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What to make for work cook-off?

Hello!

We are having a charity cook-off at work and I am thinking of entering. There are four categories - appetizers, entrees, side dishes and desserts.

It has to be something that can stay warm in a crockpot or something cold since I don't think there will be any heating-up facilities.

I was thinking maybe pulled pork in the crockpot to make mini slider sandwiches. I also thought about making shortbread cookies since I get rave reviews on them.

Do you guys have any other good ideas? Any ideas would be great. Thanks so much!

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  1. Staying with the crockpot idea, you could do French dip sandwiches. Be sure to use very good rolls.

    1. For some reason, I immediately thought of chicken with 40 cloves of garlic. It's not that complicated, but would be a total wow! dish for people who are unfamiliar with it.

      1. I vote for the sliders!

        1. Chili con carne:
          This is from Cooks Ill. I've made it a hundred time's It is amazing. Make at least 2 days in advance. Serve with all the condo's. Good luck.
          To roast chilies put in 350 oven for 5 min. Then grind in spice grinder.

          To ensure the best chile flavor, I recommend toasting whole dried chiles and grinding them in a mini-chopper or spice-dedicated coffee grinder, all of which takes only ten (very well-spent) minutes. Select dried chiles that are moist and pliant, like dried fruit. Count on trimming one-half to a full pound of waste from your chuck roast, so start with a four-pound roast to end up with three to three-and-a-half pounds of beef cubes. For hotter chili, boost the heat with a pinch of cayenne, a dash of hot pepper sauce, or crumbled pequin chiles near the end of cooking. Serve the chili with any of the following side dishes: warm pinto or kidney beans, corn bread or chips, corn tortillas or tamales, rice, biscuits, or just plain crackers, and top with any of the following garnishes: chopped fresh cilantro leaves, minced white onion, diced avocado, shredded cheddar or jack cheese, or sour cream. (We serve on fritos chips too)

          INGREDIENTS
          3 tablespoons ancho chili powder or 3 medium pods (about 1/2 ounce), toasted and ground (see illustrations below)
          3 tablespoons New Mexico chili powder or 3 medium pods (about 3/4 ounce), toasted and ground
          2 tablespoons cumin seeds , toasted in a dry skillet over medium heat until fragrant, about 4 minutes, and ground
          2 teaspoons dried oregano , preferably Mexican
          7 1/2 cups water , divided
          1 beef chuck roast (4-pounds), trimmed of excess fat and cut into 1-inch cubes
          2 teaspoons table salt , plus extra for seasoning
          8 ounces bacon (7 or 8 slices), cut into 1/4-inch pieces
          1 medium onion , minced (about 1 cup)
          5 medium cloves garlic , minced
          4 - 5 small jalapeño chiles , cored, seeded, and minced
          1 cup crushed tomatoes (canned), or plain tomato sauce
          2 tablespoons lime juice from 1 medium lime
          5 tablespoons masa harina
          Ground black pepper

          1. Mix chili powders, cumin, and oregano in small bowl and stir in 1/2 cup water to form thick paste; set aside. Toss beef cubes with salt; set aside.
          2. Fry bacon in large, heavy soup kettle or Dutch oven over medium-low heat until fat renders and bacon crisps, about 10 minutes. Remove bacon with slotted spoon to paper towel-lined plate; pour all but 2 teaspoons fat from pot into small bowl; set aside. Increase heat to medium-high; sauté meat in four batches until well-browned on all sides, about 5 minutes per batch, adding additional 2 teaspoons bacon fat to pot as necessary. Reduce heat to medium, add 3 tablespoons bacon fat to now-empty pan. Add onion; sauté until softened, 5 to 6 minutes. Add garlic and jalapeño; sauté until fragrant, about 1 minute. Add chili paste; sauté until fragrant, 2 to 3 minutes. Add reserved bacon and browned beef, crushed tomatoes or tomato sauce, lime juice, and 7 cups water; bring to simmer. Continue to cook at a steady simmer until meat is tender and juices are dark, rich, and starting to thicken, about 2 hours.
          3. Mix masa harina with 2/3 cup water (or cornstarch with 3 tablespoons water) in a small bowl to form smooth paste. Increase heat to medium; stir in paste and simmer until thickened, 5 to 10 minutes. Adjust seasoning generously with salt and ground black pepper. Serve immediately, or preferably, cool slightly, cover, and refrigerate overnight or for up to 5 days. Reheat before serving.

          1. Thanks for the ideas everyone!

            Re: the chilli, thanks for the recipe. My mom used to make that and I've been meaning to ask her for the recipe.

            This cook-off used to be a chili one, so I'm not sure if people will bring chili again this year. I like the idea of it though since it can be made in advance.

            Thanks!

            3 Replies
            1. re: newchowhound

              Homemade Chicken and Noodles always gets good reviews, too.

              1. re: stellamystar

                Stella do you have a recipe? That sounds very tasty.

                1. re: newchowhound

                  So sorry - did not see your response!. When I feel like cheating, here is what I do:

                  large package of Reame's Egg Noodles from frozen section (you can make own, if you want)
                  1 large can chicken broth
                  1 Rotisserie Chicken (or roasted homemade chicken)
                  Herbs of your choosing
                  Carrott, Green beans, peas (Optional)

                  Boil noodles in herby stock (add water depending if you want soupiness or more casserole-ish). Add cooked chicken. Let sit 30 minutes or so on low till thickens up a bit. Sometimes, we add frozen carrots, peas, and green beans.

                  If you really want to pass out, pour over mashed potatoes and enjoy.....

                  Can also throw it all in the crock pot and call it good.

            2. Pork Mole` works great in a crock pot. It's so easy and we always get excellent reviews. if you have a source for good mole` paste. Just use Center cut pork loin and for every 2# of meat: 1/2 cup mole` 2 Tbsp each pbutter and choco chips. 1/4 tsp cinnamon 1/2 tsp salt 1 cup water. Cook on low for 6-8 hours until it shreds easily. Serve on tortillas with a little shredded cheese.

              1 Reply
              1. re: GIAD

                GIAD -
                THANK YOU! for this recipe. a Mole dish that FINALLY sounds like I can make it. I usually buy the mole paste (don't know brand name) - comes in a jar - yellow lid. Smallish jar.
                Thanks for posting.

              2. I also would go with the sliders, and make sure you have crunchy cole slaw to top it off!

                1. Stuffed grape leaves, if you can get the (bottled) leaves where you are.

                  You can go meat or vegan depending on the crowd.
                  Unlikely that anyone else will make it.
                  You could probably enter it in three of the above categories :-).