Well, I came in second out of four for this competition.
I was expecting to come in second, but was surprised by the dish mine lost to.
(Note on photo: We didn’t decide until the last minute if we were doing two competitions – appetizers and main dish – or putting all four in the same competitive pool, which we did end up doing. This is why two certificates say 1st and two say 2nd; 3rd and 4th just got bumped up a little bit, I suppose!)
Game Night 01-13-16: What did the Buffalo say? (Bison.)
- Competition was for the best buffalo dish.
- Game played: Salem
I really enjoyed this game, in no small part because I went to Salem not long ago, for Halloween. And dressed like witch.
- Sarah Hodges with Loaded Potato and Buffalo Chicken Casserole
- Kristi LaMonica with Buffalo Chicken Dip
- Erin Nudi with Buffalo Chicken Stuffed Shells
- Tara Nudi with Buffalo Chicken Jalapeno Poppers
- Teresa Behers
- Jenny Grant
- Peggy Hodges
- Alan Nudi
- Ryan Nudi
- Melissa Severson
- Presentation: 10%
- Mouthfeel: 10%
- Heat/Spiciness: 10%
- Buffa-level (authenticity): 20%
- Overall Flavor: 50%
Final score out of 300 points:
- Sarah’s buffalo dish: 256
- Kristi’s buffalo dish: 253
- Erin’s buffalo dish: 261
- Tara’s buffalo dish: 278
Comments from judges…
- Wish the plate was arranged similarly to [Erin’s] – sauce on the side.
- Missing some heat, but very creative and tasty!
- Nice meal! Not hot, but very pleasant. I could eat a lot more of this.
- Like the sour cream on top. I think the heat hits more after than during.
- Really enjoyed the combination, and it’s a clear favorite, but felt the least authentic.
- A great dinner for buffalo-lovers; not very spicy, but that means you can eat more of it!
- Wish presentation was more creative.
- Safe choice. Although lacking in presentation, makes up in hotness and taste!
- Classic, but somewhat bland.
- Good but plain.
- Great dip! Delicious. Would eat this at any picnic! Seemed very safe though.
- The most beautiful presentation of the four, and delicious, and interesting textures! Overall could not quite combine well enough the spice with the rest.
- Wish the sauce was used as a drizzle instead of dumped on a plate.
- Creative! Nice mix of cheeses, especially keeping the ricotta flavor along with buffalo!
- The bleu/feta cheese threw the buffalo flavor off a little. Fun to dip in the sauce. Looked beautiful.*
- Very creative. Though the pasta was a little dried out.
- Slightly heavy on the bleu cheese for my taste, but proper on authenticity.
*I have to dispute this. There was no feta. There was bleu cheese, which is in fact very authentic to a buffalo flavor. That being said, there was definitely too much bleu cheese.
- Amazing! Almost too spicy for me though, but overall excellent blend of flavors, texture, etc.
- Texture of jalapeno a little mushy.
- Love the drizzle! Mayo plus hot sauce? Very creative and not overpowering on spicy levels!
- Awesome hot buffalo flavor but occasionally slid off pepper.
- Really like the jalapeno, but almost think it takes away from the buffalo-ness – kind of overpowering. But delicious!
When I tasted Tara’s, I sighed a sigh of relief. This is good, I thought, but not amazing. She may actually not win this time.
Then, I tasted Sarah’s. I think for competitors, there’s always that bittersweet moment where you taste the other person’s food, and you say, oh crap. This is delightful. That was Sarah’s casserole for me.
Kristi’s I enjoyed also – it actually is very reminiscent of my own buffalo chicken dip. As others alluded to though, it was the overly safe choice, so I wasn’t too worried about that either.
So I came in second as I expected, but lost to Tara, and somehow by the grace of God beat out Sarah.
I think what happened was, I mentally set the bar much higher for Tara. I was like, oh, beautiful jalapeno popper buffalo chicken things with arty sauce drizzled and topped with bacon? Pfffftt. No competition here.
But if anyone other than Tara had made them…maybe I would have felt differently.
Sarah’s recipe hails from Food.com, with the following alterations:
- 2 (20 oz) bags gold creamer potatoes, quartered, instead of medium potatoes.
- Quadrupled the hot sauce (Frank’s Red Hot Wing ); also drizzled generously with hot sauce after removing from oven.
- Mixed Marie’s super bleu cheese with sour cream for a fun topping.
Kristi’s recipe is as follows: 3 cups shredded chicken breasts, 1 package 1/3 less fat Philly cream cheese, 3 cups reduced fat Mexican blend shredded cheese, and 1/3 large bottle Frank’s Red Hot sauce. Mix and microwave. Easy and classic.
My recipe comes once again from FlavorMosiac.com.
I have to say, my trial run went better than the real thing. My pasta was slightly dried out, and I put too much bleu cheese and mozzarella on top of the shells. Lesson for next time: Cook on site if possible.
These photos are from the trial run; you can see the slight difference between them here, and the photo up above.
Tara’s dish is a combination of recipes from HalfBakedHarvest.com and SkinnyTaste.com. She garnished the two with a mixture of half sour cream, half wing sauce, and tossed on some bacon, because, bacon.
Up next game night: to be determined! Suggestions welcome – both food and games!