Friday, January 26, 2018

Chopped Jr Birthday Bash

Last weekend we threw my daughter a birthday party at the house. I tried to offer numerous other options and even attempted bribing her, but she wouldn't budge. She wanted a Chopped Birthday Party. I wondered about the state of my sanity while pulling it together and was really nervous at the thought of having 9 little girls over to my house for a Chopped competition, but to my surprise it went way better than I could have ever expected! The girls had an absolute blast and seeing them so excited made it all worth it!
I ordered the Invites, score sheets, banner and all of the cute printables here from Etsy
I also ordered kids plain aprons and some fabric markers so as the girls were arriving they could each decorate an apron to use while cooking. I was thinking instead of the usual bag of annoying noisemakers/stickers/candy that dyes their mouth green and gets left on the floor of your car after a party this was at least something they could keep and use at home too!
 We had the girls pick a number and then divided them into 3 teams of 3. I set up 3 small stations that they could cook and prep at and had a "pantry" table of extra ingredients they could use as well
The Pantry Table before it was raided is below
Afterwards it looked like a swarm of locusts had cleaned it out
For the entree round the secret ingredients were tomatoes, pizza dough and cheese (I had 5 types of cheese and they could pick the one they wanted)
I pre-cooked bacon and Italian sausage to give them some proteins to choose that didn't need to go on the stove and made sure I had a ton of veggies to choose from too.
For the most part I was really impressed with the final dishes. A few of the girls were worried and told me before we even started that they had never cooked anything before so my expectations weren't very high to begin with. 
Just in case you're wondering, yes that is a pizza surrounded by cool whip in the bottom shot. 
Yeah, it was rough...
They were so excited for the reveals! 
There was a lot of was LOUD y'all
Team 1 hard at work
 So stinking cute!
 I loved seeing how intense they were as the clock was running and had a great time teaching them a little bit of knife skills for those that were interested
Hands Up! Round 1 is over!
 For the dessert round, I had a whole dessert bar in the middle of the table so that served as decoration and their stash to work with plus the pantry table for them to pick from. For their secret ingredients they had to use any flavor cupcake, sprinkles and their choice of icing.
There were sprinkles EVERYWHERE
Overall, it was a blast and I hope the kids had as much fun as Brianna did!

Thursday, January 11, 2018

Serrano Honey Lime Vinaigrette

Sometimes the best lunches are born when you're cleaning out the pantry! I had less than half of a package left of a quinoa, brown and wild rice mix hanging around, so I cooked that in the microwave with some chicken stock.  About 1/2 cup of corn was left in the fridge so I grabbed that too. While the quinoa mix was working in the microwave, I sliced the last handful of cherry tomatoes we had left and combined them with a can of black beans, chopped cilantro, salt and pepper. Throw in a few slices of mango, some pickled jalapenos (I'm addicted) and the rest of the cilantro and you have one filling, healthy, meat free bowl!
The vinaigrette was super quick and is my new favorite! Just throw everything into a mason jar and shake it up. It takes 2 seconds and packs so much tangy sweet and spicy flavor. I hope you love it as much as I do!
 Serrano Honey Lime Vinaigrette
zest and juice of 2 limes
1/2 cup olive oil
1/4 cup Yellowbird Serrano Sauce
2 teaspoons honey
1 teaspoon garlic powder
1 teaspoon cumin
1/2 teaspoon salt

Pickle Baked Chicken Tenders with Creamy Chili Honey Sauce

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