Sunday, June 17, 2012

Next Food Network Star: Challenge #5

It's Sunday! Time to pop some corn, pour a soda, and get comfy on the couch... tv remote in one hand, laptop opened to Twitter in the other. 9:00 pm EST... The Next Food Network Star! And, here on the blog... time to play along with last week's challenge. Here it is per The Food Network's episode synopsis...

A Food Network Star must be ready at any moment for Food Network to ask them to participate in a television special; this week, each team will do just that. Each finalist will have to create and perform a live, themed television special based on a holiday or event. Food Network Star season two winner Guy Fieri hosts each special and gives feedback on which team and individuals performed the best.

Each of the three teams were given one of the following themes: Halloween, Cooking with Kids, and Game Day. So, we tossed them in a hat and got this...


Halloween? Ummm... yes, please! Team Alton was dealt Halloween, and I'm totally Team Alton all the way! He has the most unqiue individuals on his team, and their POV's are the most appealing to me. My favorites are Justin, Emily, and Judson (although he was, in my opinion, unjustly eliminated last week). He made this vegetarian chili that sincerely made me want to crawl right through the television screen and scarf down a bowl! It sounded that great. Justin made fried fish skeletons... uber creative, and Halloween-y. And, although the initial thought of munching away on fish bones was unappealing to me, they ended up sounding plenty tasty. Emily canned applesauce. See? My kid of girl... CANNING! And, Martie made hot wings. 

I had grand plans of making this full Halloween spread. But, things have been a bit out of sorts around here this week. Out of sorts in a good way. The Mr. is on block-leave from the military after being deployed for the last 9 months. I hardly ever get to enjoy having him home for 2 straight weeks. Plus, my littles have been gone to their grandparents' since last Friday. Never do I get him to myself for 7 straight days. Never. It has been great fun, and we thoroughly enjoyed our time together. But, I'm a girl that tries to stick with her commitments, so here we are. One recipe pegged down. But, it's a good one. All the creepy-crawliness of Halloween. Tasty to children and adults alike. Simple, simple, simple to make!

This recipe has been a family favorite since I was a little girl...

See? Serve 'em up in little flower pots? Fun idea for a Halloween party! You could get super-crafty with it and decorate the pots. Then dessert and a party favor! And, don't think for one minute that I didn't have every intention of decorating those pots. I can't stray from my crafty roots forever. It is, afterall, what this blog was born from. But, again with that time-with -the-Mr. thing!

Dirt Cake
2 (15.35 oz) pkgs Oreos, crushed
1 lg pkg vanilla instant pudding
3 1/2 C cold whole milk
1 stick butter, softened
1 (8 oz) pkg cream cheese, softened
1 C confectioner's sugar
1 lg. tub Cool Whip
1 pkg. gummy worms

Start by crushing the Oreos. I dump the entire container of cookies into a sealable plastic bag, set it on top of a hard, flat surface and use a rolling pin to crush the cookies into bits. This is a great stress-reliever. If you don't feel like simply rolling over the cookies... take the rolling pin, and whack the heck out of 'em!

Whisk the instant pudding and milk together for 2 minutes; set aside for 5 minutes to soft-set the pudding. I know the package insists that only 3 C of milk is needed. Ignore that. You want a different consistency.

Either in a stand-mixer with the paddle attached, or with a hand-mixer, combine butter, cream cheese and powdered sugar until smooth.

If using a stand-mixer, switch to the whisk. Add the pudding mixture to the creamed butter mixture. Mix, starting on low speed and working up to high until smooth.

Fold in the Cool Whip with a spatula. Now, grab your pots (I've also served this in plastic beach pails and regular trifle dishes). If there is a hole in the bottom of the pot, just place a piece of duct tape over it.  Place the pots on a baking sheet to contain any pesky, stray cookie crumbs. Start with a layer of crushed Oreos on the bottom of the pot. 

Pour a layer of the pudding mixture on top. Repeat with another layer of cookies, then another layer of pudding.

End with a layer of cookies on top. Adorn with some creepy-crawly gummy worms, and you're done!

Now, I know that the contestants were responsible for presenting their dish as well. Although, being in front of a camera is a bit unnerving, I had planned to play along. This time, it has nothing to do with time-with-the-Mr. He is quite supportive (after all, it was HIS idea for me to do this whole play-along gig in the first place). He was going to film it for me. This time it is about the logistics of filming in my ridiculously small kitchen, and the fact that every. single. counter. faces a wall. There is a huge open space in the middle that is totally going to waste. I'm trying to save up money for one of these soon. Problems with filming in my kitchen? Eliminated.

In the meantime, give these little pots full of creepy deliciousness a go! They might look like your 3 year old took a shovel to your garden right after a rain storm, but they taste like fluffy, cookies-and-cream heaven!

Don't forget to check back on Wednesday while we play catch-up with Challenge #3. Now. If you'll excuse me... it's time for The Next Food Network Star!

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