Saturday, November 7, 2009

Food! Glorious Food!

Both of my kids love participating in the 4-H County Food and Nutrition contest. Junior is considered a "Clover Kid" and so he isn't really judged - he gets asked questions but his ability to answer isn't scored.

Daisy has to go into another room with three adult judges and then gets judged and ranked.

Her first year she won first place for applesauce bread, last year I don't remember how she placed with her baked apple.

This year she won first place again! She made Butternut Squash and Chicken Pasta which is so perfect in the fall.

She is supposed to know things like how many calories per serving, what are the primary nutrients you get from the dish, how you prepared it, what you could substitute and could it be made healthier. The judges don't taste the food - or they aren't supposed to, there was a food poisoning incident several years ago - but they do look at how it looks and smells.
Butternut Squash and Chicken Pasta

1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
1 large onion, chopped
3 large garlic cloves, finely chopped
2 pounds uncooked chicken breast, cut into 1 inch peices
1 small butternut squash, peeled, seeded, and cut into 1/2-inch pieces
1 teaspoon fresh rosemary chopped
3 1/4 cups chicken broth
12 ounces pasta
salt and pepper to taste

Heat the oil in a heavy large nonstick frying pan over medium heat. Add onion and saute until tender, about 5 minutes. Add the garlic and saute for just a minute. Add the cubed chicken and cook through. Add squash, rosemary and saute for 8 to 10 minutes. Add the broth and bring to a simmer over medium-high heat. Decrease the heat to medium-low and simmer until the squash is tender and the liquid is reduced by about half, stirring occasionally, about 10 minutes. Season, to taste, with salt and pepper.
Meanwhile, bring a large pot of salted water to a boil over high heat. Add the pasta and cook until tender but still firm to the bite, stirring often. Drain pasta.
Toss the pasta and squash mixture in a large bowl until the liquid thickens slightly and coats the pasta. Transfer the pasta mixture to a wide shallow bowl and serve.

Junior's dish was Baked Cheese and Pasta - well Macaroni and Cheese but he didn't do macaroni noodles.

His dish has been more challanging for me just because of various problems. The first time he made it, I forgot we were doubleing the recipe when we added the cheese. So it only had half of the neccesary cheese. It was good, just not cheesey.

When we were making it for the contest I planned on us making it the night before and then baking it the day of. So right before bed, we are in the kitchen and trying to make it. I had gotten a block of cheese because I needed sharp cheese and it was cheaper more economical and was going to use the food processor. It broke. So we are scrambling around looking for the cheese grater - Daisy didn't even really know what it was - so that 12 ounces of cheese could be grated. And I had to make the bread crumbs to go on the top because I don't know where bread crumbs are since they rearranged the store (and I was too tired to ask).

Luckily it all turned out well.

Baked pasta and Cheese
1/2 pound pasta in desired shape 3 tablespoons butter
3 tablespoons flour 1 tablespoon powdered mustard
3 cups milk 1/2 cup yellow onion, finely diced
1/2 teaspoon paprika 1 large egg
12 ounces sharp cheddar, shredded 1 teaspoon kosher salt
Fresh black pepper 1 cup bread crumbs

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
In a large pot of boiling, salted water cook the pasta to al dente.
While the pasta is cooking, in a separate pot, melt the butter. Whisk in the flour and mustard and keep it moving for about five minutes. Make sure it's free of lumps. Stir in the milk, onion, and paprika. Simmer for ten minutes.
Temper in the egg. Stir in 3/4 of the cheese. Season with salt and pepper. Fold the macaroni into the mix and pour into a 2-quart casserole dish. Top with remaining cheese.
Top the macaroni with the bread crumbs. Bake for 30 minutes. Remove from oven and rest for five minutes before serving.

1 comment:

  1. YUMMY - those look like two recipes that I will have to try. I've always wanted to use butternut squash - as I haven't met a squash that I haven't liked yet, but haven't found the right thing to do with it other than soup...which doesn't really appeal to me.