My regular Thursday night group has a long tradition of eating a shared meal before we game. It started when we gamed at our then GM’s house and his lovely wife (also a member of our motley band) would prepare dinner for us. We kept that practice intact until Scott and Sheila moved, then there was a several year gap while we gamed at places that didn’t have kitchens (like the offices at BioWare Games). But now that we’re back gaming in someone’s (my) home, we are bringing back the tradition of sharing a meal before our game.
So I thought I’d share a quick and easy recipe my group enjoys, and one that I love making on busy days because it takes just a few minutes to throw together. Then the slow cooker takes over and does the heavy lifting. If you don’t have a slow-cooker you can do it in a large pot on the stove, just keep the heat low and stir often so it doesn’t char at the bottom.
Slow-cooker Slaw Stew
1-bag pre-shredded coleslaw cabbage blend (found in the bagged salad area of your grocery store)
1-bag baby spinach (found in same place)
1-bag pre-shredded carrots (found in same place)
3-12 oz. (340 gram) cans of diced tomatoes
2-15 oz. (425 gram) cans of kidney beans
1-15 oz. (425 gram) can of black beans
1 large white or yellow onion, diced
1/2 teaspoon cumin
1/2 teaspoon garlic powder, or 3 cloves garlic, chopped
1/2 teaspoon paprika
salt and pepper to taste
One package lean ground beef (or whatever ground meat or stewing meat you prefer)
Preparation: Dice your onion; don’t worry about making the dice particularly small, the slow cooker will reduce the onion quite a bit. Add all the ingredients except the baby spinach to your slow cooker, stirring them together to blend them. Then add the bag of baby spinach, sprinkle with salt and pepper, cover, and start the slow cooker. Don’t worry that the spinach seems overflowing, it will reduce a lot during cooking. I use the 6-hour setting on mine, but you can set it for whatever time works best for you. Optional: if you are adding ground meat, brown the meat in a pan just enough to give it colour, then add to slow-cooker along with other ingredients. One of my guys is vegetarian, so I wait until the slow-cooker is almost done and brown the ground beef in a separate pan for the rest of the guys to add on the side.
Serves five voracious gamers, with seconds, and I usually have enough left for lunch the next day. You can top each bowl with a dollop of sour cream or handful of shredded cheddar cheese if you like.
There you go! Healthy, easy to make, and delicious. And a nice break from the usual fast-food gamer fare. Give it a try at your next session.
What does your group do about meals at game time? Do you have favourite gaming foods or recipes? Let us know in the comments!