Halloween dinner scares up new favorites

An eyeball peers out of this salad

Bats spread their purple wings

Cheesy pumpkin sauce provides a savory treat

This paw reaches for more candy

Eyes with pinpoint pupils gaze at diners on this Halloween night. An appetizer plate presents bat meatballs with their purple cabbage wings spread wide, as if to fly off the table. Miniature spider webs, ghosts and jack-o-lanterns glow in their warm orange pumpkin sauce dotted with black olives.

And for dessert, a werewolf paw makes its presence known by swiping the Halloween candy loot off the table.

Halloween is my favorite holiday, so each year, it’s fun to dress up the food in fun costumes, just like we do. Part of the allure is taking seemingly ordinary food such as grapes and turning them into staring eyes. I did this with Boursin spread around each grape and a whole clove inserted in the center to resemble a pupil.

Eyeball Salad

An eyeball peers out of this salad

For the bat bodies, I elongated the ordinary meatball by applying a little more pressure as I rolled it between my hands, trying to imitate a bat shape. The body needed wings, of course. Purple, leathery cabbage leaves make perfect nocturnal wings.

Each year, I try to incorporate something black and orange into the spread, but I couldn’t find ink squid pasta in time, so I added whole black olives to my creamy pumpkin pasta dish. The Harry & David pasta was made in Halloween shapes like spiderwebs and pumpkins, which held the sauce perfectly in their tiny crevices.

I made a lot of popcorn balls and decided to use some leftovers in a plastic skeleton hand bag I had purchased. It made a monster-size paw. After the hand began to dry, I applied some chocolate frosting and used a butter knife to raise the “werewolf hair” on the hand in small upward motions. Cashew fingernails completed the look.

Guests really enjoyed this year, especially the bat meatballs, which are kind of creepy and cute at the same time. For more ideas, check out my other site, The Halloween Hunt.com. Halloween cooking is so much fun … there’s no reason to limit it to just one night a year!

Eye See You Salad

2 cups romaine lettuce, torn

1/2 cup shredded cabbage

1/2 cup matchstick carrots

2 cups whole grapes

About 14 whole cloves

1 cup Boursin spread

Toss together lettuce with cabbage and carrots. Press whole cloves into grape centers. Spread Boursin around grapes, coating throughout. Place grape “eyes” discretely throughout salad.

Servings: 8

Bat meatballs

Bats spread their purple wings


Bat Meatballs

1/2 cup whole milk

1 cup bread crumbs

1 egg, lightly beaten

1 cup white onion, chopped

1/4 teaspoon salt

1/4 teaspoon pepper

1/8 teaspoon ground cloves

1 pound ground beef

3 tablespoons all-purpose flour

2 tablespoons Worcestershire sauce

1 teaspoon red wine

1 cup plum jam

For the wings:

1 purple cabbage, leaves separated and torn in half

In a large mixing bowl, pour milk over bread crumbs; let stand for 15 minutes. Add remaining egg, onion, salt, pepper and cloves. Shape in 1 1/2-inch oblong meatballs.

In a large skillet, pour 2 tablespoons canola oil. Add meatballs and cook until browned. Place on paper towel to drain.

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Place meatballs in a 13X9-inch baking dish. Bake for 30 minutes or until a thermometer reads 160 degrees.

In a small saucepan, stir together flour, Worcestershire sauce, red wine and plum jam. Heat to boiling for 1 minute. Reduce heat and let simmer 10 minutes or until thickened.

Pour over meatballs. Make half-inch slits with paring knife on right and lefts sides of meatballs. Insert a cabbage wing on each side.

Servings: 10.

Pumpkin Pasta

Cheesy pumpkin sauce provides a savory treat

Orange and Black Pumpkin Pasta

14 ounces favorite pasta

4 garlic cloves

1 small onion

2 tablespoons butter

1 can 15-ounce can pure pumpin

1/2 cup heavy whipping cream

1/2 cup shredded sharp cheddar cheese

1/4 teaspoon pepper

1/4 teaspoon ground sage

1 1/2 cups Kalamata olives

Boil pasta for 8 minutes. While pasta is cooking, add onion and garlic to small saucepan. Fry onions and garlic for about 10 minutes in 2 tablespoons butter. In a medium saucepan, stir together pumpkin and whipping cream until blended. Increase heat to medium-high; add cheese and cook for about 10 minutes.

Remove from heat; add onions, garlic, pepper, sage and olives. Stir together. Serve immediately.

Servings: 8.

Werewolf Hand

3 cups cooked popcorn

1/2 stick butter

1 cup dark Karo syrup

1 teaspoon salt

1/4 cup marshmallows

Chocolate frosting of your choice

1/2 cup cashew halves

In a medium saucepan, melt butter. Add remaining ingredients, stirring well until combined. Pour over popcorn and stir. Spoon mixture into hand mold. Let dry about 3 hours. Remove and add frosting and cashews. Decorate as desired.

Servings: 6.

Werewolf Hand

This paw reaches for more candy


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Posted by on Dec 15 2011. Filed under Seasonal. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0. You can leave a response or trackback to this entry

5 Comments for “Halloween dinner scares up new favorites”

  1. I have some chicken wings & wanna make a honey bbq sauce thats easy. Hopefully with few ingredients! I am making a buffalo chicken dip too, so thats why I would like a honey bbq sauce. Just to mix it up. Please help!

    • admin

      I love honey barbecue sauce! The plum sauce for the beef meatballs listed above was delicious, but sweet and tangy honey sauce is perfect for chicken. Here’s one I use:

      2 tablespoons vinegar
      2 teaspoons ground mustard
      1 teaspoon pepper
      1/4 cup honey
      3 tablespoons soy sauce
      Combine all ingredients. Let stand about 3 minutes before spreading on chicken wings.

    • This recipe sounds really tasty! You don't list the penne pasta in the ingredients, so I was wondering how much you used?

    • Jin

      I feel a little uneasy looking at those, especially since they are looking back at me! Very fun 😀

  2. Love these, they would probably scare the heck out of my kids but ohh welllll…haha!

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