On a Chopped Dinner

Years ago, we were one of four couples assigned together as a church function to meet once in each of our homes over the course of a year. We had such a good time, we decided to keep going, and this past weekend we completed our 60-something meeting. The bottom line is the host sets the theme, provides the entrée, and assigns the other courses.

This past weekend, we hosted an evening based on Food Network’s Chopped – which also means I dressed in jeans, a bright shirt and tie, dress jacket, and tennis shoes.

It started several weeks ago when we announced the theme and asked each couple to donate one item to each of the four baskets: appetizer, soup/salad, entrée, and dessert. After receiving each list of items, we placed them in a basket, assigned the courses, and sent the electronic baskets to the participants. Of course using other ingredients are fine, but the basket items are the featured taste/ingredient.

Saturday was quite the evening as we ate well and consumed our share of good wine. Even some honey bourbon made it into the evening. Below are the list of ingredients, the description of the creation, and a picture. We are very proud of this group. Enjoy.

Basket: Shrimp, dried cranberries, kiwi, and pretzels

Chef DD Result: Kiwi-dried cranberry-jalapeno salad served with a shrimp conquistador dipping sauce and pretzel chips.

Comment: A little zip to start the evening.

Basket: Dairy case crescent rolls, green grapes, tomatillos, and pork rinds.

Chef DP Result: Avocado-tomato salad served on a bed of lettuce with a green grape-tomatillo dressing and two bread strips encrusted with pork rinds and asiago cheese.

Comment: The creators took much time to determine the right balance of these two diverse tastes.

Basket: Orange juice concentrate, beer, red wine, and ham hocks

Chef FK Result: Oven-baked, beer-marinated pork chops topped with a red wine, ham hock reduction sauce and ham hock bits, served with fresh green beans topped with orange-ground coriander vinaigrette accompanied with beer bread.

Comment: Reduction sauce is time consuming, but tasty.


Basket: Egg white, walnuts, frozen waffles, and hominy

Chef BR Result: Hominy with essence of banana ice cream topped with walnuts and served with two Eggo cookies dipped in egg whites and chocolate.

Comment: The toughest challenge of the night, and surprisingly yummy.

25 thoughts on “On a Chopped Dinner

  1. what fun! i would have smashed up the pretzels and breaded the shrimp.

    my son and his friends pick an ingredient once a month or so, and all of them have to create a dish using it.


    • Nonnie,
      The pretzel breading is what I expected … but this was good … especially the fruit dish! Glad to hear your son and his friends enjoy cooking. Make sure you tell him about this one … heck, maybe he’ll even visit. 🙂 Thanks for commenting.


    • John,

      From Wikipedia: Hominy or nixtamal is dried maize kernels which have been treated with an alkali in a process called nixtamalization.
      We use canned hominy in stews. Now you can see why the dessert was such a challenge. Thanks for the question.


    • Spinny,
      The person submitted hominy, ham hocks, and other oddities as a joke … which backfired … thus the submitter got stuck with it. Then again, they nailed it in the end! Nonetheless, I agree that dessert was the toughest basket. Glad you enjoyed this & thanks for visiting.


    • Beeze,
      Thanks for the kind words. One clarification – all the food was not cooked on the spot as everyone did most of the work at their home before arriving at our house. Thanks for visiting and glad you enjoyed this.


  2. Chopped is one of my fav’s. What a treat to see such impressive talent. Not only did your fellow home chefs make the ingredients work, they created beautiful plates as well. I’m inspired!



    • Welcome Granny as a first-time commenter. Glad you enjoyed reading this as it sounds like you enjoy cooking. Here’s an idea for you. Invite a group of friends over, but also invite them to submit one or two ingredients to create your own basket, thus setting the stage for your own personal challenge. Thanks for stopping by.


  3. Wow! This sounds like so much fun! I’m impressed. 🙂 I’ll have to get a group of friends together & try our hands at this. Thanks for sharing!


    • Welcome Foodie and first time visitor.
      The evening was fun, challenging, and full of fellowship …. and this group can cook! After all, the bumper sticker on your site speaks volumes – Love people. Cook them tasty food. Thanks for visiting and hope you return again.


    • Spiced,
      I knew you would like this post! As our group rotates houses, the host sets the theme, provides the entree, and then assigns the others courses to the rest of the group. Our next one is in April, then after that, it’s our turn to host. Thanks for visiting.


  4. Pingback: Flashbacks: On Food and Recipes | A Frank Angle

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