I am a HUGE Food Network junkie and have always dreamed of being in a food competition. Well, yesterday I had my shot! Well, almost. We stayed the week in the Marriott in Park City and one of their activities during the week was an Iron Chef competition. Our family LOVES to cook so we thought this would be a fun activity. We had three teams..my two sisters on one team, Diana & me on another, and then all of our kids on their own team. We met in the lobby of the hotel, were given our ‘secret’ ingredient of refried beans and we were on our way! It was funny how intense it was. Thanks to the Mock Cafe Rio Salad meal I made earlier in the week we couldn’t have been given a better ingredient. Diana and I whipped together an entire enchilada in less than 45 minutes. We are calling it Enchilada Extraordinaire! We had everything in our enchiladas from pulled pork, our spicy Black Bean Salsa, queso dip, pepper jack cheese, salsa, refried beans, cream cheese, cheddar cheese, cilantro, guacamole, etc….wow! Pretty much everything but the kitchen sink! We were quite pleased however with the end product. It was spicy..but delicious!

Although we put our sweat & tears into our enchilada, our children’s Refried Bean Cupcakes won the prize. These were a huge hit! They replaced the 1/3 c. oil in the cake mix with a 1/3 c. of refried beans. I knew of this trick but wasn’t sure the refried beans in a Cherry Chip cake mix would work, but it did! They were delicious! So, if you ever need to cut a few calories for a dessert and need a way to use up those beans in your storage, try these food storage cupcakes.

Food Storage Bean Cupcakes
1 cake mix
1 1/4 c. water
1/3 c. smashed beans (refried beans, black beans, white beans, kidney beans, etc.)
3 eggs
3 T. sour cream (helps make them a little more moist–optional)

Mix ingredients together and bake as box directs. Frost as usual.

Here are the four Iron Chef competitors:
*Refried Bean Cupcakes
*7 Layer Dip *Enchilada Extraordinaire (my family was laughing at me–I can’t do things in small portions, I had to crank out an entire 9×13 enchilada when we just ate dinner…that is so my style!)
*Pork Verde & Refried Beans with Bacon and Green Chilies

The kids were thrilled their cupcakes won their parents!!

Put together your own family Iron Chef Event! It was SO much fun and would be an awesome family activity or even a great date night idea. Get a few families or couples together, choose a mystery ingredient, separate for an hour or two, come back together with your finished product, have them be judged and enjoy eating your creations. We were surprised at how fun this activity was!

For those in the Park City Area, there is a free activity your family might LOVE! If you hike from the bottom of the Alpine slide, there is a trail that goes straight up the mountain to the top of the Payday Ski lift. We figure it is about a 2-3 mile hike and takes about 1 1/2 hours (if you have 5 three year olds like we did). For those people who hike to the top of the mountain you get a FREE ride down the ski lift. The ride down the mountain on the ski lift takes 45 minutes and is SO beautiful and relaxing..the perfect pay off to a long hike. Bring a lunch and make a day event out of it. The views are breathtaking and it was a great family activity–even with 10 kids under the age of 10!

Another free event in Park City Utah is the Olympic Park. We took the kids there to watch the Olympic athletes practice their jumps on the ramps. The kids loved to watch their spins in the air, jumps, and landings. The adults went on the Zipline and the Alpine slide while the children could watch from below (those rides did cost money). It was a really fun activity!

Have a great last few weeks of summer!