As we all continue to look for ways to spend a little less, here is an incredibly cheap way to have a fun evening at home with family and friends.
I was inspired to do this segment after attending a “Game Night” party hosted by my friend Mark Schmieding. It was an easy way to entertain a large number of people, was very interactive with people losing their inhibitions as the games played on, and an engaging way for new people to get to know each other. Mark had name tags created for everyone, made the evening a “pot luck” so many folks contributed to the food and drink, and offered a number of different board games for folks to play.
Rather than breaking into individual groups to play different games, everyone decided to play “The Celebrity Game” together and we had a blast. This game requires no game board at all…just some strips of paper and your imagination. If you’ve never played “Celebrity” before (think charades where you can talk), I’ve provided some quick rules and pointers down below.
Since it was a night where people were all moving about, my contribution was finger food in the form of mini chicken salad sandwiches. I modified my recipe from that night to make this pesto version below. I cut circles from slices of bread to make the sandwiches. With the leftover crusts, so I wasn’t wasteful, I was able to get an easy bread pudding with rum sauce recipe from my friend Tom Tunney of Ann Sather Restaurant.
Pesto Chicken Salad Sandwiches
1 Package (9oz) Precooked Chicken Breast Strips, chopped into 1/2" pieces
2 stalks Celery, split and thinly sliced
1/3 cu Julienned Cut Sundried Tomatoes, chopped
Juice from 1/2 of a Lemon
3 tbl Jarred Pesto
2 tbl Light Mayonnaise
1/2 tsp Salt
1/2 tsp Pepper
1 med Mozzarella Ball
16 slices Wheat Bread
8 Basil leaves
8 Cherry Tomatoes
8 Short Wooden Skewers or Long Toothpicks (about 4” – 5” long)
In a large bowl, combine chicken, celery, sundried tomatoes, lemon juice, pesto and mayonnaise. Season with salt and pepper and set aside.
Cut four 1/4" slices from the mozzarella. Cut each slice in half and set pieces aside.
Using a 3” round cookie cutter, cut out the centers of the bread. Set aside the crusts for bread pudding. If you don’t have a cookie cutter, any 14oz - 15oz tomato sauce, vegetables or soup can will do. Once you’ve removed the contents, simple use the opening of the top of the can to cut your bread circles.
Spread about 1/4 cup of chicken salad on 8 bread slices and top with remaining slices. Thread a tomato, basil leaf and mozzarella slice on a skewer and then skewer each sandwich. Place sandwiches on a platter and serve.
courtesy of Tom Tunney and Ann Sather Restaurant
4 cu Stale Bread (whole wheat, white or multi grain), torn into pieces
2 cu Whole Milk
1/2 cu Granulated Sugar
1/2 tsp Salt
1 1/2 tsp Ground Cinnamon
1 tsp Ground Nutmeg
2 lg Eggs, slightly beaten
1/3 cu Raisins
1/3 cu Chopped Walnuts
Heat the milk just until scalded. Place bread in a large bowl; pour hot milk over bread and allow to cool. Add the sugar, salt, nutmeg, cinnamon, raisins, eggs and nuts. Pour mixture into an 8” square baking dish. Bake in a preheated 350 degree oven for 30 to 35 minutes or until set. Serve with rum sauce.
1/2 cu Butter
1 cu Granulated Sugar
1 tsp Vanilla
1 lg Egg
3-4 tbl Rum (to taste)
In a saucepan, cream butter and sugar. Add vanilla. Slowly stir in egg and then add the rum. Heat and stir over low heat for about 5 minutes.
How To Play The Celebrity Game
The basic idea behind The Celebrity Game is to see how many celebrity names you can get your teammates to guess in a specific amount of time.
To begin, everyone playing the game has to write the name of at least 10 different celebrities on separate small strips of paper. All of those pieces of paper are folded up and placed in a large bowl. Everyone is then divided into two groups. You will then need to assign a scorekeeper and a timekeeper.
To start the first round, one person from the first team takes the bowl of names. That person is given one minute to get his teammates to guesses the name of the celebrity on one piece of paper after another. You can use any clue you like (even have your teammates sound out the names by syllables) just as long as the name of the celebrity isn’t used. Each time the competitor’s teammates guesses a name, the competitor opens another name and continues until time runs out. Once time runs out, the opened names are set aside and the scorekeeper tallies all of the correct answers. Then one person from the opposing team gets to go through the same process with the remaining names in the bowl. Teams alternate the process with different team members until all of the names have been used.
The more challenging part of this game is round two. For round two, all the names go back into the bowl and the process starts again. But, this time, each contestant can only use one word to describe the celebrity on the piece of paper. They can use body movements as well, but can only utter one word. So, it’s a good idea to concentrate throughout round one to be familiar with the names of all celebrities.
At the end of round two, points are tallied and a winning team is declared.
If The Celebrity Game isn’t right for your party, you can always break out the board games and just play games the old fashioned way! Either way, this is an inexpensive and often silly way to entertain family and friends. Thanks again to Mark Schmieding for the inspiration and to Tom Tunney for his recipe.
If you have any questions or comments, pleases send me an email at firstname.lastname@example.org.