Halloween Dinner

Halloween Mummy Potatoes with Meatballs, recipe provided below (adapted from Once Upon a Cutting Board

Ingredients:

  • 4 large russet potatoes

  • 16-24 small cooked meatballs in sauce

  • 6-8 part-skim mozzarella cheese strings (string-able cheese)

  • 16 black olive slices

  • Extra sauce and parmesan for serving, if desired


Directions:

  1. Preheat oven to 375°F.  Wrap each potato in foil and bake for about an hour, or until fork-tender.  Let stand about 10 minutes until cool enough to handle.  

  2. Meanwhile, heat meatballs in sauce over medium-low heat on the stove.  Slice each cheese string into as thin of slices as possible to use for the mummy "bandages".

  3. When potatoes are done, cut each one in half lengthwise.  Cut a thin (about 1/4 to 1/2 inch) border around the potato and scoop out the insides.  I found it easiest to use my knife to cut out chunks of potato for better control because my ice cream scoop was too large.  Reserve the potato you scoop out for another use.

  4. When meatballs are heated through, transfer 2-3 meatballs to each hollowed out potato half, depending on how many fit.  Wrap meatball "body" in cheese slices to resemble bandages, crossing cheese back and forth and tucking the ends into the potato.  Add 2 black olive slices for the eyes at one end (see pictures).  

  5. Return potatoes and meatballs to the oven for 2-5 minutes so that cheese slightly melts.  Serve immediately, with extra pasta sauce and parmesan cheese if desired.


Witches Brew Cheesy Spinach Soup, recipe provided below (adapted from Annie's Eats

INGREDIENTS

  • 2 tbsp. unsalted butter
  • 1 medium onion, chopped
  • 2-3 cloves garlic, chopped
  • 1 medium russet potato, peeled and cut into 1-inch pieces
  • 3 cups vegetable broth
  • Salt and pepper
  • 8 oz. baby spinach leaves, washed and dried
  • 4 oz. gruyere cheese, shredded

DIRECTIONS

  1. Melt the butter in a Dutch oven or stockpot over medium heat.  Add the onions to the pot and sauté until just tender, about 3-4 minutes.  Stir in the garlic and potato and cook just until fragrant, about 1 minute.  Add the vegetable broth to the pot and bring to a boil.  Season with salt and pepper to taste.  Lower the heat to a simmer, cover, and let cook about 15 minutes or until the potato chunks are fork-tender.

  2. Stir in the spinach leaves, cover the pot once more and let cook just until the leaves are wilted, about 1-2 minutes.  Use an immersion blender, food processor, or blender to puree the soup to a smooth consistency.  (Be careful, it is hot!)  Stir in the shredded Gruyere until completely melted.  Serve warm.


Halloween Spaghetti, recipe provided below (adapted from The 36th Avenue

Ingredients: 

  • 1/2 tsp Black Food Paste Colorant or any other color of your choice.
  • 1 16 oz Box of  Spaghetti
  • 4 Quarts of water
  • 1 tsp. Salt
  • olives

Ingredients for Spaghetti Sauce: 

  • 1 Lb. Ground Hamburger
  • 2 24oz. Six Cheese Ragu Tomato Sauce or Three Cheese Prego Tomato Sauce
  • ½ Chopped Medium White Onion
  • 1 Tb. Sugar
  • 1 Tb. Parmesan Cheese
  • 1 tsp. Garlic Powder
  • 1 tsp. Onion Salt
  • 1 tsp. Dry Oregano
  • Salt to taste

Directions: 

  1. In a large pot put 4 quarts of water, 1/2 tsp. food coloring and 1 tsp. salt  for each pound of dry spaghetti.
  2. Bring the water to a boil.
  3. Add spaghetti and return to boil.
  4. Cook uncovered approximately 10-12 minutes, or until tender, stirring occasionally. Avoid overcooking.
  5. Remove from heat and drain.
  6. Top the pasta with spaghetti sauce and olives.

Directions for Spaghetti Sauce: 

  1. In a pan brown the hamburger and chopped onion. Drain the fat out.
  2. Add both bottles of Spaghetti Sauce and the rest of the ingredients to the meat and onions. Stir until all the ingredients are mixed.
  3. Cook at medium high until it boils.
  4. Turn down the heat and cook for another five to ten minutes stirring occasionally.
  5. Serve immediately over your cooked pasta.

Salted Caramel Apple Snickers Cake, recipe provided below ( adapted from Half Baked Harvest

Ingredients

  • 2 1/4 cup all-purpose flour
  • 2 1/4 cups granulated sugar
  • 1 1/2 cups unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 2 1/4 teaspoons baking soda
  • 2 1/4 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon allspice
  • 3 eggs, at room temperature
  • 1 1/2 cup, no sugar added, apple sauce
  • 3/4 cup canola oil
  • 1 1/2 tablespoon vanilla extract
  • 1 cup + 2 tablespoons strong brewed coffee, hot (or warm apple cider)
  • Salted Caramel
  • 2 cups heavy cream
  • 2 cups sugar
  • 1 cup honey (or corn syrup)
  • 1/2 cup bourbon + 1/2 cup apple cider (or 1 cup cider)
  • 1/2 cup butter
  • 1 tablespoon vanilla extract
  • 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt + flakey salt for sprinkling
  • 3 your favorite SMALL apples (I used granny smith and honeycrisp)*
  • 6 twigs or wooden sticks
  • Snickers Frosting
  • 1 cup unsalted butter, softened
  • 4 ounces cream cheese, softened
  • 2 cups powdered sugar
  • 1/2 cup creamy peanut butter (not the oily kind)
  • 1/3 cup salted caramel (ingredients above)
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 1/2 cup salted peanuts, chopped + more for garnish
  • 8 ounces bittersweet chocolate, chopped
  • 1/2 cup heavy cream

Instructions

To make the Cake

  1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Grease three 8-inch (or 9 inch) round cake pans. Line with parchment paper, then butter/spray with cooking spray.
  2. In a medium size bowl combine the flour, sugar, unsweetened cocoa powder, baking soda, baking powder, cinnamon, allspice and salt. Set aside.
  3. In the bowl of a stand mixer (or use a hand held mixer) beat together the eggs, apple sauce, canola oil and vanilla until smooth.
  4. Slowly add the dry ingredients to the wet ingredients with the mixer on low until there are no longer any clumps of flour. Add the hot coffee and mix until combined. Batter should be pourable, but not super thin.
  5. Pour the batter among the 3 cake pans and bake 20 to 25 minutes, until the tops are just set and no longer wiggly in the center. Remove and let cool five minutes, then run a knife around the edges of the pan. Grab 3 large flat plates, line them with wax or parchment paper and invert the cakes onto the paper lined plates. Cover and let the cakes cool completely before frosting.

To Make the Caramel + Frosting

  1. Place sugar, honey, bourbon and apple cider in a large saucepan. Bring to a boil, boil, without stirring, 9 minutes or until light golden in color. Add the heavy cream, butter, vanilla, and salt, slowly stirring into pan. Boil for 10-15 minutes or until a candy thermometer reads 210 degrees F., stirring frequently. Remove the sauce from heat and add the salt. Using a heat proof measuring cup scoop out 1 cup of caramel sauce and allow it to cool. Cover the remaining sauce and set aside until the cake is ready (I just covered my pot and set it aside overnight).
  2. Now make the frosting, add the butter, cream cheese and powdered sugar to the bowl of stand mixer (or use a hand held mixer). Beat together until the butter is light and fluffy, about 4 minutes. Add the peanut butter, 1/3 cup of the cooled caramel sauce and the vanilla, beat, scraping down the sides as needed, another 2 minutes or until there are no streaks. Stir in the chopped peanuts.

To Assemble the Cake

  1. Place 1 layer of cake, flat side up, on a plate or cake stand. Drizzle the cake with a little salted caramel sauce (from the reserved 1 cup, not from the pot of caramel). With a knife or offset spatula, spread the top with frosting. Place the second layer on top, rounded side up, and drizzle with caramel. Spread the frosting evenly on the top. Add the final layer of cake and drizzle with the remaining caramel. Frost the top and sides of the cake. Don't worry about it being too perfect as you will be covering most of it up. Place the cake in fridge.
  2. To make the chocolate coating. In a microwave safe bowl add the chocolate and cream. Microwave on high for 30 second intervals, stirring between each until melted. Allow the sauce to cool 3-5 minutes, and then pour the sauce onto the middle of the cake and spread to just the sides, allow the sauce to drip down the sides of the cake. Place the cake in the fridge preferably overnight, but at least 1 1/2 hours. You need the chocolate to be completely set and the frosting firm.

To Finish.

  1. Once the cake is cool, grab that reserved caramel sauce in the pot. Place it back over medium-high heat and bring it to a boil. Boil for 15-20 minutes or until a candy thermometer reads between 220-230 degrees F (I let mine go to 225 and it was perfect). Remove the sauce from the stove and let is cool 15-20 minutes, stirring every so often. Make sure the caramel does not become too stiff. If it stiffens too much you will not be able to dip the apples. While the sauce cools, push the twigs or wooden sticks into the top of the apples. Line a baking sheet with wax paper.
  2. When the caramel has cooled (it should be a little thicker now, but still pourable), pour about half the caramel over the cake and allow it to fall down the sides of the cake. Working quickly, dip the apples into the remaining caramel and place the in the center of cake. Sprinkle the cake with flakey salt and peanuts. Make room in the fridge for the cake and refrigerate until firm, at least 30 minutes. The caramel should never get completely hard, but should be more of a soft firm. Once the caramel is firm, store the cake in the fridge until ready to serve. Allow the cake to sit 15 minutes at room temp before serving. Please not that this is a delicate and with all the toppings it is a bit tricky to slice. Your slices will not be perfect.