Judges crop
“Chopped — Hot Dish Edition” first-place winner DeeDee Kennedy of Des Moines (third from left) poses with the judges and emcees. Pictured (left to right) are Eric Hanson, KCCI-TV; Dirk Pollitt, Nationwide; Kennedy; Nash Roe, Nash’s Confections; Food Bank of Iowa CEO Michelle Book; Lexi Marek Beeler, FarmHer; Brad Liggett, Nationwide; and Cassandra Hyatt, Iowa State Fair.

DES MOINES, Iowa (Aug. 21, 2023) — DeeDee Kennedy of Des Moines won first place in Food Bank of Iowa’s “Chopped — Hot Dish Edition” casserole competition, sponsored by Nationwide, on the final day of the 2023 Iowa State Fair.

Kennedy’s “Holy Moly Mostaccioli” bake, featuring pasta, pork sausage and vegetables, took top honors for its flavor, affordability and creative use of ingredients. She received a $1,000 cash prize provided by Nationwide and is generously donating her winnings to Food Bank of Iowa. (Kennedy also won first place for cinnamon rolls at this year’s Iowa State Fair after entering for 20 years.)

Second prize in the casserole contest went to Sarah Olson; third prize to Maggie Stalzer and honorable mention to Rachael Petersen.

Winning recipes will be added to the online Chopped — Hot Dish Edition cookbook.

The third annual competition challenged entrants to create simple, affordable, delicious recipes using ingredients easily obtainable by food pantry guests. Entries had to cost $5 or less per serving, be made in 60 or fewer minutes and include one ingredient from each of six categories: starch, sauce, protein, vegetable, topping and seasoning.

Judges were KCCI-TV anchor Eric Hanson; Lexi Marek Beeler, FarmHer; Dirk Pollitt and Brad Liggett, Nationwide; and Cassandra Hyatt, Iowa State Fair. Emcees were Food
Bank of Iowa CEO Michelle Book and teen baking entrepreneur Nash Roe, who was featured on season 11 of Food Network’s “Kids Baking Championship.”

RECIPE: DeeDee Kennedy’s winning “Holy Moly Mostaccioli

8 ounces mostaccioli (uncooked) — or 3 1/2 cups cooked
1 1/2 pounds bulk pork sausage
1/2 cup chopped onion
1/4 cup chopped green pepper
1 clove garlic, minced
10 ounces frozen or fresh corn (two ears)
1 (14.5-ounce) can tomatoes, cut up
1 (6-ounce) can tomato paste
1/2 cup water
1/4 teaspoon dried oregano, crushed
1/8 teaspoon black pepper
6 ounces (1 1/2 cups) shredded cheddar cheese
8 fresh basil leaves, whole or torn in smaller pieces for garnish

In a saucepan, cook pasta according to package directions. Drain.

Meanwhile, in a 12-inch skillet, cook sausage, onion, green pepper and garlic until meat is brown and onion is tender. Drain off any fat.

Stir undrained tomatoes, tomato paste, water, oregano, corn and pepper into the skillet mixture. Stir in cooked pasta.

Spoon half of the mostaccioli mixture into a 3-quart casserole. Sprinkle with half of the cheese. Top with the remaining mostaccioli mixture. Bake in a 350 degree oven for 35 minutes. Sprinkle with the remaining cheese. Bake about five minutes more or until cheese melts. Garnish with torn basil leaves.

Yield: 8 servings
Cost per serving: $2.02

About Food Bank of Iowa

Established in 1982, Food Bank of Iowa provides nutritious food for Iowa children, families, seniors and veterans to lead full and active lives, strengthening their communities. Serving 55 of Iowa’s 99 counties, Food Bank of Iowa delivers 21 million pounds of food (more than 17.5 million meals) to its 700 partners annually. Learn more at foodbankiowa.org.

Media contact:

Annette Hacker, VP communications, Food Bank of Iowa, 515-867-2885, ahacker@foodbankiowa.org