January 2013 GangUp Challenge Results

Good morning All!

Are you ready to see the results of the latest Cooking Challenge?

Perfect…then let’s go, no sense dragging it out any longer…

The following creations will be displayed in the order of when I received them.

Up first is a man that certainly knows his way around a kitchen.  Which is a good thing for my daughter, as this fellow is her husband, and without him, she would be eating cheese and crackers the rest of her life.  He certainly makes sure she is well taken care of…meanwhile, he was so excited to join in this time, that he spent 4 solid days thinking, planning, tossing out ideas, then thinking some more….until he came up with a menu and a plan…and boy, did his plan work out beautifully! 

Pan seared garlic and thyme marinated quail with leek crostini.

6 quail, breast bone and rib cage removed
6 cloves garlic, minced
1tbsp dried thyme leaves
3 tbsp.  Olive oil
1 leek
1 whole wheat baguette
Salt and Pepper to taste.

In a small bowl, combine garlic, thyme, salt, pepper and olive oil. After de-boning the quail, place in a shallow dish skin down, sprinkle a little more salt and pepper and spread marinade over top.  Cover and leave in the fridge at least 4 hours.

Thinly slice leek and sauté.
Slice baguette on an angle, toast and butter.

In a very hot and prepared skillet, cook the quail five minutes per side.  When done the meat should be easily shredded by hand.

Top the bread with leeks and shredded quail and bake at 350 degrees for another five minutes. 

Roasted garlic butternut squash and tomato soup with toasted pecans

1 butternut squash
2 bulbs garlic
2 tomatoes
4 cups of milk
¼ cup butter
1 /2 package of pecans
Salt and pepper to taste

Peel, de-seed and cube ¾ of the butternut squash, cover and bake at 350 degrees in an oiled cookie sheet for 1 hour.  

Cut tops off of garlic place in dish and drizzle with oil, cover and bake for ½ hour at 350 degrees.  Place whole tomatoes in a dish, drizzle with oil for ½ hour.  In a large sauce pan melt ¼ cup of butter, add 4 cups of milk and warm.

In a blender puree squash, tomatoes, (skin removed), and garlic (skin removed) blend till smooth, if too thick, at warm milk to mixture.  Once smooth add to pot with milk and butter and whisk until blended, salt and pepper to taste. Allow to simmer. 

In a separate pot take last quarter of cubed squash boil until cooked drain and mash, and then add to soup mixture for texture.  Toast pecans, serve soup use as garnish. 

Creamed penne with sautéed leek and fresh tomato

2 leeks
1 tomato
Bread crumbs
2 cups Milk
¼ cups Butter

In a sauce pan cook penne in salted water until al dente.  Slice leeks, sauté, and dice tomato.  Once pasta is cooked drain and rinse. 

In a separate sauce pan melt butter add milk and whisk until warm.  In a deep baking dish combine penne, leek and tomato, stir in milk and butter, cover with bread crumbs, cover dish and bake at 350 degrees for ½ hour, (I think). 

Serve hot and top with toasted pecans. 


I love his presentation!  Utilizing the leek leaves as garnish and plate dressings showcases his sumptious menu!  Well Done!

Thank you Scott for joining in – you have impressed your MIL…not easy to do as you know! 🙂


Next up is Linda, an internet gal-pal I have known for a couple of years.  She is funny, witty and never one to shy away from a challenge, even if it doesn’t turn out like she planned…she gives new meaning to the words ‘Give the ‘Ol College Try’…

Baked Pasta with Chicken, Goat Cheese and Butternut Squash

1 Cup cooked chicken breast, chopped
3 Cups cooked tri-color penne
5 oz roasted butternut squash, mashed
2 oz herb and garlic goat cheese
1 clove garlic, pressed
1/4 Cup milk
2 oz grape tomatoes, halved
pinch rubbed thyme, or to taste
2 Tbl chopped pecans
2 tsp bread crumbs
olive oil

Preheat oven to 350 and spray a small baking dish (4×7) with olive oil to coat (Thanks for the opportunity to use my cute, new dish and my new Misto).
Spray a small skillet with olive oil and cook the garlic on low for a minute or two. Add the goat cheese, milk and thyme, and stir until cheese is melted and sauce is smooth. Remove from heat and stir in the squash and chicken. Gently fold in the pasta and tomatoes and spread in prepared baking dish.  In a small bowl, combine nuts and bread crumbs with a light coating of olive oil, set aside. Bake covered for about 20 minutes, remove cover and sprinkle pecan mix ove th etop. Bake another 10 min or until topping is toasted.

I always love to add Linda’s personal comments to go along with her creations, as she then gets an opportunity to explain just how she came up with her ideas…

“I hesitate to blend unfamiliar flavors into one dish, but I was channeling a creative baked ziti type thingy.  I think my ratios were a little off (or maybe a lot, haha) because the goat cheese hid the squash flavor. It was still pretty good but not something I would make again. It did not all fit in the dish so I had about 1.5 cups that I stuck in the fridge for lunch the next day. It wasn’t as good without the nuts. Who knew that would work? :)”

gangup jan 2013


We did have 3 others that pledged to participate, but after passing along a reminder to them last week, they bowed out due to time constraints…or perhaps they were scared of the ingredients?  No worries, they can catch the next one.

So without further ado….here is yours truly…

I did utilize all 10 ingredients, and added 2, spinach and oregano.

Spinach & Garlic Stuffed Chicken 


1 boneless, skinless chicken breast, butterflied
2 cups fresh, baby spinach leaves
1 clove garlic, minced
¼ cup finely chopped pecans
¼ cup bread crumbs
3Tbsp. milk
2 tsp. Olive Oil
S and P to taste

Heat olive oil in a large skillet, add garlic and spinach and sauté quickly until spinach is wilted; remove from heat and set aside.

Open out chicken breast and evenly spread spinach and garlic mixture on one half of the chicken breast.  Fold over and secure with toothpicks.  In 2 shallow dishes, place milk in one and combing breadcrumbs and pecans in the other; dip chicken in milk, then roll in the breadcrumb/pecan mixture.

Bake in a 375F oven for 30-40 minutes, depending on the thickness of your chicken.

Butternut Squash & Thyme Ravioli

Pasta Sheets (or make your own pasta dough)
1 Butternut Squash, roasted, cooled and flesh mashed
2 Tbsp. chopped, fresh Thyme
S and P to taste

In a medium bowl, combine mashed squash and fresh thyme, mix well.

On a floured surface, lay out pasta sheets.  Spoon a heaped tablespoon of filling spaced apart evenly onto the pasta sheets.  Cover with another layer of pasta and then using a ravioli cutter or pizza cutter, cut into squares.  Seal and pinch edges of ravioli’s together.

Heat a large pot of salted water to boiling, gently drop ravioli’s in; cook, stirring often for about 5 minutes, or until they float to the surface. 

Fresh Tomato Sauce

5 Roma Tomatoes
1 Tbsp. each chopped, fresh Thyme and Oregano
S and P to taste

Skin tomatoes and chop roughly; place in a large skillet and cook until tomatoes break down and liquid starts to cook off.  When desired consistency has been reached, add S & P and then the herbs.  Heat through; then remove from heat.

To Plate:

Place sauce in the middle of serving plate, top with sliced chicken and ravioli’s. 
Serve HOT.


So that’s it for another rendition of the GangUp Cooking Challenge.  Give a nice round of applause to those who taxed themselves in the kitchen.  Feel free to give their recipes a try as well – even tweak them now that the ‘rules’ don’t apply…you never know, you may just find a keeper!

We shall take a break for a couple months to recuperate, but then we will come back with a fabulous Spring Challenge!

Until Then….Stay Tuned!

7 thoughts on “January 2013 GangUp Challenge Results

  1. Beautiful job everyone! Time, energy, and life had a way of catching up to me this time around. I also speak for Suzannah on this. Most definitely next go around we’ll be there with bells on. Or is that, spatulas in hand and aprons securely tied? 🙂

    • The West coast representation was definitely MIA this time around….sorry you were not able to join in, hope things look up from here!

  2. Yes indeed! Beautiful job everyone! I intended to participate, but life very suddenly has gotten very busy for me. I especially loved the ingredient list this time around too. Hopefully next time. Great presentation too Deb! Candice

  3. Wow! What wonderful recipes, presentations and pix!! I have my tail between my legs but look forward to the next one! 😉 Everyone did a beautiful job!!

    • alrighty chica – next time around, I will drag you kicking and screaming off the golf course in order for you to participate… 😀

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *