Jamie Andrade
Michael Lalagos
26, Elk Grove Village
Favorite TV chef: Bobby Flay

Spaghetti with Sauteed Canadian Bacon in a Grapefruit White Sauce

  • 1/4 cup Quaker Oats Old Fashioned Oats
  • Garlic powder
  • 1 grapefruit
  • Onion powder
  • Salt and pepper
  • 1 pound dry spaghetti
  • 1 pound 10-12 count sea scallops
  • 1 tablespoon butter
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 20-30 grape tomatoes
  • 4-5 slices Rose Packing Co. Canadian bacon
  • 2 green onions
  • 1/3 cup white wine
  • 3-4 tablespoons fresh goat cheese
  • Fresh basil, chopped (optional)

Heat oven to 350 degrees.

Spread the oats onto a baking sheet pan in a single layer. Sprinkle evenly with garlic powder and place in a 350 degree oven for about 10 minutes to toast. Once cooled, chop finely; this will become a breadcrumb-like topping for the dish.

Cook pasta according to package directions.

Juice half the grapefruit into a bowl. Add a few shakes of garlic powder, onion powder and a pinch each of salt/pepper. Add the scallops to marinate 15-60 minutes.

In a non-stick pan or skillet over medium heat, add the butter and olive oil. Cut the tomatoes in half and cut the Canadian bacon into 1/4-inch cubes and add both to the butter mixture. Slice the green onions up to the white part and add into the mixture as well. Season with salt and pepper and saute for 4-5 minutes. Add the juice from the remaining half of the grapefruit and season with garlic powder and onion powder - a few good shakes each. Cook 2 to 3 minutes and then add in the white wine. Bring to a boil then reduce heat and allow to simmer for 4 to 5 minutes. Add in 2 tablespoons of the goat cheese and mix slowly, allowing the cheese to melt into the sauce.

Drain the pasta, making sure to leave a spoonful or two of pasta water in the bottom of the pot. Pour the pasta directly into the sauce pan and toss until evenly coated.

In a separate stainless steel frying pan over medium high heat, drizzle a small amount of olive oil, just enough to barely coat the pan. Remove the scallops from the marinade and sear for about 3 minutes per side. They should be slightly firm and be nicely browned when finished.

Pour the pasta into a serving dish and top with the seared scallops. Top with the garlic toasted oats and crumble the remaining goat cheese on top. You can top with chopped basil if you have some handy to add some freshness and color.

Serves five to six.

Contestant's Recipe from the First Round

Root Beer-Glazed Round Steak Braciole with Roasted Red Potatoes in a Root Beer-Tomato Sauce

  • 1 pound beef round steak (preferably top round)
  • 3-4 medium parsnips
  • 1 orange
  • 1 bottle (12 ounces) Gale's Root Beer
  • 1 pound baby red potatoes
  • 1 tub (15 ounces) ricotta cheese
  • 1 bunch fresh spinach
  • 4 tablespoons butter
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced or finely chopped
  • 1 shallot, finely chopped
  • 2 tablespoons finely diced bell pepper
  • 1 can (28 ounces) peeled whole tomatoes
  • 1 sprig fresh rosemary
  • 1 sprig fresh thyme
  • 1 sprig fresh oregano
  • 1 bunch fresh basil, plus more for garnish
  • 1 teaspoon olive or canola oil
  • 1/2 teaspoon beef bouillon granules
  • Salt, pepper, garlic powder, to taste
  • Pecorino romano, for garnish

The round steak should be about 1 1/2 inches thick. Take a sharp knife and slice it lengthwise about one-third of the way down, almost to the end of the meat. Turn the knife and continue slicing the opposite direction so you can unfold the steak into one long thin piece. Cover the steak with a piece of plastic wrap and pound flat using a mallet (or a rolling pin works in a pinch!). Place in a large dish and season with salt, pepper and orange zest. Top with half the rosemary and squeeze the juice from half of the orange over the meat; flip the steak over and season the opposite side the same way. Let marinate for at least 30 minutes or overnight.

Peel the parsnips and trim the very ends off. Cut into 2- to 3-inch pieces (cutting any fatter pieces in half for even cooking). Place the parsnips in a pot of boiling water and add the orange peels. Boil 8-10 minutes until soft; remove to cool. Cut the potatoes into eighths and add into the same boiling water. Cook 5 minutes; remove from water and set aside to cool.

While the potatoes boil, mash the parsnips (or quickly pulse in a food processer or blender). Chop half the basil, oregano and thyme together and add a few pinches of the herb mix into the mashed parsnips (reserve at least 1 teaspoon herbs for the sauce). Add the ricotta, salt, pepper a pinch of garlic powder. Mix and set aside.

In a saucepan, melt the butter. Add chopped garlic, shallot, bell pepper and a pinch of salt - let soften for 2 to 3 minutes. Add 9 ounces of rootbeer. Open the can of tomatoes and add the juice to the pot. Using your hands, squish the tomatoes into the sauce so they are chunky (I squish them in the can to eliminate the mess and splatter). Add in remaining herb mixture, salt and pepper to taste. Bring to a boil, reduce heat and let simmer uncovered for 8-10 minutes.

Heat oven to 250 degrees.

Lay the steak on a flat surface. Spoon the parsnip/ricotta mixture evenly over the entire surface of the steak (leaving about 1/4 inch to roll) - you don't need to use all the mixture, just enough to cover the meat and fill the roll (about 1/4 inch thick is good). Using only the spinach leaves, layer them generously over the parsnip mixture. Starting at one end, slowly roll the meat making sure to keep as much of the stuffing inside as possible. Secure with twine or toothpicks.

Heat a small amount of oil in a pan over med high heat (just enough to coat - I usually pour a small amount into the pan and wipe with a paper towel so it's just barely coated - you want it to sear, not fry the meat). Place seam side down and let sear for 2 to 3 minutes. Carefully flip over and sear the other side as well.

Place the meat into a large baking dish (preferably one with a glass cover). Add potatoes next to the meat in the same dish and pour the sauce over the top. Cover and cook 60-90 minutes.

About 10 minutes before you are going to pull the dish out of the oven, start remaining butter in a sauce pan over med-low heat. Pour in the remaining root beer into the pan, add the beef bouillon, black pepper, salt and a pinch of garlic powder. Let reduce until it becomes a glaze - making sure to keep a close eye on it because it can burn quickly - reduce the heat as needed. The consistency should be thin enough to pour, but thick enough to hold to the spoon when dipped in. If it starts to bubble or get too thick, you can always put in a little water.

Place the meat in a serving dish with potatoes and drizzle liberally with the rootbeer glaze. Grate a little bit of pecorino romano on top and sprinkle with fresh basil.

Serves four.

32, Schaumburg
Favorite food personality: Anthony Bourdain

Oatmeal breaded pork chops stuffed with Canadian bacon and goat cheese with grapefruit reduction

  • Olive oil
  • 1 medium onion
  • 10-12 slices Rose Packing Co Canadian bacon
  • 1 cup baby spinach
  • 2 ounces fresh goat cheese
  • Salt and pepper
  • 1 cup Quaker oats Old-Fashioned oats
  • 1/2 cup Italian seasoned bread crumbs
  • 2 double thick cut pork chops, bone in or boneless
  • 2 eggs
  • 1/2 pound of fresh green beans
  • 1/2 cup freshly squeezed grapefruit juice
  • 2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
  • 2 tablespoons honey

Set a pan over medium high heat and add 2 tablespoons of olive oil. Finely dice onion and add to pan. Add salt and pepper. Saute onions until they begin to caramelize, about 5 to 6 minutes. Dice Canadian bacon, and add to onion. Since bacon is already cooked, saute for only 1 to 2 additional minutes. Take half of onion-bacon mixture and spoon into bowl, put aside. Rough chop the baby spinach, return pan to heat and add spinach. Cook about 1 minute or until spinach wilts. Pour mixture into another bowl, and add the goat cheese. The cheese will melt in the hot mixture, but stir the mix to incorporate everything. Set mixture aside to cool.

Heat oven to 350 degrees.

In a food processor, add whole oats and pulse until semi-fine. Add bread crumbs, 1/2 teaspoon of salt and 1/2 teaspoon of freshly ground pepper. Pulse 2 to 3 times to incorporate ingredients. Pour oatmeal mixture onto flat plate. Beat the eggs until frothy and pour onto a second plate.

Take a paring knife, laying the chop horizontal and insert into the rounded portion of the chop until the knife hits the bone. Make a deep pocket to hold the onion-cheese-spinach stuffing. With a small spoon or your hands, take stuffing mixture and insert into the pocket. Be careful to not overstuff, but put a toothpick diagonal along the opening to close if desired. Season both sides with salt and pepper and place chops on plate with egg wash and coat entire chop. Then place each chop into oatmeal mixture. Cover entire chop with mixture.

Place a large pan at medium-high and add 1 teaspoon olive oil. Shake off excess oatmeal off chops and place each chop in pan and saute each side about 2 to 3 minutes or until crust is golden brown. Place chops on oven pan covered with foil and cook for 25-30 minutes.

While chops are cooking, bring a large pot of water to a boil, and add pinch of salt. Add the green beans and boil for 3 minutes. Drain beans from pot, and pour into serving bowl. While beans are hot, add the bowl of reserved Canadian bacon and onion and stir to incorporate.

In a small saucepan, add grapefruit juice, balsamic vinegar and honey and bring to a simmer. Reduce by half or until thickens to syrup consistency.

Place cooked pork chop on plate (remove toothpick) and put a spoonful of green beans on side. Drizzle grapefruit reduction around pork chop and serve.

Serves two.

Contestant's Recipe from the First Round

Macadamia-Crusted Tilapia with Mango-Cherry Salsa with Black-Eyed Pea, Brown Rice and Butternut Squash Salad

  • 2 tilapia fillets
  • 1/4 cup raw macadamia nuts
  • 1/4 cup panko (Japanese bread crumbs)
  • 1 tablespoon chopped flat leaf parsley
  • Salt and fresh ground pepper to taste
  • 1 egg, beaten
  • 1 stick unsalted butter
  • 1/2 shallot, finely chopped
  • 1 lime, zested and juiced
  • 1 tablespoon chopped cilantro


  • 1 mango, peeled, pitted and finely diced
  • 1/2 jalapeno pepper, seeded and finely diced
  • 8-10 fresh cherries, pitted and diced
  • 2 tablespoons chopped cilantro
  • 1/2 small red onion, finely diced


  • 1 cup dried black-eyed peas
  • 1 cup cubed seeded butternut squash, cut into 1/2-inch cubes
  • 1 1/2 cups cooked brown rice
  • 1/2 cup thinly sliced red onion
  • 1/4 cup chopped green pepper
  • 3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 tablespoon fresh lime juice
  • 2 tablespoons chopped fresh basil
  • Salt and pepper to taste

For the salad: Soak peas in a bowl of water overnight to rehydrate. Drain and boil peas and boil in 4 cups of water in for 50-60 minutes, until cooked; drain and add to large bowl with the cooked rice.

Heat oven to 350 degrees.

Coat squash in olive oil, sprinkle with salt and pepper and roast on baking sheet for 25-30 minutes or until cubes are soft and can be easily pierced with a toothpick. Add squash to bowl along with the onion, green pepper and basil. Whisk olive oil and lime juice in separate bowl, add salt and pepper to taste. Add dressing to mixture and stir. (Can be made 2 to 3 hours ahead, let stand at room temperature.)

For the salsa: Combine all ingredients and mix, can also be made ahead of time, refrigerate.

For tilapia: Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Line baking sheet with aluminum foil.

Add nuts to a food processor and finely chop. Transfer nuts to a bowl with panko, parsley, salt and pepper. Take each fillet and coat in egg wash and then press into crust mixture.

In a saute pan, add olive oil over medium-high heat and saute fillet 3 minutes on each side, or until crust has become golden then transfer to prepared pan and finish in the oven for 8-10 minutes, or until fillets are firm to the touch.

While the fish cooks, melt butter over medium-high heat; add shallots, cilantro, lime juice and lime zest and simmer for 2 to 3 minutes. Salt and pepper to taste.

To serve: Divide rice salad between to plates, top with fillet. Spoon salsa on top of fillet and drizzle lime butter around tilapia.

Serves two.