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Klobuchar Wins Bipartisan 'Hot Dish Off'

By Esme Murphy, WCCO-TV

ST. PAUL, Minn. (AP) -- Sen. Amy Klobuchar has bragging rights after her Taconite Tater Tot Hot Dish was judged best in a friendly hot dish contest.

Klobuchar was among several members of Minnesota's congressional delegation taking part Wednesday in a bipartisan "Hot Dish Off" in Washington.

The Democrat says her combination of Tater Tots, pepper jack cheese and "unique taconite hot dish name" gave her the edge.

Democratic Rep. Tim Walz was runner-up with his Chicken Mushroom Wild Rice Hot Dish.

Sen. Al Franken, a Democrat, hosted the competition as a way to bring Minnesota's delegation together at the start of the new session. The competition even had its own slogan -- "Improving the lives of Minnesotans, one hot dish at a time."

Other participants included Republican Rep. Michele Bachmann and Rep. Keith Ellison, a Democrat.

The hot dish judges included former Reps. Vin Weber, a Republican, and Gerry Sikorski, a Democrat.

"If there is a tie, we will have an eight-month recount," Franken joked.

He also explained "Hot Dish" as a unifying agent.

"This is bringing the entire delegation together across party lines," he said.

Rep. Bachmann, fresh off her State of the Union response Tuesday night, said she wanted to win.

"I have got my fingers crossed. I am hoping, I am hoping," she said. "I don't want to influence the judges but I brought my apron."

Franken gave a name to Bachmann's dish.

"Hers is called State of the Union response," he said.

Sadly, however, there could be only one true winner.

Klobuchar issued a statement after her victory.

"Given the fine quality of the other hot dishes, this is truly an honor," said Sen. Klobuchar. "I think the combination of the tater tots, pepper jack cheese, and unique taconite hot dish name gave us the edge."

As for Franken, he said, "I'm a little bitter I didn't win."

Franken says he is already planning a rematch -- he will sponsor another cook off next year.

Here are all the recipes:

Sen. Klobuchar's Taconite Tater Tot Hot Dish
Sen. Franken's Wild Rice And Turkey Hot Dish
Rep. McCollum's Pork, Cranberry & Wild Rice Casserole
Rep. Bachmann's Minnesota Oktoberfeast
Rep. Ellison's Tuna Noodle Casserole
Rep. Walz's Chicken Mushroom Wild Rice Hot Dish

(TM and © Copyright 2011 CBS Radio Inc. and its relevant subsidiaries. CBS RADIO and EYE Logo TM and Copyright 2011 CBS Broadcasting Inc. Used under license. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed. The Associated Press contributed to this report.)

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