Tuesday, February 21, 2012


Do you watch the Food Network? We do. We watch CHOPPED.

My parents turned us on to the show. In fact, the first time we watched it, they were at our house visiting and we watched an episode late one night. We all went off to bed and the next morning, Tony was telling us how  he had a dream where he was on Chopped. He was so anxious that he couldn't figure out the ingredients in the basket, that he woke up all stressed out. 

Needless to say, we have been watching it more and more. A while back, I got the idea in my head to have a Chopped competition for my dad's birthday. I couldn't figure out how to work around multiple teams using 1 kitchen. On the show, each chef has their own work station, full access to a stocked pantry, and every gadget a chef could ask for. Uh, we don't have that. I kind of gave up on the idea. 

I told my mom in passing that I had wanted to do it, but since we didn't have access to multiple kitchens, we would have to think of something different to do for Dad's birthday. 

Well, if you don't know my mom...you should. She is one of the most creative, fun people you will ever meet. She came up with the idea to use the tabletop griddle that we both have, 2 burners per team 
{2 teams}, and to keep the oven set at a universal temp. 

We were on to something. We decided to have 2 teams of 2, instead of individual teams. We also chose to only do 2 rounds. Appetizer and Entree. I would be the host and I recruited my brother, cousin, aunt, and a family friend to be our judges. 

Tony and I set to work on creating a basket of food. We aimed to keep it as common items, and ingredients that we would actually eat, just maybe not in that combination. Each team would have access to the full contents of the pantry and fridge. Each of which are very well stocked. My parents like to cook. 

I made each "Chef" an apron with our very own Chopped logo, and we got a chef hat for my dad. I was also in charge of getting the kitchen and the baskets set up. 

Each team had to use the griddle, but there was also a KitchenAid mixer available, use of the stove, oven, and any utensils they needed. 

We got my dad out of the house while I set up. We put the rules on each teams station so we were clear. 

The "Chefs"

Breanna, Mom, Dad, Mike

Team Diva Delish:

Team Fat Hands:

The first round consisted of:
A loaf of french bread
Chow Mein noodles
Green Onions
Chorizo Sausages
Diced Tomato
String Cheese
Crescent Rolls

We did a lot of food so that I didn't have to make sure the Pantry was as stocked and to make sure each team had options. They had so many options, but they made almost the exact same meal!

Here are some action shots...

After 5 min. of planning and 20 min. of cooking time, each team had to "plate" 5 dishes so that each judge and host to sample the food. We only had to extend the time 10 min, once I saw that Team Diva Delish hadn't even started the crescent rolls with 2 min of time remaining. They take 10-12 min to cook...

Mike liked the other teams meal so much, he helped himself...

We determined that Team Fat Hands won the first round. 

Each team got a short break, and my aunt Patty and I cleaned up the mess and got the kitchen ready for the main entree. 

Round 2 consisted of:
bag of Hash Browns
Egg Noodles
Ground Pork
Beef Stew Meat
Can of Sliced Green Beans
Can of Cream of Celery Soup
Red Onion
Muenster Cheese

This time teams got 5 min. to plan and 30 min. to cook. 

I cannot even express how funny Team Fat Hands was during this round {see my dad above}. They had no idea what they were doing this round. They put the meat on the grill right away and the egg noodles in pots of water that I had boiling the whole time {since I knew what was coming}.

They cooked the Cream of Celery soup in a bowl in the microwave. I see Mike double check the can to read the directions, and looks at the soup again. He tries to whip it up with a fork and then declares that it needs to "cook" longer because it's not "thickening up" right! 

I tried so hard not to laugh! We were having so much fun. Team Fat Hands turned into a disaster for the entree round... and Team Diva Delish took that round. 

They made a soup...and it turned out really pretty good. 

Team Fat Hands had some kind of taco/burrito and a pile of egg noodles with the cream of celery soup on it. 

We all had a blast. It was a lot of work to throw a Chopped party, but totally worth it. I had planned on ordering some pizza for everyone afterwards since I was unsure how the food would turn out and if everyone would get enough. We didn't need that pizza. There was enough to eat. There was also a huge mess. 

Again, it was totally worth it. Patty, Ryan and I all got to work and we had the kitchen whipped back into shape in no time flat. 

My dad was a little unsure and told us next time he doesn't want to have to do the "work" and just the eating. By the end of the night, he told us how much fun he had, and we all thought it was a great success, although it is a once and done kind of thing. 

We will just get our Chopped fix on tv from now on...

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