Do you ever run out of fun ideas for what to do when you hang out with your friends? Are you a foodie bunch? If so, try spicing up the old get-together routine by planning a fun cook-off party. Hopefully the home hosting this event will have a decently stocked kitchen (things like salt, pepper, olive oil, milk, flour, and sugar) but the rest of the participants should also chip in needed ingredients. Here are some of my favorite ideas.
Iron Chef cook-off
This type of cook-off is not for the picky eater and chef, as you might end up having to use a secret ingredient that you hate. And if you use really safe ingredients, then where would the fun be? A few secret ingredients from the first season of Iron Chef America are mushrooms, squash, potatoes, and cheese. And an ingredient from season 2 that I would definitely have a cook-off for is pizza dough. Think garlic knots, pepperoni bites, and calzones. The best way to choose the secret ingredient is by having each contestant choose two ingredients in the kitchen. Write each one down on a piece of paper, put it in a pile, mix up the choices, and see what choice is drawn. If you want to stick to the show, give yourselves an hour to cook. You can even get someone to be the food commentator. No Iron Chef is complete without a uniform. Seeing as how chef jackets are a little on the pricey side, a standard apron should get the job done. You can buy a well-reviewed white bib apron on Amazon.com for only $3.95. If you are the one hosting the cook-off party, then this would make a nice party favor. If you can sew, you might want to sew the names into each contestant’s apron. The winner can receive a chef hat, also available for purchase on Amazon for $8.88.
This type of cook-off will have minimal planning. When my friend and I used to be bored at home, we’d rummage in the kitchen for things that we could turn into a meal. One time I made a salad with strawberry vinaigrette and she made me a PB&J sandwich with expired jelly, but that’s beside the point. You can either decide to let creativity brew in your heads or allow each other to cheat a little via your laptops as there are many resources for cooking, like allrecipes.com. There is also recipematcher.com , which lets you find a recipe based on the ingredients in your pantry. You can even narrow down results by choosing what type of cuisine you’d prefer to cook.
Thanksgiving leftovers cook-off
This is a great way to have a cook-off party as you won’t have to go out and buy ingredients. And everyone knows the feeling of getting bored from having a week of Thanksgiving leftovers, so why not make a fun contest out of it? Leftover potatoes can be made into baked potato and sweet potato soup while turkey and other meats can be reinvented into countless things like sandwiches, tacos, burgers and pot pies. Leftover cranberries can be made into tarts. Again you can use allrecipes.com to help you out with ideas.
If you want to make this game a little more serious, then you might want to figure out a judging system. Allow all the participants of the cook-off party to vote, the only rule being that a person can’t vote for themselves. Or if a good number of spectators join the party, they can be the ones to decide the winner. When it comes down to it though, the cook-off should be all about having fun, so don’t sweat it too much. Don’t forget to share your cooking creations with everyone, and make sure no one in the group has a major food allergy. If they do, then be sure to omit said ingredient from the cook-off plans to avoid a trip to the hospital.