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Gentlemen, I know what you’re thinking: Why am I even considering culinary advice from the entertainment reporter? 

First, I spend a lot of time in front of the tube and have become somewhat of a connoisseur on snacks while binge watching Netflix and HBO shows or sports. 

Second, and more importantly, I’m not going to blow smoke up your Snoopys and pretend that I’m a five-star Michelin rated chef. I’m just an ordinary guy that has learned a few tricks over the years so that my palette isn’t always filled with chips, salsa, and Hungry Man dinners (not that there is anything wrong with those—especially the salsa).

Next time you sit down for a long session of binge watching Stranger Things, keep these three tips in mind for upping your game in the snack department:

Get to know your crockpot
Gentlemen, this may be one of the greatest culinary inventions. Ever. A crockpot will give you the ability to cook up some tasty snacks and dips with, literally, the absolute minimum of effort. If you don’t have a crockpot, get one!  They aren’t expensive and can be found at almost any retail store on the planet. You can make some tasty dips like this. Or you can go with a healthier version like this. And if you want to bypass snacking and just go straight to a meal, there’s nothing better on a cold day than some chili while catching up on Ballers.

Two other fantastic things about this piece of culinary wonderment is:

A) If you can read a recipe you can make anything. There are literally thousands of recipes. The possibilities are endless. In fact, a simple Google search for “crockpot recipes” gives you 1.66 million results.

And B) everything you make in a slow cooker usually takes between 4 and 10 hours. So you can literally throw ingredients in ahead of time, start the cooker, and then time it to be ready at precisely the right moment—while you continue to watch the tube.

Brilliant.

The Oven Is Your Friend
For you gentlemen that aren’t patient enough for the slow cooker, and you still want your crispy fried snacks, let me offer a piece of advice. Back away from your microwave and walk over to your oven!

I have nothing against purchasing the pizza rolls, taquitos, or potato skins from the frozen food section of your grocery store. I myself am addicted to the Totinos pizza rolls. But if you look at the instructions on the bag, or box, you will always see the microwave method of heating them AND the oven way of heating them. ALWAYS CHOOSE THE OVEN!

I cannot emphasize using the oven enough. Even if what you are eating isn’t the most gourmet snack in the world, you don’t want soggy rolls. I have yet to have any item that should be crispy remain so if heated in the microwave. Simply put, a microwave is designed to cook food from the inside out. Ovens provide heat all around the items. 

You chose that crispy fried taquito for a reason. You wanted something crispy. Heat it up in the oven so it turns out that way.

Plan Ahead Of Time
You are all intelligent gentlemen. If you weren’t, you wouldn’t be reading Profile, right? 

However, the No. 1 mistake I see people make in the television snacking is poor planning. Let’s face it. If you’re going to binge watch anything or sit down for a 4-hour ballgame, you know when you have that kind of time. You have to block it off. So plan ahead the day before and make sure you know what you are going to snack on while doing so and then plan accordingly.

We have all been in a situation where we start our session four episodes in to a 10-episode season and get hungry only to realize we have no idea what we want to eat. Thus, we go to the kitchen and wind up grabbing the easiest thing we see because we don’t want to wait on anything at that point.

There is no shame in reading the directions on your snack the night before so you know what kind of timing you need. And especially if you will be using the previously mentioned greatest culinary invention known to mankind (the crockpot), you need to consult your recipe and make sure to time things out accordingly. That way when you get hungry, your kicked up snack is ready to go.

A failure to plan will doom you to soggy sandwiches, unfulfilling tortilla chips and salsa, or something even worse: the microwaved hot pocket.

I don’t want that for you gentlemen. I don’t want that for society in general. So spend 5 minutes ahead of time in order to avoid it.

Until next time, gentlemen…