Competitive Game Nights & Homemade Dinner Traditions


It all started back in the Bay Area years ago before I moved to Southern California. Every time my friends and I found the opportunity to hang out at night, we always combined the concepts of homemade dinners and board/video game nights. Once this “game night” became more routine, it eventually became a part of our lifestyle and I’ve transitioned this to my Orange County lifestyle as well with my friends here. For my monthly collaboration with Milk & Eggs, I wanted to do something a little different this time and take you guys on a virtual shopping tour on what ingredients to buy for two very awesome homemade dinner recipes that you can make with your friends at your next game night - DIY hotpot/shabu shabu and potstickers!

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DIY Hotpot / Shabu Shabu

Honestly, I love homemade hotpot/shabu shabu WAY more than going to a restaurant and paying for it. Not only are shabu shabu restaurants more costly, but you also don’t get to try a variety of ingredients like you can if you made it at home. With homemade shabu shabu, the options are endless. Also, I’ve experienced enough at-home hot pot nights where I can safely say that the bill typically comes down to approximately $10 per person. Now that’s a damn cheap AYCE dinner!

I’ve listed a few ingredients below that I (and my friends) personally love, but get creative with it! You can use whichever vegetables, meats, and seafood you would like, but these are my personal must-have hotpot ingredients!

Hot Pot Ingredients:

  • Shanghai Baby Bok Choy - find it on the Milk & Eggs website here.

  • Napa Cabbage - find it on the Milk & Eggs website here.

  • Enoki Mushrooms - find it on the Milk & Eggs website here.

  • Watercress

  • Shabu shabu meat (ex: Ribeye, Brisket, Pork, Chicken, etc.)

  • Fresh Shrimp

  • Fish tofu

  • Fish balls, shrimp balls, lobster balls, beef balls, etc.

  • Dipping Sauce (ex: teriyaki sauce, Goma (sesame) sauce, etc.)

  • Udon - find it on the Milk & Eggs website here.

  • Glass noodles


  1. Boil a pot of water on high heat. Once water is bubbling, add ingredients of your choice to the pot. As soon as the water stops boiling, that’s when you know that you put too many ingredients in the pot (LOL). Place lid on pot and check every few minutes to see if the water is boiling again. It’s a safe assumption that after 5-10 minutes, all of the ingredients are cooked thoroughly.

    Tip #1: Fish balls, shrimp balls, fish tofu, lobster balls, beef balls float on the surface of the water once cooked.

    Tip #2: Shabu shabu meat (ribeye & brisket specifically) and shrimp only take approximately 15 - 30 seconds to cook. Remove these immediately after at least 30 seconds so that you don’t overcook them, as you want these meats to be tender.

DIY Dumpling/Potsticker Night

I had a DIY homemade dumpling/potsticker night with my OC friends not too long ago, and let’s just say…making dumplings is a LOT more work than one might think! It literally took the four of us at least one hour to completely finish prepping (aka washing and cutting) the vegetables and meats and one hour. Caution - do not if you are strapped for time. Our original time to play game night was at 6:00PM, and it got pushed back a few hours later since we underestimated the preparation time. Let’s just say I warned you! ;) However, it is very rewarding to dig into your first dumpling/potsticker as soon as it’s done because c’mon, give yourself some credit! Making dumplings/potstickers ain’t easy, man. Now let’s get to the ingredients list!

Dumpling/Potsticker Ingredients:

  • Napa Cabbage (chopped) - find it on the Milk & Eggs website here.

  • Ginger (grated) - find it on the Milk & Eggs website here.

  • Wonton Skin - find it on the Milk & Eggs website here.

    • If you roll out the wonton skin with a rolling pin before stuffing it, you will make the skin thinner (no real right or wrong - it’s just about your preference in texture!)

  • Regular Tofu or Firm Tofu (chopped) - find it on the Milk & Eggs website here.

    • Make sure that the tofu is cut into REALLY tiny (smaller than bite-sized pieces!)

  • Green Onion Bundle (chopped) - find it on the Milk & Eggs website here.

  • One Carrot (grated) - find it on the Milk & Eggs website here.

  • Ground Pork - find it on the Milk & Eggs website here.

  • Shrimp (peeled & chopped) - find it on the Milk & Eggs website here.

  • Glass Noodles

  • Seasoning: Sesame Oil, black pepper, salt, garlic powder

  • Dipping sauce (ex: soy sauce, gyoza sauce, Ponzu sauce, etc.)


  1. Wash the napa cabbage, carrot, and green onions. Then, grab one large bowl to combine all of the ingredients together.

  2. Boil a pot of water on high heat to boil the glass noodles in. Once you throw the noodles in, boil on medium-high for 3-5 minutes. Drain glass noodles, then cut with scissors before adding the chopped noodles to the large bowl.

  3. Peel the skin of the carrots and ginger before grating these vegetables into the bowl. Add chopped green onion, chopped tofu, and chopped napa cabbage into the bowl.

  4. Peel the shrimp and remove the poop (a majority of shrimp will have poop left in them) with a sharp utensil/knife before chopping them into smaller than bite-sized pieces. Add to the bowl.

  5. Add ground pork into the bowl.

  6. Mix all ingredients together and add sesame oil, black pepper, salt, and garlic powder for an extra kick. Mix some more until thoroughly mixed.

  7. Roll out each wonton skin with a rolling pin (optional, but recommended) so that the skin can be thinner in texture and hold more stuffing.

  8. Add combined meat mixture in the middle of the wonton skin. Dip your finger into the egg white mixture and coat the top lining with a bit of egg white mixture.

  9. Bring the bottom pointed corner (the wonton skin is shaped like a square) to the top pointed corner and pinch the edges together until you form a potsticker. Use a fork to press down on the lining/edge to seal the potsticker in place.

  10. Add canola oil to a frying pan on high heat until pan is hot. Once pan is hot, add potstickers one-by-one and set pan to medium-low heat. Let potstickers cook for 2-5 minutes on one side, then flip once you see a golden brown color. Let the remaining side cook for 2-5 minutes, then serve with your favorite dipping sauce.

I hope that you guys enjoyed reading a more personal blog post this time around regarding how I spend time with my friends! Honestly, board/video game nights with friends over a homemade dinner is one of the best ways to spend time with your loved ones and I couldn’t imagine how my life would be without these nights. Also, I hope that at least one of these recipes resonate with you enough to bring up this fun concept with your friends! Until then, I’ll talk to you guys next time :)

Disclaimer: This post was sponsored by Milk & Eggs; however, all opinions remain my own.