No More Pizza - Easy Recipes for Your Session
It’s game night. You’ve been waiting all week for everyone to come over and spend 4 hours rolling dice, using funny voices and trying not to get your character killed. Hunger sets in pretty quickly and what happens? You order pizza like you do every week and everyone sits around grabbing a slice of semi warm pizza, wondering how much takeout one person can eat. The game stops so you can pay the delivery guy, open the boxes, grab your slice and settle back in (ok, most of the time its prepaid these days but you get what I mean). Now, people are munching away, there’s no more funny voices, and your character sheet is all greasy.
What if you decide to make something before the people arrive? You can snack, eat and catch up prior to the game starting and then be able to focus with a full stomach and no interruptions. I know it’s a novel idea, and many of us love pizza and will never get sick of it, but it’s time to open your minds to change. Plus, now you don’t have to use your character sheets as napkins for your greasy fingers.
“But I can’t cook” is the usual refrain I hear when this is brought up. Below are some easy recipes that just about anyone can make. Sure, you have to go the grocery store and know how to turn on an oven, but trust me, it’s better than one more session of crappy takeout food.
Queso and Chips
Yes, you can buy the pre-made goo at the Circle K. But this old but goody doesn’t take long and is really, really good. It’s super easy and lasts forever. That’s the beauty of Veleeta!
• One 16 oz package of Veleeta Cheese, cut into small cubes
• One 10 oz can of Rotel Diced Tomatoes and Green Chiles
• Tortillas Chips
1. In a large pot, mix Velvet cheese cubes and Rotel on medium low heat (Do not drain the Rotel).
2. Stir often until the cheese has melted, around 6-8 minutes.
3. If too thick, add 2-4 tablespoons of milk or beer and stir
4. Pour into bowl. Eat.
White Bean and Asparagus Toasts
For the vegetarian in the group… or just people that need more vegetables in their life. It’s surprisingly good, and while most of us would rather eat queso, you should really try them. How often do we eat healthy? This is your opportunity!
• 1 loaf of French Bread
• 1 15oz can of White Beans (Cannellini Beans)
• 1 lb Asparagus, bottoms trimmed
• 4 tablespoons Olive Oil
• 2 cloves garlic
• Zest from 1 lemon
• Juice from 1/2 a lemon
• Salt and Pepper
1. Slice bread in 1/2 inch thick slices
2. Heat oven to 425 degrees. While warming toss the asparagus, 2 tablespoons of olive oil and salt and pepper in a bowl and spread out on a baking sheet.
3. Roast asparagus from 11-13 minutes
4. While asparagus is roasting, put beans, lemon zest, lemon juice, and remaining olive oil in a bowl. Grate garlic (or go easy and buy diced garlic). Mash beans till mixture is roughly combined
5. Remove asparagus and cut in half
6. Toast bread
7. Build - One spoonful of bean mixture on each toasted bread. Place 4 pieces of asparagus on top of beans. Eat.
As you may have noticed, we love Mexican Food. This is an easy throw together that only takes a total of 10 minutes to make and makes quite a bit!
• 2 cups crushed tortilla chips (or Doritos)
• 1 pound ground beef
• 1 packet of Taco Seasoning
• 1 can chili beans (optional)
• 1 - 16 oz container sour cream
• 1 - 14 oz can diced tomatoes, drained
• 1 - 14 oz jar of mild jalapeños
• 2 cups cheddar cheese (grating your own is better, but you can buy pre-shredded if you’re lazy)
1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
2. Spread crushed tortilla chips along the bottom of a greased 9 x 9-inch baking dish.
3. Brown the ground beef in a medium skillet; drain. Add taco seasoning and simmer for ten minutes.
4. Add in the can of tomatoes and beans (if using). Pour and spread over the tortilla chips.
5. Spread sour cream over the meat mixture.
6. Top with cheddar cheese and jalapeños.
7. Bake, uncovered, for 30 minutes. Eat.
The hardest thing about this is remembering to make the rice the night before. The best thing about fried rice is you can subtract many of the items on their list and/or add in things you have leftover in your fridge… like Doritos. It’s also a great way to get rid of the leftover chicken breast that you’ll find in the back of the fridge two months from now.
• 2 cups of White Rice
• 1 to 2 tablespoons Vegetable Oil (depending on how dry your rice is)
• 1 egg
• 2 - 3 tablespoons Soy Sauce (to taste)
• 1/4 cup diced onions
• 1/4 cup diced carrots
• 1/2 cup frozen peas
• Salt and Pepper
• Any cooked protein you have around; this includes meats like chicken or beef; protein substitutes like tofu or black beans; and anything else you can think of
1. Cook rice the night before (Steamed works best, but however you want to make your rice is fine). Put rice in the refrigerator uncovered overnight.
2. When ready to cook, heat frying pan or wok over medium heat. Add 1 tablespoon of oil.
3. Break up rice with you hands and put into pan, if needed add additional oil. Stir.
4. After about 2-3 minutes, add peas, carrots, onions, or whatever vegetables you have decided upon. Stir and cook for 5 more minutes.
5. Make a small hole in middle of rice so you can see the pan. Crack egg into the hole and cook for 2 minutes or until cooked. Mix the egg into the rice.
6. If you are using any protein, cut into small pieces or shred and add after step 5.
Add soy sauce. Stir together well.
One Pan Pasta Bacon Ranch Parmesan Pasta
There are a million ways to cook one pan pasta. This one is a little different and doesn’t involve pouring a bottle of tomato sauce on top of cooked pasta. This is a great dish to make if you don’t want a bunch of dishes afterward.
• 6 pieces of Bacon
• 1 tablespoon of Olive Oil
• 1 tablespoon of Butter
• 1 1/4 cups of Milk
• 3 cloves Minced Garlic
• 2 cups of Chicken Broth
• 1 box Spaghetti
• 1/3 cup Parmesan Cheese
• 1/4 cup sour cream
• 1 packet Ranch seasoning
1. Cook bacon in pan until crisp. Remove and wipe down pan. Return pan to heat.
2. Add olive oil, butter and garlic to pan. Stir and cook for 1-2 minutes
3. Add chicken broth, milk and pasta. Stir and bring to a boil.
4. Reduce heat and stir until pasta cooked through, about 8-10 minutes
5. Stir in Parmesan cheese, sour cream and ranch seasoning
6. Crumble bacon on top of pasta and stir.
7. Put it in your mouth faster than anyone else so you can get seconds before it’s all gone.
Chili for Dummies
Chili an easy throw together. I know summer is coming soon and people think of chili as a winter food, but chili is good all year long. If you like spicy chili, add a 1/2 tablespoon of your favorite hot sauce to the recipe. If you don’t have a slow cooker, you can just put in a large pot and let it simmer on the stove for 2-3 hours. This is a fantastic recipe that is fairly cheap and can serve a lot of people.
• 2 lbs ground beef
• 1 cans (14 oz) of diced tomatoes
• 1 chopped onion
• 1 chopped green pepper
• 2 cloves minced garlic
• 1 can kidney beans
• 3-4 tablespoons of chili powder
• 1 teaspoon cumin
1. Add beef, onion, green pepper and garlic to a pot over medium heat. Stir until meat is browned
2. Drain grease from pan. Add meat mixture to a slow cooker
3. Add remaining ingredients to slow cooker and stir
4. Cook for 4 hours on high setting
5. Serve with cheddar cheese and cornbread.
Game nights don’t always have to include greasy take out food, and eating before the game is a great way to bond with others in your group, though just make sure you make enough so there are no arguments over who gets the last of the Mexican Pie!