Chopped Kitchen Challenge

21 Jun

It’s been months since my friends and I had an at-home cooking challenge a la Food Network’s “Chopped.” But we’re back at it again! This time, for a new twist, we went to my friend Becca’s house. And I still acted as the challenge chef! Cooking on the fly and from imagination is hard enough in your own kitchen, where you’re familiar with the staples on hand, and the utensils available for use. When you add the difficulty of cooking in a foreign kitchen, where you don’t know the layout, the pantry items, or the usable pots and pans, well, it becomes that much more of a challenge!

Becca, Leslie and Karen each picked out one random ingredient that I would have to cook with – one ingredient per course. Their choices: jarred applesauce, Wisconsin honey, and rainbow goldfish crackers. I brought the wine, and we set to work!

Chopped Kitchen Challenge

Wine helps me think.

Chopped Kitchen Challenge

Yep. Wine.

For more of a challenge, we had next to no internet access. Last time, I was allowed to cheat and use google as an inspiration. This time…it was whatever I could come up with in my head. What a rush! The resulting courses were: potatoes fried in brown sugar and applesauce, Mexican stir fry with rice and a honey-citrus glaze, and goldfish strawberry crisp. Keep reading for the recipes, and your own inspiration!

Chopped Kitchen Challenge

They got some basics too. And I brought the wine!

First Course: Appetizer. Challenge Ingredient: Applesauce.

Brown Sugar Fried Potatoes with Applesauce, serves 4

This is a sweet take on traditional potato pancakes served with applesauce.

  • 3-4 small red potatoes, washed and stabbed with a fork
  • 1 tbsp coconut oil
  • 2 tbsp brown sugar
  • 3 tbsp applesauce, plus more for serving

Wash, stab and place potatoes in microwave, and set to either the “baked potato” setting, or cook for 6 minutes.

Chopped Kitchen Challenge

Prepping for the potatoes!

Heat a frying pan to medium with the coconut oil.

Once potatoes are cooked, slice into pieces, and place in heated pan. Cook for several minutes, allowing both sides of all pieces to turn a crispy brown.

Add the brown sugar and stir to coat, allowing the sugar to caramelize on the potatoes.

Chopped Kitchen Challenge

Look at that caramelization. Mmm. So sweet.

Turn off the heat, and add 3 tbsp applesauce, stirring well. Transfer hot potatoes to a serving dish, and spoon in more applesauce for dipping.

Eat with a fork, and enjoy!

Chopped Kitchen Challenge

Hot & sweet potatoes served with cool applesauce.

Second Course: Dinner. Challenge Ingredient: Honey

Mexican Stir Fry with Honey-Citrus Glaze, serves 4

  • 1 C uncooked rice – we only had Jasmine rice on hand, but I’d recommend a brown rice variety
  • 2 C water, for the rice
  • 1 tbsp coconut oil (or EVOO)
  • 1 red onion, sliced
  • 1 red bell pepper, diced
  • 3/4 package (about 1 C) fresh snap peas, washed
  • 1 package beef, if you want meat
  • 1 tomato, diced
  • 1 avocado, diced
  • 1 lime
  • 1 lemon
  • 1/2 package Guacamole seasoning mix
  • 2 tbsp honey

Cook the rice per package instructions. Do everything else while that cooks.

Heat a frying pan to medium-high and let the oil warm up. Add sliced onion and bell pepper; saute to the point of caramelization.

Chopped Kitchen Challenge

Veggie time!

After about 10-15 minutes, add snap peas, stir and cover with a lid to steam.

Cook meat in a separate frying pan, if using. I didn’t want meat, but everyone else did, so no problem there!

Chopped Kitchen Challenge

Becca, happy on meat duty!

In the meantime, prepare glaze. Juice the lime and lemon into a small bowl. Add honey, and whisk together with the guacamole seasoning mix. This is the glaze.

Chopped Kitchen Challenge

Glaze ingredients.

Add the glaze to the frying pan of veggies (cover set aside). This will actually de-glaze the pan, bringing up all the cooked-on flavors to incorporate into the glaze. In other words: yum. Keep stirring this until all liquid is cooked off.

Chopped Kitchen Challenge

Yay for food! That kitchen smelled so good by this point.

Once rice is cooked, meat is cooked, and the liquid from the veggies is gone, it’s time to eat! Serve 1/2 C cooked rice onto each plate, top with stir fried veggies, top with meat, if eating it, then top with fresh diced tomato and avocado! Eat up.

Chopped Kitchen Challenge

Plated and ready to devour.

Chopped Kitchen Challenge

More wine!

Third Course: Dessert. Challenge Ingredient: Rainbow Goldfish Crackers

Goldfish Strawberry Crisp, serves 4

  • 1 carton fresh strawberries, washed
  • 1 banana
  • 1 tbsp ground cinnamon
  • 1/4 C brown sugar
  • 1 C rainbow goldfish crackers
  • 1/3 C old-fashioned rolled oats
  • 1/4 C sliced almonds
  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 2 tbsp honey

Preheat oven to 375. Spray a pie plate with PAM.

Chopped Kitchen Challenge

Goldfish crackers in a dessert? CHALLENGE ACCEPTED.

Slice strawberries and banana. Mix together and layer in the prepared pie plate. Sprinkle cinnamon and brown sugar on top.

In a bowl, crush goldfish crackers. It helps to do this with the bottom of a glass. Mix in oats, almonds, olive oil and honey. Stir together and pour over fruit in the pie plate, spreading to reach all edges.

Chopped Kitchen Challenge

I gave Leslie fish-crushing duty. She made a mess. ๐Ÿ˜€

Bake for 30 minutes. Remove, let sit for 5-10 minutes, and serve! We ate this as-is, but it would also taste great with vanilla ice cream.

Chopped Kitchen Challenge

Goldfish Strawberry crisp, hot outta the oven!

Chopped Kitchen Challenge

The berries had a roasted flavor, and the goldfish provided the perfect salty crunch to the topping!

What would you have made with these Chopped ingredients? Let me know in the comments!


4 Responses to “Chopped Kitchen Challenge”

  1. Becca July 3, 2013 at 8:55 am #

    Makes me hungry … ๐Ÿ˜€

  2. Carol S. Surges July 3, 2013 at 10:07 am #

    Leave it to Leslie!

    • Becca July 3, 2013 at 11:10 am #

      So true!


  1. My Unprocessed Chopped Kitchen | Eat, Drink, Be Healthy! - October 23, 2013

    […] My friend Leslie and I have started a fun new game: playing the Food Network’s “Chopped” at home! She brings over three random, weird ingredients with which I have to create a 3-course meal, from scratch, off the top of my head. Check out our recipes from the summer. […]

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