Sunday, October 26, 2008

Halloween Junk Food

As promised- Halloween Junk Food! The following recipes are mainly sweets with one exception- Mummy wraps that I think are just as irresistible as the sweets. Happy Halloween!

Mummy Wraps
Spooky Brownies
Frankenstein Faces
Homemade Oreos
Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Muffins

Homemade Oreo Cookies

I have no idea where this recipe came from. I got it from my friend Megan Porter after I attended a party in her home and ate almost all of the cookies myself. But I have also found the same recipe in various places online. They are so yummy you may be tempted to take credit for the recipe yourself!

Try orange coloring in your frosting for Halloween!


1 devil's food cake mix
1/2 c. shortening
2 eggs


Mix the above ingredients together. Roll the dough into balls just a bit bigger than a marble and place on a cookie sheet. Bake at 350 degrees for 8 minutes. Cool cookies.


8 oz. cream cheese
1/2 square butter
2 tsp. vanilla
2 to 4 c. powdered sugar

Mix all of frosting ingredients until smooth. Frost BACKS of cookies and place together to make sandwich cookie.

Mummy Wraps

I admit I have a sweet tooth- sweets are my downfall to healthy eating. Greasy, salty, fried? Nah I can take it or leave it. But every Halloween my mother would make these simple, tasty Mummy Wraps and I couldn't resist. Whenever I make them for a party they are gone in a flash and I make a mental note to bring double the amount next year.


2 cans (8 oz ) refrigerated crescent dinner rolls
16 oz package of cocktail-sized smoked link sausages


1. Heat oven to 375°F. Unroll both cans of the dough; separate into 16 triangles. Cut each triangle lengthwise into 3 triangles. (Imagine you are making pennant shaped triangles.)
2. Place sausage on wide side of each triangle. Roll up each, starting at widest side of triangle and rolling to opposite point; place point side down on 2 ungreased cookie sheets.
3. Bake 12 to 15 minutes or until golden brown, switching position of cookie sheets halfway through baking. Immediately remove from cookie sheet. Serve warm.

photo from Pillsbury

Frankenstien Faces

Mine on the left and Better Homes and Garden's on the right. I have to say that I don't think either of these versions are perfect. But the idea is really simple, fun for the kids to do. Take some time to look at candy in the store and get creative.


Canned vanilla icing
Green food coloring
Graham cracker
Chocolate sprinkles HAIR
1 Sathers Cherry Sour Candy or M and M's for EYES
Small mint patty or black licorice EYEBROWS
1 candy-coated chocolate candy or sour worm for NOSE
1 Twizzlers Chocolate Twist candy strip or red sour straws for MOUTH
Black decorating gel for SCARS
Twizzlers Nibs licorice bits for BOLTS (not pictured)

1. Use green food coloring to tint the icing green. Frost the graham cracker with the green icing. Add chocolate sprinkles to the top of the cracker to resemble hair.
2. Use a sharp knife to cut the Cherry Sour candy in half for eyes. Place on the cracker as shown. OR use to M&M's.
3. Cut the mint patty in half for eyebrows and place each half over eyes as shown. Or cut a section of licorice for eyebrows.
4. Use the candy-coated chocolate candy or a sour worm for the nose.
5. Use scissors to cut a 1-1/2-inch piece from the Chocolate Twist candy strip. Cut the strip in half lengthwise and use one of the pieces for the mouth. Press the candy in place. OR cut sections of red sour straws to make lips with some sutures.
6. Use the black gel to add pupils, and sutures. Use icing to add licorice bits as neck bolts.

Spooky Brownies

From Betty Crocker

1 box Betty Crocker Supreme brownie mix
Water, vegetable oil and eggs called for in brownie mix directions
1 container Betty Crocker Rich & Creamy creamy white frosting
Neon green, pink and blue food colors
24 large marshmallows
Miniature candy-coated chocolate baking bits
Black decorating gel
1 roll Betty Crocker® Fruit Roll-Ups® chewy fruit snack (any red variety)
Gummy worms candies OR sour straws

Heat oven to 350°F. Bake and cool brownies as directed. Cut into 24 brownies, 6 rows by 4 rows.

Remove lid and foil cover from container of frosting. Microwave frosting uncovered on High about 20 seconds or until frosting can be stirred smooth. Divide warm frosting among 3 small bowls, 1 for each color. Decorate as directed below, using 8 brownies for each.

Franken-Brownies- Add 5 drops green food color to frosting in 1 bowl; mix well. Top each of 8 brownies with 1 large marshmallow. Spoon 1 tablespoon green frosting over each marshmallow to coat. Decorate with green baking bits for eyes and ears. Use black gel for mouths and centers of eyes. Cut fruit snack to use for hair.

Boo-Brownies- Top each of 8 brownies with 1 large marshmallow. Spoon 1 tablespoon white frosting over each marshmallow to coat. Use black gel for eyes and mouths.

Spider Brownies-Add 5 drops pink food color and 3 drops blue food color to frosting in 1 bowl; mix well. Top each of 8 brownies with 1 large marshmallow. Tuck gummy worms candies under each marshmallow for legs. Spoon 1 tablespoon purple frosting over each marshmallow to coat. Use orange baking bits for eyes. Use black gel for mouths, centers of eyes and eyebrows.

I made just the spider brownies and found the gummy worms to be too thick- I felt like mine looked like octopi rather than spiders. So I used some sour straws I already had on hand.

Sunday, October 19, 2008

Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Muffins

From Kelli Granum

5 Eggs - beat
Add:1 1/3 cups oil
1 16 oz can pure pumpkin
1 tsp. salt
1 tsp. cinnamon
1 tsp. nutmeg
1 tsp soda
2 cups flour
2 cups sugar
2 - 3 oz. pkg. instant vanilla pudding
chocolate chips (as you desire)

Mix until creamy Add chocolate chips. Bake at 350 until done... About 30-35 minutes for regular size muffins and 20-25 for mini muffins. You just kind of have to watch them and see if they are golden brown on top!

I split the recipe in half (using 3 eggs) and it made 12 muffins and 12 mini muffins. I meant to include a picture but they went so fast I didn't get around to taking a pic!

Halloween Dinner

Every year I make a trip to Target and buy a few bags of Halloween candy well ahead of time so there is still some selection and I can cross it off my to do list. But, every year I break into the bags and start snacking on it until I have to go buy more candy at the last minute anyway.

The Chocolate Crostatas with Marmalade are the perfect dessert for Halloween when you are all sugared out. It is like many European desserts since it has just a small amount of sugar. The brown chocolate crust and orange marmalade are great when you are in the mood for a Halloween theme.

In keeping with the orange and black color theme, try serving the Black Bean and Pumpkin Chili in a hollowed pumpkin or cast iron "cauldron" if you have one. Sprinkle some Chili Crusted Pumpkin Seeds over the chili as a garnish and save the rest for some healthy snacking.

For those of you with some more self control, the sugary recipes and fun stuff for the kiddies will come next week: Mummy Wraps, Spider Brownies, Frankenstien Faces, Homemade Oreos and Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Muffins.

photo from

Pumpkin and Black Bean Chili


2 pounds Pumpkin or butternut squash, peeled and seeded- bake in the oven at 375 for 40 min or until tender, peel off skin and run through the food processor

1 tablespoon Extra virgin olive oil

1 Large onion, chopped

1 Garlic clove, minced

1 Jalapeno chile, minced

1 14.5-ounce Can diced tomatoes, drained

1 14.5-ounce Can crushed tomatoes

1 cup Water

1 cup Apple juice

3 tablespoons Chili powder

1 tablespoon Salt

1 Tbsp cocoa powder

2 packed tablespoons brown sugar

1/8 teaspoon Cayenne pepper

3 cups Cooked or canned black beans, rinsed and drained if canned


1. Heat the oil in a large pot over medium heat. Add the onion, garlic, and jalapeno. Cover and cook, stirring occasionally, until softened, about 10 minutes.

2. Add the pureed pumpkin, diced tomatoes, crushed tomatoes, water, apple juice, chili powder, salt, and cayenne, cocoa, sugar and stir well. Add beans. Bring to a boil, lower the heat, cover, and simmer about 15-20 minutes to blend flavors.

photo from

Chili Crusted Pumpkin Seeds

from Soup for Everybody

1 cup raw hulled pumpkin seeds
1 teaspoon vegetable oil
2 teaspoons hot or mild chili powder
1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
1/2 teaspoon salt
Pinch cayenne pepper

Preheat your oven to 350 degrees F. Toss the seeds with the oil, chili powder, cumin, salt, and cayenne. Spread them on a lightly oiled baking sheet and cook for 25-30 minutes, turning occasionally. Remove and let cool. Store an airtight container. They will keep for at least a month

Chocolate Crostatas with Marmalade

by Giada De Laurentiis

1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
1/3 cup sugar
1/2 teaspoon salt
10 tablespoons (1 1/4sticks) cold unsalted butter
Ice water
1 1/2 cups marmalade or apricot preserves

Mix the flour, cocoa powder, sugar, and salt in a food processor. Add the butter. Blend until clumps form. Add 2 tablespoons of ice water and blend. Add more ice water, 1 tablespoon at a time, until the dough forms. Turn the dough out onto a work surface and knead briefly to form a smooth dough. Gather the dough into a ball then divide the dough into 8 equal pieces. Flatten each piece into a disk.
Press 1 dough piece on the prepared baking sheet into a 4 1/2-inch round. Spoon 1 generous tablespoon of the marmalade into the center of the round. Fold the dough border in to form a 3-inch round and allow the center of the crostata to remain uncovered. Pleat loosely and pinch the dough to seal any cracks. Repeat with the remaining dough pieces and marmalade, spacing the crostatas evenly apart. Cover and refrigerate the crostatas until they are cold, at least 45 minutes and up to 4 hours.
Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F.
Bake the crostatas until the crusts are set, about 18 minutes. Cool for 10 minutes. Slide a metal spatula under the crusts to free the crostatas from the baking sheet. Garnish with the candied orange peel and serve warm.

Sunday, October 5, 2008

Pie, Pie, Me Oh My!

Pie Crust. Before I knew anything about cooking I did understand that pie crust was something my mom and her mom and all my friends moms spent a lot of time talking about. What kind of shortening do you use? How do you get yours so flaky? etc... I guess I took all this discussion to mean that pie crust was something way above me, that I should never try.

But I love pie crust. So, I followed a simple butter crust recipe one day and found it to be both easy and delicious. Now, I don't claim to be a pie crust connoisseur- but if you are then you probably have your own tried and true recipe. Meanwhile, I will be sticking with my butter crust prepared in the food processor and you can too if you don't already have your tried and true pie crust recipe.

Try your hand on a couple of crusts and whip up a Chicken Pot Pie and a Free Form Tart- choose from Strawberry Rhubarb or Apple Berry to warm your heart and your home.

Free Form Tarts

I am not good at making things look pretty. These tarts don't need a perfect edge and actually look like you meant for them to be a little messy. Here are two varieties. Strawberry Rhubarb for spring and summer, Apple Berry for fall and winter.

Strawberry Rhubarb

2 cups 1/4-inch-thick slices trimmed rhubarb (1 pound untrimmed)
2 cups strawberries, hulled, halved
1 cup sugar
1/4 cup cornstarch
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/8 teaspoon salt

Heavy cream, whipped, for serving

Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Combine all filling ingredients in a medium bowl and mix well; set aside.


Apple Berry Blossoms

3-4 tart apples, skinned and sliced

2 cups fresh or frozen berries

2 Tbsp butter

1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon

½ cup sugar

3 Tbsp cornstarch

Sautee the apples in butter, sugar and cinnamon. Meanwhile rinse the berries if they are frozen and drain the liquid. Add the berries to softened apples and sautee until the berries are the same temperature as the apples. The idea is not to cook the fruit but soften it a little and give it a head start before going in the oven. Drain a bit of the liquid off the mixture, add cornstarch stirring to fully mix in and then turn off the heat.


On a lightly floured surface, roll out dough into a rough circle, about 1/8-inch thick. Chill dough until just cold and easy to work with, about 30 minutes.

Transfer tart to a parchment-lined baking sheet. Spoon fruit mixture in the center of each unbaked shell covering it to about 1 inch from edge. Fold edges of shells over filling, leaving the tarts open in the center; gently brush between the folds with water and press gently on folds so that the dough adheres together.

Place in oven to bake until crust is golden brown, about 30 minutes, rotating pans halfway through. Reduce heat to 350 degrees F, and continue to bake until the juices are bubbly and just starting to run out from center, 10 to 12 minute more. Transfer immediately to a wire rack, and let cool before serving. Top with a dollop of whipping cream.

Pie Crust

1 1/4 cups all-purpose flour

1/2 teaspoon coarse salt

1/2 teaspoon sugar (if using in a sweet pie, otherwise, omit)

½ cup (1 sticks) unsalted butter, cut into tbsp size slices

¼ or less ice water

Combine flour, salt, and sugar in the bowl of a food processor. Add butter, and process for a few seconds until the mixture resembles coarse meal, about 10 seconds. Add ice water in a slow, steady stream, pouring it through the feed tube just until the dough holds together. Do not process for more than 30 seconds.

Turn dough out onto a work surface. Flatten, and form a disk. Wrap, and refrigerate at least 1 hour before using. Makes one crust.

Chicken Pot Pie

I don't really make pot pies exactly, just a crust over the top of the filling. I feel like its too much crust. But if you love that crust and aren't afraid of the treadmill then by all means- double the crust amount and pre-bake the bottom crust before filling.

1 lb chicken breast, cooked and cubed
1 cup sliced carrots
2 cups cubed potatoes
1 cup frozen peas
1/2 cup sliced celery
1/3 cup butter
1/3 cup chopped onion
1/3 cup flour
1 tsp salt
1/2 tsp pepper
1/4 tsp celery seed
1 3/4 cup chicken broth
2/3 cup milk
1-2 pie crusts (see crust recipe)

1. Preheat oven to 425 degrees
2. Boil potatoes until just done. Meanwhile, steam carrots and peas until tender. Set the vegetables to the side with the cooked and cubed chicken.
3. Sautee the onions in butter. Once the onions are soft, stir in the flour, salt, pepper and celery seed. Once the flour mixture if smooth, slowly stir in broth and milk. Simmer until thickened.
4. If using two crusts, line your casserole or bake dish with a pie crust and pre-bake until pale yellow- not golden or browned. Remove crust from the oven and pour in the veggies and chicken topped by the sauce. Cover with the second pie crust (or cover the veggie and sauce mixture with the only pie crust if just using one). Pinch around the sides and cut a few vents into the top of the crust.
5. Bake for 30-35 min or until the crust is golden brown and cool for 10 min.

Don't worry if your sauce leaks or bubbles up onto the crust. Once you serve it the pot pie always looks messy- its a forgiving meal like that :)