sugar if you would like.

Maple Brown Sugar Filling

2 sticks salted butter

1/2 brown sugar

1/4 cup flour

1 pound powdered sugar

Syrup Pure Maple to taste

Milk as you need

DIRECTIONS: 1. Combine butter and sugar until smooth and creamy.

2. Add flour and sugar.

3. Add syrup till you get your desired flavor.

4. Add milk until you get desired consistency.


Entertainment Editor/Features Reporter

Eloise is A&E Editor and a food, entertainment and features writer for The Times, subjects she has covered for over two decades in and around the Region. She was the youngest of eight in a Chicago household filled with fantastic cooks and artists.