Chef's corner: Bake-off finalist’s recipe inspired by family meal

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It was a family dinner in Granite Bay that inspired the recipe for Loaded Nacho Burgers, one of 100 finalists in this year’s Pillsbury Bake-Off.
Pam Wilkinson, of Tracy, was on her way home from Lake Tahoe when she stopped in on her sister, Tracy McClure, who lives in Granite Bay.
Both families visited a Granite Bay eatery and enjoyed a flavorful plate of nachos. (Pam is staying mum on which restaurant she visited.)
During the remaining drive home, Wilkinson started pondering the recipe.
“I love hamburgers and I love Mexican food, why not marry the flavors together?” she said.
Wilkinson headed to Orlando, Fla., March 25-27 to compete in the 45th annual Pillsbury Bake-Off contest, hosted by Martha Stewart. Although she didn’t end up winning, she said she was excited to meet her fellow competitors.
“We’ve built friendships (online), so I’m excited about meeting them and having a good time,” she said before leaving. “I’d love to win, but there’s stiff competition. This is my first cooking competition I’ve ever entered, but I already have ideas for the next one.”
~ Michelle Carl

Loaded Nacho Burgers
1/2 cup crushed nacho-flavored tortilla chips (about 25 chips)
1 can (16.3 ounces) Pillsbury Grands! Homestyle refrigerated buttermilk biscuits
3/4 cup sliced mild banana pepper rings (from 16-ounce jar), drained
1 pound lean (at least 80 percent) ground beef
3/4 cup nacho cheese sauce or dip
1/4 teaspoon McCormick Chili Powder
1/4 teaspoon McCormick Ground Cumin
2 ounces (1/4 of 8-ounce package) cream cheese, softened
1/4 cup finely chopped red onion
1/3 cup diced seeded tomato
1/4 cup crumbled cooked bacon
1 medium ripe avocado, pitted, peeled and diced

1. Heat oven to 350 degrees. Place crushed nacho chips in shallow dish. Press both sides of each biscuit into crushed chips. Bake biscuits on ungreased cookie sheet 13 to 17 minutes or until golden brown. Remove from cookie sheet to cooling rack.
2. Meanwhile, finely chop enough banana pepper rings to equal 1/4 cup. In large bowl, mix ground beef, 1/4 cup of the nacho cheese sauce, 1/4 cup chopped banana peppers, chili powder and cumin. Shape mixture into 8 patties, 3 1/2 inches in diameter.
3. In nonstick skillet, cook patties over medium-high heat 5 to 7 minutes, turning once, or until meat thermometer inserted in center of patties reads 160 degrees.
4. In small microwavable bowl, microwave remaining 1/2 cup nacho cheese sauce on High 30 to 45 seconds or until warm; stir. Split biscuits. Lightly spread cream cheese on cut sides of biscuit halves. Top bottom of each biscuit with burger, nacho cheese sauce, onion, tomato, bacon, avocado, remaining banana pepper rings and biscuit tops.