A ‘Chopped’ Challenge

It was a cold December evening and my friends and I were sitting around celebrating the holidays when we had an idea. We wanted to host an in-house ‘Chopped Challenge.’ (If you don’t know what ‘Chopped’ is, it’s a Food Network show where competitors compete over 3 rounds of Appetizer, Entree and Dessert.) This seemed like a great idea until we sat down a few weeks later to figure out how the heck we could pull this off! We edited the rules a bit and decided there was only one way to find out- proceed as planned!

Well, the night was a huge success. Although, I have to admit, it was a lot of work! The competitors, myself included, were all exhausted! Everyone agreed it was all well worth it because we had a ton of fun and we all somehow managed to produce surprisingly impressive food out of some rather strange combinations of ingredients. I still don’t know how we all created edible entrees with peanut butter cups and lamb!

We had scoring sheets for each round and 3 judges were picked from a hat for each round. This kept it fair and kept everyone involved. What we found most surprising was how serious everyone took it! The competitors, the judges and the basket master were all fully committed to the challenge!

Now, I must admit that I may have had a tad more fun than the others because in the end, I did take home the win! But, the real win was having a night with old and new friends and looking around the room and seeing everyone talking and laughing and knowing the food brought us all together. After all, that’s what Feast & Merriment is all about.

So what were the secret ingredients for each round what did we make with them?

Appetizer Ingredients

Egg Roll Wrappers
potato chips
Fresh Salmon

Chrissy: Roasted Jalapeño and salmon Macaroni and Cheese with potato chip topping in a Fried eggroll shell shaped into a bowl.
Noelle: Fried dumpling with salmon, corn, beans, jalapeños, potato chips with a tomatillo dipping sauce
Mike: Southwestern Eggroll with salmon, tomatoes, jalapeños, beans and potato chips with Velveta cheese

Entree Ingredients

Fresh English Peas
Butternut Squash
Peanut Butter cups
Loin Lamb chops

Chrissy: Pan seared lamb served over butternut squash pureed with marscapone cheese and peanut butter with a touch of chocolate and topped with sautéed peas, onions and parmesan cheese.
Noelle: Indian curry of Lamb, squash and peas served over a bed of rice with a peanut butter cup hot chocolate on the side
Mike: Burrito stuffed with rice, black beans, peas, tomatoes, onions and squash and lamb topped with a chocolate and cheese sauce

Dessert Ingredients

Passion Fruit
Chocolate Milk

Chrissy: Grilled Challah bread stuffed with melted Brie, chocolate and passion fruit jam with a raspberry drizzle accompanied by Beet and orange ice cream
Noelle: Beet and raspberry mousse served in a dessert shell with a chocolate milk shooter
Mike: Fried dough with fruit topping alongside a chocolate milk shooter

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