Tonight on "The Great American Recipe"...
This week, we'll be focusing on ready-to-go meals.
These are my go-to handheld dishes because these are so portable, easy to make.
Take a look around.
You've got 3 empty tables behind you.
It's important to just really bring it now.
He is going in a completely different direction than anything we've seen before.
Oh, that's beautiful.
There were so many delicious dishes tonight, but we all agreed the most successful dish is... ♪ Alejandra: What is a great recipe?
Are they the dishes that are passed down to us through generations of home cooking?
Bambi: I love to make my mom's honey turkey wings.
Alejandra: Are they the ones that tell the story of who we are and where we're from?
Silvia: I make mantecada.
It's like a Mexican muffin.
Tiffany: If this is what it feels like at your home, no matter what culture, no matter what type of cuisine, this type of comfort I understand.
Alejandra: Modern American home cooking has it all.
Dan: You have marinara sauce, you have pizza sauce, but you have Sunday gravy.
Foo: I'm making a crab meatball soup.
You guys asking for funk and some... [Laughter] There it is!
Alejandra: To discover the melting pot of dishes this country has to offer, we have invited 10 talented home cooks from regions across the united states to share the unique and heartwarming stories behind their most treasured recipes...
This is family.
Alejandra: and at the end of their journey, one home cook... You're passionate about flavor, and you respect your heritage.
That is a perfect recipe.
Alejandra: will be crowned the winner.
Our doors are open, and everyone's invited.
Welcome to "The Great American Recipe."
♪ [Pencil scratching] Tony: I'm feeling pretty anxious, pretty nervous.
Last week, I was on the bottom two and almost got eliminated.
Leah: Tony, while your dish overall didn't taste bad, I'm just expecting more from you in 90 minutes.
I have an uphill battle now.
I need to make sure that there's no mistakes, there's no miscues.
I'm going to give 110% effort and give these judges what they deserve.
[Cheering] ♪ I've been having really good days with a few challenges.
Alejandra: The most successful was... Silvia and her albondigas.
Silvia, voice-over: I'm a little worried because once you hit that high, there is nothing else but the bottom, right?
It's just going down, and I just want to keep presenting the best food I can make to the judges.
Hello, cooks, and welcome back to "The Great American Recipe"!
We're almost halfway there.
You must be feeling extremely proud.
Alejandra: You should be.
The remaining 7 of you are one step closer to being named the winner of "The Great American Recipe."
I really want the opportunity to prepare for the judges the finale dish, as well as everything in between.
I would love to be able to tell my stories through my food and share more of who I am.
Alejandra: As always, we're joined by our fantastic judges: Leah Cohen, Graham Elliot, and Tiffany Derry.
♪ Graham: At this point, we know that you have what it takes, but now we want you to go even higher, push yourselves more, and put that amazingness on the plate.
Remember, you need to utilize every minute that you have.
Alejandra: Last week, you put your heart on a plate and showed us how you express love through your food, and the dishes were just as wonderful as the stories that went along with them.
All right, cooks.
Want to know what you're making this week?
Alejandra: I thought so.
These days, it's hard to get everyone around the table for a meal, right?
There's work, school, kids activities.
The list goes on and on, but just because life keeps us busy, it does not mean we can't also have delicious meals.
[Indistinct chatter] This week, we'll be focusing on ready-to-go meals.
In this round, you'll have 60 minutes to prepare your favorite handheld recipe that can be enjoyed on the go.
Tiffany: Your dishes will be judged on taste, presentation, execution, and how well your dish showcased the theme.
Graham: All right.
We want to see all hands on deck for some amazing cooking.
Your 60 minutes starts...now.
♪ Silvia: Oh, I can smell the bacon.
So this week, I'm feeling confident because having the top dish last week, it is very validating.
There is no better feeling in the world.
I'm making BLT burritos.
It's just the perfect snack, especially when my kids go to sports.
When we go to, like, soccer games, when we go to the park, when--even we just need to go shopping and we're hungry and we just want to eat something on the go, this is perfect.
So I'm going to render the fat of the bacon, and I'm gonna use that as my fat for the tortillas.
I was thinking that it would be fun to have bacon, bacon, and bacon, which is bacon fat with bacon bits in a bacon tortilla and then put more bacon inside because who doesn't love bacon?
Making habanero mayo.
You need to put gloves on.
You cannot handle these with skin.
It's amazingly spicy, but they're so delicious because they have-- even though they're so spicy, they have this kind of fruity undertone.
♪ So when you mix it with the right ingredients, it takes on, like, a little fruitiness and a bit of spiciness.
I need to take into consideration everything that the judges has told me the past weeks and make sure the spiciness is in there because every time I made something was spicy or I thought it was spicy, they were like, "You need more spice!"
So for this, I wanted to really get in that kick of spice.
♪ Smells good back there, Brian.
Whare you making?
We're doing wings.
Brian, voice-over: So for my handheld dish, I'm making mustard maple chicken wings with sweet potato fries.
For my wife and I, it's kind of our go-to on-the-move meal.
Sometimes, we've been known to sneak them into the movie theater.
Don't tell anybody.
For these chicken wings, I'm going to toss them in some corn starch and salt.
That's going to tacky them up a little bit and give a better crisp on those wings.
First batch of wings go in the deep fryer, and I turn my attention to a mustard sauce for these chicken wings.
So this mustard sauce I'm making is pretty much an homage to my hometown.
I grew up in Northeast Ohio, a small town called Newbury.
We had tons of maple syrup.
I might end up spilling maple syrup everywhere.
What drew me to cooking was my family and friends, and my father was a legend.
He was a larger-than-life influence on my cooking style.
Outdoor parties at the lake, and he would make these all the time.
Big fan of the mustard sauce that we're making.
It has mustard, maple syrup, rosemary.
People are going to be like, "Chicken wings are not portable food."
Oh, that's beautiful.
Brian, voice-over: Chicken wings are handheld.
they are messy, but they're also pretty convenient, you know.
It depends on how you eat.
If you're a messy eater, don't do it.
If you can control yourself, do it.
Enjoy your life.
Brian: What are you doing over there, Robin?
Oh, I'm just playing with some leaves I picked off the trees outside.
I'm going to put something in them.
Ha ha ha!
Robin, voice-over: I'm going to be making dolmas.
It's something I've been making since I was a kid.
A dolma is a Middle Eastern dish.
It's a grape leaf wrapped with rice inside, and meat inside.
Alejandra: Hi, Robin.
Are you hungry?
I'm always hungry.
I was that weird mother that sent their kids to school with bag lunches with dolmas instead of peanut butter and jelly.
Not a weird mother.
An awesome mom!
The teachers liked me.
I think my kids probably traded them off for something else.
Ha ha ha!
Oh, come on.
So how do you prepare your grape leaves?
I really like barley in my grape leaves instead of rice.
I find a lot of times that the meat and the rice kind of separate a little bit inside the grape leaves, and we're going to have lamb, and we're going to roll those up, and a lot of lemon in there.
Sounds like a mix of traditional and being able to kind of put your spin on it, right?
Well, I'm excited that we're getting the lamb because lamb is one of my favorites.
Ha ha ha!
Is there any kind of sauce or anything like that, or-- Yes.
I'm going to have-- always have yogurt.
We grew up making our yogurt, so there's always yogurt with lamb, always, and a little bit of toasted pine nuts and some sun dried tomatoes on the top.
And, it's still easy enough-- Just dip.
You're not getting a fork or a knife from me.
OK, still easy enough to eat with your hand?
So I guess my only tip is just to make sure that, you know, the barley is cooked enough so that it doesn't, you know, fall apart as you eat it, right?
Because it almost acts like a little glue to hold all the goodies together.
I agree with you.
Ha ha ha!
I need to get these rolled and in the oven and make sure they're good enough to eat.
♪ Nikki: Watch out.
Citrus squeezers can be blinding.
I love salmon.
It's a staple, I grew up with it.
So I am making a salmon wrap with, hello, salmon, a peanut sauce schmear, cabbage, cilantro lime rice, and a roasted corn mixture that has basil, gorgonzola combined into an on-the go wrap, and I know it sounds weird.
I know it, but trust me, this hodgepodge makes sense once you taste it.
Seriously, this is what we eat on the go.
I wrap it in foil, and I make the kids eat this in the car.
This is like my carpool jam.
It actually came from a dinner where I had salmon, I had this roasted corn salsa going on, but then our family loves peanut sauce, so I had that as, like, a leftover, and it's become a staple in our house.
Oh, my gosh.
This smells so good.
♪ Judges wanted heat.
I'm feeling good.
I am not stressed, I'm not worried.
I feel fine, I feel comfortable.
The challenge is to make something that's portable, easy to-go dish, so I'm making a Vietnamese dish called goi cuon.
The English translation is spring rolls.
It's accompanied by a dipping sauce that's kind of sweet.
It's a hoisin peanut dipping sauce.
This is a great one to pick up when I pick the kids up from school and I'm trying to get them to eat some veggies.
They're portable, they're handheld, they're versatile.
You can add anything you want to fill up the spring rolls.
I first have to lightly boil pork loin in some salt and ginger, and then I also have to lightly boil in salted water some shrimp.
So while that's boiling, I'm prepping my vegetables.
The cucumber, carrots, as well as some romaine lettuce.
♪ Come on.
I remember the judges saying that I need to be more precise with what I'm cutting.
I love the pineapple in there.
I wish you cut it up a little bit smaller, so, you know, more bites could have more of that pineapple flavor.
We're going to break down some roasted peanuts to top off on our sauce.
You're making peanut sauce?
I'm doing a peanut sauce, yeah.
Oh, my gosh.
With hoisin, yeah.
Had I known.
I would not have gone up against you today.
Nikki, voice-over: Foo, what the heck?
You're the master.
Foo, voice-over: In my dipping sauce, I have sautéed shallots, peanut butter, hoisin sauce, some vinegar, as well as sriracha.
That sauce is not a typical goi cuon or spring roll dipping sauce, but I elevated with some spice.
Foo's funky spice.
Nikki, voice-over: I know my sauce is spot on.
Just taste really quick.
Nikki, voice-over: I've got lime juice, garlic, ginger in it.
I like it.
In fact, I love it.
It needs more salt I think.
It's very sweet.
All I can hear are judges, "Salt, salt, season, salt".
♪ Alejandra: 30 minutes, cooks.
♪ Tony: Welcome to "Cooking with Tony Here."
I'm your host Tony Sherber.
Today, we're making quesadillas.
Dan: Did you do it in your Midwestern voice?
[Minnesota accent] Oh, hi there.
My name is Tony Sherber.
Uh, today, we're making quesadillas.
It feels a little bit scary going into this week.
I know I have to crawl my way out again because last week I was in the bottom two.
The last thing I want to do is give these judges big, old chunks of beef when they're biting into it.
I am making my Korean beef quesadillas.
These are my go-to handheld dishes because these are so portable, easy to make.
I usually have tortillas, cheese, usually some leftover bulgogi in my fridge, so any time where I'm just kind of, like, lazy, on the go, busy after work, this is something I like to make.
I marinade the beef with a soy sauce, sesame oil, sugar, garlic, and green onions.
While the beef is marinading, I am cooking some onions and peppers.
[Sizzling] You know, I'm definitely wanting to make sure that I use all the time accordingly.
You know, every minute, every second is precious.
I am putting the peppers and onions on the quesadilla, so I'm making sure that those are nice and caramelized.
How are you doing over there, chef?
Dan: I think I'm doing all right.
Ha ha ha!
Dan, voice-over: My go-to handheld dish is a salsiccia with broccoli rabe, provolone cheese, and some roasted red peppers, and the salsiccia is just sausage in Italian, and provolone is provolone cheese in Italian.
A lot of people drop the end portion of that word, but the "e" at the end of an Italian word turns into an "a," so it's really "prov-o-lon-ay" cheese.
Where I would take this to is a tailgating sort of event, you know, like to football or something like that up in New England.
I mean, I'll take it on the road, too, if I have a real busy week.
I'm on the go a lot being in the fire department, so I'll take it on fire trucks.
The sausage is cooking.
My mother taught me how to cook sausage.
So you put some oil in the pan, you put the water in the pan, you turn it on, you get it up to boil.
You boil it about halfway, flip it over when the water is about half, finish it off, and then, your sausage is all the way cooked.
Now you just have to brown it at that point.
I think my biggest influence when it comes to cooking is my mother.
I would help my mother in the kitchen when she was cooking.
It was part of my upbringing since I was a little kid.
So what's going on right now is I'm hollowing out one side of the bread because there's nothing worse than a sandwich that you have so much bread in you can't even fit any of the contents.
Two kinds of rolls.
You can get a hard Italian roll, and you can get a soft Italian roll.
That's almost like the great pizza debate-- thin crust or, you know, deep dish.
The battle lines are drawn over this.
So it's a matter of guessing, you know, what would the judges like?
There's no way for me to know this, so I'm just going to give it to them pretty much the way I like my sandwiches, you know, and it's going to be a hard Italian roll.
♪ Silvia: My bacon is not cooking fast enough.
I'm making my own bacon flour tortillas for the BLT burritos.
I'm going to add bacon fat to my dough for the tortillas, but the bacon is taking its sweet time cooking, so I'm a little behind.
I'm a little concerned.
Oh my, gosh.
I burned my bacon.
Throw it away and start again.
Alejandra: Hi, Silvia.
How's it going?
Well, I burned my bacon.
So now I'm a little behind because I need fat for the tortillas.
I love that you're using the fat to make your own homemade tortillas.
Gonna give it such amazing flavor.
I mean, one time, I had, like, a bunch of fat in the house because we had our breakfast, and, I said, "What am I going to do with this?"
And, I said, "Oh, tortillas!"
So tell me, what was your inspiration behind a BLT burrito?
Well...my kids love burritos.
I mean, when they're picky eaters, can put something in a burrito, and they will eat it because they love flour tortillas.
They're always hungry, right?
They're not hungry when we leave the house for some reason, and then, we get in the car, like, "Mom, I'm hungry."
So I said, "OK, here."
Have it at the ready.
We're going to let you focus.
OK. See you very soon.
Ha ha ha!
♪ Alejandra: All right, we've got 15 minutes left.
♪ What's going on, Foo?
How are you doing, chefs?
I see shrimp.
I see kind of boiled meat.
Pork loin, yeah.
OK. We're going a Vietnamese spring roll called goi cuon.
A very handy, portable dish.
Versatile, as well.
You can put anything into it.
Foo, your girls must love this, right?
This is such a kid-friendly dish, And, your kids like pork and shrimp combination or...
My wife and I's goal in regards to food around the house is expose them to everything.
Because they don't know.
Kids don't know, right?
And it helps that the sauce is sweet.
Yeah, my kids love that.
It hides that veggie-- fresh veggie flavor.
So you want to make sure that the veggies are the proper size and consistent so that they're easy enough to eat with that bite, you know what I mean?
You don't want to grab ahold of something and it makes everything fall out.
So when you go through, if you're going to use this piece, make sure you don't use that piece you know what I mean?
Like, knife skills, life skills.
I would say when you're rolling it, you know, since it's translucent and you can see through it, you just want to make sure that they're evenly spaced and that we can see the mint and the cilantro and everything that you have and, of course, the beautiful pink shrimp.
Thank you, that's a very good tip.
Take a look around.
You've got 3 empty tables behind you, right?
That means people are going home, so I think it's important to just really bring it now, you know what I mean?
This is your time to shine.
Thank you very much.
Foo, voice-over: You have to wrap this very, very carefully because the rice paper will rip.
I never take any of the critique that the chefs give me negatively.
I absolutely embrace them.
It makes me a better home cook, but, you know, I'm used to cooking for a 5- and 7-year-old, and their critique is a little bit warmer.
They don't care.
our amazing home cooks continue to step it up.
Yeah, for sure.
So I think it's important at this point to stand out for the right reasons.
You don't want to always be the one that's at the bottom.
We have some, like Silvia and Dan, that are always bringing it, but, you know, the ones that stay in the middle, this is their time to pop, and Robin is one of those, you know.
So if I was Robin, I would make sure not only is it tasty, does it look great, but that for this round it is easy enough to eat.
This is about having food in your hand.
I don't want stuff falling apart.
I don't want sauces and garnishes all over the top.
So Brian looks like he is making wings, and we all know that chicken wings are a little tricky.
Not sure if I'm eating it on the go so much, but there are a lot of things about wings that we look for certain things in texture and flavor.
Are they baked wings, are they fried wings?
Are they sauced wings?
Are they battered wings, you know, and just wanting that perfection of crispiness and flavor.
It's kind of risky.
♪ Dan: I have to be very careful of my salt content today.
I'm worried about the salt because of all dishes that I'm doing, I'm doing broccoli rabe.
It usually requires a good amount of salt, so now I'm gun shy on the salt to begin with because now the judges are living rent free in my head, so now I'm adding a little salt, I'm tasting it, and I'm adding a little salt, I'm tasting it, and, I'm like "OK.
I'm good right here.
We're not salting anymore."
Broccoli rabe is not a very well-known vegetable outside of my area.
So it's a variety of broccoli really, but it's bitter.
People are either going to love it, or they're going to hate it.
It's really a traditional topping for an Italian sandwich.
♪ Tiffany: Let's go, let's go.
You should be plating.
Nikki: I'm just waiting on rice.
Very stressed because I need to plate right now.
I cut up some peppers to give a little more zhuzh and some orange in there.
I know that mustard sauces tend to be a little less colorful than other sauces, so there we go.
One minute left.
It's go time!
Silvia: Go, go, go, go!
I need more time.
♪ Graham: 5, 4, 3, 2, and 1!
[Judges applaud] Great job, everybody.
Alejandra: Great job!
♪ Hi, Foo.
So what have you made for us today?
Today, I made you a Vietnamese dish called goi cuon.
It's a Vietnamese spring roll with a peanut butter hoisin sauce.
It's a very easy dish to buckle my little 7-year-old up and serve her some goi cuon.
Tiffany: This sauce here, it is spicy and rich, which lets me know you've been listening to what we've been saying about bringing the flavor.
There is so much flavor packed into this spring roll.
It has tons of herbs.
This is a wonderful snack to have in the car, so I know the kids will love it.
How's it going?
I have made you a mustard maple rosemary wing.
♪ Graham: I never expect you to underdeliver on the flavor, and you didn't this time either, right?
This is just jam packed.
The sauce, the maple, the mustard.
This is delicious.
Tiffany: You always kill it with flavor, but think about every aspect of the round.
When I have a wing that's sauce, it's a little bit more difficult to eat on the go, right.
I don't want to necessarily have that problem when traveling and eating.
Brian, voice-over: The essence of the challenge was portable foods, and while I may do that, not everybody is going to do that.
Yeah, I really should have served it with wet naps.
What have you made for us?
So today I have made for you a salmon wrap.
This is a go-to for us.
I mean, whether, like, we're going up to the ski hill, whether, you know, boys are-- we're carpooling.
It's "Boys, get in the door, grab your gear, "grab your burrito and get your in the car.
[Laughter] By boys, you're talking about your husband and his friends?
It all works.
I don't know how.
I'm a little confused with the Gorgonzola and the peanut sauce, but it all really works together very nicely.
The salmon is cooked perfectly.
I love that each bite, you get a little bit of everything in there.
I love that.
Dan, tell us about your handheld dish.
So my handheld dish is salsiccia with a little broccoli rabe, provolone cheese, some roasted red peppers on a hard Italian roll, also known as an Italian teething ring.
[Laughter] Alejandra: And why do we call the bread an Italian teething ring?
Because when the kids are little and they're teething, you can just cut the ends of one of these off.
It's big enough.
They'll, like, chew on it all day long, and, you know, never make any progress, but it's better than them shoving a piece of plastic in their mouth.
Honestly, I feel like you have every kind of component that you want in a sandwich.
You have that bitterness from the broccoli rabe.
I think the cheese kind of mellows it out a little bit.
You have that fattiness and that richness from the pork sausage.
My only critique--maybe in the broccoli rabe add a little bit of, like, lemon juice, just to, like, brighten it up a little bit because broccoli rabe can be strong and overpowering.
Alejandra: Hey, Tony.
What have you made for us today?
I made you my Korean barbecue quesadillas.
Unlike my counterparts, I am not married or do not have any children, so I'm not running around to soccer practice or dropping the kids off anywhere.
However, I do have friends and a girlfriend that we're just on the go, we're always busy, so I'm just trying to make do with what I can.
Go on road trips and trying to have something handy for them.
Tony, that's a really tasty dish.
I enjoy it.
I think it's a great idea behind it.
The caramelization on the onion and the beef itself give a great sweetness.
The kimchi salsa goes perfect with it, right, because it really needs that acidity to kind of cut through.
For my personal preference, I would like a little more heat, or even, like, a little herb, whether it's, you know, shaved scallion or cilantro, but the flavor overall, especially when you combine those two together, makes a really great bite.
Thank you, chef.
Alejandra: Hello, Silvia!
So I made for you a BLT burrito with homemade bacon tortillas and a habanero mayo.
♪ Tiffany: This really is a very well-made tortilla.
What I will say, though, is when I came around and we were talking about how much bacon, you told me that it was going to be bacon on bacon on bacon.
3 times it's bacon, and, yes, I have a lot of bacon on the outside.
In the tortilla, I get a little bit, but I want more than the two strips of bacon that I have inside here more so for that crunch and that saltiness, but the creaminess of that mayo is delicious with it.
What's up, Robin?
I made you dolmas.
They are stuffed grape leaves, stuffed with lamb, barley, lemon, and love.
♪ Leah: Robin, clearly this is not your first time rolling these dolmas.
You are a pro, and I can tell because the filling is evenly incorporated, and you want a picture of a perfect rolled dolma, this is what it looks like.
Thank you, I appreciate that.
The lamb is not too gamey.
There is this great texture in the inside.
It's filled properly.
It is perfect for just dipping and dunking, and I know why this is one of those recipes that gets passed down and enjoyed from generation to generation.
Thank you so much, Robin.
Robin: Thank you.
♪ Alejandra: We asked you to make a delicious dish you can grab and go.
Cooks, I have to say you really impressed us with your handheld recipes.
I'm going to take one of each to go actually.
[Laughter] Remember, your dishes will be judged on taste, execution, presentation, and how well your recipe showcases the theme.
Who made your favorite dishes this round?
♪ Robin...your dolmas were delicious.
They were creative, and I love that you even put your own spin on them by doing the barley instead of the rice.
Robin, voice-over: Dolmas are one of my more important dishes, so I'm glad the judges had a chance to taste my dolmas.
I get to take a deep breath and relax for just a second because I feel good about the comments.
It helps to build confidence to go forward with the next round.
Tiffany: Another one of our favorites is Foo.
Dan: Yeah, Foo.
Good job, buddy!
Tiffany: Your spring rolls were delicious, and we know that it took some skill and technique to do it right.
From the cooking of the shrimp properly and enough filling of herb through every bite.
Foo, voice-over: Whoa!
What a confidence booster to have some recognized chefs say that they liked my food.
That's a cool feeling, but you know what?
I'm a laser focused guy.
I believe in "OK, so let's celebrate quickly, and let's move on to the next dish."
Excellent job, Foo and Robin.
We can't wait to see what recipes you have for the next round.
♪ In the last round, you showed us your on-the-go dishes.
This round, we want to see what dish you'd take to a festive outdoor event.
Graham: From concerts to tailgate parties, food at outdoor events is no longer just hamburgers and hot dogs.
Tiffany: I grew up in the South, and tailgating is huge there.
We take everything with us.
We barbecue it out, and, oftentimes, it's not the typical things you would think of with barbecue.
We have chicken tetrazzini and fried chicken, but most importantly, it has to have flavor.
Graham: For our second round, we want you to make a dish that is going to be a standout for an outdoor gathering.
Alejandra: You have 90 minutes to create your perfect dish for an outdoor gathering.
Leah: Your dishes will be judged on taste, presentation, execution, and how well your dish showcases the theme.
Alejandra: Unfortunately, at the end of this round, we are sadly going to have to send someone home.
I hope you're ready.
Your 90 minutes starts now!
♪ Time to go.
Going into round two, I'm feeling completely confident.
I've got this game, I've nailed it down, I know where this is going.
I call this the absurdly cheesy mac.
Every picnic, barbecue, wedding, holiday in the South has macaroni and cheese.
Me and my wife, we always take this.
It first appeared at our surprise barbecue wedding.
No one knew except for maybe 7 people.
We did 4 pork butts, 3 briskets, 12 racks of ribs, and we got married.
We've got, I think, 6 different cheeses in here.
And ever since then, it has been requested at every get-together that we do.
White cheddar, sharp cheddar, smoked Gouda, ricotta, parmesan goes in.
It is definitely not a side dish.
This is an entree.
We love cheese.
I don't bring my wife flowers, I bring her cheese.
Cheese is our love language.
Ha ha ha!
So this mac and cheese is not just mac and cheese.
Some pickled jalapeños in here, and we've got some little bit of nutmeg in the sauce to top it off, and we're charring off some corn.
I like to roast off some cauliflower in the oven.
It was one of those things that my mom always had, and she used to throw it in her macaroni and cheese, and that's where I picked it up.
It gives it a little more texture and flavor.
All of that corn, pickled jalapeños, cauliflower, and green chilies goes into the cheese mixture, which then goes on top of the pasta, and then bake it.
Almost lost them.
♪ I am channeling my inner father-in-law, making chicken legs.
In this round, I'm making two different types of chicken legs and fresh veggies.
My father-in-law, this is something he taught me how to make, and I take this everywhere.
We like to make chicken legs for Super Bowl events, any picnic party that we go to.
For my chicken legs, my plan is to create 3 sauces.
I have a very spicy but yet sweet chili sauce, and then I have more like a savory buffalo sauce and a homemade ranch dressing.
Thicken this up a little.
So my sweet chili sauce is rice vinegar, toasted sesame seeds, sugar, and then red chili flakes, ♪ And my buffalo sauce has hot sauce, the blue cheese crumbles, and butter.
This brings the heat, and then we mellow it out with the ranch dip.
I want to do well by my in-laws.
I just want to do well for them.
♪ Silvia, voice-over: So for second round, I need to make a dish that I can take to an outdoor activity.
Kids love breaded chicken.
So I'm making Milanesa tortas.
Torta is a Mexican sandwich.
It's going to be topped with pickled jalapeños, lettuce, tomatoes, avocado, cheese.
Tortas is something very traditional in my family to take to outdoor activity because they're easy to make, they're delicious, and the star is the chicken, and I need to pound it down because I need to make it thin.
Then I do something that my mom used to do, which put the chicken in milk with salt and pepper.
The milk helps to moisten the chicken.
And I'm seasoning the flour and the breadcrumbs with salt, pepper, onion powder, and garlic.
After the previous dish, oh, my gosh, I was a wreck because I burned my bacon, so I'm not talking much because I'm focused on this.
Silvia, voice-over: Since this is our elimination round... Oh, come on, come on.
I need to make sure that I don't make any mistakes.
I don't want to go home because I have more recipes to share.
60 minutes left.
♪ Nikki, voice-over: My chicken legs have been cooking for 20 minutes.
So it's about 10 degrees off.
They need to be at 175 with a beautiful char.
It's not happening.
I go from flustered to panic.
I'm pulling out a skillet.
I'm throwing them in the skillet thinking they just need to cook.
I'm putting them on the grill.
I'm getting the broiler going.
I mean, I set a lid over them, and I'm just trying to press down so at least we can have a char.
I'm just going to do my best and pray.
♪ We got a little chicken going on.
For the second round, I am making chicken and waffles.
I'm from Maryland.
Just about everybody who grew up in this area either owns a boat or grew up having some kind of a little boat, so I love to be able to take food on the boat.
Getting them thin enough that they can be cooked quickly.
I prefer to use chicken thighs because it has a lot of flavor.
It's got a little bit of fat in there.
I don't want the chicken to make the waffles soggy, so I want to make sure I get a nice, firm sear on the outside of the chicken.
And then, put them in the oven and let them finish baking off there.
See how it does.
I feel confident about the chicken, but I want to give a little bit of a bright flavor to the waffles because they're not sweet waffles, so I want to give it a savory flavor.
The waffle batter has chives, and the sweetness is only going to go on the chicken.
When it's done cooking, it's going to get a chili pepper honey drizzle on top.
We're moving here.
♪ Hopefully, today I will be able to execute.
We're making beef pho.
It's a Vietnamese noodle soup.
Of all the dishes so far, this one has the most pressure because I'm Vietnamese and this is one of the DNAs of Vietnam.
So this is a dish that, when I was little, when we'd go to a picnic, this is something my mom would make.
I know that when people think about pho, they don't think it's a portable food, but for me, it's the most delicious portable food.
There is a outdoor movie show at a local cemetery in Los Angeles, California, so when me and my friends go, I do the same thing.
I make the noodles, the beef, and then the broth is separate.
I also bring a camping Bunsen burner, heat it up, bring our own bowls and enjoy it outside watching the movie under the stars.
In my pho, I have beef shank, and I have some beef ribs in there.
I also am putting oxtail.
I'm going to make that pho stock in that pressure cooker.
Traditionally, pho can take 12 hours to make, but we're going to try to capture that flavor in a very short period of time.
I also like my pho with a New York strip steak... And it's covered in a barbecue dry rub.
because I like steaks.
This is an American pho.
It's going to be seared and garnished on top of the bowl of pho.
Go bold or go home.
I'm not nervous at all.
I'm just doing what I love to eat, and I'm doing what I was raised on.
What's up, buddy?
Do you want to work out?
Do I want to work out?
Yeah, you want to work out?
You gonna take a chance and knead this dough for me?
Ha ha ha!
I've been going at this for, like, 5 minutes.
You know, we could start a gym after this.
What's your gym called?
Uh, No Knead.
Ha ha ha!
Tony, voice-over: I'm really excited to make something different than Korean fusion for the judges.
I'm making kind of a deconstructed cannoli, which is an Italian dessert.
So I'm making cannoli dip with homemade chips for it, so it's kind of my go-to dish for making at outdoor events, whenever I have picnics or a football game.
I just love making it for friends.
It's a very sweet, very tasty dish.
This is definitely a little bit more out of my comfort zone that the judges are used to seeing, and I'm also making the dough completely from scratch.
Tiffany: Hey, Tony.
How are y'all doing?
Leah: Hi, Tony.
How are you?
What you making?
I am busy cutting out the little pastries for my cannoli dip.
Did you say cannoli?
I said cannoli dip.
It's like a deconstructed cannoli right here.
So I'm making the pastries right now for them.
I'm going to deep fry those.
And so, what's in your filling?
So in my filling, I've got ricotta cheese, mascarpone cheese, some vanilla extract, powdered sugar, and chocolate chips.
I actually worked in Sicily, and I worked the pastry station for probably 3 months, and I made cannolis every day.
I put orange zest in my cannoli filling, and it just, like, took it to the next level, so if you want to steal that little tip... OK.
I'll share that with you.
Well, hopefully, mine's up to par, all right?
Ha ha ha!
Thank you, Tony, Thank you, judges.
Tony, voice-over: So I'm taking Leah's advice and adding freshly grated orange zest to the cannoli filling.
I mean, I'd love to get Dan's advice on the cannoli once it's in its final forms and give Dan a taste and let him see what he thinks of it.
He's looking good.
Next thing we'll have to practice is which way the beach is.
There we go.
The beach is that a-way.
What I'm making, it's caprese chicken, and I'm going to make some homemade cavatelli.
Where I would take this to is Fourth of July parties or any type of house party, and I get invited to a lot of house parties.
How are you?
I'm well, chefs.
How are you today?
What are you making for us, Dan?
I'm brining some chicken out right here.
I have the tomatoes and the mozzarella cut over there, and I've made a dough over here that I'm going to make cavatelli with.
My grandmother's cavatelli maker, after she passed, I got it.
Hopefully, I pull it off.
So this you learned to make from your grandmother, the cavatelli?
You would start out, you'd get to roll the dough, and that's it.
Just roll the dough, and then you were able to graduate up to making them with the fork, and then, once they were happy with your performance there, you were allowed to use the cavatelli maker at which point you said, "I cannot believe "I rolled 10,000 of these things by hand when I could have run them through this machine."
But, hey, that's the price you've got to pay.
This is the original, right?
Yes, that's the original.
It has the price on it.
It's like 11-- There it is, 11.95.
Oh, I love it.
Handwritten note in it from her, and, uh...
I can feel the love that you have and the respect that you have for your nonna, and I think that's a really beautiful thing.
Thank you, chef.
It means a lot.
Well, Dan, I tell you what.
We cannot wait to taste the legacy that she's left behind and the love and all that she's taught you through food.
I'm glad you stopped by.
Thanks for popping in.
It smells delicious.
Thank you, Dan.
What makes me think about my grandmother, it's when I'm turning the cavatelli maker.
It's not the visual of seeing what comes out of it.
It's you hear that clicking.
Click, click, click, click, click, click.
And that's actually what reminds me of her.
My whole life I've been waiting for that.
♪ Alejandra: 5 minutes left.
Make it happen.
It's not a lot of time, folks.
We've got waffles in there cooking.
Let's see what they look like.
Come on, guys.
All right, judges.
What are you excited about?
What are you seeing here today?
Leah: Honestly, I'm really excited to try Tony's dish.
He is going in a completely different direction than anything we've seen before.
I love that he's stepping out of the box and he's going with a cannoli, and he's taking my tip by using a little orange zest.
Tony: Now we're looking good.
There we go, yeah.
I love that everyone is cooking from scratch.
There are doughs being made and batters, and honestly, I feel like that's some of the best part of cooking at home is really taking the time and following up with those recipes that have been handed down from generation to generation.
Silvia: How many more minutes?
Silvia: Oh, my gosh!
♪ Get those plates ready.
♪ Tiffany: 5, 4, 3, 2, 1.
Time's up, everyone.
♪ Alejandra: This week, we asked you to take us on a food journey away from the dinner table and into the great outdoors.
For this round, we wanted you to prepare a scrumptious dish for a festive outdoor gathering.
Graham: Don't forget, your dishes will be judged on taste, presentation, execution, and how well your dish showcases the theme.
Come and join us.
So this is my cannoli dip.
It is made with mascarpone, ricotta cheese, powdered sugar, and chocolate chips.
Leah: The filling is perfectly sweetened.
It's not too sweet, it's not too overpowering.
It goes really, really well with the little chips, and I love the addition, of course, of the orange zest.
I think that brightens everything up and gives it a little bit of pop.
I like that you are getting out of your comfort zone because this is not something I would expect you to make, and it's a really pleasant surprise.
Thank you, judges.
Alejandra: Dan, you're next.
Come and join us.
What I made today is a chicken caprese pasta salad.
Tiffany: The pasta is right on the money, but I do want a touch more either acid or salt.
I also would like a little bit more basil.
I think the salad could take a little more freshness, but the things that you have on this plate you did very well.
Thank you, chef.
Alejandra: Silvia, come on and join us.
Today, I made for you Milanesa tortas, which is a Mexican breaded chicken sandwich.
♪ Graham: I mean, when you see something like this, you know, come to you, to the table, like, there are so many emotions that happen with something like that Because it's amazing.
It just looks so beautiful.
The assembly of the sandwich so you get a little bit of everything.
The cook on the chicken itself is great.
I love it.
So, judges, today I made you pho, which is a Vietnamese beef noodle soup.
It is not your traditional outdoor camping, picnic meal to say the least, but this is a dish that when my family and I went camping, my mom would make those components, the noodle and the meat, and the broth was carried separately in a container, and then we would have a gas burner, and she would heat up that broth that way, as well.
So when you eat a pho, it's all about the broth, and you want it to have that deep, deep, rich flavor, and I think you did an excellent job with the broth on this pho.
I love that you used oxtail because it has so much flavor, and it just really, I think, sets apart your broth.
Thank you, judges.
Alejandra: You're up next, Robin.
I have made for you a chive waffle honey chicken sandwich.
I'm from Annapolis, Maryland.
It is the sailing capital, and I'm a motorboat girl because on sailboats you don't get to enjoy eating.
You're working, so I would take this out on the boat.
Graham: So, Robin, this has got a lot of flavor.
I really enjoy the fact that you put the chives in the waffle, right, because you can do a savory waffle, right, a little cracked pepper, a little salt, but the fact that you added that to it makes it nice and light.
The cook on the chicken itself is great, but I think it's a really fun dish.
I mean, if you brought this over, or we all went out on the boat, I'd be psyched.
Alejandra: Nikki, tell us about your dish.
I made chicken legs.
I made two types, a sweet chili and a buffalo sauce, and of course, you always have to have the veggies with it.
Tiffany: So, Nikki, as I'm looking at the chicken, I see a beautiful brownness on one side.
When I turned it over... [Laughter] the other side wasn't quite as brown.
I--just temperamental oven and me just getting a little flustered, and I pulled out the grill, put some in the skillet, put a lid on that, too, just to try to build up some heat.
I was just throwing all the hail Marys, so, yeah, yeah.
That's the thing.
Sometimes you have a plan, and it's not working out the way that you want it.
Sometimes we get a little anxious, and I feel like you were checking it often, and each time that you opened the oven, the heat would escape, and you couldn't hold that temperature in.
So just a little bit of patience, go ahead and, you know, bring yourself down, work on something else, and stay calm, because that's really part of it.
Because I love the brown on that one top.
Alejandra: Brian, come and join us.
I made for you my absurdly cheesy mac.
Every party, wedding, festivity in the South requires macaroni and cheese.
It's just-- it's always there.
Graham: Great flavor.
I love mac and cheese.
A big connoisseur.
I think that it's great that you also did the crust on top because you do need that textural contrast with the crunch and the soft pasta itself, but with the cauliflower, it almost starts getting into that mealy texture, just because of the way it all cooks together, so I would think next time you could almost remove some of the-- the filling, if you will, and add more of that cheesy sauce.
Maybe it just doesn't need all that extra stuff in there.
Let the noodles and the cheese speak for themselves.
Thank you, Brian.
Thank you very much.
Brian, voice-over: I agree that it should have been a little more saucy, but I know the flavors were there.
That recipe has served my family well over the years, and I do not think it's gonna change going forward.
♪ Tiffany: Your recipes today showed us that no matter where you dine that your food can be delicious and memorable.
Alejandra: Judges, which are the dishes that stood out for you?
♪ Tony's deconstructed cannoli.
Tony: To be from where I was just last week at the bottom two to being on top, I'm very thrilled.
Graham: And our other favorites dishes-- Silvia's Milanesa.
The judges loved my tortas.
They said that they loved the flavor.
I was very happy.
Alejandra: There were so many delicious recipes today, but we all agree, the most successful dish is... ♪ Tony with his deconstructed cannoli dip!
[Cheering and applause] Thank you.
Leah: Tony, we've seen a lot of the Korean, Mexican flavors, but this time you took a risk, and it paid off.
Alejandra: Congratulations, Tony.
I always put myself in the bottom.
Just like "Oh, you know, I'm good, but I'm not that good," so I was very surprised, but I'm happy.
I'm elated for sure.
Alejandra: Magnificent work, sir.
Unfortunately, there were a couple dishes that, in comparison, weren't as high on the list.
♪ Brian...and Nikki, you had the judges' least successful dishes tonight.
Graham: Brian, I loved the flavor of the mac and cheese, and the story with the wedding was great.
Unfortunately, it did eat a little dry.
It needed some more of that cheesy sauce.
Brian voice-over: I agree that it should have been a little more saucy, and I should have taken down the size on the cauliflower a little more.
Man, I hope I did good enough not to go home.
Nikki, you had a few technical issues.
The chicken wasn't cooked properly.
We had more browning on one side.
One of the things you have to do is adapt and make sure, even if it isn't working right, maybe we just put a little bit more sauce and baste it in the oven.
Nikki, voice-over: It was no surprise to me to be in the bottom two.
Doing it again, will I make some changes?
I just want to stay in and just do the best that I can.
That means that, Brian or Nikki, one of you will be leaving us tonight.
♪ The judges have made their decision, and sadly... ♪ Brian, you will be heading back home to your kitchen tonight.
♪ Brian: It's been a pleasure, everybody.
Don't be sad, don't be sad.
this has been a wonderful experience.
Brian, voice-over: I have no regrets.
Leaving on my macaroni and cheese beautiful recipe that's shared by so many other families, I couldn't have exited on a better note.
Brian, you cook with a big heart, and I think that that's really, really important and what sets you apart.
This has been a tremendous experience, and I'm so happy to have gained insight from y'all and from these fantastic home cooks around me.
Thank you so much for sharing your recipes with us, Brian.
We're sad to see you go.
♪ Alejandra: Bye, Brian.
Nikki, voice-over: I just start crying because you just lose someone who you've gotten close to, who I think is a hell of a guy, hell of a cook.
♪ Alejandra: This week was all about those recipes you can make and take to enjoy outside of the kitchen.
We will see you back here next week for your next batch of recipes.
Ha ha ha!
♪ Next time on "The Great American Recipe"... We want to keep the festivities going... [Laughter] by seeing what recipes you would make for one of life's special celebrations.
It was a soup that I made for the first time in United States right after I got my U.S. citizenship.
I think you got to call in some co-workers because it's on fire.
Tony: My mom would always make this every New Year's for us.
The most successful dish was... ♪ [Pencil scratching]