Winner winner chicken dinner

Faith Bemiss

February 20, 2014

I couldn’t think of a better way to spend a Thursday afternoon than to judge a chicken recipe contest featuring the food service personnel from the Sedalia School District 200.

I, and fellow judges, District Communications Director Bob Satnan, Assistant Superintendent Steve Triplett, and Smith-Cotton High School football coach John Hanson delved into 11 delicious dishes, making it difficult to select a winner.

The winner for this year’s contest was Pam Petree, the kitchen manager at Parkview Elementary School, with her Loaded Chicken Tater Tot Casserole, made with a spattering of a special, tasty ingredient.

“There’s sour cream, gravy and diced chicken, and of course cheese,” she said. “And what makes it special is the bacon.”

The contest is an annual event of Opaa! Food Management Inc., and was sponsored by Tyson Foods. Rowena Nickell, director of nutrition services for the district, organized the event.

Since the district level contest was sponsored by Tyson, the women had certain chicken selections to choose from to make their entry such as fajita strips, golden crispy chicken, hot and spicy tenders and breaded fillets.

Taking second place was Fajita Chicken made by Karen Beach, with food services at Smith-Cotton High School, and third place was Chicken Quesadilla made by Debbie Petree, with food services at Smith-Cotton Junior High School.

The women were creative with the entries with some being a bit spicy, such as the Cheesy Chipolte Chicken Casserole, some presented as a comfort food, such as the Chicken Pot Pie, and some with a touch of Italy like the Chicken Lasagna.

The entries were judged on taste, texture, presentation, acceptability of students and overall quality.

Petree’s recipe will now go on to compete in the regional competition. Nickell said the winner of the regional contest will be entered in the corporate Opaa! competition to be hosted in Sedalia this spring.

“We will take the winning dishes from each of our districts to that meeting and then see which ones go to national championship finals April 23,” she said.