The Best Dish Challenge

October's Winner for Chili:  Lisa Blotter!
After many months off, it was good to have a Best Dish Challenge again. This was a tough one to judge. The chili's were pretty similar but with their own stand out flavor. Andrea put a spin on her meatless chili by adding curry and sweet potato. Teri's had a yummy slight sweetness to it, and Kathy and I opted for a white chicken type chili. But, in the end, Lisa won us over with her Mexican Style Chili topped with cheese and tortilla strips. Not only was the food good, but the conversation is always fun, full of laughs and supportive advice for those motherhood moments we all face : )  Thank you all and I look forward to the next challenge!

Mexican Chili - by Lisa Blotter (click the link for recipe)

April's Winner for Ice Cream: Jill Watkins!
I guess I got so wrapped up in the tasting and funny stories to think about snapping a pic :(  I wish I would have got a pic of the look on her face when she found out she was the winner...absolute shock! I love it! 
She wooed everyone with her "No Name" Vanilla based ice cream with raspberries, banana and Nilla Wafers. 
The runner up was (first time participant) Lisa Blotter with her Heath Ice Cream. Who doesn't love chunks of toffee??

This challenge was awesome. I LOVE ice cream. There were so many varieties...surprisingly no duplicates. We tasted everything from perfectly tart Vanilla Frozen Yogurt with Fresh Fruit made by Krysta McClure, to decadent and smooth Dark Chocolate Ice Cream served up in cute little cups by Andrea Cowley. Good thing for me that presentation wasn't part of the scoring this time, as mine was much TASTIER than it was PRETTY! Then there's Angie Jensen with her refreshing Orange Pineapple Ice Cream plated up as if it was part of a Luau party in Hawaii with a fresh cut pineapple top to fancy it up. 
Again, you ladies are to be proud of your creations!

May's date is watch for an email.

March's Winner:  Yes, again... Keesha Holbrook!

March's challenge was PIZZA! There were 8 participants this time. The top two pizza's were Keesha's Chicken Pesto Pizza and Krysta McClure's Chicken Cordon Bleu Pizza. And mine, a California Club Pizza, got the most votes for presentation (would have been good to snap a pic, huh?) We actually ended up with a tie in the flavor/tste catergory, but this time decided to do a re-vote tie breaker and Keesha squeeked by.  Click below for their great recipes!

Krysta's Chicken Cordon Bleu Pizza...Yum!

It's so fun for me to see the confidence boost these challenges give the ladies, especially if it's something they've never made before. As embarrassed as she might be, my sister Teri, who is older than me, has never used yeast until making her pizza crust. It turned out great...I'm so proud!

 Andrea and Val had the extra challenge of making a GLUTEN FREE pizza crust for theirs. It was fun to try those, as most of us would have never tasted one otherwise; especially with their laundry list of pricey flours! Nice job gals. 

Thanks again to all of you who participated, and I look forward to next month's Challenge at Valerie Berry's house on Thursday, April 12th at 6:30

February's Winners: It was a tie - Keesha Holbrook & Angie Jensen!

Sorry - I had my camera on the wrong setting

Our first Best Dish Challenge was a lot of fun! We ate SO many tasty cheesecakes it was hard to pick a winner. Keesha's "World's Best Cheesecake" held up to its name. It was awesome and SO cute! Angie's "Triple Chocolate Cheesecake" was rich and decadent and looked like it came from a bakery. For those who are interested, I tallied up the winners of the individual categories and here's the results:  Presentation - Keesha   Texture - Angie, Marissa, Keesha  Taste - Angie, Kelli, Marissa  Most Unique - Val (I would have never guessed popcorn would taste so good as a crust!)

Here are the top 2 winning recipes, but if you are interested in anyone else's, email me and I can get it to you or at least let you know who to contact for the recipe if you just remember the letter it was or what it looked like. 

One thing is for sure... you ladies don't give yourself enough credit when it comes to cooking! You pulled off some amazing cheesecakes! 

March's challenge will be at Keesha Holbrook's house on Friday 9th at 6:30. I will send out updates via email soon. Thanks and I look forward to doing it again soon!

Tuesday, February 7, 2012 6:30 pm at Kelli Brunson's Home
Challenge:  CHEESECAKE
Participants:  Kelli Brunson, Lisa Llewellyn, Angie Jensen?, Keesha Holbrook, Tonya Newswander, Val Berry, Barbara Corcoran, Jill Blotter, Jill Watkins, Kathy Holt, Marisa Jones

Most of you know that I am a foodie. I love all things relating to food; cooking & baking, watching The Food Network shows, hoarding recipes, blogging, and trying out new restaurants. I have been thinking of a way to incorporate my love of food with my NEED for a little ladies time, so I came up with what Im calling Best Dish Challenge. I think this will be competitive yet fun, and best of allget us out of the house and out of the same old, same old routine. Im hoping this idea will catch on and become something to look forward to! Besides, we all have to cook so why not have fun with it and improve our cooking skills along the way.
       You DO NOT need to be an expert to join in, and dont think for a second that Ill never win because I cant cook as well as so and so. NOT true! We all are the judges and our taste buds all differ. And, even if you are following a special diet such as Gluten Free, Low Carb, or Vegetarian, please dont count yourself out! You never know, your special diet recipe might come out on top!
       So heres the rundown

Best Dish Challenge
    A fun ladies night out to socialize, have some friendly competition, and taste the best dishes! Held the First Tuesday or Friday (day alternates every other month) evening of each month at 6:30, at a different participants home each month. Entry fee is $10 per person per month, with a minimum of 4, and maximum of 10 participants per month.The fee will be reduced to $5 for the hostess, since there will be some cost for setting up (plates, cups, time cleaning, etc.)
       On the 21st of each month, the dish selection will be announced (via my blog and/or email) for all participants to make their best version of, for a chance to win a cash prize at the end (all entry fees combined, so each month the cash total will differ). Your Best Dish could win you up to $95 (and bragging rights!)

     How its played:
       A particular dish, such as FRUIT PIE, will be selected (by Kelli) randomly (promise I wont cheat!) from a pre-determined assortment. You will then have a few weeks to come up with your best recipe. Unless specified otherwise, you have freedom to pick the type of fruit, crust and any additional ingredients. The day of the challenge, you will bring $10 cash, copies of your recipe, and the dish you made (in this example, the pie), in the Best Dish Challenge bag that will be given to you when you sign up. The purpose of the specific bag is to hide the dish and make them all unidentifiable. A number will be placed on the bottom of your bag and you will be handed a slip of paper with that same number. This number is to be kept secret so that judging is fair; as we all will be the judges!
        When all dishes have arrived, the bags will be shuffled around on the table, the dish will then be placed on top of its bag. Each participant will serve themselves a two bite portion of each dish, one at a time and record their impression on the score card. After all dishes have been sampled and scored, the dish with the highest ranking, ie. (Pie 5) wins! The person with the number 5 slip of paper then takes home the cash prize!   

     Judging Criteria:
 1. Taste   2. Texture / Consistency  3. Appearance / Presentation       
     Rules of the game:
1.     1.   One homemade entry per person per month. (You have to be able to provide the recipe)
2.  2.    You have to be the one who made the dish
3.  3.    You have to pay to play
4.  4.    Signups are first come first serve, with the cut off being the 20th of each month
5.   5.   If less than 4 people sign up, it will be cancelled for that month
6.   6.  The same participant cannot win more than 2 months in a row
7.   7.   In the event of a tie, the prize will be split 50/50

    It will be fun to socialize and come away with recipes for all the Best Dishes!! If you'd like to sign up, please email me at or call me at 770-2156