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First Post
I used to do a similar dish: oil or butter in the pan, heat, then add chunks of cauliflower, onions, potatoes (and whatever optional other things were around: broccoli, mushrooms, red peppers, etc.)--toss it around untill all well coated, then cover until veggies are soft from thier own steam, then add basil, oregano, salt, pepper, garlic, dill (or just a good shake of "Italian Herb blend" spices) toss it all around and then add a whole load of shredded monterey jack and or cheddar cheese and put the lid back on just until the cheese melted. Serve.

This is hearty and satisfying enough to use as an entree.

Also, yummy. Also, reasonably inexpensive.

It's a little bit like homefries with more going on. Would not be bad served in a little skillet with a poached or sunnyside egg on top.


Once A Fool
Episode 22: Corndog Poppers.

Hotdogs are great, right? What's better? Frying them in cornmeal batter.

Here's what you'll need:
  • Hotdogs
  • Cornmeal mix
  • Wheat flour
  • Egg
  • Milk
  • Salt
  • Pepper
  • Cooking Oil

Prep your poppers.

First, in a small stockpot, heat about an inch of your preferred flavor of cooking oil over a medium-high heat. It will be hot enough to use when you can flick a drop of water into it and it immediately boils away.

Anytime you are dealing with a large quantity of oil, you run the risk of having some make contact with your heat source--and then--a grease-fire. In the event of a grease-fire, make sure you put it out by pouring a generous amount of salt or baking soda onto the base of the flames. They also make special fire-extinguishers for grease-fires. DO NOT try to use water (or other liquids) to put the fire out--that will just spread it around! Of course, this assumes that the fire is still small enough to manage safely. If it is large enough to threaten your well-being, get out of the building and contact professional fire-fighters.​

Once your oil is heating, go ahead and cut your hotdogs into bite-sized pieces. Then begin the batter. Most cornmeal mixes have flour in them, but, even if the one you are using already does, I recommend that you add a little more, so that you get a slightly smoother texture to your cornmeal-coating. Most cornmeal mixes also have a rising agent in them, but if the one you are using does not, add a little baking soda. Add some salt, pepper, an egg, and enough milk to provide a thick, but smooth batter. Blend until there are no lumps.

Fry those dogs!

Coat the pieces of hotdog in batter, then gently lift them out of the batter on a fork (to provide drainage), and gently lay them into the hot oil. If you are concerned about getting spattered, wear an oven mitt! At any rate, do not just drop your hotdog pieces in! Not only will you splash hot oil everywhere, you will also probably lose some of your batter!

Once the poppers are golden and crisp-ish on the outside, remove them from the oil (preferably with tongs) and drain them on paper towels. Then, turn your stove off and let your oil cool before disposing of it!

Back to the poppers: plate 'em and serve 'em!

That's it, this week! Until next time, good gaming, y'all!


Once A Fool
Episode 23: Hot Chocolate.

The weather has turned a little chilly around here, so I figure now's as good a time as any to start making some delicious hot chocolate.

Here's what you'll need:
  • Chocolate candy bars
  • Milk
  • Water
  • Whatever you want to top them with--whipped cream, marshmallows, cinnamon, nutmeg, shaved chocolate, or whatnot


First, heat some milk, either in a saucepan over medium heat, or in the microwave. If you are heating your milk on the stove, make sure you don't scorch it!

While you are heating the milk, put a couple of inches of water in another saucepan and put a heat-tolerant bowl over the top. Place this set-up over medium to high heat and melt your chocolate bars in the bowl. I recommend about one to one and a half chocolate bars per mug of hot chocolate, but tastes will vary. You can use chocolate chips, instead, but will probably want to add some sugar if you are using semi-sweet chocolate.


Once the chocolate is melted and the milk is hot, mix them together well, then pour, top however you prefer, and serve.

...And that's it, folk! Until next week, good gaming!


Or you can just order some good hot chocolate powdered mix online (I like Penzey's) and forego the mess of making your own...

Always put the mix into milk, not water, for a good rich drink.

I also love mulled apple cider.

Heat a pan of cider on the stove. For each 8 oz mug of cider, add an inch of cinnamon stick, a clove (real clove, not garlic!), and a pinch of nutmeg (fresh grated if you can get it). You can add ginger and such if you like, but some people don't like it. You can use ground cinnamon if you cant get stick, but it isn't nearly as good-tasting.

Simmer the spices in the cider for at least 10 minutes, 30 if you can wait that long.


Staff member
Cajun Red Beans requires an overnight soak of the beans (1-2lbs). Other ingredients include yellow/white onions, galic, black & red pepper, parsley, celery, 3 bay leaves, and some kind of meat. For those without hypertension issues, you'll also need salt. Traditionally, that would be some kind of salted or pickled pork, perhaps some kind of sausage (usually smoked and/or hot). I gravitate towards sausage, but to be healthier, I've started using hand-sized slabs of ribs that I've smoked or oven-baked, seasoned without salt.

You'll also need rice to serve them over.

Chop your onions & sautée them in butter to soften/clarify them, along with your garlic in your big pot. Then add your meat cut for the pot (slices if sausage, or single ribs) Add your beans, chopped celery, and spices with enough water to cover them. Bring the pot to a rolling boil, for a few minutes, then stir thouroughly and turn to low. Stir pot occasionally to prevent from burning.

After a while- an hour or so in a standard pot, shorter if using a pressure cooker- crush about a spoonful of the beans against the side of the pot- this will release their starches into the pot and will make your beans creamy. When the beans are all soft, the pot is creamy (and the meat is starting to fall off the ribs, they're basically done.

I was reminded of something today- my friend Lisa Morin's Black Bean soup. Her recipe was similar to my red beans (see above)- black beans are nearly identical to red beans, and can be treated much the same way.

Where she differed:

1) she didn't cook hers down as much- this is a soup, not a side dish. You still crush the beans for thickening, but you want a more fluid end product.

2) she used a bit more meat, and in larger chunks.

3) no rice is needed, but it doesn't hurt.

4) when served, the soup is typically given a topping of a dollop of sour cream and a squeeze if lemon juice. The lemon juice not only adds tang, but reacts with the black beans to turn some of it purple, so once you start stirring, the bowl is a full of swirls of black, purple, and white.


Mmmm... sounds delicious...

Tonight for dinner I'm contemplating Great Northern beans (canned, don't have time to soak and simmer dried), ham, celery, onions, and garlic. Not sure if I'll add tomato paste.

Brown the onions, add the garlic and celery, season with herbs de provence and a pinch of pepper, add the beans and ham, chicken stock (unsalted) if needed, and simmer for 15-20 minutes. I'll crush some of the beans to see what happens; somehow I've never done that before.


Staff member
It is one of the easiest ways to thicken any bean recipe!

It happens naturally, to some extent, just because some will get smooshed by stirring the pot with any vigor. Doing it on purpose hastens and improves results.


Once A Fool
Episode 24: Black Bean Chili

Well, the weather's turning chilly around these parts, so this is a great time to do a nice pot of black bean chili.

Here's what you'll need:
  • Ground Beef or Stew Meat.
  • Onions
  • Bell Peppers
  • Black Beans, canned or pre-cooked
  • Diced Tomatoes
  • Tomato Paste
  • Beef Broth
  • Chili Powder
  • Garlic
  • Salt
  • Black Pepper
  • Cumin
  • Sugar
  • Butter or Margarine
  • Lemon Juice


Brown your ground beef or cook your stew meat with some onions and bell peppers, as well as salt, black pepper, garlic, chili powder, and cumin.

Add in a little beef broth, then add the tomatoes, beans (red beans and kidney beans are also good in this recipe, but, personally, I really like black beans for this dish) and tomato paste.

Add a little butter or margarine and just a hint of sugar and lemon juice. Add more seasoning as desired, then let your chili simmer until you are ready to serve.

...And that's it! Good gaming, y'all!


Staff member

Between that and Lisa's recipe, I'm thinking about using something like a pork loin or a fattier cut to make some sort of pork & black bean chili...


Once A Fool
Had a game tonight, so I'll post an update tomorrow instead.

Here's a teaser: This one's for all you hobbits out there.


Once A Fool
Episode 25: Fried Mushrooms.

This is another snack that takes a bit of cooking, but will be well worth the effort when your hungry gamer-friends descend upon you.

Here's what you'll need:
  • Mushrooms
  • Flour
  • Salt
  • Pepper
  • Oregano
  • Basil
  • Thyme
  • Garlic
  • Paprika
  • Buttermilk
  • Cooking oil

Heat the oil.

Pour about two inches of oil into a pot and heat over medium heat (or slightly higher). The oil will be hot enough to cook with when you can flick a drop of water into it and it immediately boils away.

Anytime you are dealing with a large quantity of oil, you run the risk of having some make contact with your heat source--and then--a grease-fire. In the event of a grease-fire, make sure you put it out by pouring a generous amount of salt or baking soda onto the base of the flames. They also make special fire-extinguishers for grease-fires. DO NOT try to use water (or other liquids) to put the fire out--that will just spread it around! Of course, this assumes that the fire is still small enough to manage safely. If it is large enough to threaten your well-being, get out of the building and contact professional fire-fighters.​


Mix all dry ingredients (except the mushrooms) and then mix in buttermilk until a thick, smooth-ish batter is produced. The seasoning you choose to use is quite forgiving, so feel free to experiment with other flavors!

Dip and dunk.

Stab a mushroom with a fork and coat it with batter. Let any excess drip off. Hold the mushroom just above the surface of the oil and gently pry the mushroom off into oil. Be careful not to let the mushroom fall from too high, or the oil will splash and, at the very least, burn you. Repeat with the rest of the mushrooms, but don't overcrowd the pot. When each mushroom is golden, remove it from the oil with a pair of tongs and let it drain on a plate lined with a paper towel.

When you are finished, turn the heat off and let the oil completely cool before disposing of it.

Serve your mushrooms and bask in the complements that are sure to follow!

Until next week, good gaming, y'all!


I want to share a recipe for yummy yummy treats my great-aunt used to make. They were called 7 layer cookies when I first heard of them. I've since heard them called other things, including ooey-gooey chewies.

Start with a 9x12" tray. In the bottom, fill it with a layer of crushed graham cracker crumbs. 1 1/2 pkgs is usually about the right amount. Then pour one stick of melted butter over them. Toss and spread evenly. On top of this add:

1 regular bag of chocolate chips
1 regular bag of butterscotch chips (white choc can be subbed if you hate butterscotch. Or toffee chips can be used)

2 cups of chopped walnut or pecan pieces
2 cups shredded coconut or raisins or dried minced fruit of any sort (coconut is traditional, but I hate it, so sub fruit)

Then drizzle two cans of condensed milk over the top.

Place in a medium oven (350 to 375) and bake for 30-45 minutes, until the chips all melt and glue everything together. Allow to cool completely, remove from the pan and cut into small squares. VERY RICH!

I have seen the ooey-gooey variant replace the graham crackers and butter with a layer of brownie mix. If you do that, follow the baking instructions for the mix. EVEN RICHER!


Once A Fool
Episode 26: Hearty Chicken & Vegetable Soup.

Well, here we are, half a year in, and my wife's a little under the weather, so we'll just celebrate the milestone with a nice, simple, chicken soup.

Here's what you'll need:
  • Cooked chicken, pulled or cut into bite-sized pieces
  • Chicken broth
  • Vegetables
  • Salt
  • Pepper

Put it in a pot.

Add your broth and chicken into a pot with some salt and pepper to taste (and other seasonings, if desired). Start cooking this over a medium heat.

The type of vegetables used will determine the order you add them to the soup, as well as whether or not they have already been cooked before (this is a great soup to add leftovers into!).

Raw potatoes or carrots, for instance, will want to be cut into smallish pieces and cook for longer than will less dense veggies. Robustly flavored vegetables, like tomatoes or corn would be best added soon after (and, if you're using fresh tomatoes, peel them! Your soup will be much better without those tomato skins floating around in it!). Fresh cabbage, squash, and/or zucchini will all turn to mush quickly, so should be added late in the cooking process.

...aaand that's it for this milestone episode, folk!

Good gaming, y'all!


Staff member
Do you like lox & bagels? You know with cream cheese, red onions, and maybe capers? If so, I just tried a few variants you might enjoy.

1) Instead of bagels, I buy pretzel-rolls/pretzel-bread or some good sourdough buns. They're actually slightly healthier- except for the salt- and they're easier to chew than your standard bagel. In addition, it's easier to find good pretzel breads as opposed to good bagels.

2) Instead of cream cheese, try an herbed soft cheese. Boursin is the easiest to find. We have also tried garlic & Herb D'affinois Brie. Each adds a nice new dimension to the creamy side of the equation.

3) Instead of cream cheese, substitute a good guacamole. The texture is nice & creamy and partners nicely with the red onions. And the salmon on top seems not to mind.

The past few times we've had lox at home, I've actually been combining either 1 & 2 or 1 & 3. Both are winners.


Once A Fool
Episode 27: Cream of Broccoli Soup.

A good hot soup is a fine thing for a cold night of gaming and broccoli is a fine thing at any time.

That's why, this time in the Game-Night Kitchen, we're fixing up a fine batch of broccoli soup!

Here's what you'll need:
  • Milk
  • Broccoli
  • Butter
  • Flour
  • Salt
  • Pepper

Start with a double-boiler.

If you don't have a double-boiler, you can put a couple of inches of water in one pot and fit another pot on top. Pour your milk into the top pot and put the whole set-up on the burner on high.

If you are using fresh broccoli, wash it and cut it up, then add it to the milk. If using frozen broccoli, skip right ahead to adding it to the milk.


Melt some butter (about one stick per half-gallon of milk used. When it is melted, blend in some flour (about a quarter cup per stick of butter) and some salt and pepper. For these quantities, you will probably want something like a teaspoon of each, but if you feel you want to add more when the soup is done, you can do so then.

Once the broccoli has gotten soft, stir this mixture into the soup to thicken it.

If you want to add cheese, you can do so at this point. Either add a soft cheese, cut into small pieces and let it melt, or add shredded cheese and mix it in.

That's it for tonight, but tomorrow night we'll have another soup, so, until then, good gaming, y'all!

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