Joelynn McIntosh and her family love the show Chopped so much, they recreated their own home version as a family game.  The concept is brilliant – both parents compete in three different rounds with ingredients the kids choose for them to cook with.  And then the kids judge the dishes to find the best one, and ultimately the winner of the whole Chopped challenge. I can;t help but think about how fun this would be for a family challenge in my own kitchen, though it would be interesting to see what weird ingredients the kids might come up with….

Here’s the rundown of Joelynn and Robert’s most recent family CHOPPED competition, guest written by Joelynn:

by Joelynn McIntosh

Rematch took place on Sunday. Results: I lost again. It is my belief that our three children have horrible palates. Well actually 2 don’t because they live in the kitchen and like to cook, however the eldest, I’m sorry, she is a mac n’cheese and grilled cheese kind of kid.  So her vote shouldn’t count. But I guess that makes me a sore loser. I explained to the girls “I am a Libra, I like to plan and prep and make things beautiful. Dad was once a bachelor and just throw stuff together.”

Appetizer round:
Ingredients (Katie’s picks):  Ricotta cheese, sliced wheat bread, orange bell pepper and green grapes.
So Robert makes little circles out of the bread, spread them with a garlic/butter mix and put in the oven to toast.  He then spread the circles with ricotta cheese, sliced turkey lunchmeat and a green grape/bell pepper saute. It’s actually really good, small portions, pretty but not overly colorful. Now mine on the other hand… I blended the ricotta with shredded cheddar cheese and mayo, green grapes and spread onto triangle toasts and cooked in the oven so that the cheese was melty.  I then sauteed the bell pepper, cherry tomatoes and roasted corn with chili powder (SO GOOD!) which I topped on the toasts and used the rest of the ricotta blended with avocado to make a cream for the top of the appetizer.  Avocado goes great with a roasted vegetable saute! Mine was colorful, tasted great and even Robert thought I beat him this round. My face apparently said it all. I got this in the bag. But daughter Katie tied us. Oh, did I mention she picked the ingredients? I won the appetizer last time. Entree round to be cont’d.

Entrée round:
Ingredients (Holly’s picks): Rump roast (which turns out wasn’t entirely thawed, eeek!), green beans (fresh), kiwi, and couscous.
Robert doesn’t know how to cook couscous, doesn’t like it, doesn’t have his glasses to read the instructions, so I had to help him (doesn’t seem fair, right?). We both spent the good portion of our time cutting the meat into chunks and prepping the green beans. He puts his meat in a teriyaki marinade and on skewers and grills them on the bbq. Then, if I recall correctly, he sautéed the green beans with the teriyaki sauce.  When the water was boiling, he put the couscous in and kept it on – darn near burning the couscous. So his plate seemed good, but the meat was seriously undercooked. The flavors were good though. For my dish, I made beef panang: meat, red curry coconut sauce, frozen peas, green beans and red bell pepper. I actually make this dish at home pretty regularly without the green beans.  It was tasty, but the meat was tough because, after all, it was a partially frozen rump roast that needed to cook slowly to break it down. For the couscous I just lightly salted and poured the beef panang over it, just like you would for white rice. In truth, neither dish was anything to write home about, but they weren’t horrible either.  I would have to say we probably tied this round. Apparently I lost.

Dessert round:
Ingredients (Erica’s picks): Carrots, greek yogurt, peanut butter and vanilla pudding cup.
Ok my daughter certainly likes to make things challenging for me. Last CHOPPED challenge she had the appetizer round and gave us mayo, lemon, and two other condiments. Like really? This challenge she chooses carrots, greek yogurt, peanut butter and vanilla pudding cup. 1. I hate pudding, especially vanilla or tapioca pudding. 2. Not a big fan of peanut butter or even carrots. So I look at the ingredients and draw a complete blank and (if I have to be honest) a bit of a hissy fit. Meanwhile Robert goes to town without a blink of the eye. He throws together shredded coconut, shredded carrot, and who knows what spices (I think it was sugar). He cooked this in frying pan to brown the coconut and not have raw carrots. Then he makes a shortbread with Bisquick (ok this was amazing) then he sprinkles the carrot/coconut mixture over the top. He melted some chocolate chips and peanut butter and drizzled that over the top. The dessert rocked and I have to admit he totally deserved to win based on that dessert. I blended the yogurt and made more instant vanilla pudding to extend the one cup Erica provided. Then I chopped and boiled the carrots in brown sugar/water. Once they were soft enough I pureed them with the peanut butter and cool whip. I remembered we had a graham cracker pie crust so I poured the carrot, peanut butter mixture in and the topped with the pudding mixture. Remarkably the taste was really good, presentation sucked. So as you can imagine he won this round. Probably also because I hurt Erica’s feelings by throwing a fit over the ingredients. Not my shining mommy moment.

After hours of standing, cooking, serving and cleaning, we tally the votes. With two out of three challenges won, Robert won the whole competition. I would rather not admit this, but I was a poor loser and threatened that since he has won two CHOPPED challenges he can now make dinner and I shall no longer cook for our family since I see they don’t like my food. 3 days later I am in the kitchen making Chicken Cacciatore, polenta and homemade beets.

The girls haven’t given up, nor have I.  We plan to keep doing CHOPPED challenge, but we think we are going to bring in guest judges and every now and then let the girls do the cooking and we judge. HAHAHAHA!