Sunday, February 26, 2012


You will find our TV is almost always on HGTV or Food Network. Recently, I got into watching Chopped on Food Network. The chef contestants receive a basket with three to four surprise ingredients and they must use each ingredient in the course they are preparing along with any additional items they find in the pantry or refridgerator. With each course a chef is eliminated.

I wanted to put my cooking abilities to the test in a mock Chopped competition. It wasn't difficult getting my husband on board - he's usually up for anything that involves me cooking and him eating. He went through past episodes online to determine the ingredients for each course.


Oh, I was so confident until I opened that shoe box with eggs, peanut butter and apple and my mind went blank.  I decided to combine two recipes I've made - quiche and a bacon apple chutney.

Bacon, apple, onion quiche with mixed greens
While three pieces of bacon cook over medium heat, chop one tart apple and 1/3 c yellow onion. Remove bacon when crisp. Add the onion to the pan with the bacon grease and cook for one minute. Add apple and cook until soft. I typically would add sugar at this point, but instead I added 2 teaspoons of peanut butter to sweeten the mixture. I chopped the bacon and added it to pan along with salt and pepper to taste.

Line six muffin cups with prepared pie crust. Divide the bacon apple mixture and pour an egg mixture (three eggs and 1/2 c whole milk) to fill each cup. I baked the quiches at 350 for 25-30 minutes. So delicious even my daughter enjoyed it!


The main course ingredients were ground sirloin, rolled oats, ramen noodles, tomato paste, grape jelly and white beans. A six ingredient challenge!

Meatloaf with grape jelly and tomato glaze
Chop 1/2 a can of white beans in the food processor and add to a mixing bowl with one pound ground sirloin, the seasoning packet from the ramen noodles and 1/2 c of rolled oats, 1/2 c chopped yellow onion, salt and pepper and one egg. Mix together and spread into a greased loaf pan. Cook at 350 for 45 minutes.

While the meatloaf was cooking, I blended 3 T tomato paste, 3 T grape jelly and 1 T worcestershire sauce. Even my husband will vow, it's better than ketchup. I spread this mixture on the meatloaf and cooked for 10 additional minutes.


The final ingredients were white chocolate, donuts, dried apricots and gouda cheese. The cheese really through me for a loop and after I spent time thinking about how to making a cheesecake without cream cheese (we didn't have any in the refrigerator), I decided to make a custard.

Chocolate cheese custard with apricot simple syrup
Chop the donut in the food processor with 1/8 t of cinnamon. Push the mixture into four ramekin dishes to make a crust and bake on 350 until edges are lightly browned.

While crust is baking, mix 2 egg yolks and 2 T sugar. Heat six squares of white chocolate, 1/3 c grated gouda cheese and one cup whole milk in sauce pan over medium heat. When chocolate and gouda has melted, add small amount (1-2 T at a time) to egg mixture whisking constantly. Then add entire mixture back into sauce pan over medium heat and continue to whisk until thick.

Pour custard into ramekins and bake at 350 until firm (approximately 30 minutes).

While custard is baking, add 1/4 c sugar, 1/4 c water and 1/4 c chopped dried apricots to sauce pan. Heat over medium high heat until liquid has reduced to 2 T. Cool. Then blend in food processor until smooth.

Remove ramekins from oven and cool slightly. Brush eat custard dish with 2 t apricot glaze.

The entire challenge took about five hours with clean up between each dish. Afterwards, we were full and exhausted, but it was a fun Saturday night. I may not make some of these dishes again, but I hope this post inspires you, as it did me, to use the ingredients on hand in the future. You might just surprise yourself. Not convinced? Try the grape jelly, tomato paste, worchestershire sauce combo.


  1. This is so good! I love watching Chopped...but would never have the confidence or kitchen creativity to pull this off - but what a great idea for a cheap, at home date night!

    1. You can totally do it. You could cheat if you have to (get ideas on where you can enter the ingredients you have or work together to come up with a crazy dish). Maybe have a frozen pizza ready just in case.


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