Sunday, January 2, 2011

How I Won, Even If I Didn't Win

I have never entered a recipe contest before, that may surprise you but actually there are many things I've never done before, like ski, scuba dive or vacation in France, (only because I haven't gotten to them yet). About a month ago, I read about a contest, hatched an idea, developed the recipe then entered my first competition and... didn't win.

The contest was for a well known sausage company, I won't bother with the name, not that I'm a sore loser, but really you could use any favorite brand of sausage for this dish so why use their name if they aren't acknowledging mine? Okay that sounded a little bit sore, but honest I'm not hurt, I'm actually proud of myself for trying something I've never done before and that makes me feel like a winner.

There was a substantial cash prize for this recipe contest and the part of me that needs to put food on the table wouldn't have minded the money, but this wasn't the only motivating factor. I wanted to follow through on something at a time where everything feels like it's in a holding pattern, like work, shuttling kids and the daily loop of laundry and dishes that never conclude.

I've seen these contests before, got excited even giddy at the idea of entering then fizzled out, but this time I didn't. I took the ingredient, Italian sausage (heart healthy and all) and tried to create an interesting, fairly easy, delicious, prize winning dish. Maybe the idea of sticking a sausage in a piece of chicken wasn't original, could be the contest winners recipe was really outstanding or possibly they missed my entry in the huge pile (later when they find it they will be very sorry).

Winner or not, I enjoyed the process of competing and my family enjoyed the Italian Sausage Stuffed Chicken (even tough they had to repeatedly eat my tests). I'll take their compliments, after all, they're the best trophy of all.

Italian Stuffed Chicken Medallions
6-7oz Chicken Breast
6 Italian sausage links
2 cups seasoned Italian bread crumbs
1cup all purpose flour
2 eggs beaten with 2 tsp water
28 oz marinara sauce
8 oz mozzarella cheese
Fresh Pasta Pomodoro
12 oz thin spaghetti
1 1/2 c fine dice ripe tomato
1/2 cup fine diced sweet onion
4 cloves fresh garlic chopped
1/3 cup fresh basil chopped
1/2 tsp dried red pepper flake
1/4 cup olive oil
Salt and pepper to taste

For Chicken
Preheat oven to 375 degrees
1. Butterfly chicken breast, cover with plastic wrap and pound gently with a meat mallet to an even 1/4 inch thickness.
2. Lay a sausage link on center of each breast, tucking and rolling chicken around it, secure with tooth picks if needed.
3. Roll each stuffed chicken in flour, next in beaten egg and finally in bread crumbs (discard all unused flour, egg and bread crumbs)
4. Heat oil in a skillet and fry each prepared breast turning to brown.
5. Place chicken in a baking dish finish in oven until internal temp reads 165 degrees (about 15 minutes)
6. Slice and serve over pasta with hot marinara sauce and topped with mozzarella cheese.

For Pasta
1. Saute onions and garlic with olive oil and dried chili, turn off heat.
2. Stir in diced tomatoes and basil. Season to taste with salt and pepper.
3. Follow directions for cooking pasta, drain.
3. Toss hot pasta with fresh sauce.


Chef Debbi said...

I'm quite sure they'll be very sorry, but the recipe looks like a winner in my book. I'm going to have to make this for my hubby, his three fav's, sausage, chicken and pasta, yum!

~ Chef Louise said...

nice photos... yay for you new camera! that pasta is calling my name. i remember we use to talk about contests but never enter, sometimes coming up with the idea is all the fun.

Velva said...

Cheers to you! Your dish has definitely caught my attention. It looks awesome. No doubt, it was delicious too.

Happy New Year!


Florentina said...

This is the reason why I don't enter contests or even watch " cooking competitions ". Food is a very tricky thing. It is almost impossible to determine the" best dish "
If the person judging favors let's say " Chinese food " and I serve him/her an amazing " Italian dish " next to a decent Chinese dish, odds are he/she is going to pick the "Chinese dish "
I still believe cooking is about something much deeper than just " the best recipe " Honestly I don't believe that exists, just like perfection.
I would have loved to have your dish for dinner :)

Zayne said...

So creative using the sausage stuffed chicken. How come I dont remember having that for dinner? Like i said . . . my birthday is coming up . . . ;)

Kim said...

Renee - screw the contest. This looks delicious, and I can tell it has a lot of heart! Like you said, you "still won." :-)

Happy Sunday to you,


Sean Langley said...

It doesn't matter if you win or lose... all that really matters is if you had fun. And the money, that matters too. I hope you used your skillet to cook it