Critical Feast: Grog’s Special Egg

The Feast / The Recipes

My husband and I are massive Critters. Critters like when raccoons knock your outdoor trash can over? No.
Critters are the wonderful community of fans that love and support Critical Role. It is a show where every Thursday a bunch of nerdy-ass voice actors get together to play Dungeons & Dragons. It is a fantastic show, and every person we have suggested it to have become avid watchers right away. Check it out, and you won’t be disappointed.

I started this blog to bring two things I love together. Cooking for others and playing D&D. I love Critical Role too, so I wanted to bring another thing I love into this blog. One of my first posts was even about a dessert inspired by Critical Role. I wanted to kick off a weekly Critical Feast and highlight Critical Role inspired dishes.

The Feast

This week’s Critical Feast is inspired by a “gift” given to Tary by Grog in episode 89. Unlike Grog’s basilisk egg of unknown age though, this dish won’t make you sick and is extremely tasty.

The overall “egg” is a chicken breast that has been flattened, rolled with stuffing, and wrapped in bacon, and the “nest” holding the egg is a creamy mashed potato.

The “innards” stuffing for the chicken is a cream and goat cheese blend with diced jalapeno for the “basilisk bits”. I also made an option where the “nest” is a creamy angel hair pasta.

Tonight we will enjoy our “magical egg of power” as we watch episode 93 of Critical Role live on Twitch. The recipes for the chicken and mashed potatoes can be found below.

Until the next adventure, Bon Dungeon Eats!

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Recipe: Cream Cheese & Jalapeno Stuffed – Bacon Wrapped Chicken

  • 1 large boneless/skinless chicken breast halved (or 2 small/thin chicken breasts)
  • 12 slices of bacon (you may not need all pieces, but have enough handy just in case the chicken is large and needs more to cover it)
  • 6 oz cream cheese, softened
  • 1 tablespoon goat cheese
  • 1 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1 teaspoon onion powder
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon black pepper
  • 1-2 jalapeno (1 large or 2 small)

Preheat your oven to 350-degrees and lightly grease an 8×8 baking dish.

Prep your bacon by precooking in a large skillet. You do not want to fully cook your bacon, so only cook the bacon until each side is just starting to turn red, but is still very flexible. Set your prepped bacon on a plate with paper towels to allow to drain while you dice the jalapenos.

Cut the stems off your jalapenos and half them down the middle. Remove the insides and seeds from the halves. If you want spiciness to your stuffing, dice the jalapenos as is. If you prefer less spice, rinse the halves before you dice them. Stir together your cream cheese, goat cheese, garlic powder, onion powder, salt, and pepper, until creamy. Reserve 2-3 tablespoons of the mix before you add in the diced jalapenos. This will be used in the mashed potatoes. Add in the diced jalapenos to the cream cheese mix and stir until fully incorporated.

Take your large chicken breast and butterfly cut it in halves to make two thin pieces. If you are using thinner chicken breasts, you can skip butterflying them. Take your chicken and place between two pieces of cling wrap and pound with a meat mallet until quarter inch thickness. Spoon your stuffing mixture on to one side of each flattened piece and smooth to a thick layer. Roll from the end of chicken breast so the stuffing is contained inside the “chicken roll”. Take your bacon and wrap the chicken tightly, securing each piece with toothpicks. I wrapped two longer piece from top to bottom of the roll first and then layered pieces over the brunt of the chicken until covered.

Place your chicken wraps, toothpick side down, in the greased baking dish and bake for 30-35 minutes until the chicken temp is roughly 165-degrees. Make sure to remove all toothpicks before you serve the chicken.

Recipe: Creamy Mashed Potatoes

  • 3 large russet potatoes
  • 3-4 tablespoon butter (I recommend Kerrygold Irish Butter)
  • 2-3 tablespoons of reserved cream cheese mixture
  • salt and pepper to taste

Peel your potatoes and cut into inch size cubes. Boil the cubes in water until they are tender and you can easily push a fork through the pieces. Drain the water from your cubes and transfer to large mixing bowl. Mash the potatoes until large chunks are broken down, and add in your butter and cream cheese mix continuing to mash and stir until creamy. The butter and cream cheese should make the mixture creamy; but if the potatoes are too think, add in a few tablespoons of milk until the texture is to your liking. Add salt and pepper to your taste as you finish the mix. Just enough to give a little extra taste but not overwhelming the garlic and onion flavor from the cream cheese mix.

Spiced Chops and Tossing Gricks

The Feast / The Adventure / The Recipe

The group are working their way through the Wave Echo Cave, so if you are currently running the D&D Starter Set, beware possible spoilers ahead. You can also catch up on the previous Chef DM adventures here.

The Feast

The rustic WoW feast went so well last session, I wanted to dive right back in to another World of WarCraft Official Cookbook recipe. I was feeling like something with a kick, so I went with Dirge’s Kickin’ Chimaerok Chops.

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Now for those who have never played WoW, Dirge Quickcleave is a goblin butcher in Gadgetzan.

Dirge
Source: Wowhead

I’m no goblin, but I tried to live up to his ingredient standards. The recipe called for lamb as the protein. You know, because there are not too many chimaerok’s flying about here on earth.

Chimaerok

Source: WoWWiki

Yeeeeaaaah. Don’t think these are hanging out nearby

I decided to change out the lamb for a thick cut pork chop in the end. I have never been a huge fan of lamb. The taste is just not my favorite. I am sure the lamb works perfect with the recipe, but if you do want to try it with pork, it works very well. The spices compliment the pork chop nicely.

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Have I mentioned how much I love mixing spices?

The chops came out nice and tender with a good kick. Spiced, but not burn your face off hot. Dirge had the right idea with this recipe.

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The side dishes that my adventures brought this week were particularly amazing. Shannon brought a super delicious and refreshing cold tortellini salad. Visually pretty and very tasty.  Ross and Delphine brought an extremely tasty roasted squash and root vegetables. Simple dish, but man is it one of my favorites.

Last but absolutely not least, Delphine continues to dazzle with adventure themed treats. In celebration of the group’s encounter (and besting of) Nezznar the Black Spider, Dephine brought these little gems.

Look at them! One, the cracker, cheese, and olive combo was delicious, and two, SPIDER TREATS! I love this stuff. I can’t get enough of themed foods that also work well together taste wise. Brilliant!

All in all, a great meal with even better company.

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The Adventure

In the last session, the group found their way to the drow figure who had orchestrated the take over of the Wave Echo Cave from the Rockseeker brothers. As we ended the session, they had found Nundro Rockseeker alive.

After resting and regaining their strength, the group spoke more with Nundro. They told him that his brother Gundren was alive in Phandalin, and unfortunately they found Tharden dead at the cave entrance. After hearing that news, Nundro noticed that Varel was wearing his brother’s boots and took great offense to it. An argument ensued, and they could not convince Nundro to stay with them. Mordecai escorted him safely to the entrance of the cave and rejoined the group at Dumathoin’s temple.

The group pressed on to try and find the Forge of Spells. They headed back to the crevass where they fought the doppelganger and bugbears. They decided to go through the tunnel that seemed to lead to the source of the loud booming wave sounds. Mung climbed up the ledge leading to the tunnel first and had Mordecai throw a rope up for him to secure. Mung failed his dex check and missed catching the rope, so Mordecai decided to make a lasso and throw it around Mung. Having the rope secured to himself, Mung decided that would work just fine for everyone to climb up. A few very lucky strength checks later, everyone was now up on the ledge leading to the booming waves.

The tunnel lead to a massive cavern filled with water that produced large crashing waves. A thin ledge outlined the cavern, and the waves would swell and hit the edge of the walkway every few minutes. The dark water continued out of the back of the cavern beyond the group’s vision. Mordecai took two rocks that Varel had cast light on and threw them into the water below. Expecting something to spring out of the water, they watched closely as…nothing happened. The waves came in and pull the rocks out to a larger cavern. Convinced there was something more to this cavern than loud noises (there wasn’t), Kava turned into a reef shark and swam through the water to investigate further. Again she found nothing to the water. The bottom was smooth and nothing appeared to be there as the current was too strong for anything to stay in water very long.

shark

HEY GUYS! NOTHING DOWN HERE!!

While taking so long to investigate the area, they started to hear movement and odd clicking sounds. They recolonized the sound from a previous fight as gricks. Waundering monsters man. You gotta keep moving. The group ran around the ledge to the other side of the cavern, unable to see the gricks around them due to their innate stone camouflage ability. As they made their way around the cavern a grick dropped down behind Mordecai mid way, and another grick dropped down behind Mung and the others at the furthest end of the cavern. Varel and Sky decided to give some distance to the grick behind Mung, but unfortunately another grick landed behind Sky as they moved away. Seeing Varel and Sky in trouble, Mung shield bashed the grick he was fighting sending it flying into water. It managed to climb back up on it’s turn, but Mung shield bashed it right back into the water.

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source: Deviant Art

Stay down!

As Kava finished off the grick fighting Mordecai with a moonbeam, she noticed the one Mung had knocked into the water and immediately obliterated it with the moonbeam as well. Mordecai heard noises coming from where they had entered the cavern, so Varel created an illusion of Sky to distract the grick. It worked, and the grick dropped to attack the fake Sky. Mordecai and Kava easily dispatched the last grick. They quickly moved on before more monsters could find their way to the cavern.

As they moved on to the next area, they found the tunnel was becoming more well maintained and structured. They had entered the smelting room via the dried up water duct that would normally turn the water wheel. Before they had much time to take in the sights, eight zombies immediately starting moving their way (guys, never forget to stealth). Worse than the zombies though, they heard a cackling coming from across the room as they watched a flameskull entered the room. These don’t look like much, just a standard human size skull floating in green fire, but oh boy are they bad news.

flameskull

source: aidedd.org

Seriously, these are damage dealers

You can take down a flame skull pretty easily. You just never want it to go before you in initiative. Too bad the flameskull rolled nat 20 initiative (yikes). Ok. The worst attack it has is a fire ball, so as long as you are not all grouped together in a water duct where it can hit you all in one go… crap! It threw a fire ball at them all causing 38 fire damage (reduced to half if you make your save). Mung failed his save taking the full damage. Everyone else made it and took the half. For level 4 characters, that is a hefty amount of damage to take. Not to mention you have 8 zombies making their way towards you.
The group focused on flameskull as it was obviously very dangerous. Mung however was hurting pretty bad, so he pulled quite the hail mary. He used his channel divinity to turn the unholy. This made over half of the zombies flee from him at all times. This was crucial and bought the group time to keep focus on taking out the flame skull.

As 3 zombies shambled away completely due to the turn the unholy spell, the group dispatched the other zombies, and Mordecai landed the killing blow, bashing the flameskull into bits. Kava worried something as powerful as the flameskull would come back and did a history check to see if she had ever seen how to deal with a creature like this. She remembered reading it had to be disposed of properly or it would regenerate in time, but she could not remember how exactly to do it. They decided it would be best to go back to the barricaded room for some rest and recovery time, and when they came back through, they would avoid the smelting room with their not so friendly regenerated skull enemy.

They continue to make progress, slowly but surely. They still have a long way to go though as this place just seems to get bigger and bigger.

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Until the next adventure, Bon Dungeon Eats!

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Recipe: Dirge’s Kickin’ Chimaerok Chops

This week’s recipe is part of the World of WarCraft Official Cookbook. I highly suggest adding this book to your collection. I won’t be sharing the step by step recipe for this week in order to be fair and not take away from the sales of the WoW cookbook. Please support the author of this book and pick up a copy*. If you enjoy cooking, you won’t regret this purchase.

Also available at:

*I am not an affiliate, paid sponsor, or official spokesperson for Blizzard or any selling companies of the World of WarCraft Official Cookbook.

Rustic WoW and Shifty Drow

The Feast / The Adventure / The Recipe

The group continued deeper into the Wave Echo Cave, so if you are currently running the D&D Starter Set, beware possible spoilers ahead. You can also catch up on the previous Chef DM adventures here.

The Feast

If you can’t tell, I live in a world of absolutely geekery. I especially geek out over my favorite video games. Just to name a few; I carry a triforce embossed billfold, have silent hill nurses art on my wall, and love my Super Mario Bob-omb tattoo on my wrist. Video game culture is a huge part of my life, and I am happy to bring that into my cooking as well.

I am now the proud owner of the World of WarCraft Official Cookbook.

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FOR THE HORDE!

I love this cookbook! It is extremely well written, gives WoW players a wonderful sense of nostalgia, and all of the recipes I have made so far are absolutely delicious. I consider this cookbook a must buy for all cooks. Even if you are not a gamer, the recipes are fantastic.

My first foray into the WoW cookbook was the Forest Strider Drumsticks.

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This is an apprentice level recipe, so it is a great starter to get in some practice with the WoW cooking style before you jump into the harder to execute recipes. It is classic, rustic and will leave the whole house smelling so good.

Now, since there are not too many of these guys running around in our world:

forest_strider

Source: Warcraft Mounts

The recipe calls for turkey legs as your protein. Unfortunately, I could not find uncooked turkey legs at my local stores, so I had to substitute chicken legs. If you want to cook with the called for turkey legs, make sure to plan ahead and order from your grocer. Otherwise you may have to wait for them to be in “season” around the holidays.  The chicken works well with the recipe, so don’t worry if you have to use them in place of the turkey drumsticks.

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These turned out so tasty, that this has become one of my go to recipes for chicken drumsticks now, and the baste and spices used in this recipe smell so good. I love a good mixture of spices for rubs.

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Pretty pretty spices

My adventurers volunteered to cover the sides for this week, so I searched through the book for some nice rustic bread options. Now, I am still dipping my toes in the waters of great bread making, so I went again with an apprentice level recipe in the bread section of the cookbook. I decided to try out the Cornmeal Biscuit recipe.

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These are easy to make and match the nice rustic taste of the Forest Strider Drumsticks. Plus, I love any recipe that you can really get your hands into the mixing. There is something about mixing things by hand that I have always liked. Maybe it is a carry over from when I was a kid and just loved squishing play-doh in my hands.

Yes, you should be playing with you food

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According to most southerners, you can never go wrong with any kind of biscuit. I will admit the first try on these were a little harder than I wanted, but the taste was very good. I added a little more buttermilk in the next batch and cut the cooking time down a hair. My oven tends to heat faster than called for in a recipe though.

Add in the delicious sides (black beans & rice, corn on the cob, and mushy peas) from the adventuring party:

And you have one proper rustic feast.

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The Adventure

In the last session, the group made their way into the depths of the Wave Echo Cave. The labyrinth of tunnels left them with little sense of what direction to go, so after they had rested in a partially barricaded room, they had to decide where to go next. Did they remove the barricade and see what the hobgoblins were keeping out of the room, or did that move on further north?

They decided to move back into the cavern with the still water and proceed north. Mordecai scouted ahead up the stairs and heard voices again. They were still working to clear away debris in the area and were still unaware of the group’s presence. He heard one giving orders while a second voice just repeated the orders and two or more grumbling voices possibly doing all the work. They decided to split up and have Mordecai and Kava go beast form and come in through the narrow water way while the rest of the group snuck in from the stairs.
As the converged on the area, they could see a drow barking orders into a large crevasse while a bugbear stood to the side of him repeating the orders, acting like a second in command. The group got the drop on the drow and bugbear while two more bugbears looked up from the crevasse in shock. The fighting moved closer and closer to the crevasse edge, but surprisingly no one was pushed over. There were a few close calls though. Once the drow was taken down though, they saw it was another doppelganger in disguise. This being the second one they had encountered, they were beginning to wonder if there were any actual drow involved in this.

At this point they could either circle back west, or they could cross the crevasse and enter one of two large tunnels. The crashing wave noises were noticeably louder in one of the tunnels leading east across the crevasse. They ultimately decided to go back to the west to see if they missed anything. As they came around the bend of the tunnel, they saw two large doors with the crest of Dumathoin. Mordecai of course realized this instantly and knelt down to pay homage to the dwarf god’s temple. He tried to stealth and open the door slowly, but with a low roll, the door squeaked as he opened it. He heard someone from within start walking to the door to investigate. Mordecai cut down the curious bugbear fairly easily as soon as it peeked out the door, and the group busted in ready for a fight.
When the group rushed through the door, they saw only one very confused bugbear behind a large desk. There were also 6 pillars (3 on each side of the room) leading to a large statue of Duamthoin at the end of the room. While Mordecai and Mung went straight for the very confused bugbear, Varel, Kava and Sky all fanned out across the room in case there were any hiding enemies. They were correct to assume that because as they crossed by the pillars, 4 giant spiders descended from the pillars and started attacking the group.

deathjump-spider

Source: Fractured Realms

That is one big NOPE

Kava transformed into a giant spider as well, so she would be immune to their poison bite. Unfortunately, right as she transformed, Varel used the spell suggestion to tell one of the spiders to “kill all of the other spiders you see in this room”. It complied and immediately turned to attack Kava in spider form. Whoops.

While this was all happening, Sky was keeping her distance, shooting the spiders as they came down the pillars. She felt something grab her and was grappled by unseen creature. Something sharp pressed against her neck, and she heard a whisper to “cooperate and be quiet; or die”. Poor Sky always gets grabbed by bad guys!
Varel rolled an ok perception and noticed Sky was acting somewhat weird by the way she was standing so stiff, but he could not see anyone or anything around her to cause total alarm. However, in the next round, Sky was drug into the corner and all of the spiders suddenly disengage and form a semi-circle between Sky and her comrades. No denying now that something was up, so Varel tried greasing the ground to make the unseen assailant fall. Unfortunately the creature was just out of the effected area, but Sky slipped and fell out of the creature’s grasp. Not quite the intended effect, but hey that worked…kinda.

Mung made is way over to help Sky, but as soon as he entered the corner with her and the unseen creature, an orb of impenetrable darkness engulfed everyone in that corner. Mung even tried to light up his mace with divine energy, but nothing could penetrate the darkness. Varel, being a well trained wizard, knew that invisibility and darkness are both concentration spells, so whatever had Sky grappled had to now be visible. He held a shocking grasp spell until an enemy creature emerged from the darkness. He was right too. Shortly after he readied the spell, a drow wizard came running out of the orb of darkness. Mung, Kava, and Mordecai had most of the corner blocked off as they fought the rest of the spiders, so the drow headed straight to Varel with his waiting spell. Unfortunately for Varel, the drow saved against the spell, so the damage was reduced and we did not suffer the full effect. The drow still had an action as well, so he grabbed Varel’s shoulder and said “My turn” and cast suggestion on Varel. He failed the save, so when the drow said “stay right here and let me pass”, Varel had to comply as Nezznar moved past him into the hallway leading out of the temple.

nezznar-the-black-spider

Source: Rogue Watson

Nezznar – The Black Spider

That’s right folks. They went straight to the final boss of the area. This place is massive and has a ton of tunnels and passages to take; endless possibilities, and they pretty much make a straight beeline to “the end game”.

WaveEchoCave2

Seriously!? Area 19 is the final area

Luckily for Varel, Mordecai saw Nezznar cast the spell and leave the temple. He ran up to Varel and slapped him to end the effects of the spell. Seeing Varel had his whits back, Mordecai followed Nezznar out of the temple. Varel followed suit and misty stepped ahead of The Black Spider.

Seeing he was now surrounded and being a fairly practical sort, Nezznar surrendered and offered the group a deal. He told the group that he has no interest in the items of the cave. He only wishes to find the Forge of Spells and report back to his matron mother with his findings. If the group will leave him be, he will warn them of all dangers in the mines, not interfere with any treasures they take, and even assist clearing the mines. He assures them that there are great dangers here that they should not be walking into blindly. As a show of good faith he even goes so far to show a treasure to the group before they have even agreed to the accord. He stepped to the door and pointed out that the eyes of Dumathion’s statue are valuable emerald gems.
As the team considered the offer, Mordecai stepped up to Nezznar and extended his hand saying “let’s shake on this deal”. As Nezznar took his hand, Mordecai threw his cloak over the him reciting a phrase to activate the cloak’s magical ability. Mordecai had actually tried this before on the doppleganger in the Cragmaw Castle, but she had dodged away. Nezznar was not as lucky and did not succeed on his saving throw. The rest of the group watched as The Black Spider disappeared and the cloak fell flat to the ground.

The general reaction of the group was “What the hell Mordecai!”. He explained to them that the cloak is the method that he uses to deliver those he is contracted to find. It magically sends any person or item it is placed on (along with the magical phrase) to a cell in the El Ahimar base. This way Nezznar would be captured and could not eventually betray them. Drow don’t tend to make trustworthy allies. Mordecai used his magical connection to his El Ahimar contact to let them know he had delivered a drow that would be able to give them the information they required on the Wave Echo Cave. It is not the exact request from the contract to deliver Gundren, but it should still satisfy the terms. His contact let him know that he would see if the originator of the contract would take the drow info as substitue and would contact him back in a day after Nezznar had been questioned.

As it turned out, Mordecai made a good call on not fully trusting Nezznar. As everyone made there way back into the temple, Mordecai noticed the statue’s eyes are glass and not a precious emerald. He took one out of the socket and triggered a trap that caved in a false ceiling. This hurt everyone, distroyed a few items in the room, made a huge amount of noise, and killed Varel’s companion owl. Nezznar was likely hoping they would trigger the trap as he escaped back out of the temple. Tricksy drow.
The group feared the cave in would attract wandering monsters in the area, so they made their way into a room next to the temple. Low and behold, Nundro Rockseeker was tied up, alive, in this room. The group freed him from his binds and took a long rest in the room.

That was where we left off for the night. They cleared out the mastermind of the attacks on Phandalin, but they still have not found the Forge of Spells. Will they keep exploring the cave or just call it a day?

Until the next adventure, Bon Dungeon Eats!

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Recipe: Forest Strider Drumsticks & Cornmeal Biscuits

This week’s recipes are all part of the World of WarCraft Official Cookbook. I highly suggest adding this book to your collection. I won’t be sharing the step by step recipes for this week in order to be fair and not take away from the sales of the WoW cookbook. Please support the author of this book and pick up a copy*. If you enjoy cooking, you won’t regret this purchase.

Also available at:

*I am not an affiliate, paid sponsor, or official spokesperson for Blizzard or any selling companies of the World of WarCraft Official Cookbook.

Chicken Potpie and Bedroom Suggestions

The Feast / The Adventure / The Recipe

The final encounter has begun in the quest to save Phandalin, so if you are currently running the D&D Starter Set, beware possible spoilers ahead. You can also catch up on the previous Chef DM adventures here.

The Feast

Growing up as a little southern girl, one of my favorite “pop in the oven and go” meals was chicken potpie. Warm, comforting, and can be found in almost any Texas freezer. I decided to take that childhood favorite and scale it up to adventurer’s size feast this week. I found a recipe that I liked as a base and then modified to fit the occasion. The recipe with my modifications can be found below.

I love a good ol’ fashion pie crust potpie, but something pulled me to trying a puff pastry style topper for this feast. I have become a little obsessed with puff pastry every since I tired making beef wellington for the first time. Rather than a sheet of pie crust, this recipe calls for a lattice of puff pastry. It makes for a super flaky top, and who does not like playing with dough.

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You can change out the vegetables to some of your favorites, but I like carrots, potatoes, and peas for this casserole. The classics. I broke out my new favorite Pioneer Woman casserole dish and gave this small frozen classic a “cook for an army” southern style makeover.

This is a great dish and definitely gave me that nostalgic feeling. I will admit however that there were a few mistakes made here. Never shy away from admitting your mistakes. There is not a cook alive that has made all dishes perfect on the first try every time. There are two things I am now going to look out for next time.  I added potatoes to the recipe, and I should have known they would need some pre-cooking before putting them in the casserole, but I competently forgot that step. Lesson learned. If you add potatoes to your potpie casserole, do NOT forget to boil them first so they are slightly softened. If not, you will have some raw potatoes to crunch through.
Mistake number two was not thinking about how doubling the recipe for “cooking for an army” would effect the puff pastry top. Mine was a little doughy in the middle since I did not adjust the timing and temp to let the pastry cook a little longer before it had fully browned. The overall dish was still very delicious.

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Beast companion Kitty made a rare appearance as soon as I pulled the chicken out of the stock pot to cool. She was more than happy to serve as quality control and test the chicken for me.

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One of the best things to come out of an adventurer’s cooking blog is that my players are getting inspired to make their own geeky treats. Delphine and Ross brought an amazing dessert to commemorate the last session’s encounter with the owlbear. They celebrated the newly liberated beast with the absolutely cutest Owlbear Paw Brownies.

Dear lord look at those little almond slice claws. LOOK A THEM! Paws down the cutest surprise of the day. They were equal parts creative and tasty.

Dan was also inspired to recreate a dish from his current gaming obsession Final Fantasy XV. There are tons of recipes to recreate from the game. Seriously a ton. Dan decided to create two versions of the Mystery Meat sushi.  He made one with the king of all meats made of complete mystery parts, Spam.

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Gross looking sodium-filled meat log

Spam is such a paradox “food product”. It smells and looks awful when you take it out of the can. It is horrible for you, but dear God it taste so much better than it really should once you cook it. To off set the crazy bad for you Spam, Dan also made a selection of the mystery meat sushi with tofu. Both versions were extremely tasty.

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And if I do say so, the comparison to in game is pretty damn good.

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Nicely done Chef Dan

During Dan’s sushi making, we realized that Spam is apparently imbued with dog summoning abilities. Our beast companions Sooba and Flynn like to stay close when food is being prepared, but man oh man they were memorized by Dan and refused to leave his side while Spam was being handled.

I guess I now know to keep Spam on hand should dog-kind ever decide to turn on us all and attempt to take over the world.

With copious amounts of delicious food, we were ready to feast and jump in to the end game of our starter campaign.

The Adventure

In the last session, the group bested King Grol and a very sneaky doppelganger, and they finally found Gundren Rockseeker. Recovering from the confusion the doppelganger had created, Sky asked Mordecai if he had the map. He cryptically replied that it was safe. Sky did not know why he was being so secretive, but she chose to believe it was for good reason. They healed Gundren to a stable state, and decided the best course was to get him back to Phandalin to the healers at the Shrine of Luck. Kava beast shaped into a horse to pull Gundren along on an improvised stretcher, and the group headed back to town.

Once Gundren had recovered enough to speak with them, Mordecai asked to speak to Gundren alone. Dwarf to dwarf. He first told Gundren of his people; the weretiger dwarves of Giants Run. He even shifted to show Gundren he was being truthful. He wanted Gundren to know he could trust him. He then gave Gundren back his map and told him there were people looking for him and his map. More than just the goblins that had captured him. Mordecai explained that he is employed by the El Ahimar to find people or items for pay. He normally asks no questions and delivers the item/person as contracted. It is not his place to assume the purpose these people are meant to be found is either for evil or for good. It is merely his job to track. Mordecai had been given a contract to deliver Gundren. Like all other contracts, there is no reason why. Just a name and a general area of where they can be found. Of course as this adventure has continued to unfold, Mordecai is fairly certain that this contract is because of the Echo Wave Cave. There as no way he was going to turn over a fellow dwarf that sought to recover and restore a dwarven forge. He asked Gundren to make another map, one that looked close to the one leading to Wave Echo Cave but with changes that would not lead to the entrance right away. Maybe the forge could be reclaimed before this unknown contractor found the cave. Gundren agreed as long as Mordecai promised to help clear the cave and reclaim the forge for him.

Up until this point, the other members of the group had no idea that Mordecai was a tracker for a criminal organization. Though unsure what that would mean in the future, he did show by not turning over Gundren that his involvement with the El Ahimar was not malicious in nature. They all headed out to find Wave Echo Cave to clear it out per Gundren’s wishes. They were well on the way to starting the final conflicts of this campaign, and conflicts there would be.

No there is not a frost beholder in the cave. He is a placeholder for a mini I could not find online.

When the group entered the massive cave entrance, they found the camp the Rockseeker brother had set up as a base before entering the full cave. Unfortunately while Gundren was out to get more supplies and to hire help to clear the cave, the camp was ambushed. They found his brother Tharden’s body in the cave, killed by the ambushers, and Nundro was no where to be seen. They had to proceed further if they hoped to find Nundro and clear the ambushers out of the cave.

This place is MASSIVE, so I started printing the maps rather than hand drawing them.

There was a 20 foot drop into a cavern leading to the North or South-East. Having no real bearings on which way best to go, the team decided to head northward further into the massive cave complex. Most of the group passed their strength checks and descended safely down into the cavern. Unfortunately the two smaller members of the group rolled really low and fell straight over the edge. Luckily Mordecai, in hybrid form, and Kava, naturally large as a dragonborn, reacted quickly catching Sky and Varel before they fell headfirst into the ground. They all found themselves in a tangle of winding tunnels. Some branching to new tunnels, other dead-ending into piles of rubble. Wanting to be meticulous in their investigations, the team made sure to check every dead end. Unfortunately for Sky, the tunnel she picked to investigate contained an Ochre Jelly waiting for lost creatures to devour.

jelly

source: Sword Coast Legends Wikia

Gross. Gross. GROOOOOOOOSSSS!

The jelly oozed from the cracks in the walls and immediately attacked Sky. Being too close to use her customary bow and arrow attack, Sky attempted to slash the jelly with her short sword. Unfortunately when she landed two strikes on the jelly, it split off two more jellies. Ochre jellies have a bad habit of doing this when they take lightening or slashing damage. The rest of the group rushed back from their respective dead end investigations to help keep the jelly from dissolving Sky. They dispatched the jelly(s) and decide to stick together in these tunnels from now on.

Winding through many possible twists and turns, the team found their way into a large cavern with a pool of stagnant water. Finding no other creatures in this cavern, at first they could only see a single staircase leading into another tunnel; but as Mordecai investigated the pool further, he found a small opening that seems to be the source of the water slowly trickling in. The space is far too small for him to swim through in his large hybrid from, so he shifted to his full cat from to progress further down the passage.

tiger_swim

brb guys

As he made his way down the small waterway, his keen senses picked up the sound of distant voices. He stopped short of the opening to the next cavern hearing more voices as he approached. He reported back to the group on knowing the next cavern over had multiple people moving about. Rather than trying to squeeze the entire group through the mystery passage, they decided to see what was up the stairway first. So many choices! Learning their lesson from the Cragmaw Castle endless fighting, the team moved as stealthy as possible. They found a door slightly ajar and were able to observe the hobgoblins inside without alerting them. After discussing at length what they should do next, Mordecai rushed in and gave the closest hobgoblin a massive scare. How often does a massive black and red striped weretiger run into your room claws and teeth bared?

The fight progressed as usual with your customary melee, ranged, and spell attacks; but in grand Varel fashion, our favorite gnome wizard found an opportunity to put his unique spin on this fight. As they all entered the room with the hobgoblins, they noticed that directly across the room was another door; but for some reason, the hobgoblins are barricaded this door with beds and mattresses. One of the hobgoblins started pulling the improvised barricaded down in order to escape or to possibly get reinforcements. Varel cast Suggestion on the hobgoblin and told him to “stack all of the mattresses in this room in front of that door”. The hobgoblin failed his saving throw and proceeded to re-barricade the door, in the middle of battle, while Varel cackled with laughter. As his fellow hobgoblins fell in battle, all this guy could think is “I gotta block this door!”. Varel was enjoying this so much, that when the other enemies were all cleared, Varel told the team to wait to attack his mattress moving friend. He wanted to revel in the comedy of the situation for as long as possible.

Incidentally, the work the hobgoblin did on this door made for a nice safe resting place for the group once they finally dispatched him as well.  They settled in for a long rest as they realized this was going to be a large endeavor to find their way through this entire complex cave system. They have no idea just how massive this place is. For reference, they only made it through this much of the cave:

WaveEchoCave
That was where we ended the session for now. They have a long way to go still and PLENTY of bad guys to contend with on the way. Who knows? Maybe there will be more mattress stacking to entertain Varel.

Until the next adventure, Bon Dungeon Eats!

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Recipe: Puff Pastry Chicken Potpie

This recipe comes from a Taste of Home and can be found here.

I made a few modifications to the recipe. I did use frozen peas, but I decided to buy fresh carrots rather than frozen. If you want to use fresh carrots as well, wash, peel, and cube them in prep for the potpie. I also boiled a whole chicken with some spices rather than using the called for chicken breast and can broth. This let me have white and dark meat chicken to shred and some homemade broth for the casserole. You do not have to make your broth. I just like to do this when making a chicken based casserole because it lets me put my chosen flavors in the broth as it cooks the chicken.

I also included potatoes in the recipe. To include potatoes, you will need to peel and cube your potatoes and boil them until they are starting to soften but are not fully cooked through. Add in the precooked potato cubes in step four of the recipe with all of the other vegetables.

A warning on the puff pastry top for the casserole. I was making a very large casserole, so I doubled most of the ingredients. If you plan to do the same, you will need to adjust your timing and oven temp so the pastry has a little more time to cook completely. Mine was a little doughy still in the middle, so I suggest bringing the temp down a little so you can cook longer before the pastry has fully browned. That or you can prepare in two smaller casserole dishes at the recipe’s noted temp and timing rather than one large dish.

One modification that I did not make but thought would be a good addition was to add in some sliced or cubed mushrooms. I like mushrooms in everything though.

Twice Baked Potatoes and a Double Dose of Malice

The Feast / The Adventure / The Recipe

Our adventures in Phandalin continue, so if you are currently running the D&D Starter Set, beware possible spoilers ahead. You can also catch up on the previous Chef DM adventures here.

The Feast

Normally there is a bit of a theme to what I cook for our sessions. Sometimes it’s rustic cooking, southern dishes, or all geeky desserts. This session though, we decided to go all over the map. I knew I wanted to make some twice baked potatoes, but the rest evolved like pregnant woman shopping for groceries right before lunch. Pure craving based decisions.

I found a recipe for a twice baked potato casserole that I had to make. It looked delicious and gave me a chance to use my new Pioneer Woman casserole dish.

20170205_115930The recipe can be found below.

Fair warning, it makes enough to feed an army, so be prepared with a very large mixing bowl for the prep. Also, when you are mixing, I would add the milk slowly and mix as you go. I dumped the milk in without realizing it was going to make things a little soupy. Don’t get me wrong, it was still absolutely delicious, but there was some gloopy factor with mine.

Once I had the potato goodness decided, things descended into the “oh shiny” realm of meal planning. I decided some pork cutlets would go nicely with a potato dish which is not left field at all…yet.
Since pork cutlets are so thin, you only need to pan-sear them a short amount of time on each side. You can go with a light seasoning, or you can marinade for some extra set in flavor. I mixed some minced garlic, vegetable stock, and melted butter to give the pork a little flavor bath beforehand.

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I sprinkled a little salt, pepper, and a tiny pinch of cayenne on the pork cutlets before I seared them. These are super simple and fast to cook, so they are easy to add to any meal.

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I promptly decided that we needed naan for this meal. I love naan, so I will often insert it into pretty much any meal, Indian in nature or not. I am still not a bread making expert (I’m working on it), so I bought my favorite pre-made brand.

Hand-made naan is the best, but Stonefire is really fantastic for the “still learning” bread makers like myself.
Beast companion Flynn agrees with our choice of naan with the meal.

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Now since I wanted naan, hummus was a logical addition. Who does not love some red pepper hummus with their baked potato casserole?
PITA CHIPS! We need those too. Imagine a chunky Texan girl wondering around a Kroger and shouting this as she puts everything you can find on an end cap into the basket. I swear I get distracted when food shopping like a little kid on a sugar high.

You know what goes with a southern casserole, pork, and Indian bread? Kolaches of course. See what I mean about random cravings? Our favorite rogue and paladin duo brought a delicious variety of treats from Kolache Factory. If you have one of these around your location, stop by. They have great savory and sweet kolaches.

Fun Fact Time: Texans have a huge love of kolaches. Especially if you live anywhere near Austin. There is a place outside of West, Texas called the Czech Stop. It is gas station off I-35 with a kolache shop inside. It does not look like much from the highway, but this place is massively famous here in Texas. There is always a line out the door for these kolaches, and I am biased living not too far(ish) from West, but man oh man they are fantastic. If you drive down I-35 in central Texas and don’t stop at the Czech Stop, you will get surprised gasps all around.

Obviously we had way more food than necessary for this adventure, so the session began with our overstuffed groans of contentedness.

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The Adventure

We left off on our last adventure with the group walking right into an encounter with a band of very oblivious goblins. Despite me rolling numerous perception rolls as the group bashed away at the outside door, the eight goblins in the dining hall did not notice the noise coming from the backdoor. The goblins remained completely unaware of the party until Mordecai opened the door to the dining hall. Fighting ensued, and Varel decided to cast a flaming sphere to try to take out the boss in the room. In the process, he lit one of the very large dining hall tables on fire. Varel really likes his fire.
With chaos erupting from the growing fire, the group focused on the boss goblin; and as his forces scattered about, the leader went down fairly quickly. Seeing their shot caller go down, the other goblins lost their will to fight and attempted to run away. Kava acted fast and put herself between two fleeing goblins. She cast thunder wave and annihilated them both swiftly. Unfortunately thunder wave also lets out a loud boom that is audible within 300 feet of her. The castle is big, but not over 300 feet big; so all surprise and stealth has effectively been taken away. Monsters in the immediate area rushed in to attack after hearing the boom, and it became clear that it was going to be constant fighting from here on out.

Metal-Gear-Solid-2-alert

source: Myinstants

…shit

Kava’s luck did not improve as they progressed through the castle. She beast shaped into a wolf, and while backing away from a door for a better position to strike anything that may come through that door, she managed to step on a trip wire triggering a cave in where she was standing. Hearing yet another loud noise, the hobgoblins in the next area rushed in to attack the group. The non stop fighting continues as the group dispatches the newest appearance of baddies without major indecent.
As they made their way through the castle, they found a room with a bloodied alter and goblin worshipers bowed before it. These were zealot followers of the gnome and dwarf hating god Maglubiyet. Seeing the group enter, the worshipers rushed them hoping to add them to the sacrifice on the bloody alter. The group has dealt with many a goblin, so these zealots were not too difficult to deal with. However, as the zealots started to go down, the leader starting whistling to unseen help. Mung, being a half-orc of high goodly religious conviction, dispatched the lead worshiper of the heretic god with a mighty blow from his mace. Unfortunately as he was making mince of the leader’s face, two large gricks rushed into the room just in time to see the death of their keeper.

source: Epic Path

Ewwwwwww

These nasty little fellows took offense to Mung’s actions and immediately attacked him. The group was able to do away with the two slithering face grabbers, but Mung did take some serious damage during the fight. A short rest with some much needed healing was in order before they moved on. Despite his brush with monstrous face chewing, Mung was ecstatic to find a shrine in the next room depicting many deities, including dear old “dad” Lathander.

Refreshed and ready to proceed, the group moved on hoping to find Gundren. They encountered more hobgoblins and attempted to lure them out using an illusion of Sky running from their position. Unfortunately the hobgoblins had been waiting for the group after hearing the loud boom, so they were not easily fooled into the trap. The hobgoblins were dispatched fairly easily, and the group made their way into what appeared to be a barracks for the brunt of the hobgoblins they had faced so far. While investigating this room, they heard scratching and muffled noises coming from a locked and barred door. Unsure if this was Gundren Rockseeker or another waiting monster, Mordecai and Kava tried to listen for clues as to what may be waiting on the other side of the door.
The noises they heard were definitely not human and seemed like they may be some kind of beast. Feeling like they must be getting closer to the final encounter of this castle, they opted to conserve some energy and spells and bet on this possibly being a beast looking to escape rather than fight. Mordecai retrieved a crate of salted meats from a nearby storeroom and slid a few pieces under the door to see the reaction of the beast. Hearing sounds of ravenous eating and eager scratching for more food, the group placed the crate in the middle of the room and stood back leaving a clear path to the crate. Varel used mage hand to open the door from a safe distance, and a VERY hungry owlbear burst from the room with wild eyes and a slobbering maw.

Monster_Manual_5e_-_Owlbear_-_p249

source: Forgotten Realms Wikia

It’s so CUTE but oh man it can KILL you!

Their planning paid off because luckily it was more interested in eating the meats and escaping the castle than tearing their insides out. They were able to move on without harming the captive creature. See kids, you can solve problems without fighting!

They made their way to the last room of the castle to find a large grizzled bugbear named King Grol holding an unconscious Gundren at knife point. He demanded 1000 gold or he would kill Gundren and never tell the group where to find Gundren’s map to the Wave Echo Cave. Being a fairly new adventuring band, they had no where near 1000 gold to pay off King Grol, and with the element of surprise being taken away, there was little hope they could attack before Grol killed Gundren.
Things looking grim, Mordecai pulled off a truly epic move that likely saved Gundren from certain death. He agreed to pay Grol the 1000 gold and proceed to throw a “sack of money” to Grol as payment. As soon as Grol caught the bag, a cloud of two doses of malice poison exploded from the bag blinding Grol instantly…for 8 hours. This massive boss encounter has now been turned into a bugbear madly fumbling around as the group proceeded to hand him his own ass. Sometimes a DM can plan an intricate fight, and then have your boss completely disabled by a clever player. I’m not bitter at all. I swear…

So the group had it made in the shade. No problem. Walk in the park. THINK AGAIN!
As Sky backed up from King Grol to get a good bead on him (rangers shoot things after all), she was suddenly grappled from an unseen assailant. Waiting in a small room to the side of Grol’s quarters, a female drow seized the opportunity to attack as soon as Sky stepped in front of that door. Sky feels the arms wrap around her and a sharp pain in her side. This counted as a surprise attack from the held action of the drow, and as bad luck would have it for the group, the drow’s initiative hit next. She disengaged from Sky, grabbed something from under a close by bedroll, and headed out of the room. Sky was able to perceive that what the drow had grabbed was a map, so the group knew this had to be Gundren’s map to the Wave Echo Cave. Jeez Grol, crap hiding place much?

Mordecai and Kava broke away from the fight to pursue the drow. In Kava’s fast wolf form and Mordecai’s long stride as a hybrid, they were able to keep pace with the drow. The drow could tell that escape was not going to happen, so she turned to fight her pursuers. While this chase was happening, Varel, Mung, and Sky neutralized Grol and stabilized Gundren. Mung went after Kava and Mordecai while Varel and Sky stayed back to cover the interrogation of Grol. The drow attacked Mordecai, stabbing at him with her dagger. When she hit though, she revealed more than she intended. In Mordecai’s hybrid form, he becomes immune to bludgeoning damage, so when he took no damage from what looked to be a slashing weapon, he knew something weird was going on. Before he could really consider it more, Mung arrived and as Kava knocked the map free from the “drow’s” grasp she and Mung began holding the “drow” at bay so Mordecai could grab the map and run. He shifted to his full cat form and proceed to dash far away from the fray.
Seeing Mordecai take off into the castle, the “drow” darted through the door to the hobgoblin barracks and locked Mung and Kava out. As the “drow” ran, Kava did get an attack of opportunity, bit the “drow”, and rolled a good perception; so she noticed the blood of the “drow” was a strange purplish color. What is the deal with this lady? Sky was still holding between the barracks and Grol’s quarters, and I will admit I enjoyed the confusion in the moment I told Delphine “as you wait, Mung comes out of the barracks in front of you”. Now Delphine knows Mung is not in the barracks, but her character has no clue where Mung is currently. Unless she rolls well on insight, so has no idea that is not really Mung. She did not roll well on insight.

The “Mung” grabbed Sky and put his mace to her throat. He shouted demands that her friends return with the map or she would be killed immediately. Mordecai, Mung, and Kava did roll a high enough perception to hear this yell, so they began to return to Grol’s quarters. Mordecai made a quick stop at a grain barrel though and stashed the map before returning. Imagine Mung’s surprise when he came back into the room and saw himself holding Sky captive. As the group was left scratching their heads at this situation, Sky was able to break the grapple and begin attacking the “not Mung, Mung”. At this point it became all hands on deck attacking this creature, and Sky luckily landed the killing blow. As she killed the “not Mung”, she saw the creatures face begin to haphazardly change between multiple visages until it became a mostly featureless purple humanoid and fell dead to the floor. Bum bum buuuuuuum, doppelganger.

Doppelganger-5e

source: Forgotten Realms Wikia

Shifty bastard. ZING

And on that strange note of “what the hell is going on here”, that was where we ended the session. The plot thickens, and our group is left to wonder what they will run into next.

Until the next adventure, Bon Dungeon Eats!

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Recipe: Twice Baked Potato Casserole

This recipe comes straight from my favorite Pioneer Woman Ree Drummond, so the recipe can be found here.

One small step I added, when I was finishing the casserole, I turned on the broiler before I took the dish out and let the top brown a little. If you want to brown the top, make sure to keep a close eye on it so it does not burn.

Don’t forget it makes enough to feed an army, so be prepared with a very large mixing bowl for the prep; and when you are mixing, I would add the milk slowly and mix as you go. This will keep you from ending up with an over soupy mix.