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Published March 30, 2012, 11:30 PM

PB & Thai: Moorhead woman wins $10,000 in Jif contest

MOORHEAD - Home chef Sonya Goergen has fun with her food. “You have to eat, so you might as well make it interesting, right?” she says.

By: Meredith Holt, INFORUM

MOORHEAD - Home chef Sonya Goergen has fun with her food.

“You have to eat, so you might as well make it interesting, right?” she says.

In recent years, her playful take on cooking and writing recipes has helped put some extra cash in her pocket.

The 35-year-old Moorhead woman beat out hundreds of entrants in a Jif peanut butter recipe contest to win $10,000 toward a kitchen makeover.

Her Peanutty Chicken Pad Thai Sliders pack a sweet-and-savory flavor punch. The slaw that tops her miniature burgers add a satisfying crunch.

The idea for the recipe began last fall, when Goergen’s husband, Troy, developed a penchant for Pad Thai and ordered it wherever they dined. “He had this obsession with Pad Thai,” she says.

She’d also been working on perfecting a turkey burger, so she put two and two together and turned chicken Pad Thai into a crowd-pleasing slider.

Goergen was shocked when she got the call from Jif saying she’d won the savory category. “When you only submit one thing, you don’t think that that one thing will get picked,” she says.

Though she already has a stylish, well-equipped kitchen, Goergen plans to use the prize money to install a tile backsplash and replace some of her older appliances.

The Jif New Classics Recipe Contest isn’t Goergen’s first foray into the home-cooking spotlight.

She competed on Food Network’s “Ultimate Recipe Showdown 2” in 2009 and represented Minnesota in the 47th National Chicken Cooking Contest in Alabama in 2007.

Goergen’s love of experimenting in the kitchen started long before her television debut.

She was a picky eater as a child growing up in Hitterdal, Minn., and taught herself to cook because she didn’t like what everyone else was eating.

Apparently Goergen’s 3-year-old daughter doesn’t take after her mom. “Olivia eats everything,” including the chicken sliders, says the mother of two.

Olivia, whose pink apron hangs next to her mother’s Food Network apron, likes to lend a toddler-sized helping hand in the kitchen. “She can crack an egg better than most people,” Goergen says.


Peanutty Chicken Pad Thai Sliders

Servings: 10

Cooking time: 30 minutes

Ingredients:

Patties:

nonstick cooking spray

2 pounds ground chicken

¼ cup white onion, finely diced

3 cloves garlic, minced

½ cup cilantro, chopped

1 teaspoon Chinese five-spice powder

2 tablespoons olive oil

Peanut Pad Thai Sauce:

1 tablespoon cornstarch

2 tablespoons fish sauce

½ cup Jif Extra Crunchy peanut butter

1 tablespoon vinegar

1 teaspoon chili sauce

3 tablespoons brown sugar

Remaining ingredients:

1 cup bok choy or other Chinese cabbage, shredded

½ cup bean sprouts

½ cup carrots, cut into matchstick pieces

½ cup scallions, sliced

20 slider rolls

DIRECTIONS:

  1. Spray grill pan or indoor grill with nonstick cooking spray and heat to medium-high.

  2. Mix together chicken, onion, garlic, cilantro and seasonings in a large bowl, handling as little as possible. Shape into 20 slider patties and drizzle with olive oil. Loosely cover with plastic wrap and set aside.

  3. Combine cornstarch, fish sauce, peanut butter, vinegar, chili sauce and brown sugar in a small saucepan and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to low and simmer for three minutes. Remove from heat and cool.

  4. Place slider patties on grill pan or indoor grill and cook 3-4 minutes, or until cooked through. Place burgers on a platter and cover with foil to keep warm.

  5. Combine vegetables with prepared sauce in large bowl.

  6. Place the bottom half of rolls on a serving platter. Top with burger patties, equal portions of the vegetable mixture and roll tops. Secure each slider with a sandwich pick.

Recipe courtesy Jif

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