Malmstrom's Missile, DFAC Chefs compete in first 2011 competition

  • Published
  • By Staff Sgt. Dillon White
  • 341st Missile Wing Public Affairs Office
Airmen in chef whites teamed together and competed under their squadron colors Tuesday afternoon during the first Warrior Chef competition of 2011 in the Elkhorn Dining Facility.

Senior Airman Anastasia Miller and Airman 1st Class Estrella Zapata Miles, missile chefs from the 12th Missile Squadron, took the win for the Red Dawgs with a spinach-stuffed chicken breast and baked macaroni and cheese. Both included the mandated ingredient of the event, cheese.

"This was the first time I made it," said Airman Zapata Miles nonchalantly about the stuffed chicken breasts. "I found it on Google and I liked the recipe. The mac and cheese dish was [Airman] Miller's idea -- it's a homemade recipe of hers. They both turned out great."

The two worked quickly, boiling pasta and ensuring the macaroni and cheese ingredients for Airman Miller's proprietary dish were combined perfectly. Then, they filleted the chicken and added the spinach stuffing; a mix of spinach, sour cream, pepper jack cheese, minced garlic cloves and black pepper. Then it was rolled into the breasts and a wrap of bacon was woven around the outside.

Despite having never made this dish before, both Airmen appeared as though they had been practicing this dish their entire lives and were outwardly confident it would be delicious.

Not only were Airmen Zapata Miles and Miller from the same squadron, but they also worked in the DFAC together when they first arrived at Malmstrom.

"I think having worked with her before made us a better team," Airman Zapata Miles said. "It gave us an advantage."

With both dishes in the oven, they stood attentively, occasionally stealing glances into the convectional heat.

"I really hope they like this," said Airman Miller while looking into the oven, smiling.

The two also discussed how they would present their dishes to the judges and practiced carrying empty plates near their work area. While they waited for their dishes to bake, they even took several minutes to speak to local media who were in the kitchen filming.

When it came time for the two to present their work, they carried their plates from the kitchen and stopped by the serving line to remove their hats and aprons. Airman Miller checked her hair in the reflection of a dessert case, and they stepped out to deliver their meal to the judges.

"This competition means a lot," said Brig. Gen. (sel) Anthony Cotton, 341st Missile Wing commander, who was seated in the audience. "Watching Warrior Chef Competition is no different than when you watch the Food Network and see these top chefs competing in the Iron Chef Competition. We have young Airmen working in the [341st Force Support Squadron,] the dining facility and our [missile alert facilities] who are producing incredible food. When I was a second lieutenant going to the field - not so much."

After the winners were announced, Brig. Gen. (sel) Cotton coined the participants and Airmen Miller and Zapata Miles were presented award plaques cleverly affixed to frying pans. The two will also have their names engraved on the Warrior Chef trophy.



Spinach-stuffed chicken breast with baked macaroni and cheese

10 oz. package fresh spinach
½ c sour cream
½ c shredded pepperjack cheese
4 cloves garlic, minced
4 skinless, boneless chicken breasts pounded to ½ inch thickness
Pinch ground black pepper
8 slices of bacon

Preheat oven to 375 degrees F. Place spinach in large glass bowl and microwave three minutes, stirring every minute or so until wilted. Stir in sour cream, pepperjack cheese and garlic. Lay chicken breast out on a clean surface and spoon some of the spinach mixture onto each one. Foll up the ckicken to enclose the spinach, then wrap each chicken breast with two slices of bacon. Secure with toothpicks, and arrange in a shallow baking dish. Bak uncovered for 35 minutes in the preheated oven, then increase the heat to 500 degrees F or use the oven's broiler for an additional 5 to 10 minutes to brown the bacon.

Baked macaroni and cheese

8x8 foil pan
Small block of Velveeta cheese, cut into small cubes
1 package Kraft Deluxe sliced cheese (not individually wrapped), cut into small cubes
4 eggs, beaten
1 can Carnation evaporated milk
Salt and Pepper
1 lb. elbow macaroni cooked

Mix all ingredients together and bake for one hour at 350 degrees F.