Note: This post is sponsored
Fall is here, and that means two things... First, if anyone complains you're spending too much time inside playing video games, you can tell them just how cold, windy, and wet it is outside. Even the dog isn't interested in going out for a walk.
Second, it's gamer party season. With a variety of conventions and tournaments on the horizon--not to mention the opportunity to get all your friends together for a nice, warm, indoors LAN party--it is the ultimate time to get everyone together, play games, watch your favorite eSports teams, the next big BlizzCon announcement, and enjoy some tasty treats and beverages.
We're not talking your basic chips, dips, and soda here, either. The truth is, there's a wide variety of obscenely simple things that you can whip up for your next get together that will not only taste awesome and make you look like one really bad-ass host, but also allow you to actually enjoy the party with everyone else.
For this collection of recipes, we've tried to go with recipes that don't necessarily scream "geeky" or "gamer" but, of course, that didn't stop us from throwing in a few.
It's a bit hard to properly attribute this recipe as it can be found on a variety of food sites such as Bon Appetit and Epicurious. I'm personally familiar with the recipe from my days working in a little restaurant in Mississippi. It was one of our go-to appetizer options -- and always a hit.
We did, however, modify it a bit to make things easier. Rather than grilling the wings and drummettes, we baked them off in an oven before coating them with the sauce. When it was time to serve, we baked them long enough to get them warm, added a bit more sauce, and ta-da!
Labor-wise, this may be the most intensive recipe, but the good news is that the sauce can be made up to three days ahead.
The recipe serves 10 and is as follows:
1 1/4 cups apple cider vinegar
3/4 cup ketchup
3/4 cup chopped onion
3/4 cup dried tart cherries
1/3 cup (packed) dark brown sugar
1/4 cup water
3 tablespoons mild-flavored (light) molasses
2 large dried ancho chilies (about 1 ounce), stemmed, seeded
2 garlic cloves
1 teaspoon ground coriander
Pinch of ground cloves
3 pounds chicken wing drummettes
Combine all ingredients except chicken in heavy medium saucepan. Bring to boil. Reduce heat to medium-low. Cover; simmer until chilies and cherries are tender, about 20 minutes. Working in batches, purée mixture in blender. Return sauce to pan. If necessary, simmer uncovered until sauce is reduced to 3 cups and thickens. Season with salt and pepper. (Can be made 3 days ahead. Cover and chill.)
Prepare barbecue (medium heat). Sprinkle chicken with salt and pepper. Grill until just cooked through, turning occasionally, about 10 minutes. Brush sauce over; continue grilling until glazed, turning chicken and basting often with more sauce, about 5 minutes longer. Serve with remaining sauce.
Crostini is a pretty basic appetizer recipe that you can do so many things with. The basis of a crostini is baguette slices (preferably on a bias so you get more surface space) lightly dressed in oil and baked until golden and crispy. I suggest brushing them in olive oil but vegetable oil will work as well. You can also season them with salt before baking if you like.
Once the crostini is made, you can top them with a variety of things -- as seen in the image above. My personal favorites both involve cream cheese. The first is a simple mixture of cream cheese, chopped shrimp and garlic spread over the crostini and baked for a golden color. The other is a simple seasoned spread of cream cheese (again, baked for color) topped with thin slices of steak.
That said, you can top them with fruits, cheeses, jams, meats, guacamole...really anything at all.
Note: If you decide to top some with things involving fish or nuts, put them on individual trays in consideration of those who may have allergies.
(Image via: Brit+Co)
Okay, first things first here. Bar-B-Q shrimp is a bit of a misnomer. You're not actually going to be making these on your grill, and they don't really involve a standard BBQ sauce. They are, however, one of the tastiest (and simplest dishes) to come out of Louisiana.
Depending on the amount of these you are making, this recipe can be done either in the oven or in a sauce pan on the stove. (And don't let the picture fool you. While it's traditional to cook them shell on, you can use pre-shelled shrimp to make things easier for you and your guests.)
The particular recipe offered here is made in the oven (and apparently has even won some awards over at Food52.) It serves six, so adjust the ratios accordingly.
(Image via: Dish Maps)
No party is complete without cocktails -- especially really cool looking cocktails like this Destiny Glowing Cocktail from YouTuber Cristina Viseu. This cool drink is reminiscent of Destiny's moon...the one we've all seen in the promo pictures.
This particular drink gets its blue color from Curacao, a citrus-flavored liquor. Unfortunately, if you're going for something more friendly to the under-21 crowd, you're not going to be able to go with that. Luckily, there is an answer. Soda company Kickapoo Joy Juice offers a drink called Malibu. It's Piña Colada flavored (pineapple and coconut), and is a tasty personal favorite. It comes in a pretty shade of blue that should work perfectly for this drink.
See what I mean?
It's perfect for those who need a family-friendly option, and you still get that awesome effect of the moon crashing into the blue below.
Okay, let's face it. Despite their reputation as a completely unhealthy (and often bland) snack, chips are a staple of the party scene. It's easy to see why. They're easy to throw in a bowl and sit out on the table, partiers can grab a handful and wander around while munching on them...or hover over that handy bowl of dip playing wallflower.
That said. No one really wants to shake hands with someone who's been carting around some Styrofoam flavored chip covered in orange powder. So, what do you do?
Well, as it turns out, there are lots of ways to turn healthy veggies into chips without frying them or coating them in strange flavored substances. Quite a few of them don't even require a food dehydrator and can be whipped up in the microwave or in the oven.
The above picture features beet chips with curried yogurt dip. More options include things like microwave sweet potato chips and baked cinnamon apple chips. (Okay, so that one's not really a veggie. But still.)
Really, there are limitless options.
Yes, it's another game-themed dish. But you knew we'd go there occasionally. The great thing about this particular dish (other than the name) is that it's probably one of the easiest things for you to make.
Granted, it will take a bit of time, because you are rolling a bunch of little balls, but there are only three ingredients to work with and they look delicious.
The dish was created for a Hearthstone Fireside event by blogger Mellzah. They are comprised (simply) of grapes wrapped in goat cheese and rolled in toasted pistachios.
So, cupcakes may seem like an obvious choice, but they're just so perfect. A small cake contained in a wrapper that you can carry around. They can be any flavor and topped any way you like. Having a League party? No problem.. Make League of Legends themed cakes like the ones above.
Or maybe you want to have a bunch of friends over to play Mario Party or some classic games. Yeah. Piece of cake. There's options for every game, and if you're the kind who likes to design, you can come up with plenty of your own.
You can even make some for board game and table top parties. Like...oh, say... these...
If you're not sure on what games all of these are from, you can find out on the firewire blog.
So there you have it, 7 easy treats that should make your next gamer party a success without keeping you stuck in the kitchen the entire time. Your guests will be impressed with the spread you've put out before them, and everyone will have a great time.
Just, be careful. You might end up being volunteered to host every gamer party after this.