Not Your Average Dinner: Game Night

A little friendly competition (and an excuse to play with your food) makes a hearty dinner even better.

Let the Games Begin

A classic, family-friendly meal and a couple of board games are all it takes to throw a decent game night. But we're not really in the business of simply "decent" ideas, are we? To make your game night extra fun, we propose a few more interactive activities — starring the meal itself.

Create Some Easy Decor

All it takes to transform your dinner table from "regular ol' decor" to "totally on-theme" is a pack of cards or two. Hot-glued or rubber-banded to disposable cups, cards turn into drink markers — especially helpful if you're hosting a larger, rowdier crowd. Plus, a fun pattern of playing cards glued to a paper tablecloth becomes a cute table runner in just a few minutes. 

Play Cards with (Real) Chips

Plastic poker chips might be colorful, but they're certainly not as tasty as your favorite potato chips. Break out a bag as a predinner snack and we wager you'll come back for another handful.

Snack on Tic-Tac-Toe

Remember how you used to pass the time in dentist waiting rooms or at the airport as a kid (before phones gobbled up all of our attention)? Resurface the easiest (and yet most-competitive) game you would play, but think beyond X’s and O’s. Use crudites for player markers and ranch dressing to build the battlefield — winner gets the first dip.

Serve Crowd-Pleasing Manicotti

Don't let a labor-intensive dinner keep you away from the games. This cheesy manicotti requires only 15 minutes of prep work, which you can complete earlier in the day if you wish. Pop the pan in the oven as the games begin and dinner will be ready just as everyone's getting a little hungrier.

Get the Recipe: Manicotti

And a Caesar Salad on the Side

It's a savory classic that pairs well with the Italian-American flavors in the manicotti. We've brightened our dressing with a little lemon juice and Dijon mustard (and no, we did not skip the minced anchovies — and neither should you!).

Get the Recipe: Caesar Salad

Draw on Pizza

Reimagine classic games like Pictionary or Hangman on pizza instead of paper. Start with premade pizza rounds, and use sauce and toppings to "draw." When the game is done, throw the pizzas in the oven. In just a few melty minutes, everyone will have a new way to enjoy your art. 

Line Up Dessert Dominos

We're not done playing withour food just yet. For dessert, turn your favorite brownies into dominos. We punched white circles out of edible wafer paper for an extra-crisp look, but white icing or powdered sugar (shake it over a homemade dot stencil) would work well too.

Whip Up a DIY Trophy

Game night calls for a cheeky prize for the evening's big winner. Dig into your garage for a cast-off participation trophy (you know your kids have them) and glue a long-forgotten animal figurine on top. Our T-Rex topper chomps down on a poker chip, and looks especially regal sprayed in gold paint.