Chicken Artichoke Pizza with Artichoke Jalapeno Garlic Dip

Last week, we visited Cousino High School in Warren, Michigan. Students from Abbie Stark’s culinary class were competing for the title of Iron Chefs: Garden Fresh. The tension in the room could be cut with a Shun, as the students would have to prove themselves worthy in the world’s toughest culinary arena.

The secret ingredient: Garden Fresh Gourmet salsa, chips, hummus and dips. The teams could prepare any dish they pleased as long as it included at least one of these.

The school bell squawked, alerting all it was game time. The students broke up into six teams and furiously began preparing their dishes. Chicken clearly became the theme of the event as all but one team used it as an ingredient. How it was prepared is what set them apart…

Marinated Chicken | Cousino High School Garden Fresh Cook Off

Principal Stephen Bigelow joined the cast of judges, followed by David Bihl, culinary savant, Dave Benjamin of the Hungry Dudes and Abbie Stark, culinary teacher extraordinare.

Judges for the Cousino High School Garden Fresh Cook Off

The chefs managed to get their dishes in front of the judges within the 45-minute window beginning with the Killer Rainbow Unicorns. It was clear from the very first taste of their Spinach and Artichoke Cups that they were going to be the ones to beat. They really were that good.

Spinach and Artichoke Cups | Cousino High School | Garden Fresh Gourmet Cook Off

Spinach and Artichoke Cups | Cousino High School | Garden Fresh Gourmet Cook Off

The decision amongst the judges became increasingly difficult as the chefs brought their very best work to the tasting table. Like Mexican Short Stacks with Mango Peach Salsa, Shredded Chicken Rolls with Garden Fresh Gourmet Wild Mild Salsa, and Cheesy Chicken and Rice Quesadillas with Medium Thick and Chunky Salsa.

The judges vote went to Felice Fresh by a whisker. They prepared a Chicken Artichoke Pizza which showed real respect for the ingredients chosen by the team, including the all-star: Artichoke Jalapeno Garlic Dip (This favorite is found under the Margaritaville brand. We partnered with Margaritaville Foods to create a line of salsas, dips, hummus and chips).

All the students have definitely earned their place among the pantheon of the culinary greats, with Felice Fresh receiving their first tick in the win box on their battle card. Congratulations, Teams!

Chicken Artichoke Pizza

Chicken Artichoke Pizza with Margaritaville Artichoke Jalapeno Garlic Dip

2 store bought pizza crusts
1/2 cup butter
2 tbsp cream cheese
1 tsp garlic powder
3/4 cup of Parmesan cheese, shredded
1 cup heavy cream
2 containers of Margaritaville Artichoke Jalapeno Dip
1 pre-cooked chicken, shredded
1 1/2 cups mozzarella cheese
1 tomato, chopped

Preheat the oven based on the instructions on the pizza crust packaging.

In a saucepan, stir together butter and cream cheese until melted. Add garlic powder, Parmesan cheese and heavy cream. Cook for 15 minutes.

Spread a layer of Margaritaville Artichoke Jalapeno Garlic Dip over the pizza dough. Then add a layer of the sauce. Sprinkle with cheese and chicken and bake according to the instructions on the pizza crust packaging.

Remove from oven. Top with tomatoes and serve.

Here’s the winning team with their signature dish:

Chicken Artichoke Pizza with Margaritaville Artichoke Jalapeno Garlic Dip

This team prepared Mexican Short Stacks with Peach Mango Salsa.

Mexican Short Stacks with Peach Mango Salsa | Cousino High School | Garden Fresh Gourmet

Team Love Salsa prepared “Super Bowls”: nacho-esque salads with a lime and cilantro garnish.

Cousino High School | Garden Fresh Gourmet

This crew cleverly named their team “The Winners”. They whipped up some savory Shredded Chicken Rolls with Garden Fresh Gourmet Wild Mild Salsa and presented their dish beautifully, topped with a dollop of sour cream and a sprinkle of spices.

Chicken Salsa Rolls with Wild MIld Salsa | Cousino High School | Garden Fresh Gourmet

Shredded Chicken Rolls with Garden Fresh Gourmet Wild Mild Salsa

And last but not least, Team Thrax created Cheesy Chicken and Rice Quesadillas with Thick & Chunky Salsa.

Chicken & Rice Quesadillas with Thick & Chunky Salsa | Cousino High School | Garden Fresh Gourmet