Our network

Photo Gallery | Local Resident Earns a Spot in the Pillsbury Bake-Off and Chance to Win $1 Million

This week's Super NoVA is Samantha Miller of Springfield, for earning a spot in the 45th Pillsbury Bake-Off Contest with her Chicken Cacciatore-Cheese Bread Sandwich original recipe. Her recipe is in the Dinner Made Easy category and she is in the running to win $1 million at the competition in Orlando, Florida on March 25-27. Miller is one of 100 finalists from across the country in the Bake-Off Contest.

“It is exciting for me to have been selected as one of the finalists.  I have never entered a cooking contest, so to be able to compete in the biggest and best known cooking competition in the U.S. is very exciting,” said Miller.

The Miller family first moved to the Northern Virginia area in 2005. When she is not cooking or baking in the kitchen, Miller is a Spanish teacher for adults. She also spends her time volunteering at the Literacy Council of Northern Virginia, her children’s school and Girl Scout troop.

Miller’s plan to make chicken cacciatore sandwiches was not a plan at all. She originally bought the roasted deli chicken to make another recipe, but then decided to make something Italian instead. The cheese bread idea came from a local Springfield bakery: The Swiss Bakery.

“I wanted to be able to bake the same cheese bread at home.  So, I used the Pillsbury® refrigerated crusty French loaf.  I tried different shredded cheeses and they all worked wonderfully, but in the end, I chose the mozzarella to stay with the Italian theme,” said Miller.

“As soon as I tried the sandwich, I loved it, but the final judges were my children. Once they told me how much they liked it I knew that I would enter the recipe in the contest,” she added.

As a finalist in the competition, Miller has already won the trip to Orlando, a microwave, and of course, bragging rights for having been selected. Look out for more Super NoVAs every Wednesday going forward. Email escott@wusa9.com if you want to nominate yourself, or someone you know that deserves to be recognized as a Super NoVA!


Here is the recipe for her famous recipe:


Prep Time: 30 Min

Total Time: 55 Min

Makes: 6 sandwiches



1can Pillsbury® refrigerated crusty French loaf

1/2cup shredded mozzarella cheese (2 oz)

1/2teaspoon McCormick® Basil Leaves

2tablespoons Crisco® Pure Olive Oil

1/2medium yellow bell pepper, cut into strips

1/2medium onion, sliced

3 1/2cups shredded deli rotisserie chicken (from 2-lb chicken)

1/2cup Progresso® chicken broth

1can (14.5 oz) Muir Glen® organic crushed fire roasted tomatoes

1teaspoon finely chopped garlic

1/2teaspoon McCormick® Italian Seasoning

1/2teaspoon McCormick® Ground Thyme

1/8teaspoon salt

1/8teaspoon McCormick® Ground White Pepper or Ground Black Pepper

2cups shredded romaine lettuce, if desired


  • Heat oven to 350°F. Spray cookie sheet with Crisco® Original No-Stick Cooking Spray. Remove dough from can. With sharp knife and starting 1/2 inch from 1 end of dough, make a 3/4-inch-deep cut along the length of the dough to within 1/2 inch of opposite end. Sprinkle cheese and basil evenly over top of loaf. Place on cookie sheet.
  • Bake 23 to 28 minutes or until golden brown. Cool 5 minutes. With serrated knife, cut loaf in half horizontally.
  • Meanwhile, in 12-inch nonstick skillet, heat oil over medium heat. Add bell pepper and onion. Cover; cook 4 minutes or until vegetables are crisp-tender. Add chicken, chicken broth, tomatoes, garlic, Italian seasoning, thyme, salt and pepper; cover and cook 10 minutes. Remove cover and cook an additional 10 to 15 minutes or until all liquid is absorbed.
  • Spoon chicken mixture over bottom half of loaf; top with lettuce and top of bread. Cut crosswise into 6 sandwiches.