You have to stop and eat. Eventually. Making your own food is healthier and might even help you stay conscious a bit longer; more time spent healthy and conscious means more time spent gaming. Here's how to cook your own grub, without digging into precious game time any more than is absolutely necessary.
How to Get the Most Out of Your Microwave
- Take 5 minutes and find out how to set the power on your microwave. If you don't have the manual, look up your model on the internet. Usually you set the time, then hit the power button, then 1-9 to select the percent of power you'd like. e.g.1=10%, 2=20% and so on. Doubling the time you'd usually set it for, and running it at half power (setting 5, or 50%), gives the food time to come out evenly heated, which means less running back and forth.
- And put a lid on it. Even with a carousel, microwaves do not cook evenly. If the lid is closed, but not sealed, steam from the heated parts will help heat the unheated parts.
Proper Preparation Prevents Piss-Poor Performance
- Do all your cooking before your new favorite game releases so that once it arrives, you can neglect your body properly and with confidence. When you chop veggies, chop extra and keep them around for dishes you can use them in later, like pizza and frittatas.
- One day a week, prepare one or two big meals for the week, that you can quickly stuff into the microwave or oven, while you move on to better things.. Like fragging the shit out of your best friend. Get a few microwave-safe food storage containers that can be put directly into the microwave. (Mine have a little vent in them that can be opened or closed.) When you put leftovers away, make little meals. If you had meat, veggies and potatoes, for example, put one serving of each in each container, instead of all the potatoes in one container, all the meat in another, etc. This way all you have to do is throw a ready made meal in the microwave and go play till the timer goes off. Whenever you make some, make extra. It's work you won't have to do later, and it's faster than waiting in line for take out, on the way home.
Get a Portable Timer
- Or use the one that's probably already on your cellphone. If you don't have one, your fire-and-forget food missile will crash and burn.. Well it will burn.. The food you left in the oven.. If you don't use a timer...
Bananas are nice quick snacks (blah blah potassium blah blah) but it's not always easy to get through them all before they start to go. Put overripe bananas in the freezer and thaw them for banana bread. Or, if you only have access to fresh bananas, and want to make banana bread, put them in the freezer for a few days till they turn black. They may look strange, but all the awesome banana flavor develops as they darken. Once thawed, snip the bottoms with a pair of kitchen shears, and squish them into the bowl with the creamed butter and sugar; no mashing necessary. This recipe is stupid easy. Get a couple loaf pans and bake two at a time. Add a dash of nutmeg or cardamom to the flour, and make it your own.
Time away from game once mastered: 15 minutes, if you don't do the dishes.
Baking time: 1 hour
- 5 cup butter, softened
- 1 cup white sugar
- 2 eggs
- 3-4 previously-frozen bananas, mashed
- 5 cups all-purpose flour (7.5 oz. by weight)
- 1 teaspoon baking soda
- 5 teaspoon salt
- 5 teaspoon vanilla
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C). Grease and flour one 9x5 inch pan.
- Cream butter and sugar until smooth. Beat in eggs, then bananas. Combine and add flour salt, and soda, stirring just until combined. Add those walnuts now, if you have time for stuff like that.
- Pour into prepared pan and bake at 350 degrees F (175 degrees C) for 50 to 60 minutes or until a toothpick comes out clean. Remove from pan and let cool. Store in refrigerator or freeze.
Grilled Cheese and Homemade Tomato Soup
With a little practice, you can finish this easy soup at the same time you finish frying the grilled cheese sandwich... Or you could open a can... /sigh
Everyone knows how to make a grilled cheese sandwich, right? Get a pan hot (set at about medium). Butter some bread and slice some cheese. Once the pan is hot put in one slice of bread, butter side down, and put the cheese on it. Stack the other slice of bread on top of the cheese, butter side up. Leave it for 1-2 min. (If your computer is as slow as mine, this is the perfect time to go launch Kerbal Space Program real quick, so it has time to load.) Lift a corner to peek, and when it's browned, flip it over and repeat.
Homemade Tomato Soup
I picked this one from eatingwell.com because it's so simple. I've since begun to make it my own, but you can find a link to the original, below.
Makes: 6 servings, about 1 1/2 cups each
Time away from game, once mastered: 15 minutes
Total time: 30 minutes
- 1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
- 3 cloves garlic, minced (Tip: Smash them flat with the side of your sword or club. Remove the husks, and smash more till minced. If you don't have a sword or club, you can use a big, flat, rock.)
- 1 teaspoon dried herbs, such as thyme, oregano, rosemary or basil
- 25 teaspoon crushed red pepper (optional)
- 56 ounces crushed tomatoes (2 28-ounce cans)
- 1 cup water
- 1-2 teaspoons sugar, or 1/4 cup finely shredded carrots, if you have time. (This cuts the acidity of the tomatoes.)
- 2 cups of whatever dairy or non-dairy liquid your belly likes.
- Heat oil in a saucepan over medium heat.
- Add garlic, herbs and crushed red pepper. Cook, stirring until fragrant; about 30 seconds.
- Add tomatoes, water and sugar. Bring to a boil, reduce heat and simmer for 10 minutes. (This is a great time to start making that grilled cheese sandwich.)
- Stir in milk and heat through, about 1 minute.
- Adding just a little chopped fresh basil or thyme to this would make me so happy. You wanna make me happy, don't you?
This is my favorite easy dish. Okay, it's not completely easy, but it's not hard, and it's well worth mastering. You can put pretty much anything in these: Roast beef, with jalapenos and cream cheese; leftover fried potatoes, bacon and sausage; leftover taco meat with cheddar, corn, tomatoes, and grilled onions, served with sour cream; cake. The possibilities are pretty much endless, and frittatas not only reheat well in the microwave, they are even good cold.
Makes 6-8 servings.
- 1 tbs olive oil or unsalted butter (Butter will make it richer. Olive oil makes it a little healthier. Unsalted butter is less likely to cause sticking.)
- 5 cups leftover cooked veggies, chopped
- 5 cups leftover cooked meat, diced
- 8 oz. (about a cup) cheese, grated, or cubed. (Teaspoon-sized lumps of cream cheese work great.)
- 9-10 large eggs (For a 10 inch skillet. If yours is 8 inch, use 8-9 eggs.)
- salt and pepper
You will need an oven-safe, preferably non-stick, frying pan. A heat-resistant silicone spatula is also nice.
- Heat the oven to 350. Put one rack near the top, and one near the center. We're going to bake on the middle rack, and finish by broiling on the top rack.
- Heat the pan to medium with your favorite cooking lubricant.
- Add meat and heat till warmed through and drain if necessary. Make sure there is still a tablespoon or so of oil or butter in the pan after the meat is warmed, so the eggs won't stick.
- While the meat is cooking, crack the eggs into a mixing bowl, and whisk. Add the cheese, and give it another good stir. Add a little salt and pepper, to taste. (If you are using a salty meat, such as bacon, you might not need any additional salt. This can be tricky if you are squeamish about tasting uncooked eggs. You can always add salt when it's done, so if you are unsure, wait.
- Add the veggies to the pan with the meat till heated; just a minute or so if they are already cooked.
- Reduce heat to medium-low. Slowly pour the egg mixture into the pan and gently stir with the spatula to spread the ingredients evenly through the eggs. Keep the heat fairly low, and take your time. Slow eggs turn out the best. Set a timer for 3 minutes and go find something to click. When you come back, stir the middle just a little, to make sure it cooks through.
- Top with more cheese if desired, and bake at 350 on the middle rack, for around 20 min. It shouldn't wiggle much when it's done. The top will not yet be browned.
- Switch oven to broil, and leave it open so you can watch while the top browns. This is the trickiest part. It will burn easily. Be patient. Watch close. Once you get the hang of it, you can walk away for a sec, but remember, burnt eggs suck. (If your pan has a silicone handle, like mine does, keep the handle outside the oven when broiling. It might be okay to bake with, but broilers get very hot. Check with your pan manufacturer if you are unsure.)
- Using your spatula, go around the edges of the pan, to loosen the frittata from the pan. If it comes free, slide it out onto a cutting board if you like. They don't always come free, but if you used enough oil, not too much salt, cooked it slowly enough, and your pan is one with the cosmos, it will. Don't be ashamed to serve it directly from the pan if it doesn't. You'll do better next time,and it tastes great either way. Serve with toast or my amazing homemade drop biscuits and gravy. Or just bring the whole pan out to the living room, along with a big spoon.
- The cake is a lie.
The Secret to Amazing Hamburgers
Those Drop Biscuits I was Bragging About
Baked Mac and Cheese