Do you watch Chopped? Honestly, we don't watch a lot of TV around here, but one thing we all enjoy watching is Chopped. It is a show on the Food Network. For those of you who don't watch, it is a competition based show (why Chris likes it) for chefs (why Lily and I like it).
(Appetizer Round: Puff Pasty Twists with Parmesan butter and Italian Herbs with Marinara Dip)
On the show, four chefs compete for the title of Chopped Champion and a $10,000 prize. The competition has three rounds: Appetizer, Entree, and Dessert. Each round the chef's get a "mystery basket" full of ingredients that must be used. It is usually a mix of common and very uncommon ingredients. For example, you might have brown rice, sweet corn, potato chips, salt water taffy, and cinnamon bread in a basket and have to make an appetizer. The Chef;s must use all of the basket ingredients and can also use what items they find in the pantry and fridge.
(Entree Round: From scratch buttermilk biscuits, sausage gravy, and scrambled eggs)
After each round, three judges taste and evaluate each dish in front of the competitors. They choose one Chef to "chop" from the competition. So each round you lose one competitor until the dessert round when there are just two and the winner gets the prize!
(Dessert Round: Chocolate pudding with crumbled candy bar topping)
We love to watch it as a family, so we keep our DVR set to record new episodes. Lily always makes us choose someone to pull for and we can't pull for the same person (her rules, lol).
The other day, the pantry was very bare and we were in desperate need for a trip to the grocery. I had no idea what I was going to do about dinner. Chris suggested we play our own game of chopped! Lily LOVED the idea... I was a little anxious about a three ring circus and big ol' mess in "my" kitchen (but I kept my mouth shut, 'cause it did sound fun). So Lily made slips of paper for each round and we drew! I drew appetizer, Chris drew entree, and Lily got dessert! House rules: Use anything you can find in the kitchen - a giant mystery basket, if you will. We also decided you could use the cook books on the baker's rack if needed. Each "chef" cooked individually for 30 minutes while the rest of the family hung out in the adjoining dining room (open to the kitchen) so we could all be together.
You can see our respective dishes in the pictures above. It was a huge success. We had a blast. I was oh so impressed by Lily's ability to follow directions on the box of pudding and use the mixer without making a huge mess. Turns out we all had so much fun, we can't wait to do it again! I think it might be a month-end-pantry-is-bare activity that we repeat often! (...and the kitchen survived and everyone helped clean!)
Where was Ava Grace during all this kitchen competition? Happily playing in her feeding seat and her Daddy's lap (alternately). Mom recently sent her my first Cabbage Patch Kid, Pam Jilly. When I got her I couldn't say Pam Jilly, so I called her Plum Jelly and the name stuck. So now Ava Grace gets to play with Plum Jelly and she LOVES her! She loves her hair and her face. I need to take some better pictures of them together - Grandmommy even made them matching outfits! :-)