Who else is tired of the veggie tray or the bag of chips at your office potluck? I know I am. Here where I work, we have at least one potluck a month, maybe more depending on birthdays! So, foods brought can get quite mundane. I'm a big lover of cooking. I watch the show Chopped as often as possible. And therefore I came up with the next best thing besides being able to compete on the show yourself:
'Chopped': Office edition
The rules vary a bit in this version, naturally. As working adults, we don't have time to dedicate three different slots of time during our work day to cook real quick. That's what makes this version handy and realistic.
What You Will Need for a Group of 10
- 30 pieces of paper of one color (x)
- 15 pieces of paper of a different color (y)
- 10 pieces of scrap paper
- (You can craft small baskets for each player if you're feeling froggy)
What You Will Do
- On the scrap pieces of paper, write down each players name.
- Give each player 3 pieces of x paper, where they are to write down 3 different ingredients and to include 1 protein. (Try and promote a variation of ingredients).
- Once the ingredients are written, fold each piece of paper in half and place them in one of the containers.
- On the other pieces of y papers, you write down extremely crazy ingredients they'll have to use, that will make them take a second to think! (We're talking egg yolk, cumquats, or coffee grinds!) Those will be placed in the other container.
- Whoever is in charge of the potluck, or came up with the theme, will draw a name to see who goes first.
- Whoever goes first must pick 3 ingredients from the "normal" ingredient container. If they feel that those ingredients simply cannot go together, they may trade JUST ONE ingredient with a willing participant. However, since they traded an ingredient, their penalty will be to draw 1 ingredient from the crazy ingredient container. If the person feels like the ingredients they picked simply cannot go together and NO ONE wishes to trade with them, they may put ONE ingredient back into the container. However, their penalty will be to pick 2 ingredients from the crazy ingredient container.
- Then the next person goes.
- And so on and so forth.
It is hilarious to see what people will get. It is fun to watch them try to create a dish. The dish must be edible, must contain all ingredients, and like the show, you are able to use your pantry with other food items—so long as you keep your ingredients the star of your dish!
Every member of the Office Chopped Potluck will then vote on a dish they find the best, once everybody has tried and eaten the dishes (cannot vote for their own) to then determine the new Chopped Champion!
I hope you enjoy it as much as I did with mine.
What were my ingredients? Oh, just ground beef, spicy Cheetos, marshmallows, and sweet potato.
This is what I did, to get an idea of how you can think outside of the box with such crazy ingredients:
I once heard (probably from Chopped) when in doubt—make a taco.
With that in mind, I decided to go ahead and mash a sweet potato up like "refried beans." But, knowing it would be a little on the sweet side, I pulverized some of the spicy Cheetos and mixed it into to mash, along with some sriracha. I smeared it on the tortilla as one would with a refried bean.
Next, I used the ground beef and treated it as I would while making tacos. Also adding some pulverized spicy Cheetos as well, connecting the flavors.
Knowing I'll be having to work with marshmallow, I had to find a way to break the sweetness, but also embrace it. So instead of just the regular lettuce and tomato one would use in your average, non-Chopped office edition taco, I decided to make a slaw out of sweet onion, cucumbers, and shredded lettuce. I added apple cider vinegar and a medley of spices. It tasted refreshing, like a mouthful of spring.
Now came the tricky part: marshmallow. Usually, I enjoy sour cream on my taco. Keeping that in mind, I knew I'd need some kind of topping or sauce. So I ended up getting marshmallow fluff (which to me to basically the same thing) because it would be easier to work with. How to cut the sweetness and match the rest? I decided to throw four garlic cloves (to cut the sweetness), fresh dill and parsley (to match the slaw), and lemon juice in the blender. I had then a very aromatic green paste. I mixed equal parts marshmallow fluff with sour cream, adding in my garlic paste to taste.
I topped my taco, naturally, with cheese. Because cheese makes the world go 'round.
With the spicy, sweet potato shmear on the tortilla, the savory, spicy ground beef, the fresh, spring flavors of the slaw and the sweet, garlic sauce—all topped with cheese—it is, to this day, my favorite taco! And I would have never even dreamed to put these ingredients together, if it weren't for this game!
Try it at your next potluck and share this article for other offices to have fun. Let's be creative again!
P.S. This works great at family get-togethers as well!