Oct 31, 2012

Halloween Dinner Ideas

Happy Halloween!  I like Halloween now, I LOVED Halloween as a kid.  One problem that parents can have is how to get your kids to eat something healthy before they go gorge on candy.  In thinking of what I'm going to do this morning, I decided to post some of my favorite ideas. 

Dead Man Over Worms

This recipe I saw years ago on some foodnetwork show.  Basically, take your favorite meatloaf recipe (I will give the one they provide, but I figure it would be easy enough to use your own!), and shape the meatloaf into a "man."  Kind of more like a gingerbread at attention look (don't want the arms and legs to overcook) - but you get the idea.  Cook as directed, and serve over spaghetti noodles with the "blood" sauce on the side.

here is the recipe from the show.  It makes a really big dead man:

Dead Man Meatloaf
3 eggs
2/3 cup milk
2 slices French bread torn into bits
1 cup oatmeal
1/2 cup grated carrot
1/2 cup finally chopped onion (or grate)
1 cup shredded Cheddar
1 TBS chopped fresh Italian parsley leaves (or 1/2 for dried)
1 tsp salt
1 tsp bouquet garni (can leave out)
1/2 tsp black pepper
2 LBS lean ground beef
1 LBS mild Italian sausage
1 (16) oz package spaghetti noodles

"Blood" Sauce
1 cup tomato ketchup
1 cup packed brown sugar
2 tsp prepared mustard
1/4 cup maple syrup (NOT pancake syrup)

Preheat Oven 350

In a large bowl, beat the eggs.  Add milk, bread, and oatmeal.  Stir in carrots, onions, cheese, herbs, and seasoning.  Add beef and sausage and mix well.  In a shallow baking dish, shape beef mixture into the shape of a body.  Round fall for head, oval shape for body, mounding up for tummy.  Shape arms and place next to body.  Shape legs and place next to each other, not apart.  Smooth meatloaf so the seams are not apparent.  Bake for 45 minutes or until the meat is cooked through.

While baking combine topping ingredients.  Cook spaghetti noodles.  Set aside.

After 45 minutes spoon half of the sauce over the meatloaf.  return to the oven and continue baking an additional 30 minutes.  Remove from oven and let stand 10 minutes.

Put spaghetti noodles on a tray, carefully place meatloaf on top of spaghetti noodles.

To serve, place a knife in the "heart" of the meatloaf man.  Serve with extra "blood sauce."

Shrunken Heads

I got this one from the same episode as mentioned above.  You could easily take the idea and use your own stuffing recipe.

3 slices bacon
1/2 small onion, finely diced
1 garlic clove, minced
1 cup fresh bread crumbs
6 medium (I'd say the bigger the better personally) Granny Smith apples (or other firm, large apples)
2 TBS freshly grated Parmesan
2 TBS butter at room temperature (it calls for unsalted, but don't fret too much if you only have salted)
2 tsp whole-grain mustard
3 TBS balsamic vinegar

Tip: use pumpkin carving tools, melon baler, and bamboo skewers to create features of the face.

Preheat oven 350

Slice bacon into small cubes.  Saute over medium heat until brown and crispy.  Remove bacon to a paper town lined plate and discard all but 1 TBS of the drippings.  Saute onion in drippings about 3 minutes and add garlic.  Cook until onion is translucent and beginning to brown.  So not allow garlic to brown (I'd say wait to add the garlic until the very end).  Reduce heat if needed.  Add bread crumbs and cooked bacon and toss.  Remove from heat and allow to cool in pan.

With melon baler, remove core from apple starting at the top (stem end).  Only dig about halfway down into the apple to remove the core, but do not go all the way through.  You should now have a well in the apple about 1 inch wide and 2 inches deep.  With a paring knife, carefully carve a face into the side of the apple, not going all the way through. 

To the cooled filling add Parm, butter, mustard, and 1 TBS of balsamic vinegar.  Stuff apples with filling and place in a baking dish so that they do not touch.  For bet results, have carved faces toward the outside of the dish and drizzle the remaining 2 TBS balsamic on the outside of the apples over the cut features. 

Bake for 1 to 1 1/2 hour, until the apples is soft.

Jack O'Lantern Stew

One of my best friends likes to make this in a full sized pumpkin, but you could use small individual pumpkins or any gords you want.  This particular recipe is from that same Food Network show, but that is not the first time I have heard of doing this.  Again, take the idea and get creative with the filling!

1 (9-12 inch) pumpkin
1 large onion
1 green pepper, cored, seeded, and diced
1 red pepper, cored, seeded, and diced
4 carrots, thinly sliced into rounds
3 celery sticks thinly sliced and diced
2 cloves garlic, crushed
1 LBS lean ground beef
1 LBS ground chicken or turkey
2 cups cooked rice
1 large can diced tomatoes
1 large can tomato soup

Preheat 350

cup the top off the pumpkin and scoop out the insides.  Rinse well.  Carve a spooky face on to the pumpkin without going all the way through.  Rinse well, oil outside of pumpkin.  Bake pumpkin shell for 30 minutes.

While the shell is baking, saute the onions, peppers, carrots, celery, and garlic until the veggies begin to soften, about 8 minutes.  Remove from pan and set aside.  Brown ground beef and chicken.  Add the veggies and cooked rice and cook over low heat stirring often for 10-15 minutes to let flavors meld.

Remove pumpkin from the oven and let stand 15 minutes.  Stir the tomatoes and soup into the meat mixture.  Place meat mixture into pumpkin.  Put back in oven for 20 minutes.  Serve on a platter with cheesy biscuits.

Mummy Dogs

This and the next recipes are my go to for Halloween because my kids are still so young and don't eat very much.  So very cute.

hot dogs
crescent rolls
mustard and/or ketchup

Slice hot dogs in half (in the middle, NOT length wise)
Unwrap crescent rolls and slice into strips with pizza cutter.
Wrap hot dogs in the strips leaving a space where the face should be.
Bake 375 for 13-18 minutes.  Take out of the oven and when cooled slightly, make mustard or ketchup eyes where you have left a space where the face should be.

Candy Corn Pizza

I can't remember where I saw this, but it is easy a quick for that picky eater.

1 pizza crust
orange cheddar
white cheese of your choice

Use with either a white or red sauce, but if using red sauce, keep it away from the edge so it doesn't show.  Or you could do no sauce.  In the center of the pizza, make an orange circle of cheese.  Next, make a white circle of cheese around that - dart board fashion.  The lastly, orange again.  Bake according to the directions on the crust.  When you cut slices, it should look like a piece of candy corn - well at least mostly :o)

Oct 26, 2012

Hot Pizza Dip

This dip is great when you are the host of a party because it comes together quickly, uses only a few ingredients, and can easily be reheated in the microwave if your guests come later then expected or you don't eat right away (in my opinion it doesn't taste good if it is not hot-warm). It is also good to bring when you are tight on cash. I love crab dip, but boy it can be expensive! Using pasta sauce will make it runnier than pizza sauce, but I alwayys have pasta sauce on hand and usually don't want to buy pizza sauce. I think it tastes better than pizza sauce. But if consistency is an issue for you, go with pizza sauce. So enjoy this twist on a Pampered Chef classic

Hot Pizza Dip - a twist on a Pampered Chef classic

1 1/2 package (12oz) cream cheese, softened
1 tsp Italian Seasoning Mix
3oz Monterey Jack Cheese, grated
1 cup (4oz) shredded mozzarella
about 1 cup of good pasta sauce (I like Prego) or 1 8oz can pizza sauce

optional: diced green peppers, sliced green onions, or chopped pitted olives

Toasted baguette slices

Preheat oven to 350.  Mix cream cheese, and seasoning mix.  Spread into the bottom of a 1 qt baking dish (I actually bought the Pampered Chef Mini-Baker for dips because it is such a great size).  Layer shredded Monterey Jack, sauce, and lastly mozzerella.  Bake for 20-30 minutes or until bubbly.  Top with topping if desired.  Serve with toasted baguette slices.