If you’ve ever channel surfed and landed Food Network, you may be familiar with the show Chopped.  Chopped is a popular TV show where four chefs compete in three rounds using “mystery basket” ingredients to make high quality and delicious meals. During one of our club meetings, we decided to tackle a Chopped challenge to see if we could make creative and delicious dishes, just like the real chefs!

The mystery baskets we used included rotisserie chicken, shredded cheddar cheese, tomatoes, and powdered instant mashed potatoes. The goal was to see which team of two students could create the tastiest and most unique dish in 45 minutes, using the mandatory basket ingredients and anything else they could find in their houses. 

Team 1: Sarah and Marty

Sarah and Marty made an omelet stuffed with rotisserie chicken, cheese, bacon, and diced tomatoes. They completed the dish with a side of potato pancakes, made from the instant mashed potatoes.

Lisa Russo

What the Judges Liked: The omelet was stuffed full with the ingredients! Also, the potato pancakes were crispy on outside yet fluffy on the inside.

Constructive Criticism: The eggs were a little overcooked, which took away from the overall texture of the dish. 

Team 2: Nick and Lisa

Nick and Lisa used their ingredients to make chicken, cheese, black bean, and potato "empanadas" (they used a tortilla instead of dough for the empanada) with a fresh salsa on top.

Lisa Russo

What the Judges Liked: The tortilla outside was very crispy. The salsa was fresh and added an acidic brightness to the dish.

Constructive Criticism: One improvement would be that the chicken inside needed to be seasoned a little more heavily. Having a more seasoned chicken would really enhance the flavors of the dish.

And the Winner Is...

Nick and Lisa because of the crispy tortilla contrasting with that bright, fresh salsa. When it came down to the judges preferences, they just couldn't get past the overcooked omelet, despite the wonderful potato pancakes.

Both parties did a great job despite their limited cooking experience and choice of ingredients! The dishes were delicious, and it was a tough call to make by the judges.

We want to know if you've ever tried the Chopped challenge on your campus! If you have, send us pictures @spoon_bulldogs on Instagram and tell us what you used for your ingredients.